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Pole to Pole

Day 102: Dodoma to Kigoma

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleI've noticed that everything in my room from the grey pillow that I didn't dare lay my head on to the mirror I don't shave in front of because there is no hot water is stencilled with a long serial number and the initials TRC - Tanzanian Railway Company. It's appropriate, I suppose, for our destiny is now in their hands from here to Mpulungu in Zambia - 800 miles through the heart of Africa.

When nine years old or thereabouts . . . while looking at a map of Africa, and putting my finger on the blank space then representing the unsolved mystery of the continent, I said to myself with absolute assurance and an amazing audacity which are no longer in my character now: 'When I grow up I shall go there.' I read this last night as mosquitoes poured through the holes in my net, and although it is Joseph Conrad's recollection of his childhood in Poland it could as well have been an expression of my own boyhood fascination with somewhere as remote from my domestic surroundings as it seemed possible then to be. Lake Tanganyika, the second-deepest lake in the world (after Lake Baikal), set in the centre of the African continent, surrounded by mountains and jungle and God knows what, is what I was thinking of, I'm sure. It's now one railway journey away.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 102
  • Country/sea: Tanzania
  • Place: Dodoma
  • Book page no: 227

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