'Indiana Jones' visits with all toes intact

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 April, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 April, 1993, 12:00am

WE are happy to report that Sir Ranulph Fiennes did manage to make it to Hongkong from London yesterday - despite our earlier reservations following news reports in British tabloids that the distinguished explorer got lost trying to get from London to Cleethorpes last week.

In the territory to address the Sheraton Luncheon Club today, the man who Time magazine in a recent cover profile called ''everyone's notion of an Indiana Jones or a James Bond'' (he was, indeed, shortlisted to play 007 at one time) denied he went off course when driving to a speaking engagement in Cleethorpes.

Said Sir Ran: ''It was a typical British tabloid story - no truth to it whatsoever. I followed carefully the instructions that I had been given and actually got there nearly two hours early. I killed the time by sitting in a park and reading the newspaper.'' Considered the pre-eminent adventurer of the past two decades, Sir Ranulph Twistleton Wykeham-Fiennes' varied exploits are chronicled in nine books.

Following his epic hike across 2,200 kilometres of Antarctica with a companion a few weeks ago it was feared that he would lose some of his toes. But Sir Ran told Keeping Posted his toes would not, after all, have to be amputated.

As he put it: ''Frostbite in January - amputate in July.'' Sir Ran explained that skin from his hip was grafted on to his toes.

Speaking in the Time feature about his sense of adventure, Sir Ran said: ''To my mind there are only two purist challenges: To be the first to get to a source of a river or climb a mountain, or to be the first person at something like crossing the Antarctic without help from outside.'' But that was before he arrived in Hongkong. Yesterday, Keeping Posted gave Sir Ran the ultimate challenge. We wanted him to attempt to be the first white person to trek 200 metres up Nathan Road without being waylaid by a copy-watch tout.

So, boldly going as no Caucasian has gone before, Sir Ran made his way along the crowded thoroughfare. But barely 30 metres into his stride he was running the gauntlet of those chronometric pests.