THIS EXCERPT is taken from a work of travel literature. Readers are invited to tell us: a) where the action is taking place, and b) who is the author?

Blackwell's Bookshops will award pounds 30 worth of book tokens to the first correct answer pulled out of the hat. Answers on a postcard, please, to: Literally Lost, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Usual competition rules apply. Entries to arrive by this Thursday.

WE SAT beside a park, named after Cervantes, where almost a score of drunks and beggars were lying in the sun, and listened willy-nilly to an elderly couple conducting a beastly, rambling row only a little short of violence. The woman, presumably a wife and battered, had cuts about the mouth and half-closed, beaten eyes.

When the bells rang out for morning mass, the beggars rose and hurried to the church door, angrily demanding donations from all who entered and railing at the nuns who gave them nothing - who had, perhaps, nothing to give but certainly looked both discomposed and disapproving. Entering was much as one imagines the crossing of a picket line at the height of an industrial dispute. And there inside, for his Corpus Christi sermon, the priest was gently reminding his tight-lipped congregation, including women in jeans as well as those with covered heads, that there was more to life than the everyday, that we should all be mindful of an eternity we would inevitably encounter.

Literally Lost 54: The action took place in central Africa on the Congo River, in the book 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad. The winner is Andrew Parker of Liverpool.

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