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Full Circle

Day 214: Bogotá

Michael Palin - Full CircleThere is precious little time to plan this interview. Don Fabio looms out of his office. Either he has modelled himself on Marlon Brando or Marlon Brando modelled himself on Don Fabio. Whatever, this is the Godfather I see before me. I feel I should quake and yet looking at him I see only an old man. He wears a stetson and a black and white striped poncho. His eyes, strong and piercing, stare defiantly out from a pale and bloodless complexion, speckled with liver spots.

I confine my questions to those interests closest to him - horses, horses and horses. Marcey whispers each question to me in Spanish from behind my back and it goes so well that Don Fabio beams in a slightly dazed way and agrees to get on a horse and ride for us.
His lackeys are thrown into some confusion as a mount is summoned and he is hoisted into the saddle. For a moment it looks as though they will drop the Don or pitch him clean over the horse and down the other side. Throughout the whole undignified procedure the old man stares forward, eyes locked in an expression of mute suffering. But, once in the saddle, he is transformed. He is confident and despite his bulk, a graceful, skilful rider. He trots off into the restaurant to the delighted applause of the families round their tables. I think he has already forgotten about us.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 214
  • Country/sea: Colombia
  • Place: Bogotá
  • Book page no: 279

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