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Umbagollah's Natural Wonders.

"I think that tree is spying on me."

(Famous last words of Flip Hivewrapper, coutesan and undercover agent to the House of Glare)

"Places of natural splendour in Umbagollah are so numerous that it would exhaust the mind to list them all. From a historical point of view, the Two Show Ranges are the most important of the country's geographical features, as well as one of the most beautiful. Occasionally, the people of Gooloo awake to hear a long wordless tenor chant coming down the valleys into their town: this is the sound of the mountains singing. Why are they singing? No-one really knows. Goolooians assume that the peaks are simply happy to be alive.

The Fly Ravine, source of the country-spanning Fly River, is also well worth a visit. At the end of winter when the snows melt, every inch of this valley's walls is covered by a rushing, crashing curtain of water, and the air is thick with spray. Observers have said that it is like, "standing on the bed of a collapsing sea."

First-time visitors to the Forest of Ex are infallibly astounded by its darkness. For the right price, some Exians will agree to guide travellers to the Dusty Vales - clearings where the thickness of the overhead vegetation makes nighttime permanent. Walk into one of these clearings and you can hold your hand two inches away from your eyes and still not be able to see it. The floors of these places are carpeted with a half a foot of light, pestilential dust which rises into one's nose and eyes like a cloud of disturbed midges as soon as it is stepped on. Filter masks are recommended. People are frequently found lying in the forest face-downward, choked to death by the dust of the Dusty Vales.

The north-western flatlands are also an impressive sight, especially during sunsets when the golden flare of the falling sun turns the vivid green of the long grasses to an colour that is almost indescribable, a kind of "intense bloodred green" to quote the novelist Agnes Moulcrumpet.

The northern coastline has some stunning beaches, perfect for everything from deep-water diving to sunning oneself, but the impassibility of the Forest of Ex renders them almost inaccessible except by boat.

The Isle of Yunck is interesting, if you like islands. This traveller doesn't, but even he has to admit that the Poidy waterfall, that thick stream of water which falls two hundred feet into an opening in the ground about the same size as a single bedsheet, is a thing worth seeing at least once."

(From My head feels light and my feet hurt: a guide to getting around Umbagollah, by the retired troubadour Adrian Windowbook.)