Day 304: Drink Your Way Around The World

31.10.09: I stepped off the Trochetia and into country 124 feeling marvelously, marvelous about this turn of events. Simply put, I couldn't have done this any faster. Considering that I only left Tanzania on the 20th October – 11 days ago – and considering that I've taken four separate boat journeys as well as a two-day bus journey across Madagascar, things have gone surprisingly well. Until now. Now I have to somehow – somehow – get back to Madagascar, step foot in The Seychelles, (over 1000km away) and then get back to Africa. I have my own plan of how I'm going to achieve these feats, but believe me, it ain't gonna be easy and it is certainly going to take more than 11 days. It's going to take me at least a week to get back to Madagascar, and that's if I'm luckier than Lucky…

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Day 303: Et Voila!

30.10.09: The Trochetia is great. It makes me sick every time that I think of the Shissiwani II costing me a comparable sum of money for three nights of hell, sleeping on the floor of a greasy mess of a ship. Best not to think about then eh? Today we got to Réunion - a French island, which was sensible enough not to plumb for independence doing the great independence binge of the latter twentieth century. Don't think that I'm a big imperialist by saying that, it's just that some countries are simply too small and under-resourced to be tenable as independent states – Cape Verde and Sao Tome to name but two. I would also care to suggest that if anybody would like to visit Martinique in the Caribbean swiftly followed by Dominica or St. Kitts then the US Virgin Islands they would possibly agree…

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Day 302: The Road Ahead

29.10.09: My entire route for The Odyssey is mapped out in my head and has been for years so I never bother looking at the route plan; but just for giggles and as I've just hit 300 days on the road, I had a peek at the Odyssey Itinerary that I drew up for Lonely Planet last year. I had to laugh at my ludicrously over-optimistic plan for getting around The Caribbean (it's been easier getting around the Indian Ocean!) and the allotted six days for getting to Cape Verde and back (try six weeks, baby). But, you know – I had set a month for getting around Europe and I did it in 23 days and that included wasting six days in Tunisia. I also accurately set five days to get to Sao Tome and back – which, to be fair, is how long it…

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Day 301: Welcome To Lemurland

28.10.09: Lemurs are one of my favourite animals on Earth. A primate, cut off from his cousins in Africa and Asia for over fifty million years, they are undoubtedly the cutest little critters one could ever hope to feast one’s eyes on. Drawing on the best bits of cats, gods and monkeys there's a eye-boggling array of different species and breeds – including the famous ring-tailed lemur, the pygmy mouse lemur (the smallest primate in the world) and Richard Dawkin's favourite animal, the dancing sifaka. I had set my heart on seeing some lemurs today, so I rose early and annoyed myself by wasting a good hour looking for Tropical Service, the travel agency that I hoped would sell me a ticket on the Trochetia, the passenger boat (YES, THERE IS ONE!) I was hoping would spirit me away to Mauritius later today. Unfortunately for me,…

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Day 300: I ♥ Madagascar

27.10.09: Dear Santa, Hi, it's Graham here. Sorry I haven't written to you in ages. I've been a busy boy. I'm currently trying to set a new world record by visiting each and every country in the world in one journey using just surface travel. Now, I've been to a lot of places this year but so far, I haven't seen anywhere that would compare with my favourite countries in the world, which I already had in mind before I started out. So, as an early Christmas present, I would like you to send me to a country that is lovely and tropical, but has nice big green mountains so that I don't get too hot. I'd like there to be spectacular views and lots of great hiking tracks. I'd also like there to be undeveloped palm-fringed beaches so that I can sling my hammock and…

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Day 299: It’s A Mad Mad Madagascar

26.10.09: Yesterday passed with the graceful ebb and flow of the waves, and I am slowly coming to appreciate the grandeur to life on the deep blue. I spent most of the day standing with the wind in my face, the sun on my skin and the spray of the brine on my lips. Yeah, I could get used to this, but I seriously doubt that I'll ever have the funds (or the desire) to buy a boat. It's not just that I dislike the inherent queasiness and ever-present smell of petrol fumes on these damn things, it's that, well... after a couple of days it gets, well, boring. The sea is the sea is the sea – it's a trifle dull in all directions. But yesterday, we were cutting through the Indian Ocean and it felt great. It felt like I was finally – finally…

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Day 298: The Secret of My Itchy Feet

25.10.09: So how did I come to be such a champion adventurer, eh? Not really the likely sort I guess – spent most of my teenage years picking my nose playing video games and dreaming of the day a girl might, you know, talk to me. Being born ginger meant a couple of things. First up, I was born without a soul, as are all ginger children. The only downside of which (so far) is that I have nothing to sell to Satan. Which is a shame as I'd really like to know how to play the guitar. Being a ginge also meant that I wasn't allowed to play football, sing in tune, ballroom dance or frequent the gym. I turned then, as all gingers must, to a distraction, something to keep me occupied whilst my peers were busy doing other stuff like drinking White Lightening…

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Day 297: The Joy of Mojangaya

24.10.09: One of those mornings where I really, really can't be bothered getting out of bed, but I haul myself out regardless – after today, there isn't another boat to Madagascar for a week or so, so I don't have much of a choice. A cold shower in the morning is a pain as always, doubly so when there's no running water and you have to give yourself a 'bucket shower' from a large water container that might as well put up a neon sign saying 'Mosquito Motel – Vacancies'. The Malaria rate for Comoros is sky-high, which is weird because you'd expect an island to be able to do away with Malaria quick smart, all you need is some DDT. Oh hang on, the West banned DDT in the sixties didn't we...? After (thoughtfully enough) eradicating Malaria in all our smartie-pants countries. A bit like…

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Day 296: Cloud Coup Coup Land

23.10.09: Can't help but feel that I wasted today. I did waste today. Today was wasted. I got up when I could be bothered, which for the first time in a long time, was after 9. I then attempted to get some money. Ooooh. Forget it – for the first time since Liberia, I found myself in a country in which there are no ATMs that you can use a foreign cash-card in. What I could have really done with is some Euros – the price of the Comoros Thingymabob is pegged to the Euro, so I couldn't lose. However, I only had rotten US dollars, which were about as wanted as a dead frog down the back of the radiator. Oh well, I figured I could aim for just enough money to slip out of the country tomorrow, changed my dollars in the bank and…

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Day 295: Moroni Planet

22.10.09: I was convinced that I'd be on this sticking hole of a boat until tomorrow morning. Imagine my relief when I went onto the bridge this afternoon to charge up my laptop only to see a whopping great island through the window. Thank the maker. I readied myself to disembark. I would like to report that it was all very organised and efficient but ARE YOU ON CRACK?? THIS IS AFRICA FOOL!! No, the entry procedure was the usual elbow-the-women-out-of-the-way mad scramble to get the passports back (luckily Lee The Crazy Chinaman and I were kept apart from the braying mob as our passports were kept in a different plastic bag). Eventually, we were herded through the 'customs' (a line of officials set out across the road like riot police) and into immigration. So much for my visa being included in the price of the…

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