Day 90: The Halifax of Life

31.03.10: Now is the winter of our discontent. Well, it's actually SUPPOSED to be spring, but NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE TOLD THE CANADIAN TOURIST BOARD THAT. I'm colder than a dark Jedi running about in a pair of Y-Fronts killing ‘younglings' in the Arctic. Come to think of it, is that a Polar Bear? No - it's not. Damnit - that would have added some excitement to these parts. Yes, like Patrick Moore's loins, there ain't much going on in Halifax. As I've elected to follow Patricia around like a lost (but rather hyperactive and annoying) pup until she disappears out of real world and I'll only be able to hassle her though the tortuous slog that is DOING ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK THESE DAYS. Come to think of it - where the HELL have my groups gone? And my events? Why has it become Twitter, asking…

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Day 89: The Shipping News

30.03.09: I'm still on the train at the moment; it's a 20 hour journey. Looking out of the window, it's like I've stumbled into Narnia. I almost expect a White Witch to turn up and offer me some Turkish Delight. I don't even like Turkish Delight, but if it meant we got to kill that bloody sanctimonious lion again, I'd take it. Mount his silly head on the wall of my hunting lodge. Tee hee. Anyway, what I'm trying to say it that it is COLD. Bloody cold. Outside is miles and miles of pure white snow, which is being dusted by yet more snow flitting about like the fairies of Dingly Dell. Cars with chains on tyres drive alongside, but, unlike the locals, I can't tell where the road ends and the fields begin. Even the trees look cold, like they're huddling together to keep…

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Day 88: We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Coat

29.03.09: I had set my alarm for 6.30am to give me loads of time to wake up and get to the bus station for the bus for Montreal that left at 8.30am. Dionysus, the god of wine, woke me up at 8.05am. Oh dear. Up and out of the flat before you could say "crikey!" in a silly voice, I pounded down the stairs and out onto the Mean Streets of NYC. Whistled the first cab I saw and jumped inside. The bus station, please and step on it! I've always wanted to say that. I was on 109th Street. The bus station is on 45th Street. That's a lot of streets between me and the bus. Luckily, it was Sunday morning, not a weekday - we hurtled down Central Park West like in a movie, switching lanes and honking at those crazy maniacs who dared…

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Day 87: First We Take Manhattan

28.03.09: When I changed buses yesterday in Atlanta, I made a fatal error - I didn't push to the front of the queue. And so I and about fifteen other misfortunates were shunted onto another bus, a bus that didn't leave until an hour after our scheduled time. This was the start of our nightmare journey. We were supposed to change buses ONCE in Washington DC. No chance - we changed buses an unbelievable seven times throughout last night and today. I was woken at 1am, 3am, 4am, 6am and 8am to stand like a lemon in a Greyhound bus terminal (terminal being an appropriate term) while the horrible Greyhound staff sneered at us and didn't even have the decency to tell us what was happening and why. Any lesser mortal would have been utterly shattered thanks to Greyhound's badly-managed hoople-ha they call a bus service.…

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Day 86: Greyhounded

27.03.09: Spent the day travelling up through Georgia pressing northwards towards Virginia. As we travelled, my mind turned to three things; Architecture, Americans, and Greyhound buses. I HATE GREYHOUND BUSES. The entire company seems to be made up of the most inept, unhelpful, disrespectful, useless bunch of po-faced morons on the planet. The seven plagues of Egypt wouldn't be enough to wish on these cretins, these people-hating, slothful, discourteous rotters with about as much idea about customer service as a cockroach has about food hygiene. I just wanted to get that off my chest. Now it's no great secret that British people like to make out like Americans are stupid. I always bristle when I hear some pompous Brit going on about how stupid the Yanks are, especially in the face of the pond-life that populate the Jeremy Kyle Show, the omnipresent chav culture that seems…

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Day 85: Did You See Any Cubans?

26.03.09: As a wonderful final flourish, and as if to prove how much better the Mexican bus service is to the American one, my bus got to the border 45 minutes EARLY. Perfect. So I thanked the bus driver and took the short taxi ride over to the border. I was worried about getting stamped out of Mexico, as I didn't get stamped out last time, so I was praying they didn't spot the fact I had three entry stamps and only one exit, but I needed have worried. I had already paid the departure tax in Cancun - they were just happy to chuck a stamp in my passport and wish me well. I'm going to miss Mexico. So you pay 3 pesos (about 10p) to go through the metal turnstiles and walk over the bridge (might be the one out of No Country For…

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Day 84: Chilli Con Carnage

25.03.09: So the day was spent entirely at the mercy of the rather wonderful Mexican bus service. Leigh got off the bus somewhere in the middle of nowhere to climb a mountain, and so I was left with only the movies to keep me company. Eventually we rolled in to Mexico City; unlike silly places (like London), Mexico City doesn't cram all of its long distance buses into a shed in the middle the town - it's got a different station for each of the four cardinal points (pay attention, London), so getting in and out of the vast metropolis is fairly straight forward. A short taxi ride to the North Bus Station, and a wonderful selection of buses to choose from heading up to the US border (unlike the ‘socialised' bus service of the US, which gives you the option of Greyhound, Greyhound or (if…

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Day 83: Mexico, third time lucky..

24.03.09: In the morning, I made a huge arse of myself trying to pull up the anchor (all those years of never going to the gym finally paid off BIGTIME) and before too long we had successfully manoeuvred into the marina and plonked ourselves down between two yachts. Had a chat with Kerri on the CB (desperately trying to resist the overwhelming urge to get on channel 16 and shout Calling all cars! Calling all Cars!) She reckoned immigration could take a day or so to complete. Johnny wasn't convinced so hopped into his trusty dingy and shot off to town. I just had time to have a (long overdue) poo and pack my stuff when he returned to say it all looked quite straight-forward. No medical, no sniffer dogs, just head over to Immigration, get stamped in, then see the port captain and get stamped…

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Day 82: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

23.03.09: The madness of leaving at night, drunk and without a weather window slowly dawned on us - looking to port and looking to starboard, electrical storms cackled like mischievous witches in the heavens. I mean, sitting in the middle of the ocean inside what is effectively a large lightning conductor has got to test the judgment of even the most illogical earthlings. So we dropped the sails and threw out the sea anchor - but this is the Gulf Stream - it's like the bit in Finding Nemo with the surf dude turtles - you can't fight the flow baby. Even with no sail, no engine and a sea anchor deployed, we were still doing four knots toward Mexico - four knots towards instant fried crackly doom. Captain Johnny laughed at me for hurriedly putting my gloves on. You think that a tiny bit of…

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Day 81: The Forbidden Isle

22.03.09: After helming the nightwatch, I got a few hours kip before Johnny called me up on deck - he'd been chatting on the CB with a passing yacht that had just left Maria del Gorda. A yacht called The Mariposa... The very Mariposa that rescued me from Antigua!! Kerri and Andrew! Woo!!! They were on their way to Cancun in Mexico. I told Kerri that I'd try to meet up with them after we hop into Cuba. Johnny and I swung into the sleepy little bay of Maria del Gorda just before noon. It was a gloriously sunny morning, but now the storm clouds were approaching. There was no port to speak of, just some mooring buoys off the shore. Just two other boats beside ours. Johnny put up the US flag and the yellow Quarantine flag and we spoke to the port attendant on…

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