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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 29: 23 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysOutside there are rain clouds in the skies. A boy waves at the train, further on an older man pulls his trousers up after depositing another load of what is poetically known as night soil.

The bird life is rich and I wish I knew what they all were. Egrets perch on bullocks and the rest pose on the telegraph lines as if in an ID parade - parrots, hooded crows, shrike, kite, humming birds. Some of the bullocks' horns have been painted bright blues and reds. Pride of ownership, I'm told. Like putting 'Les and Christine' across your car windscreen. There are no tractors in the fields, not even a bicycle.

Crowds of passengers disembark at Guntakal's 'Bathing Cubicals', which are lines of basins with a cold water supply running along them. They clean their teeth vigorously and wash themselves. I buy a newspaper. 'Punjab Ultras shoot dead 12 Harijans', '8 Killed in Lanka Violence'. Tolerance clearly has its limits. Inside there is a small piece on the arts page about the government's recent ban on Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. The writer seems to think that the authorities have over-reacted and that the book is difficult and probably quite inaccessible to those it's being banned to protect. There's also a long letter of complaint about the number of soaps on Indian TV. Ramayan and Mahabharat (sponsored by Dunlop) come in for most criticism.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 29
  • Date: 23 October
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Guntakal
  • Book page no: 102

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