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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 69: 2 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysRumble over a three-quarter-mile-long Mississippi bridge. After crossing a world of largely empty rivers it's good to see such an unequivocal expanse of water. No rocks and sandbanks. Water stretching from side to side, a river of noble size.

'Our next stop is Princeton. The big capital of the world . . . I'm sorry, the pig capital.'

Four o'clock, and the sun is losing its intensity. Red and browns dilute the gold. It has been a magnificent day and it's a pity that it has now to be coloured, as have so many days on this journey, by a faint but nagging feeling of anxiety. Perhaps the Rocky Mountain detour had been an indulgence. I don't want to go home having seen nothing, and I've already sacrificed Muscat and Singapore to the pressures of the schedule, but having come so far and so close, it would be ignominious to end up on a deserted New York quayside.

4.45. America silhouetted against the dark blue horizon. The outlines of bare trees, trucks on the highway, sheds and factories rise and fall sharp and geometrical. Dear God, don't let the train stop, please. Into my mind comes a statistic from the Queen Mary. She never suffered a mechanical breakdown at sea, never had to use a single lifeboat, and never transmitted a distress signal on her own behalf. Reliability like this, plus a few extra miles an hour, is all I can hope for from Amtrak.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 69
  • Date: 2 December
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Princeton - Illinois
  • Book page no: 231

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