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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 43: 6 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysWe wet Sonia's head with champagne overlooking a beach on which the Hong Kong Open Windsurfing championships are being held. They look to be dominated, as was the racing last night, by the Australians and New Zealanders. One feels the Chinese have more important things to do than windsurf.

Way beyond the windsurfers and tucked away almost out of sight on another island are the long ugly prison-like blocks that provide temporary accommodation for Vietnamese boat people. There are still thousands un-housed, and a repeated point of issue with the Mother country is her reluctance to take what Hong Kong sees as her fair share.

I have persuaded Basil to come with me to Shanghai. He speaks Mandarin, understands film, is a well-informed guide and brilliant photographer, and we have for many years intended to do a book together on Chinese railways. We celebrate with one of the best meals I've had in 43 days, at a very un-fancy restaurant, known locally as the Bomb Shelter. Basil tells me it's the only one on the island that doesn't use monosodium glutamate. Our scallops are cooked in garlic sauce, the prawns with black bean and chilli sauce, like the crab, and we also feast on calamares fried in spiced salt with black pepper, spicy bean curd and a large and delicious white fish (name unknown). All washed down with Tsingtao Beer, from the mainland.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 43
  • Date: 6 November
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Cheung Chow
  • Book page no: 140

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