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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 58: 21 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysOn the bridge early this morning. Remains of the storm still blowing, but it moved across us fast, says the captain, and the worst is long gone. Bulky low cloud and drizzle, a sluggish sea and not a strand of sunshine can be seen through the long, wide windows. In short, inauspicious conditions for an auspicious day - the return to the Western Hemisphere, the halfway point of my journey, the crossing of the International Date Line. Since nature has refused to play up and no international corporation has yet considered the advantages of sponsoring a line of Date Line marker buoys, we are reduced to marking this great occasion by watching the line appear on the satellite navigation screen, which is a bit like seeing the New Year in with Radio 3. There are no trumpets sounding, not even an extra electronic bleep to mark our passage into another hemisphere, just the split second changes of little white numbers. 38.02 is our latitude (about the same as Benidorm), and at 8.20 precisely, longitude 180.00E flashes for a second, then remorselessly moves on to 179.59W.

As we have moved east with the sun we have gained a day over the rest of the world and must now mark time and let the others catch up. So we have an extra day. This was the coup for Jules Verne at the end of Around The World In Eighty Days when Fogg thought all was lost for he had seen eighty sunrises. His colleagues, stationary in London, had only seen seventy-nine. So the bet was won and Mrs Aouda became Mrs Fogg. But all this is jumping ahead. It's taken me fifty-eight days to travel halfway round the globe, and I've twenty-two days to do the rest.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 58
  • Date: 21 November
  • Country/sea: Pacific Ocean
  • Place: Pacific Ocean
  • Book page no: 188

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