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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 8: 2 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysAt supper at the Windsor, they appear to have unearthed a new and comprehensive wine list. Marked Carte des Vins and bound in thick padded leather, it's presented to us proudly by Mahmoud, the small elderly head waiter. Inside it appears to consist of nothing but photos and press cuttings mostly featuring a squat, muscular man with very few clothes on surrounded by admiring groups of ladies. Mahmoud beams proudly. Of course, it's him. 'Yes!' he nods graciously and strikes a pose. He was once very famous for his body. We admire his pectorals, but would have preferred the wine. He retrieves the book, wipes its cover and presents it to an infinitely more appreciative group of Australian schoolgirls. They arrived at the Windsor last night, after a European tour which has left their teachers devastated. One of them tells me that Athens was the worst: 'All those sailors'. Then he shrugs and takes another gulp of Stella beer: 'So long as we get them home without any diseases'.

Seems a suitable epitaph for a long day, and I'm about to drink it when Ann appears with a very long face. My onward connection from Suez - the SS Algeria - will not be leaving Suez tomorrow after all. Engine trouble. So it's back to the phone as soon as shipping offices open in the morning. Suddenly the schedule's looking shaky.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 8
  • Date: 2 October
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: Cairo
  • Book page no: 42

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