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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 32: 26 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 Days5.30. Finally cleared to leave India. We are shown aboard the Susak and meet the captain, a handsome man with greying hair and a face of infinite melancholy. He tells us they're still loading and will not be under way until ten o'clock. So, another twelve hours wasted. Nigel and I are shown to our quarters. A sign on the door reads 'Hospital and Medicine Locker'. Inside are two beds, high off the floor and equipped with various adjustment devices. There is a washbasin, complete with single, non-turnable hospital tap, a couple of lockers, two portholes and a bedside cupboard which contains the only evidence of medicine in the place - a litre bottle of Ballantine's Scotch. Next door is a bath, lavatory and another washbasin. The room is air-conditioned clean, and two towels are laid out on each bed. I ask the captain what will happen if someone has to go to hospital. He shakes his head wearily.

'No one will go. They are all young.' And here he smiles, a smile well worth waiting for, bleak and quite unexpected.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 32
  • Date: 26 October
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Madras
  • Book page no: 110

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