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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 27: 21 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysDespite the noise and heat and smell at Victoria Terminal, the faces in the crowd show none of the tension, anxiety or pent-up anger which you can see any morning or evening at a London main-line station. I think it boils down to tolerance again. The Indians do not betray impatience. They accept everyone's right to be wherever they are. Thus poverty and appalling destitution, malnutrition and deformity are on public view, but nervous breakdowns almost unknown. The ticket office presents the modern face of India, all smoked glass and VDU screens. They're very proud of it and I am asked if I will sign their Distinguished Visitors Book. The head man stands over me as I write and prompts me. 'Yes, just there please . . . Staff all very co-operative, very good conditions . . . nice and modern. Thank you.'

And I'm out again, clutching my seat reservation, into the street with its blind and limbless beggars alongside red pillar boxes and 1930s-style double-decker buses.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 27
  • Date: 21 October
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Bombay
  • Book page no: 94

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