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Pole to Pole

Day 58: Luxor to Aswan

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleTwo curly-headed local boys approach the lock wall making signs on their palms for baksheesh. Instead I give them 'Ozymandias', at full volume and with attendant mime. As I reach the end, they applaud as enthusiastically as only a couple of natural actors can.

After an Oriental buffet the evening's fancy-dress party gets under way, presided over with enthusiasm by Abdul. I have secured a makeshift Roman centurion outfit which is not quite long enough to cover an expanse of Marks and Spencer underpants, and Mirabel and Patti have sportingly agreed to be a pair of concubines and lead the audience participation by holding up the words of 'Ozymandias'. At the last minute
I think it might be a bit sexist to call them concubines and suggest that Abdul announce them as handmaidens.

'Oh no,' he says briskly, 'concubines is much better.'

The glamorous Italians come along as Pinocchio, and Pat and Gerald as a pair of music-hall artistes. Roger bravely dons drag as Mrs Mills and sings 'The Mighty Dnieper', and the people from Watford as the Mayor of Edfu and his family, despite being mercilessly rude about the Egyptians, win first prize, largely as a result of some virtuoso belly dancing from their daughter. But for me the unquestioned highlight of the evening was seeing Nigel operating the camera dressed as a Pharaoh. This was surely the period of history his body was intended for.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 58
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: The Nile
  • Book page no: 127

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