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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 9: 3 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysEncouragement of a sort from my horoscope in the Egyptian Gazette (109th year of publication): 'Others may make demands on you today that you consider unreasonable, but you will come through with flying colours'. I wish I had their confidence.

My breakfast is served by a Nubian in a fez who was once a servant in the household of King Farouk. 'Nubians make very good waiters,' observes Mr Doss. What a dreadful reference for any nation. It's like hearing that Visigoths can iron well.

Better news from the shipping agent. Though I shall have to take a later boat out of Suez which will mean missing my planned connection from Jeddah to Muscat, a sister ship, leaving Jeddah later, has altered its itinerary to call at Muscat after all.

I leave the Hotel Windsor at 2. I was never able to have the bath I so much wanted and my coat hanger remains a vital part of the lavatory system but there is an almost unreal individuality to the place which represents Cairo in a microcosm.

There is no train connection between Cairo and Suez, so I take a taxi. Within a few hundred yards I know that I should have gone by camel. This is going to be one of the most uncomfortable journeys of my life. The temperature is creeping up to the hundred-degree mark. There is no air-conditioning, and the windows open onto a wall of noise and pollution.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 9
  • Date: 3 October
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: Cairo
  • Book page no: 44

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