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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 9: 3 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysIn the centre of Suez two captured US-built Israeli tanks, taken in the 1973 war, are displayed. Alongside them can still be seen piles of rubble from the 1967 war when the town of Suez was almost destroyed.

Then all at once we are in an area of substantial houses with pillared porches and wrought iron balconies, set along leafy avenues and around well-kept squares full of oleander bushes and Flame of the Forest trees. This is the Port Tawfik area and it was built as a cantonment for foreigners working for the Suez Canal Company.

Here we find the Red Sea Hotel with its plain, slightly depressing rooms devoid of any decoration. Worst of all it is 'dry' and more than anything in the world at this moment I want a cold beer. The receptionist, sympathetic to my plight, directs me to The Gulf Rose Restaurant and Bar where, creamed against mosquitoes, I sit for a while and take in the dark water ahead, the mouth of the Suez Canal and the busy flames of the refineries. A light breeze blows, and it has to be said that sitting in Suez is not at all unpleasant. Quite how long I shall have to sit in Suez is tomorrow's problem.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 9
  • Date: 3 October
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: Suez
  • Book page no: 45

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