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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 20: 14 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysSomewhere a long way away it's my wife's birthday and A Fish Called Wanda is being shown to the British public for the first time. Here in the Gulf of Oman my chief preoccupation is avoiding seasickness. During the night I was aware of a freshening wind and a not unpleasant increase in the ship's movement. Now, at 6.30 I'm feeling rather ill. The waves are coming in at a height of 5 or 6 feet and the wind from the south is causing a sideways roll to add to the impressive pitching and rising of the bows ahead. We have some anti-sickness plasters which have to be stuck on behind the ear, from which a chemical called scopolamine is released into the system, preventing nausea. All of us stick them on, making ourselves look like initiates of some new religion, apart from Nigel Passepartout, who seems quite unaffected by the rise and fall of the Al Shama. He has his camera out already and is trying to set up a prize-winning shot of old Kasim asleep with the sun rising behind his nose. Unfortunately everyone keeps tripping over the recumbent old man and waking him. When he sees the camera he is delighted and turns and stares into the lens with a fixed grin. Nigel gives up.

The last few feet of the bow area are reserved for washing. A plank, laid vertically across the deck, serves to run the water away and allows a certain modesty cover, but basically, the bathroom, like the lavatory and the bedroom on the Al Shama, is alfresco. Once the morning ablutions are done (and the Gujaratis are compulsive washers) the bathroom becomes a kitchen extension and now (eight o'clock) Ali Mamoun is preparing the lunch, rolling red chillies on a stone, and then chopping aubergines and onions.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 20
  • Date: 14 October
  • Country/sea: Persian Gulf
  • Place: Gulf of Oman
  • Book page no: 73

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