Around the World in 80 Days
Day 7: 1 October
'No. I am cheaper than Michael Caine.'
They all laugh, beyond the limits of politeness. 'We want to see this film very quickly.'
I just want to survive long enough to make it, but there's not time to tell them this as Achmed the driver applies his whip and we swing out into the streets of Alexandria. It's quite terrifying. The horse, which for some reason is called Larry, seems congenitally unable to move in a straight line and in a series of lurches and wild whip-assisted sprints, dodging within inches of passing cars, we eventually reach the famous Corniche - the long curving sea-front. It's like Cannes with acne. A wide and well-proportioned road and some handsome facades in the neoclassical style, but everything blotchy and half patched-up, giving it the odd air of a city that was abandoned long ago and is now full of people gingerly coming back to re-inhabit.
On the sea-wall, itinerant street-sellers are curled up asleep, their heads protected from the sun inside the baskets they'll later sell. Achmed and Larry deliver me physically, if not mentally, unscathed to the Cecil Hotel. Here hippies are having their shoes shined by ten-year-olds and within the space of a minute I'm offered sun-glasses, black market currency and a trip to Alamein.
'Alamein . . . you know . . . Hitler! . . . '
Choose another day from Around the World in 80 Days
- Series: Around the World in 80 Days
- Day: 7
- Date: 1 October
- Country/sea: Egypt
- Place: Alexandria
- Book page no: 37
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