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Sahara

Introduction

Djerba, Tunisia. 
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On the road in Djerba, Tunisia. Standing left to right: Basil Pao, John Paul Davidson, Peter Meakin, Claire Houdret. Sitting: Pritchard, Meakin, Mohammed (Driver), Man With Grin.
Michael Palin - SaharaJohn Paul Davidson ('J-P') led our motley group through Senegal, Mali and Niger and always had a bit of goat ready for us at the end of a long day, and, even more miraculously, a bottle of very warm red wine to wash it down. His enthusiasm was wonderful to behold and his investments in the local economy were much appreciated.

Roger Mills directed my first steps out of the Reform Club fourteen years ago, when Around the World in 80 Days was a new and nervous departure for me. The fact that we still travel together shows not only how unadventurous we are, but how much we trust each other and how much we still enjoy it. The fact that Roger took on the extra responsibility of Series Producer this time shows a fine streak of masochism.

Vanessa Courtney, another veteran of previous travels, scoured remote parts of Africa on a gruelling recce with Roger and saw us safely through Morocco. Dudu Douglas-Hamilton in Mali, Jane Chablani in Niger and Claire Houdret in Tunisia buttered up the locals and generally made wheels run smoothly in often difficult situations. Simon Neatham provided me with a tent.

My thanks to Bobby Birchall at DW Design for all the time he's put in to make the book look so good. At Weidenfeld & Nicolson Claire Marsden has been the most sympathetic and conscientious of copy editors, and Michael Dover the most generous, supportive and hospitable of editors. Thanks too to David Rowley and to Angela Martin for all her work in ensuring that someone actually read the book.

Finally, thanks to my good friend, gastronomic adviser and stills photographer Basil Pao for bringing back as fine a set of holiday snaps as you could wish for. What the world doesn't know is that the secret of his success is a constant supply of certain throat sweets to which the whole crew became addicted. These Valda Pastilles, or Green Jobs, as he called them, became essential morale boosters on an adventure low on luxuries.
Valda Pastilles 
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The famous Green Jobs.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Sahara
  • Chapter: Introduction
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: London
  • Book page no: 9

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