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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 11: 5 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysHis ship may be tired, battered and grubby, but his love for his work and his affection for sea life and its special mixture of loneliness and comradeliness is very affecting. At the end of the meal he bids us all a most courteous farewell and excuses himself as he has to go to his cabin to listen to a football match on the radio. It turns out that his team is Sporting Cairo, whom I watched on Saturday. Today they have a midweek match against Ismailia . . . 'Seaside boys, very young, very strong,' he winks and jabs both elbows out, dangerously.

By mid-afternoon the ship is beginning to roll quite noticeably in a six to seven foot swell. Jules Verne had noted that when the Mongolia rolled in the Red Sea, 'the ladies disappeared, the pianos were silent, the songs and dances ceased at once'. Not only was Fogg ahead of me, he was clearly having a much better time.

About six o'clock, as we are crossing the Tropic of Cancer, there is some bad news from Jeddah. One connecting ship which I had hoped might be delayed has left on time, and the next one will be missing out Muscat where I had fixed a dhow connection on to India, and going on to Dubai further up the Persian Gulf. Even if I were able to pick up a dhow in Dubai, the extra distance on both journeys would make me five days late in Bombay. The rest of the schedule would then fall apart like a pack of cards.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 11
  • Date: 5 October
  • Country/sea: Red Sea
  • Place: Red Sea
  • Book page no: 49

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