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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 64: 27 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysA display shows the Queen Mary up-ended, alongside the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building. She's taller than the first and only a touch shorter (at 1018 feet) than the second. Fifty-one years ago she sailed between New York and Cornwall in 3 days and 20 hours at an average speed of 31.69 knots. If she still did I'd be home and dry. The very newest and most powerful container ships can make 26 or 27 knots.

To breakfast at the Sidewalk Café on Venice Beach. At the turn of the century a rich man decided, as rich men do in Los Angeles, to spend an awful lot of money to recreate something that already existed elsewhere, in this case Venice. Unfortunately Abbot Kinney's Venice wasn't as sturdy as the original and only lasted about twenty-four years. There isn't much left (a columned arcade scrawled on by street artists or just people leaving messages) but the name persists and suits the neighbourhood, which is light and sparkles in the reflected waters of the Pacific Ocean, a hundred yards away. Venice Beach is America at its least self-conscious. Loud, informal, brash, individualistic, ostentatious, tolerant and unapologetic. A perfect re-introduction to Western culture.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 64
  • Date: 27 November
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Los Angeles - California
  • Book page no: 204

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