In this account of the third of Michael Palin's travel adventures for BBC Television, he journeys for almost a year, covering 50,000 miles and all of the 18 countries that border the Pacific Ocean, encompassing a wide diversity of landscape, culture and people. The Pacific Rim is one of the world's most volatile areas, with economies that are expanding faster than anywhere else on earth - and here the earth itself is in a constant state of flux. Not for nothing is the Pacific coastline known as the "Ring of Fire" - volcanoes mark Palin's journey like stepping stones, and he climbs one which has recently erupted and is still smoking. He negotiates mountains and plunging gorges, crosses glaciers, dodges icebergs, follows great rivers such as the Yangtse and the Amazon, and confronts the notorious Cape Horn and the wild and windswept beaches of western Alaska. The people Palin meets include one of the few remaining survivors of a Siberian Gulag camp, head-hunters in Borneo, and Japanese monks. He eats maggots in Mexico, rustles camels in the Australian desert, lands a plane in Seattle, and sings with the Pacific Fleet choir in Vladivostock.
Michael Palin established his reputation with Monty Python's Flying Circus and the Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A Fish Called Wanda and, more recently, American Friends and Fierce Creatures. His television credits include two films for the BBC's Great Railway Journeys, the plays East of Ipswich and Number 27, and Alan Bleasdale's GBH.
He has written books to accompany his very successful travel series, Around the world in 80 days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya and New Europe. He is also the author of a number of children's stories, the play The Weekend and the novel Hemingway's Chair.