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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 42: 5 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysAt 5.30 Ron wakes me with a coffee. Counting six days pre-filming in London this is our 48th day together and our last. Nigel, Julian and Ron will hand over to another Passepartout today and by Monday will be back in England, having taken 14 hours to retrace the steps which have taken us 42 days. To have come this far and shared so much and still be brought morning coffee in bed is more than I could have hoped for. I lie and consider the days ahead. Confronted with the prospect of two weeks intensive travelling through China and Japan with a rested director and a fresh and eager new Passepartout, the temptation to fly away to some beach or simply sleep for a week is momentarily strong. But having come this far, I mustn't weaken, especially as, for the first time since leaving London, I have actually gained some time on Phileas Fogg. His ship, the Rangoon, arrived in Hong Kong battered by storms, and 24 hours late, on Fogg's 36th day out of London. The gap between us is now reduced to six days. Fogg, however, left Hong Kong for Shanghai by sea, and I shall be taking a more tortuous railway route across China, which may be more adventurous, but offers little immediate chance of catching up time.

Physically I've held up well so far, with only the gripes on the dhow coming anywhere near immobilising me. A tan from five weeks unbroken sunshine covers up some of the creases and helps to make me look better than I feel. Despite the lack of hard physical exertion since running in Dubai, I've managed to take some exercise every day, though much of this counteracted over the last few days by far too much to drink. Travelling light has paid off. There are only two casualties. Of my six trusty shirts one was aborted in Bombay, when the hotel laundry washed it in acid rather than soap, and another is terminally covered in oil from the rush through Singapore docks.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 42
  • Date: 5 November
  • Country/sea: Hong Kong
  • Place: Hong Kong
  • Book page no: 132

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