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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 64: 27 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThe Sidewalk Café is attached to a bookshop and you can buy a first edition Sinclair Lewis and read it over a generous plate of bacon, eggs, links (sausages) and hash brown potatoes with a slice of orange. I bought the L.A. Times, a bundle of newsprint that looks like a week's supply of any English newspaper, but when whittled down to what is actually readable is equivalent to Monday's Independent. Though Venice, Los Angeles, looks the only place to be on this heavenly, healthy Sunday morning, it's Florence, Los Angeles, that's in the headlines. 'Another weekend in L.A. Gang Violence and Death.' No country I've passed through is without its violence, and you get to hear about it pretty quickly. On another page under 'Saturday's Air Quality' is an analysis of air pollution in the city, monitoring daily ozone, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels. Which newspaper will be brave enough to do the same for Britain? Sidney Sheldon's The Seeds of Time is top of the fiction chart and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time top of the non-fiction. There's nothing about England except the football results.

Walk along Ocean Front Walk. Against a Hockneyed backdrop of palm trees sharp against blue sky, a man juggles with two balls and a rotating chain-saw. Whilst performing this extraordinary and terrifying feat he warns the crowd who've gathered to watch: 'The last time I did this the chain broke off and went into the audience'. At the end he passes around a hat, examining contributions with disgust: 'Ten dollars! Hey! This is what I do for a job, shithead!'.
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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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