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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 66: 29 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysEarly lunch as we pull into Grand Junction Colorado. Elevation 4906 feet. Confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers. The chief steward, improbably called Abdul Mahmoud, exhorts his team of waiters in the fine art of service. 'Come on. Get 'em in here.'

Today's lunch menu features the forbidden delights of 'The Hot Open Face Sandwich. Your attendant will describe this to you'.

The sun spills into the train as we set off again alongside the Colorado River. It's about 25 yards wide here, and on its flat banks, protected from the winds, grow orchards of apple, pear and peach. Halfway down the train is an observation car. It's filling up fast on this clear and sunny afternoon.

There's a lady of late middle-age calling herself Mar-Mer, who became a clown two years ago. She sparkles with the delight of it all and bursts into songs and jokes with the zeal of a new convert. How does her husband cope with her new profession, I ask. 'Oh . . . he's kind of an introvert,' she reveals, as if describing an incurable illness. There's a man travelling with his son simply because he prefers trains: 'Sure knocks heck outta driving'. His wife is a cellist with the gloriously named Mile High Orchestra in Denver. But I get the feeling these are not average Americans. They're people who care about their environment, who despise and fear what big business is doing to it and who are immensely knowledgeable about where they live and determined to protect it from unnecessary development.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 66
  • Date: 29 November
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Colorado River
  • Book page no: 213

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