Around The World In Eighty Days

About a month or two ago we had bought a three disc set of this BBC documentary. It stars one of the former Monty Python guys, Michael Palin, re-creating Phileas Fogg’s fictional Journey in modern times and with modern transportation modes & routes. This of course means no airplanes. While this may seem to be an enormously easy venture, it turned out incredibly difficult. While many ships certainly travel faster than the great steamship liners of a hundred years ago, there are very few options in passenger liners anymore. I REALLY suggest that anyone even slightly interested in a very unique perspective on other places in the world try and watch this documentary series. That recommendation goes TRIPLE for any other people or especially families in the middle of, or planning to travel the world.

Similar to Fogg’s rollicking adventure, Michael finds himself with very little time to enjoy the places he visits, but with altogether almost too much time for relaxation and reflection on long train or ship journey’s. The addition of a camera/sound crew also makes many aspects more complicated. There were many scenes which we had only just recently enjoyed ourselves, around various ports and parts of the world. The most haunting scene was of Michael in a taxi in India. A little girl comes begging for food to his window. He obviously feels terrible for her, but still refuses to offer her money for fear of perpetuating such begging in the streets. His very real reaction is that of us as well, and most other travelers we’ve met. One would be overwhelmingly inundated if you allowed yourself even just one offering to these sweet yet filthy faces. Michael’s journey was in 1988 (he walked across Tienanmen Square just BEFORE the student riots). The begging and his embarrassed yet appropriate reaction to it have not changed at all in the last twenty years. Sadly, only the faces change…

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