by Shelby Tucker - £10.99 HarperCollins Publishers (2001)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780007127054 | ISBN 10: 0007127057
At the age of 53, Shelby Tucker set out to cross Burma on foot from China to India when land access to Burma was forbidden.
Tucker had a rucksack, a diary and some inaccurate maps. He recruited a 6ft 4" Swede, Mats, whom he had met on the train to Beijing. Near the beginning of their walk through the jungle they encountered a group of naked boys bathing - they realized too late that the boys' Chinese Army uniforms were on the banks. With typical sangfroid, Tucker leapt in to join them, shouting incomprehensible English greetings. Before long they were in the hands of the Kachin Independence Army and managed to survive many near misses with the Burmese Army.
Despite pain and constant danger, Tucker recorded each day the vivid beauty of the country, and the courtesy and hospitality of the Kachins (the most important of Burma's hidden colonies, about whom very little has been written).
"This is a story of real, risk-taking, old-fashioned travel, not pre-paid by a publisher or faked by a television company."
(Maggie Gee, Daily Telegraph)
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)