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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 53: 16 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysA digital sign above me reads '12 degrees centigrade, 11.20, November 16'. Buy a sweatshirt with highly-prized example of Anglo-Japanese: 'Sporty Life. You ought to get do some a little exercise everyday'. Well, I'll have time to think about that on the Pacific, which is where I must now head for.

My home for the next week and a half is a big, fat, well-used ship which could do with some paint on the hull. At 244 metres and 42,872 tonnes, she's 10 feet longer and 6000 tons heavier than the Neptune Diamond and her name is the Neptune Garnet. A container full of containers, built to circumnavigate the world every sixty-three days. She has come from Singapore, by way of Hong Kong and Taipei and Pusan in South Korea. She sails tonight at 10 for Long Beach, California, then on to Charleston, New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia, from where she sails non-stop to Singapore, via Suez, in twenty-three days.

After thirty days ambling across Asia, and with an American crossing still to come, I need the reassurance of a tight schedule like this, and we all need a break from loading, unloading, checking in and checking out, filming daily in heat and crowds and on the move.

At the top of the ship's long accommodation ladder I'm greeted by the master of the Neptune Garnet, an immediately likeable Indian - Captain Suresh Amirapu.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 53
  • Date: 16 November
  • Country/sea: Japan
  • Place: Tokyo
  • Book page no: 182

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