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Day 80: Lugu Lake

Luoshi, China 
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Michael Palin - HimalayaI'm becoming quite endeared to Namu's superstar pretensions, partly because she's so unashamedly open about them and partly because I'm pretty sure that deep down she knows it's all a game.

Joshua, a Beijing-based American journalist, is following her around. She introduces him with an airy wave of the hand.

'He's doing a story on the real Namu,' she says, without much enthusiasm.

We talk at breakfast about the strength of superstition in modern China. Joshua lives on the fourth floor of his building in Beijing, because the number four is considered unlucky and so the apartment is correspondingly cheap. Eight, on the other hand, is auspicious, and mobile phone numbers with eight in them are only available at a premium.

He sees I'm reading Namu's book about her childhood, Leaving Mother Lake, and we talk about the world it describes: a society that has no words for husband, wife, marriage or virginity; in which women make all the decisions about who they go with and who they stay with. A man may be an azhu, a close male friend, but that's as close as they get to any form of marital obligation. They practice Zouhun, 'walking marriage', in which a man and a woman may spend the night together, but he walks back to his own home in the morning. Couples share neither ties nor possessions. Women inherit all the property and bring up the children.
Luoshi, China 
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Re-appearance of prayer flags shows Tibetan influence on this part of China.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 80: Lugu Lake
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Lugu Lake
  • Book page no: 185

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  • Around the World in 80 Days