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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 22: 16 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThe captain and his navigator sleep in the back of the wheelhouse. A new music centre and a pair of speakers are the only luxury. The only printed books appear to be navigational charts and almanacs. The front of the wheelhouse contains, apart from the wheel, a compass, a clock that's stopped, a throttle control and a bell that's rung every time the fish-line is sprung. There is also a panel of dials indicating engine R.P.M., water temperature and oil pressure. None of these is working.

Under the wheelhouse is a fetid, windowless airless cabin which I hope we never have to make use of. The temperature in there hovers constantly at 100 degrees, and Julian and Ron, who have to go in to load film and change stock, emerge pounds lighter. The corresponding aft cabin is full of the crew's trunks. They are allowed one each in which they can import certain items free of duty. A perk of the job.

Captain Suleyman says the Indian customs are very strict. No gold or guns.

'Is there then much smuggling?' I ask him.

'Oh, plenty smuggling . . . in clothes, wristwatches . . . but,' he reassures me, 'we are not smugglers,' and laughs uproariously.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 22
  • Date: 16 October
  • Country/sea: Indian Ocean
  • Place: Arabian Sea
  • Book page no: 81

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