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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 23: 17 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysBut outside the boat things are happening this Monday morning. We are now in the much shallower waters of the continental shelf and the captain shouts as he sees the marker buoys of a large fishing net. Apparently there are always fish to be found on the periphery of these nets. He orders the quartermaster to turn the ship smartly about.

Soon both lines are twitching and a 25 to 30 lb arbrous practically falls into the ship. No one seems to know quite what to do with it especially as a gedri has been caught at the same time, and the wretched fish lies panting in the bows, its tail flicking ever more weakly until an expert can spare the time to kill it.

By 8.30, four sizeable fish have been caught and everyone's looking not only pleased but relieved. Up till now the sea has not been fruitful. Ali Mamoun sets to producing his much-vaunted fish biryani and suddenly all the talk is of food.

They must notice that I'm not joining in with my customary ebullience, and Kasim seems especially concerned. He stands over me like some craggy bird for a while then indicates my stomach and rubs. I nod and offer the appropriate grimace. Kasim then indicates that I should turn over on my stomach. The accumulated wisdom of many years at sea is not to be questioned but I'm certainly not prepared for what happens next. Kasim starts slowly and agonisingly to walk up and down my body, starting at my ankles and working his way along my spine. He's surprisingly light, but when his prehensile feet come into contact with my tender muscles the pain is excruciating. Kasim, quite unmoved by my cries, continues his walk.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 23
  • Date: 17 October
  • Country/sea: Indian Ocean
  • Place: Arabian Sea
  • Book page no: 83

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