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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 28: 22 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysWe pull up at Dadar Station at two o'clock, our minibus driver sliding in beneath a sign reading 'Parking For Four Bullock Carts Only'.

Train travel in India is not restful, and the shredding of the nerves begins as soon as you enter the station. The Indians seem to revel in the arguments and misarrangements and hustle and heat and chaos. Though my name is clearly spelled out on the computer-printed list of passengers, posted on the platform: 'Michael Palin . . . male . . . 45 . . . 194/64', it appears that there are two other people called Michael Palin in 194/64, and one of them is a woman.

Part of the problem is that Indian Railways is the largest civilian employer in the world, and for every single problem you have there are about eight people all with different ideas of how to solve it. A hapless man called Mr Nitti has been detailed to accompany us and look after all our needs. He is nowhere to be seen.

We leave on time at 2.30. Our journey across 1251 kilometres of India will take 27 hours and we shall make 30 stops. The implacable couple called Michael Palin sit resolutely surrounded by BBC equipment, quite unmoved by the entreaties of the recently located Mr Nitti. I sit in the corridor with the window open, glad to feel a breeze on my face and glad to be circumnavigating again. I could well do with a cool Kingfisher beer but the only bars on this train are across the windows.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 28
  • Date: 22 October
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Bombay
  • Book page no: 97

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