Saturday, June 7, 2008

Paul Merton in China (Part 2)

Paul Merton continues his six-week tour of China. Part two takes in two of the most populous cities in China, as well as some of the most remote backwaters. In search of some spiritual relaxation, Paul heads for the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, famed as the birthplace of Zen Buddhism. Checking in for some meditation classes, he ends up on a kung fu course instead. Under the watchful eyes of his Chinese minders, Paul and his local guide embark on a ten-hour trip over rough mountain roads to the Tibetan monastery of Labrang and meets nomads whose traditional ways may be under threat from increasing development.

From one of the emptiest areas of China, Paul travels to the most populous: Chongqing, the fastest-growing metropolis in the world, with 30 million people. In Chengdu, Paul meets a businessman with a chain of dog grooming parlours. And, whilst searching for a place to eat, sees a rather different example of the Chinese fondness for man’s best friend.