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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 6: 30 September

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 Days5.30. On deck to watch my last European sunset. As the sun swells and sinks, a flight of small birds appears darting and diving in front of me. They're swallows. The sun has so dazzled me that they appear crimson.

The Great Meal this evening is to be filmed and all the waiters suddenly have crisp white jackets. Eros, in full dress, resembles a fifties matinee idol gone to seed. Champagne, risotto di gamberi, loup de mer, cheese and profiteroles, red and white wine come on inexorably, severely testing not just the diners but the structural engineering beneath the table.

As the vita becomes piu dolce the ship begins to roll for the first time in the journey. Eros looms over us, becoming more and more like Frankie Howerd. 'Not for nothing,' he declares with a twirl of the fingers, 'do they call me Eros,' and with an outrageous wink he turns on his heel and walks straight into a minion bearing more profiteroles.

To my cabin. Through eyes blurred by fine wines, I can just make out my copy of the BBC's Get By In Arabic. I'm on page 2, and Egypt's only 180 miles away.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 6
  • Date: 30 September
  • Country/sea: Mediterranean Sea
  • Place: Adriatic Sea
  • Book page no: 35

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