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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 16: 10 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysIn the afternoon we are taken by Kamis, an agent for the port and customs department, to see the boat that will be our home for the next week. The M.V. Al Shama (meaning 'Candlelight') is a trim, freshly-painted ship, and her Captain, Hassan Suleyman, bounds across the deckful of date sacks to welcome us. He smiles broadly and constantly, especially when giving us bad news, so it is a moment before it sinks in that he is telling us he will not be leaving tomorrow, but the next day, Wednesday, October 12. Day 18.

All the time made up on the hectic scramble from Jeddah is suddenly lost again, but there is nothing we can do. Clem disappears to have words with the owners, Nigel and the other Passepartouts to the other end of the quay to film. I'm left with the taxi drivers. One nods towards the Al Shama. 'You go on that?' He clearly can't believe it. The other joins in. 'These boats no restaurant!' He shakes his head vigorously, mistaking my smile for disbelief. 'No clean, nowhere sleep!' Now they both shake their heads, like witches. 'It will be six, seven days, you know. Terrible . . . Terrible! Three days on a dhow, fifteen in hospital!'
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 16
  • Date: 10 October
  • Country/sea: United Arab Emirates
  • Place: Dubai
  • Book page no: 62

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