Saturday, September 3, 2016

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

The Original Amazing Race (Stuttering Summer)   

This is the last of my summer/traveling series in which you'll read about the ultimate travel adventure in Around the World in Eighty Days. And as a bonus, you'll get to visit Victoria, BC with Jonathan and Drew Scott!

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne is a timeless classic.  It was first published in 1873 and is still going strong 140 years later. Phileas Fogg enters a bet with members at his Reform Club.  He wagers that he can go around the world in 80 days, which, of course, was quite a feat in pre-aviation days.  The prize:  £20,000, and more costly, Fogg’s reputation. The competitors: Phileas Fogg along with his valet, Passepartout.  The year: 1872.  The outcome: An unforgettable adventure!   It’s not just the exotic locales of India, Hong Kong, and Japan that make this novel so alluring, it’s the great characterization of Fogg and Passepartout. Phileas Fogg is a self-assured, persnickety, wealthy man who has an obsession for calculated precision.  He controls every detail of his life with meticulous consideration.  He demands the correct temperature of his shaving water and determines the amount of gas to be allotted for the lights in his house.  He’s compulsive and would drive anyone crazy, but somehow in the book, he’s also extremely likable. He is a quick, analytic thinker and can solve problems at the drop of a hat. His valet, Passepartout, is a loyal, honest man with a varied work history that includes singer, circus rider, gymnast, and fireman.  Unlike Fogg, he’s prone to make mistakes. But together they are a good team to work their way through the challenges of the race. 

They would have been great contestants in the Amazing Race TV show (my favorite show, BTW).  I could just see the caption under them as they’re jostled back and forth on the backs of elephants in India: “Employer and Valet.”  Passepartout would be an instant hit—the underdog, the lowly employee working hard to diligently complete the tasks at hand. At first it may take the viewers a bit to warm to the stuffy Fogg. But sure enough they would be won over by his calm, collected demeanor, and the fact that he’s always the gentleman no matter how stressful the situation.  Likely to be a favored team in the race, the audience would cheer them on through each new leg and commiserate with them at each U-Turn or Speed Bump. And finally, we’d hold our breath as they race to the final pit stop, where host, Phil Keoghan, would look them in the eyes and pause. Would he say “I’m sorry to tell you that you have both been eliminated from the race”? Or would he smile and say, “Phileas and Passepartout! You have covered nine countries, three oceans and three seas, in eighty days around the world!” Then he could finish it with the words everyone wants to hear. “Congratulations! You are the official winners of the Amazing Race!”  Then we’d all cheer from our sofas and text our sisters a big “Woo Hoo!” 

And that’s how this book is—fun and exciting.  You’ll cheer Phileas and Passepartout on to the last stop. I loved this book—the original Amazing Race.  

Now as a special treat, you'll get to travel with the Scott brothers as they end the summer with a wonderful visit to Victoria, BC, in their homeland country, Canada. 

On the drive to Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island.

The main event was visiting the fabulous Butchart Gardens.

One of the highlights was having Afternoon Tea in the "The Dining Room."

Unfortunately, Drew and Jonathan's reservations were lost, so they had to remain incognito. 

But they got to spend four hours touring the beautiful gardens. 
There was so much to see!
Then they got to see Victoria, and even Craigdarroch Castle. 
Chinatown was awesome!
It's the second oldest Chinatown in North America , after San Francisco.
Hey, look! It's a Little Free Library in Dragon Alley.  I left "Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Susan Vreeland.  Good book.  See my review.
After long days of walking all over, we rode water taxis back to our hotel. 
What a wonderful trip and great way to end a perfect summer.  Hope your summer was just as awesome!

Happy reading, happy travels,

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