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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 59: 22 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThe King is then asked what punishments are required before he will be appeased. Already Passepartout, safe behind his camera and tape recorder, looks a little embarrassed at our predicament, but when the first punishment turns out to be that we must 'shit and urinate', I just have time to see four mouths drop open before being flung forward, and a small glass bowl (of the sort we have puddings in) placed beneath my groin. This is then rapidly filled with syrup from a tin of fruit salad, into which a frankfurter is then dropped. The next order, somewhat predictably perhaps, is that we should 'eat shit and urine!'. This done we are dragged to our feet and daubed with tomato ketchup. 'Hands above your heads!' Despite the cold and the smell and general discomfort I keep my spirits high by thinking of Alan Whicker doing this. I think even Clive James might have drawn the line at eating his own shit and urine. The tomato ketchup having been liberally applied, particularly to the arm pits, we are then sprinkled all over with soy sauce, thrust to our knees again and flour rubbed into our hair, after which there is a momentary breather before an egg is broken over each of our heads. I feel the yolk, gratifyingly warm, as it slides down my back. Between all this there is much banter between the King and High Priest on the lines of 'Have they done enough, O King, to atone for their crime?'. The King, of course, decides we haven't done enough and orders us to drink something very nasty. This turns out to be a half pint of some bilious brown concoction which contains coffee, tabasco, curry powder, chocolate, raw eggs, soy sauce and mustard - to name but a few; we have to drink it in one go.

I think of Alec Guinness and tip the glass. George the Burmese gags halfway through and keels over, coughing violently. Saatchi, without an ounce of fat to protect him, is shivering visibly, and it's still not over. More shouting, and we're dragged up again to be stencilled on the forehead with a potato in which the red sign of a trident has been roughly carved. Something warm and red trickles down my face, but it's only the dye from the potato. This is worse than appearing in a Terry Gilliam film. And still it goes on. Hoses are prepared to sluice us with cold sea water. But a power behind the throne decides that it's gone far enough. We are ordered to shuffle up in front of the electrician (sorry, King Neptune), who after one last impassioned harangue, dubs each of us with his trident and hands us a scroll which confirms that, in my case:
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 59
  • Date: 22 November
  • Country/sea: Pacific Ocean
  • Place: Pacific Ocean
  • Book page no: 196

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