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By Henri Michaux

A wild trip to the East narrated via a author who's "without equivalent within the literature of our time" –Jorge Luis Borges

Henri Michaux (1899–1984), the good French poet and painter, set out as a tender guy to determine the a long way East. touring from India to the Himalayas, and directly to China and Japan, Michaux voices his vibrant impressions, slicing evaluations, and curious insights: He has no difficulty talking his brain. half fanciful travelogue and half exploration of tradition, A Barbarian in Asia is gifted the following in its unique translation via Sylvia seashore, the well-known American-born bookseller in Paris.

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Where are you off to? Come have some coffee. One of the entourage is our boatman, and he tells us that there’s been a change of plan: the water level at the upper reaches of the Katibas river has dropped dramatically and its tributaries cannot be navigated. ’ Just like that. Pondering the fact that I’ve been here for less than 48 hours and already experienced two major changes in schedule (that’s an average of one per day, as the statisticians would tell us), I come to the conclusion that in a place like this, one simply cannot plan ahead with any degree of precision.

Cleanliness is an important aspect of Iban life, and the daily dips in the river are as much a time for personal hygiene as they are for socialising. Splashing about in the river, I can feel a sort of ‘bonding’ happening with the longhouse men. There’s much fun and laughter, especially after my friend, The Little One, sneaks up from behind and pulls my legs off the rock that I had used to stabilise myself against the fast-running current. About a hundred metres further down the river is the official ‘toilet’.

Resigned to my down-river fate, I join the men who are frolicking in the water. Cleanliness is an important aspect of Iban life, and the daily dips in the river are as much a time for personal hygiene as they are for socialising. Splashing about in the river, I can feel a sort of ‘bonding’ happening with the longhouse men. There’s much fun and laughter, especially after my friend, The Little One, sneaks up from behind and pulls my legs off the rock that I had used to stabilise myself against the fast-running current.

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