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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 42: 5 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysBuildings all around the course form a natural amphitheatre. When it gets dark and the floodlights bathe the lush green turf and the shining outfits of the jockeys, it becomes curiously intimate. Thousands of spectators are easily absorbed in clean and comfortable surroundings, and there is, in the centre of the track, a huge video screen which gives up-to-date information and a simultaneous TV picture of every race. I'm given a tip by the racing correspondent of the South China Post, an amiable Australian. Though I don't much go for the name I do win 600 Hong Kong dollars (about 50) on a horse called Supergear. After a couple of hours, despite the cool clarity of the evening and the spectacular location, the crowds and the standing and the sheer weight of the day's activities get to me, and I return to the sybaritic clutches of the Peninsula.

My bag and my parrot-molested trousers are waiting for me, restored to life. I play the laser disc of David Byrne's movie True Stories and eat pigeon breasts and Dover sole. I ring my mother, secure in the knowledge that, at this moment, I can tell her how completely safe I am.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 42
  • Date: 5 November
  • Country/sea: Hong Kong
  • Place: Hong Kong
  • Book page no: 137

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