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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 33: 27 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThe Susak seems more firmly attached to the Madras dockside than my badge to the door, for sunrise comes and we've still not moved. Nigel was up and out with the camera at a quarter to six, and an hour later, feeling rather guilty, I grab hold of the clockwork handbag, as Ron calls his tape recorder, and go out on deck to help him.

7.15 a.m. We finally set sail. Striking juxtaposition of thin, wiry, almost black Tamil stevedores, unlooping the ropes and huge, blond Schwarzeneggerian Slavs hauling them in.

So I sail away from the Coromandel Coast of India, in a Yugoslav ship, owned by a German company and registered in Cyprus. It's a Thursday morning, the delays in India have put me ten days behind Fogg's schedule, and unlike him I have no Indian princesses to show for it - only Nigel, who is not as far as I know of royal stock, and thirty pieces of BBC film equipment under my hospital bed.

The only ray of hope is that Fogg sailed from Calcutta, away to the north, so we should catch up a day or two by Singapore. Not that the Susak is a fast ship. Though only launched eighteen months ago at the May 3rd Shipyard in Rijeka, she is making a mere 13 knots, slower than any ship I've been on so far, with the exception of the dhow. Doubtless there are sound commercial reasons for this fuel economy, but it's frustrating for the circumnavigator.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 33
  • Date: 27 October
  • Country/sea: Indian Ocean
  • Place: Bay of Bengal
  • Book page no: 112

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