Monday, January 08, 2007

This is my fourth blog for 2007 January

Here is a challenge for any intrepid reader: There is a book just out in American publishing by a Maori lawyer from New Zealand, "First Pass Under Heaven." The book has been a best seller in New Zealand but is so new on the reading lists at Amazon that there are no comments from readers. You can get this book, for a very reasonable price, and be the first to give your ideas about the writing about the adventures detailed in this volume.

Nathan Hoturoa Gray, along with four other men: a Malaysian Buddist monk, an Argentinean photojournalist, an Italian recording artist and a Kiwi-American golfer began this true adventure story of walking the 2500 mile span of the Great Wall of China between Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan passes. They had more than the normal obstacles to overcome: Minus 20 to 40 degree temperatures, blizzards, snakes, detentions by police and even
extreme thirst and hunger. They walked through some of the most horrible terrain in the world, including the scorching Gobi dessert and over 1200 miles of huge mountains.

This is a story not just about braving the elements and the bureaucracy but mostly about relationships with others under the most extreme conditions. They started out with great intentions: they wee going to join hands as a diverse group with very different backgrounds. Together they were going to overcome the horrendous conditions they had to face. After only 21 days together they split up!

Gray has only good things to say about the people of the region who were so kind to him and to the others that they would take no money and they gave them lots of food when they needed it the most.

The people who live along the Wall's shadow in this formidable region don't have a place to spend money so it is of no use to them. Yet Gray believes that even if they could have used funds, they would have refused to take anything from the travelers.

He hopes that these people will not be tainted by Western civilization, because they are such rare humans and he does not want any of the journey's route to become a tourist mecca. (That doesn't sound very likely, from his harrowing account of the journey, however.)

Gray believes the biggest challenge was to himself; to push himself to the limit and to go on to achieve some of his dreams.

This is your challenge: Read this volume and express your opinion.


Blogger Nathan said...

Hi Jean,

thank you for posting this comment about my book: First Pass Under Heaven. People can access my website at to get all the latest - including DVDs of the journey. I am in the USA now just learning how best to promote my book. Any ideas will be more than welcome, or spreading of my website if you want to recommend the book to anyone of your friends...


Nathan Hoturoa Gray

8:55 AM  

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