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Full Circle

Day 197: Sepahua

Michael Palin - Full CircleMeet two American missionaries who are hoping to fly to Lima tonight. They have heard there are more thunderstorms to come and there is a danger of the river flash-flooding. An image of Clem as King Canute, helpless as the water rises around his chair, comes to mind.

There is absolutely nothing we can do today but sit out the delay, have a beer and hope that we can pick up the England versus Germany semi-final later in the afternoon. Sepahua is a place of convivial and infectious idleness. It's a frontier town where no judgements are made, no questions asked and no particular behaviour is expected. It is not twinned with anywhere or kept clean by any worthy group. It has no heritage trail or historic centre. It is just a place in the middle of the jungle and if you don't like it you don't have to stay.

Barry is unable to pick up the World Service, but manages to find a weak but detectable commentary from Wembley, in French. As Gareth Southgate steps up for 'le penaltie sixieme' we are standing under a pomegranate tree in the shabby main square. Gustavo, the boatman, seriously the worse for drink, weaves his way towards us and slips his arm around our shoulders. Southgate's shot is saved. Gustavo loves us all, he really wants to tell us that, now the hard work is over, we can all have some fun, a few laughs, a drink or two to celebrate. Muller scores. 'Les Allemands ont prevalu!' Germany has won. Gustavo grins affectionately and squeezes my shoulder tightly.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 197
  • Country/sea: Peru
  • Place: Sepahua
  • Book page no: 268

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