A detective named Mr. Fix waits at the port of the Suez Canal in Egypt as chapter VI begins. He has been dispatched to catch the bank robber (who is alleged to be Mr. Fogg), and he is sure that he will be a passenger on the Mongolia, a steamer that has come across the Mediterranean to Suez and will continue on to India. Fix believes the robber might be trying to get to America using the long route, but hopes he will be able to get a warrant for his arrest when they reach India, since India is British territory.
The steamer Mongolia arrives in Suez and a servant (who, little does Fix know, is Passepartout) comes off, attempting to bring his master's passport to the consul. Fix tells him his master must show his face in person, and when Passepartout disappears to fetch Fogg, Fix goes in to the consul's office to tell him that he is fairly certain the bank robber is on board the Mongolia. Fogg comes into the consul's office requesting that his passport be stamped with a visa, since part of the bet was that he would get visas in every place he went to prove that he really did travel around the world.
It took Fogg and Passepartout six and a half days to make it across Europe to Suez by rain to Italy and by steamer to Egypt, so they are right on schedule. He keeps a record of the time in a notebook so that he will always know whether he has gained or lost time.
Meanwhile, Fix goes to talk to Passepartout, who mentions that his master is in the great hurry and that he did not expect they would actually come this far. Fix notices that Passepartout has kept his watch on London time, and is thus two hours behind local time; however, Passepartout adamantly refuses to change it.
He goes on to reveal a little too much information about his master to Fix, telling him that Fogg is going around the world on a bet and that he is rich, carrying around a large sum of money with him. He says Fogg has offered the engineer of the Mongolia a lot of money if he gets them to Bombay, India ahead of time. All of this, to Fix, highly suggests that Fogg is indeed the robber. He tells the consul to send a dispatch to London to get a warrant for Fogg's arrest as soon as they reach Bombay.
At first, it seems like the Mongolia will make it to her destination well ahead of time, but the seas become rougher as the wind begins to blow hard. Phileas Fogg, however, does not appear anxious at all. Instead, he calmly eats four large meals a day and plays the card game whist with some other passengers. Passepartout is also greatly enjoying the voyage, and on the second day he is pleased to see that Fix, the man he befriended at the port, is on board as well (he has no clue that Fix is a detective after Mr. Fogg).
They make small talk for a bit, but eventually Fix asks if Passepartout knows of any secret underlying reason why Fogg would embark on such a round-the-world trip. Passepartout denies knowing anything about such a thing. As the days go by Fix makes it a point to talk often to Passepartout to gain his confidence, and Passepartout has no knowledge of Fix's true identity or underlying motivations.
The Mongolia arrives in Bombay two full days ahead of schedule. Though Britain occupies much of India, a large population of the subcontinent towards the interior is still free from British rule, and is somewhat ferocious, at that. The center of the country has been changing fast, though, with railroads being built across it. Fogg and Passepartout will take this train across India to Calcutta, where they will catch a steamer ship to Hong Kong.
Fix is disappointed that a warrant for Fogg's arrest has not yet arrived from London. He resigns himself not to let Fogg escape his sight. Passepartout spends the few hours before the train leaves wandering the streets of Bombay, determined to see some of the sights before they leave too quickly to take them in. He goes farther than he intends to and encounters a beautiful pagoda on a hill, and does not realize first, that Christians are forbidden to enter, and second, that it is a crime to enter it with shoes on.
He goes into the temple to admire it, but soon finds himself assaulted by angry priests. They tear off his shoes and begin to fight him, and he narrowly escapes with enough time to get to the train station. He breathlessly explains to Mr. Fogg what happened, which Fix, standing nearby, overhears. Before this, he was about to get on the train with them. Now, though, after hearing what Passepartout has done, he comes up with another plan to catch them, and chooses to remain in Bombay.
Chapter VI introduces the primary antagonist for the very first time. While some stories may not have a physical antagonist—the conflict may be something other than man vs. man—in this case, it is very easy to distinguish Detective Fix as the character most obviously working against Fogg.
While readers are not meant to like Fix—after all, he is trying to foil the protagonist's ambitious plans—it is important to closely examine his motivations. Fix is not acting in an evil way; just like the other characters, he is simply doing what he believes to be right. This makes him a complex, three-dimensional character, rather than a two-dimensional villain.
Typical of protagonists and antagonists, Fogg and Fix's personalities and ways of handling stressful situations are quite different. It is clear upon first meeting him that Fix gets very worked up about things, easily irritated and angered by everything, particularly the suspect he is trying so hard to catch. Fogg, on the other hand, is calm, cool, and collected, even when obstacles appear to be getting in the way of his winning the high-stakes bet. This personality difference is very important and should be watched carefully. Since Mr. Fogg has not yet encountered any real obstacles—he is still ahead of schedule, after all—his patience and rationality will certainly be tested more in the future.
Passepartout is continuing his role as Fogg's loyal sidekick; however, it appears that in revealing too much to Detective Fix, he will begin to unintentionally make things worse for his master. He is also creating other problems, as evidenced by the incident in the pagoda in Bombay. As is true of most literary sidekicks, Passepartout will sometimes be a hindrance, but the great help he often provides for his master, along with the good he brings out in his character, will balance this out.
Passepartout's musings during these chapters also bring forth one of this novel's overarching questions. Is Fogg really gaining anything from his travel by moving through it so fast? Can one learn the important lessons that travel has to teach without stopping in each new, exotic place to take it all in? The nature of this travel story is what makes it so unique, since the goal here is speed, rather than enjoyment. It is a classic question of journey vs. destination: will Fogg be able to grow and develop as a character while on a destination-less journey?
Since this is a story concerned with the speed of Fogg's travel, it makes sense that Verne keeps it moving at an extremely fast pace, too. In chapter V, Fogg was still in London; in Chapter VI he arrived in Suez, Egypt, having crossed the entire European continent in merely a page break. This quick, exciting pace carries readers along and makes them feel a similar sense of urgency to get back to London in eighty days, as if they, too, have a stake in the bet that Fogg has made.
By the end of this section the characters have entered British India, and for the first time, they are thrown in the midst of a culture entirely different from what they are used to. India is a particularly intriguing place at this point in history. Under British occupation, it is a unique mix of native Indian traditions and refined Victorian British sensibilities, creating a place of contrasts unlike any other.
As the characters move through India, pay close attention to the culture clashes that will undoubtedly arise, like Passepartout's intrusion into the sacred temple. Take note of two things: first, how the characters themselves react to them, and secondly, how the author portrays these clashes. This says a lot about the society in which this book is being written.