Today, I met Alibek Yeginbay, a historian born and grown up in Kazakhstan but has called Xi’an home for five years.
Like me, he’s one of the doubters that Marco Polo actually took the trip as mentioned in the traveler’s book, The Travels of Marco Polo. Polo’s description of ancient Chinese cities, including Chang An (previous name of Xi’an), were too beautiful that it didn’t match with other historical facts. But then again, as a travel book, it is one great book.
When I showed him this book by Donn Byrne, we laughed together. We believed that Byrne actually tried to mock Marco Polo by creating an even less-than-true plot of the traveller’s complicated love to Kublai Khan’s daughter.
He concluded our meetup by saying, “History is made by mixing facts and interests.” Being an Indonesian, I said amen to that.
Have you read this book?