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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 4: 28 September

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysThe Espresso Egitto is a vessel of 4686 tons, built in Livorno fourteen years ago. She's owned by the nationalised Adriatic Navigation Company and provides the only regular passenger service between Venice and Egypt. (Fogg travelled from Brindisi to Bombay, a service long since defunct.) The appeal of a two-hour air flight over four days at sea is illustrated by the fact that there are only eighty passengers aboard.

This morning, fortified by a good night's sleep and a lie-in, I set out to explore the boat. From a warren of identical passageways I eventually find my way to an open central area. Here there is a noticeboard on which, I'm told, will be displayed the day's entertainments. It's blank. Opposite, behind a curving glass panel sits the substantial form of Mr Lalli, the ship's purser. He's coughing.

'I should stop the smoking,' he growls gloomily, 'but I get nervous.' The thought of this massive primate-like figure being nervous is rather like hearing that Arnold Schwarzenegger cries when he can't get to sleep, and is not the only surprise about Mr Lalli. He's a Slovene who wants the Italians to give back Trieste and he sympathises with the separatists in the south of his country, who are currently embroiled in strife with their central Yugoslav government. 'That's why I can understand the Welsh, who also want their own country.'
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 4
  • Date: 28 September
  • Country/sea: Mediterranean Sea
  • Place: Adriatic Sea
  • Book page no: 28

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