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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 7: 1 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysDark, unsettling dreams from which I wake to the sound of throat-clearing, scratching and thick irregular breathing. It's not mine either. It's on the other side of the cabin partition but feels disturbingly close, as if this nameless heaving, unhealthy mass is on the other side of my bed. This all happens at 2.30, and I never quite recover. Four hours later I'm up, packing, deflating the inflatable globe which is the only way to get an accurate picture of the real extent of the journey. We hardly seem to have started, though Roger, trying to be encouraging, tells me that Cairo is 2000 miles from London and when we get there we'll be a twelfth of the way home.

Up on deck for my first glimpse of the North African coastline. There's a smell of fresh bread oddly contrasting with the largely silent mood of passengers who stand staring mutely forward, their feet hemmed in by unwieldy boxes containing microwave ovens and Kenwood mixers. They're conserving their energies for queues and customs.

I talk to a lone Englishman who is travelling to Sinai and then the Sudan, scuba diving. He's addicted to the sport and finances his journeys by letting out grazing land he owns in Brecon. He grins apologetically, 'Not a very responsible way to carry on'.

Well, I'm not one to talk.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 7
  • Date: 1 October
  • Country/sea: Mediterranean Sea
  • Place: Adriatic Sea
  • Book page no: 36

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  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Day 51 
  • Pole to Pole

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