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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 43: 6 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysEven the weather is passably English. The humidity and high temperatures that have dominated much of the journey have given way to dry, cooler, crisply fresh air as I walk to the ferry to Cheung Chow - an island known as the Hong Kong Riviera, where live my friend Basil Pao, wife Pat and baby Sonia - born almost to the minute as I left London.

Hong Kong harbour is, like the Happy Valley Racecourse, a great outdoor arena. In the centre of the stage are ships of every shape and size. Coasters, sampans, power boats, tugs, hydrofoils, yachts, ferries, barges with two or three containers aboard, intercontinental carriers with 2 or 3 thousand, junks and rowing boats, floating restaurants, cruise liners and police launches, tankers and motor boats and frigates and rickety wood-built fishing vessels which look as if they have come out of the Middle Ages. (Clem says this is very deceptive and many of them are smugglers fitted with 200 horsepower motors which can move at 30 knots and out-run any police launch.)

I meet Basil at the Cheung Chow Ferry Terminal, an hour or so out from Hong Kong. The island has a Mediterranean feel. The low, white painted jumble of houses and particularly the richness of produce in the market heighten this impression. Basil selects scallops, prawns and crab which we will take to a local restaurant and have cooked for lunch.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 43
  • Date: 6 November
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Cheung Chow
  • Book page no: 140

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