Danny Breslin

How it is…

Outline of the Roof of the World!

This is the outline of my first book: “Me and Gus on the Roof of the World.” This book is the true story of an adventure that took place in 2006. It was inspired by, and is the antithesis of, Michael Palin’s “Himalaya”. If my journey to “The Roof of the World” had passed without incident then, chances are, I probably wouldn’t have written about it; if I had, it would have been a very different book. You will find that this is not a regular travel journal.

My best friend and I, having been inspired by Michael Palin’s television series, decided to travel overland from Kathmandu in Nepal, crossing the Himalayas into Tibet and ending up in Beijing; that was the plan anyway.

It began well, our stay in Kathmandu was fantastic, a memory I will treasure. I will describe the sights and sounds that greeted us there. The friends we made, the temples and museums we visited and the beer we drank. I shall describe the burnt offerings, to the Goddess Kali, and the plan to rescue a goat. How we were driven around by the coolest taxi driver in the world; meeting the Buddhist nun who didn’t know Kung Fu; and the amazing experience of seeing the tallest mountain on earth from an aeroplane.

From there we headed towards the Nepal/Tibet border. On the way we stopped off at a place called “The Last Resort.” I will include details of a marathon drinking session followed by warning of the dangers of white water rafting with the world’s worst hangover.

Upon reaching the border we were held up for a couple of days by the Chinese authorities, repeatedly searched and I had my first brush with the Chinese military.

Things started to go wrong as we climbed higher into the mountains. I started suffering with severe shortness of breath by the time we reached Tingri. Two nights up on the high plateau and things were starting to get bad for me. When we headed up to one of the high passes I nearly passed out from altitude sickness. The guides had to get me back down the mountain before an aneurism took me out of the game completely.

This is where the story becomes unique. The altitude sickness affected me very badly and I had to stay in hospital in Tingri. Imagine the worst hospital possible, then times it by 100 and you will be getting close to the mark. I had the only room in the whole building with an actual bed, the other patients had a rug on the floor to sleep on (they had a rug each, so that’s something at least.) In fact, my room was the only one with a door; all the other rooms had a blanket suspended in the doorway! There was no running water and the toilet was blocked up with the previous occupant’s waste. I was told it was the local governor’s private room, I wondered if it was the local governor’s private waste.

The story continues with how I attempted escape from the hospital; the confusion in my head from lack of oxygen caused me to forget I was in Tibet. I thought I was in London and decided to try to walk to Trafalgar Square in the middle of the night wearing nothing but a pair of football shorts and a determined expression.

I describe a taxi journey from Tingri to a hospital in Lhasa that lasted 7.5 hours. During this torturous ride, due to my confusion, I began to get paranoid and became convinced that I was being kidnapped, that I was going to have my organs harvested by Tibetan gangsters.

My paranoia increased when I was taken to the intensive care unit; at this point I was convinced that the doctors were actually Chinese state security agents. Not knowing what they had planned for me, I decided to escape again and I was going to take with me a German woman who was a fellow patient in the next bed. I never made it out of the ward.

Perhaps it was my unwillingness to cooperate that convinced the doctors that I would be better off in the gentle care of the Chinese People’s Army, in their military hospital in Lhasa. There the drama continues when, after questioning a nurse about the drugs they were giving to me, I had a frank and honest exchange of opinions with an officer who decided the best course of action would be to call in a two-man firing squad. Was this the end for our intrepid hero?

My insurance company arranged for a doctor to travel all the way from Shanghai to Lhasa to see me. Perhaps it was because I had been such good company that the lovely army doctors didn’t want to let me go. After begging my saviour to intervene I was finally released into his care.

I’m not sure but the reaction of the people in the airport and on the plane suggested I was possibly mistaken for a burnt-out crack addled rock or movie star, due to the important looking men pushing me in a wheelchair, with me looking like a tramp and flying first class.

The doctor took me to Chengdu in China where I was installed in a proper hospital; in fact the hospital room I was given was more like a hotel suite. While in there I was finally able to contact home only to discover my mother was terminally ill and my business was failing. I leave them alone for a few weeks and this is what happens?

When I was released from hospital I had to spend another week in Chengdu; the authorities had my passport and were removing me from the group visa so I could head home (by this time I’d had enough of travelling thank you). I used this time to rest up for a couple of days, do a bit of exploring and some shopping, there was no point going home without a present for my wife, she might not have let me in!

I met the world’s most annoying interpreter who spoke like he was in a Hollywood movie, he arranged for me to have a guide to show me around. When she arrived at the hotel to meet me she looked so young I mistakenly thought she was a lost child, I asked her if she was looking for her parents.

She took me to a museum, to the Chinese Opera and to see pandas. She made me walk for miles which nearly finished me off as it had been a while since I had attempted any serious (more than 100 yards) walking. I was photographed by some teenagers, I’m not sure why, drank tea that seemed to be made with pine needles and was amazed to witness spontaneous ballroom dancing by dozens of people in a park. I really enjoyed my unplanned visit to Chengdu and hope to go back some day.

Even coming home was an adventure. I was seated in business class, thanks to my insurance company, from Shanghai to Heathrow. It was a long flight and everyone was asleep when I lost my wedding ring; as I had lost weight during my time in the various hospitals my ring was loose and, with a wave of my hand, it came flying off.

