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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 8: 2 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThey have their patter well worked out, and very bizarre it sounds in the middle of the desert:

'You from Yorkshire? . . . I am friend of Yorkshire!'

'You are English? Tally-ho!'

'What is your name?'


'My camel's name is Michael!'

So it is that I find myself on a camel called Michael (or Ron or Julian or Nigel or Dwayne or Sheri-Anne) being flung skywards into the air as the creature raises itself on its forelegs. It looks and feels grossly unsafe, as it totters into the desert with me clinging on for dear life and feeling ridiculously conspicuous in an Arab head-dress which the camel-owner, who I think is called Michael as well, has insisted I wear. 'Now you will be like Lawrence of Arabia!'

Behind me hot white people from all over the wealthy West are being given similar treatment. Every time they raise a camera to the Pyramids an Arab stands in front of it. The tourist adjusts his shot, the Arab follows. The air is full of the angry din of protest and dissension. This din is beginning to fade now as Michael, Michael and Michael wander further into the desert. In silence and sunset the Pyramids take on a potent, talismanic quality.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 8
  • Date: 2 October
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: The Pyramids
  • Book page no: 42

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