He noted that at high altitude our food does not cook China new year holiday as quickly or fires give the same heat as down in the lowlands; which, as China new year holiday all modem high-altitude travellers know, is a fact of life. But in the Polos’ day it was an unknown phenomenon. The Pamirs were later crossed by explorers and geographers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and by some of the archaeologists, now regarded as robbers, who came in search of the lost cities of the Taklamakan Basin.
The bulk of the Pamir Range is in Russia but its eastern portion in China contains two mountains of outstanding size, Mustagh Ata (24,758ft/7546m) and Kongur (25,324ft/7719m). There is a road leading up into these Chinese Pamirs, which links China with Pakistan, an international frontier not open nowadays to foreigners. The idea of spending a few days travelling up that way was tempting.