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Fourth discussion for Eighty Days!

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World

This discussion is through Chapter 15!

Elizabeth Bisland does well in Singapore and enjoys the hot weather. As she goes to bed, she hears some rustling and is terrified that a tiger has entered her room. She is completely convinced that it’s a tiger, but it turns out to be a gigantic rat. She decides to ignore it and it ignores her. A Chinese man jumps overboard from the ship she is traveling in, but is recaptured. Bisland seems very sympathetic towards him.

Nellie Bly spends five days in Hong Kong. She gets to see the city and is happy once she sees an American flag there and offers to whip anyone who says it isn’t the most beautiful flag in the world. Eventually she sees one of the prisons. There are no doors on the cells because the criminals are horribly shackled in a way that prevents them from being able to rest. She also gets to see a cut off head. Ew.

Elizabeth Bisland is in Ceylon and continues on traveling by ship. She gets to see a bunch of impressive cisterns and old aquaducts. She gets to see the beautiful stars in the desert. She feels that she is among the past.

Nellie Bly’s ship is stuck in a storm. They almost throw her monkey overboard because they are rather superstitious. They still manage to get her to California a day early. We get to learn about how the technology improved in steamships and how much coal was required to fuel them. We also get to learn about how awful the conditions that the stokers worked in.

Elizabeth Bisland gets annoyed by how she has to have her bags inspected. It gets really close to delaying her trip. There is a huge miscommunication about the next ship she needs to board and as a result she is told she has missed it, but she hadn’t actually missed it. Gotta be honest, I didn’t completely understand what happened there, but the important part is that she misses the ship and this is a huge delay for her.

Because of a huge snowstorm, The World manages to get Nellie Bly a special train to Chicago. She has to go a lot more south than originally planned. They spent quite a bit of money to do this too and it could easily be construed as cheating, but hardly anyone seemed to care. Everywhere she stops in the US, people are excited to see her. Bly complains about there being a small conspiracy with Bisland supposedly paying the ship she went over the Pacific with to go slower. This is totally not true, especially since they arrived a day early and not a day late like she claimed. By the end of this section she is well on her way to New York.

1) How'd you enjoy this section? Still enjoying the book as a whole (or not enjoying it)?

2) Any predictions on how this race will end (assuming you don't already know)?

3) What do you think will be the ultimate fate of McGinty the monkey?

4) Do you think Nellie Bly lost track of her reporting during the voyage?

5) How long do you think it would take to go around the world now using only boats and trains?

6) Feel free to discuss anything else you'd like!


Okay so I'm leaving this as a placeholder comment for myself because seriously, I've been listening to this book and enjoying it and I need to COMMENT ON MY OWN POSTS ALREADY OMGAWD.
1. Still enjoying it!

2. I think both Bly and Bisland will finish pretty close together.

3. I think the author mentioned that he never warmed up to Bly, though he was fine with others. I assume she keeps him.

4. I do think she became much more concerned with getting to NY in time than with anything else.

5. I'm not sure. Faster, for sure, because there's a wider availabilty as far as schedules go. I'm not sure how much faster though.