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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 44: 7 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysJust behind the White Swan is an area called the Shamian. This is where the foreigners who were allowed to trade with Canton in the eighteenth century, were confined. I walk along its leafy avenues of cinnamon trees before supper. The great merchants' houses in elaborate Western styles - classical, rococo and baroque with wrought iron balconies and pillared porticoes - still exist, but the people have taken them over. They have subdivided the huge rooms and hung their washing out on the balconies on bamboo poles and their plants have filled the window ledges and they've lit open fires in the porches.

Three little girls are running up and down an impressive staircase playing a game which involves energetic activities and much shouting at each other. I ask Basil what they're saying: ' . . . and the next competitors are the Americans,' he translates. I remember that it's only a few weeks since the Olympics finished

Basil points out several small shops offering earthenware bowls of what looks like stew, heated over a charcoal fire. I am quite tempted to indulge, until he tells me the attractive folksy bowls contain dog..
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 44
  • Date: 7 November
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Guangzhou
  • Book page no: 145

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