Monday, July 18, 2011

Austerity Tibet

Rain rain rain, so a lot of reading done. Just finished Heinirich Harrer's Seven Years in Tibet which by a strange coincidence were the same post-war years covered in Austerity Britain. Harrer was an Austrian climber and skier and was in the party that was the first to climb the Eiger in 1938. He was about to climb Nanga Parbat in what is now Pakistan when WW2 broke out and he was interned in northern India. Just before the end of the war he escaped with German climber Peter Aufschnaiter and together they made their way on foot to Lhasa. It took a year and a half, after which they stayed on: Harrer becoming a tutor to the 11-year-old Dalai Lama and Aufschnaiter working on various engineering projects. "There seemed no inducement to go home", he wrote, despite being married (although dissolved in 1943) and with a son. I remember seeing the Brad Pitt film in Philippines of all places; it was shot in Argentina, Nepal, Austria, Canada and (secretly) Tibet itself. Simply but effectively written.  

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