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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 46: 9 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysMore steam engines up here. One passes slowly in the dusty low sunshine, double-headed with a diesel. Interesting comparison. What makes steam engines so good to watch is that you can see them working.

The countryside continues to be fascinating. The Chinese manage their water carefully. Every village has its central pond (with ducks and geese in attendance), and a nearby river with channels and canals and waterwheels and stout stone bridges that Devon would be proud of. The water always seems to be still, reflecting the life that goes on around it, and setting off the constant movement of figures on the landscape. Tufted haystacks, tufted rice stooks, tufted children.

Our latest estimate of arrival is four hours late in Shanghai. Mr Xie can see I want to be left alone, so he slides up to me. 'What are you thinking, Mr Mike?'

Last night I gave him Travellers by Ruth Prawer Jhabwala and Graham Greene's Ways of Escape. He was absolutely delighted and has probably read them already. But I haven't enough stamina for a literary discussion and I mime exhaustion so effectively that he nods understandingly, like a hospital visitor, and settles down to watch me.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 46
  • Date: 9 November
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Guangzhou
  • Book page no: 156

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