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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 11: 5 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysI should assume no Arab, of whatever class, would have much interest in the information outside the main lounge that there was, once upon a time, a King of Denmark called Gorm the Old or that the present Queen, Margrethe II, is his direct descendant.

Lunch with Captain Abbas. He is a charming, enthusiastic and philosophical man. An Egyptian with fond memories of Liverpool, especially their football team. 'I follow the Reds!' he declares, beaming round at us, and scooping a little more beans and onion onto his plate. 'I am not a communist, but I love the Reds!'

He did not sleep at all last night, he tells us. He never does while going down the Gulf of Suez. It's a very busy waterway and now that they have discovered oil on both sides there are support craft flitting to and fro and fishing boats as well, for unlike much of the Red Sea the Gulf is only 50 metres deep. On the other side of Sinai, the Gulf of Aqaba is 2 kilometres deep, 'Which is why Moses decided to walk across the Gulf of Suez!'.

Captain Abbas admires England, 'You have such a love for the sea'. Clearly he's not read the Greenpeace report on North Sea pollution. He regards himself and his fellow mariners as guardians of the oceans they serve, and is concerned at the way so many ships mistreat them, throwing un-recyclable rubbish overboard, flushing out oil tanks.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 11
  • Date: 5 October
  • Country/sea: Red Sea
  • Place: Gulf of Suez
  • Book page no: 48

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