I had two hostesses on their hands and knees (not many can boast that!) looking for my wedding ring, trying not to wake the other passengers. It was eventually found by the young woman across the aisle from me, it had slipped down next to her buttock – I swore to her that it had got there of its own accord – I was that happy to see it she got a massive bear hug in thanks, as did the two hostesses who had tried to help me.

Upon reaching Heathrow I was greeted by a private ambulance and taken home where my wife met me with a big mug of tea.

So, there you have it. It is tale of adventure, drama and derring-do as they used to say. A “ripping yarn”, with reference to Mr Palin again. The best thing about it, it is all true.

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September 21, 2012 - Posted by | Me & Gus on the Roof of the World | , , , , , , , , ,

21 Comments »

  1. Glad you’re getting this written up Unc!!

    Comment by Jamie | September 30, 2012 | Reply

    • Wouldn’t have started without your encouragement mate.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 2, 2012 | Reply

  2. This sounds like its going to be a great book Danny. Good luck with it. There’s nothing like a real life experience, and yours doesn’t sound even slightly boring! Go for it.

    Comment by Yaz | October 3, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks Yaz, I’ll do my very best. You couldn’t help me out and mention my blog to your followers could you? I’m trying to whip up an audience before release and I need to spread the word, you can be part of that effort if you want to. Cheers mate!

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 4, 2012 | Reply

      • Are you on Facebook? If so, do you have a write-up there? I could share there, as well as figure out a ‘natural’ way to direct my followers to you.

        Comment by Yaz | October 4, 2012

  3. Hi – I’d like to read your book! What a story. I’m one of the people feckthisshit nominated for those awards and that led me here. We’re a couple of…..ahem “older” people who sold everything to become nomads. Life’s what you make it eh? Cheers.

    Comment by Alison | December 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for dropping by. As soon as I’ve finished writing the book – if I ever finish writing it! – I’ll let everyone know. I’ll try and make sure everyone who follows my blog gets a huuuuge discount, maybe do it for free for a short time. I think what you are doing is absolutely amazing and I will be following your adventures with interest. All the best.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | December 11, 2012 | Reply

      • As I’ll follow yours with interest. Can’t wait for the story to unfold. “Adventure” hardly begins to describe what you went through.

        Comment by Alison | December 11, 2012

  4. Wow! Can’t wait for the complete version!

    Comment by Denise Hisey | January 30, 2013 | Reply

    • I’m trying Denise I really am. So many distractions, but as soon as I get it finished I’ll make sure you know. Cheers

      Comment by Danny Breslin | January 30, 2013 | Reply

  5. A terrific adventure in the retelling (perhaps not so great in real time)–I’ll certainly think twice before scheduling a solo trip to “the roof of the world” unless it’s in book form.

    Comment by vbholmes | January 31, 2013 | Reply

    • I would recommend visiting Kathmandu, amazing place. The Tibetan plateau is stunning, just try not to end up in hospital – now that I wouldn’t recommend!

      Comment by Danny Breslin | January 31, 2013 | Reply

  6. Thank you Danny for the follow and for reading my poems. I love your account here. And I can visualise every single frame you describe, so picturesquely 🙂

    Perhaps, next time, stray into the Indian side… no firing squads, and while you still run the risk of organ-harvesting hoodlums, they will be of the friendlier variety and will speak enough English to tell you that Trafalgar Square is an ocean away!

    Have a good weekend… I shall read on.

    Comment by mj | March 8, 2013 | Reply

    • I loved visiting Goa, I’ve written a few posts about that trip. By the way your poems are amazing.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | March 13, 2013 | Reply

  7. Hey Danny, You now have a review up on Amazon.com and Amazon UK. Really enjoyed the read. Wishing you tons of sales and success. Paulette

    Comment by The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap | July 17, 2013 | Reply

    • You’re such a diamond! The review is so kind, thanks mate.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | July 17, 2013 | Reply

  8. […] And I must add that Danny is a first-rate writer. You should take a minute to check out his book, Me and Gus on the Roof of the World.   So, as we discussed English, in all its verbal and written avataars, I asked Danny which […]

    Pingback by Communicating in English | Laughing Penguins | October 3, 2013 | Reply

  9. […] memories from India and almost causing a bloodbath in Tunisia. And if you’ve read Me & Gus on the Roof of the World then you’ll know all about and been highly entertained by my visit to Nepal, Tibet and China. […]

    Pingback by Bogged down « Danny Breslin | November 15, 2013 | Reply

  10. […] Me & Gus on the Roof of the World […]

    Pingback by A time for giving: free eBook for everyone! « Danny Breslin | December 11, 2013 | Reply

  11. […] story I just want to clear up any confusion. Down my local there is a Bri, who features in my book Me & Gus on the Roof of the World, a Baggy Bri and a Baggy – three totally separate people, you follow me so far? This story is […]

    Pingback by The Great Phone Chase « Danny Breslin | March 10, 2014 | Reply

  12. […] days or otherwise you’ll miss out. If you don’t know what all the fuss is about then check out the outline. To see what others are saying about it have a look at some of the […]

    Pingback by Free eBook: A Gift to Say Welcome « Danny Breslin | April 10, 2014 | Reply


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