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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 62: 25 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysRajiv, the 3-year-old son of King Neptune, is going to be a world class footballer. I confidently predict this after seeing him dribble my inflatable world up and down the passageway, and strike penalties with either foot through the cabin door. After saving the world from further punishment, I learn that his father was a footballer and his mother Lily (Mrs Neptune) trained as a parachutist until a particularly horrific accident in which her harness caught as she leapt from the aircraft and slammed her against the fuselage. She fell most of the way unconscious. They're a nice family, but I feel for Rajiv sustaining such a long journey with no friends of his own age.

Despite all the modern technology many traditional nautical terms remain and the deck crew is still organised by the bosun, who on this ship is Mr Ong. I find him taking measurements for an insurance claim for the 40-foot-long accommodation ladder which was torn off the ship by Typhoon Tess. He's sad to hear we're leaving at Long Beach.

'Why do you not come to Panama? Where else could you see a ship climb a mountain?'

I'm sorely tempted. After all I've seen the Corinth and the Suez canals, and the Panama where ships are raised up through a series of locks, must be the most spectacular of them all. I explain to him my targets and dates and deadlines, which he quite rightly doesn't regard as at all important compared with the splendours of Panama. 'Weather down there very nice . . . sunbathe,' he suggests hopefully. I think my sunbathing days are over on this journey.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 62
  • Date: 25 November
  • Country/sea: Pacific Ocean
  • Place: Pacific Ocean
  • Book page no: 200

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