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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 72: 5 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysAt this point Dave Passepartout appears, looking a little grey and rather hurt that no one had woken him up. 'I could have died,' he mutters, before being told he's at the wrong lifeboat.

Given the occasional unresponsive gurgle from the lifeboat's engine I imagine all of us on this deck might have died as well, if this were a real emergency. Eventually it spurts into action and is promptly turned off. Divesting ourselves of the lifejackets we are about to head back to breakfast when the alarm bells start jangling again, lights flash, and the doors start to shut themselves. Over the din voices are raised:

'Fire! . . . Fire! . . . Assemble on main deck . . . Fire!'

Momentary panic that this could be real. Especially as I've gone one way and everyone else has gone another. Again, I'm rescued by Bente, and led down five flights to a demonstration of fire-fighting equipment.

Chris, the young solid chief officer, gets to let off an entire foam extinguisher over the side, which awakens schoolboyish envy in all of us. Chris has a rather pedantic delivery and a way of leavening all he says with figures, which soon completely befuddle the listener. A case of confusing with too much precision. So when he tells us of the tensile strength of the container connecting rods or the awesome foam emission pressure of the extinguishers, one knows one is in the presence of greatness, but is not particularly reassured.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 72
  • Date: 5 December
  • Country/sea: Atlantic Ocean
  • Place: Atlantic Ocean
  • Book page no: 240

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