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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 70: 3 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 Days4.30: at the Port of Newark. The penultimate connection has been made. We have berths on the Leda Maersk, a Danish container ship, leaving tonight and reaching Britain in eight days, given fair weather. Though this is by no means guaranteed on the Atlantic in winter (as Captains Tuddenham and Amirapu warned us), my chances of success have never looked so good.

The first surprise on climbing aboard was not how spick and span the ship was, after all you expect that from the Danes, but that the first officer who greeted me was a slim blonde girl. She shrugs off our disconcertment. Apparently it's quite common to have women officers now, especially in the American merchant fleet, which has women captains. Still, she is the first lady merchant seaperson I've encountered.

10.45. Grubby, after two and a half days on the train and looking forward to a shower before turning in. I've just walked the 269-metre deck and am looking toward the New York City skyline, crowned by the winking lights of the World Trade Centre. Between me and Manhattan is Jersey City, and nearer still, a huge transportation complex. The docks themselves lie beside ten-lane turnpikes on the other side of which is Newark airport. The night is full of lights and activity. But by the time I sink into the twenty-eighth bed since leaving London, the ship has still not sailed.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 70
  • Date: 3 December
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Newark - New Jersey
  • Book page no: 236

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