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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 48: 11 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysHow many does he do? '110,' he replies, without immodesty. He asks me about my business here. I start to tell him about Around The World In Eighty Days, and he interrupts knowledgeably: 'Ah yes, I know the book you are referring to. It is a work of scientific fiction'.

Despite a sore head from the beer and jazz last night, I attempt a run. The sheer weight of numbers prevents me. 12.5 million inhabitants on the move, and not an empty pavement anywhere.

Back in my room for a bath and some breakfast. It's eight o'clock and I feel I've already done a day's work. The China Daily bears news of the American Presidential election and a front cover photo of George Bush triumphant. Regulation grin, arms wide above his head, wife beside him, in one of those spontaneous gestures which ceased to be spontaneous years ago. The Americans seem to have voted for another four years of the same. Expected but depressing. I write postcards - dozens of them, driven perhaps by the knowledge that sixty years ago in Shanghai Noel Coward wrote Private Lives in four days.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 48
  • Date: 11 November
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Shanghai
  • Book page no: 165

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