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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 29: 23 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysAnother Sunday, and into my fifth week away. At this moment home seems very far off and the prospect of seeing family and friends again in fifty days utterly remote. But at least we are moving east, and there is daylight through the shutters. There's also an insistent pounding on the door. I open it and find a small, grubby bearded man standing there looking - disgruntled. He demands to know what I want for lunch:

'Chicken biryani very nice,' he proposes briskly, and when I don't show instant enthusiasm (it is seven o'clock in the morning) he looks irritated. 'Egg curry, Western style, very nice.'

An order for several biryanis, accompanied by payment, is all that will get rid of him, and I hear him go on to the next compartment. He knocks at this door persistently for at least fifteen minutes, too afraid to open it, too dogged to give up.

Not wanting to wake the rest of the compartment, I visit the Western-style latrine, then consult the two railway officials sitting in the corridor as to our whereabouts. Guntakal Junction is the next stop. How long would that be?

'Fourteen minutes,' says one, very positively.

'Half an hour,' pronounces the other authoritatively.

We pull into Guntakal Junction forty-five minutes later. When I next look, both men are gone.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 29
  • Date: 23 October
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Guntakal
  • Book page no: 101

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