Culture & Travel2 September 2020
Around the World in Eighty Days
When French writer and dreamer Jules Verne’s deathless book “Around the World in 80 Days” was published in 1873, cars were just invented, let alone the planes. Among the number of works of the same writer that still inspire movies and TV series, “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “ Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, and “The Mysterious Island” all tell an adventurous journey.
In “Around the World in Eighty Days”, the protagonist Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed help Jean Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days after a challenge. All the places in the novel were selected due to their importance on global trade and tourism routes. We see that despite all these years, these towns in the novel still preserve their economic and touristic importance. Let us trace the journey that would take much shorter these days.
The start and end point of our journey is London, which inspired many famous writers throughout history. Among these writers, J.K. Rowling is known to have written the Harry Potter series during a train trip from Manchester to London.
Today, Paris is still the ultimate location for love and nostalgia movies like “Paris, I Love You” and “Midnight in Paris”. Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Misérables” are among the books that are identified with Paris.
After the European tour, our protagonists took the Suez Canal up to Bombay (today’s Mumbai) and took a train there for a lengthy journey towards South Asian countries. Today, Mumbai is home to the Indian film industry, Bollywood, and produces over a thousand movies a year.
As the most preferred location for the Far Eastern and martial arts movies, Hong Kong has an atmosphere of its own with small- and large-scaled historical structures among hundreds of skyscrapers. Bruce Lee’s last movie “Enter the Dragon” was also filmed in Hong Kong and surrounding areas.
Shanghai was Fogg’s and his helper Passepartout’s next stop after Hong Kong. Today, Shanghai is a global finance center and known to let a lot of immigrants. J. G. Ballard’s award-winning novel “Empire of the Sun” that was later turned into a screenplay also tells its story in the ever-developing life-long trade port.
The last stop in Asia for Jules Verne’s protagonists was Japan. They took a steamer from Shanghai to today’s most crowded town in Japan, Yokohama. After Yokohama, which is half an hour from Tokyo, the capital city that hosted classical films like “Lost in Translation”, “Godzilla”, and “Tokyo Sonata”, our protagonists continued their way towards North America.
Known for the Golden Gate Bridge, its steep hills and being one of the most environment-friendly cities in the world, San Francisco is the inspiration for Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” novel that was later turned into a screenplay as “Blade Runner”.
Our protagonists’ American adventure started in San Francisco and ended in New York. New York is where many real and fiction works such as J. D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” were inspired by. It is also known that Superman’s city Metropolis and Batman’s home Gotham City were inspired by New York.