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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 68: 1 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysI can feel the blood draining from my face, God knows where to. If only Jake were wearing some sort of harness instead of just balancing casually on the edge of the basket as if he's going for a picnic up the Thames. There is nothing to stop me jumping out. I'm not attached to a damn thing. I stand up, feeling queasy as I've never felt since that night on the dhow. Think back to the astrologer's words of reassurance. Everything smooth . . . back in plenty of time . . . no problems. But I'd told him I was taking surface transport only. I've cheated, I've left the ground and now I'm paying the price.

'Where are we going?' I manage to ask in a voice as thin as the air.

'Aw . . . I dunno for sure.'

Oh, great.

Jake looks around. He looks around without getting off the edge of the basket! He just twists his unharnessed body on the thin leather rim 300 feet above Aspen!

'You see, it just depends on the way the air behaves.'

'You mean you don't know that?'

'Not until we get up here.' He consults one of the distressingly few instruments, which shows wind speed. Below me now Main Street has become Highway 82. A long line of Dinky Toys thread their way slowly into the town. What's a traffic jam doing in a beautiful place like this? Remember to ask Jake this when my voice has broken.

'Y'see, the cold air flows down this valley like water in a river. It's not till you're in it you know where or how fast those currents are flowing.'

I know where. Aspen International Airport, that's where. A light plane is actually flying in beneath us.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 68
  • Date: 1 December
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Aspen - Colorado
  • Book page no: 224

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