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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 45: 8 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysWe leave on time and are quickly out of the city and into a landscape of fields still worked by families with hoes and rakes. Our smiling, pigtailed lady appears with an enormous steaming kettle and fills up my thermos jug. Another attendant follows up with some cups and jasmine tea-bags.

Talk to a helpful railwayman who tells me, among other things, that we have thirteen stops ahead of us on our 35-hour, 1822 kilometre journey. He's called Mr Cha and has worked on the railways for more than twenty years. I ask him if there were foreigners riding on Chinese railways twenty years ago.

'Oh yes, indeed. But only from countries we were friendly with.'

'Such as?'

'Vietnam, North Korea . . . ' He can't think of any more names. He gets off at the next stop and leaves me his cap badge as a memento.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 45
  • Date: 8 November
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Guangzhou
  • Book page no: 149

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