Phil Agland, one of the finest documentary makers of our time invited me out to Lijiang China while he was filming the award winning 'Beyond the Clouds'. Lijiang lies close to Tibet in Yunnan provence. The mountains that rise up behind the town are an astonishing 18000 feet high. I have travelled a fair bit now but Lijiang almost felt like another planet. Since my visit, the town was very badly damaged by a terrible earthquake. The town has been rebuilt but a lot of the very old houses had to be torn down in the process.

The people there were incredibly hard working. I remember going back to Lijiang's 'number one hotel' on a very cold night at about one a.m. and as I passed by these  little shacks I could hear the sound of sewing machines whirring away inside.

Waking up in the morning was never a problem. First came the incredibly loud sound of people hawking up into the spitoons lining the hotels corridors. Next came the bizarre sound of the tune 'Colonel Bogey' which was played on the public address system from battered tannoys suspended from lamp posts throughout the town.

I have since worked with Phil on his subsequent projects including 'Shanghai Vice', 'The Woodlanders' and 'A French Affair

© David Dickie 2017