Day M338: We’ll Always Have Paris

30.08.12: Let me just say this: I have the best mates anyone could ever hope for. Within 5 hours of my arrival on Saturday 11 August 2012, I was celebrating my return with Dan and Stan and Matt at an exclusive Olympic athletes party with free booze at the Roundhouse in Camden. Dan got us all in for free through his press credentials (ever read a review of Doctor Who on the Guardian website? That’s my Dan!). I got to see some actual gold medals. It was very exciting. Within 24 hours of my arrival, I was in Hyde Park watching New Order with me auld mucka Lindsey who works for The Royal Parks. Free entry and, again, free drinks. Later that evening (and a little bit tipsy) I ended up randomly meeting Jude Law: And have Damon Albarn practically sit on my knee to sing…

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Days M188-197: Placating Neptune

Mon 02.04.12 – Wed 11.04.12: It was an early start on Monday morning. Sam had to go into work, so I grabbed all my gear and tagged along with her towards the city centre from St. Lucia. After saying thanks and goodbye, I reached the city centre with half an hour to spare. Although only 8am, it was already shaping up to be another SCORCHING HOT Brisbane day. I really don’t know how people do it. It is nice once in every blue moon to go a whole 24 hours without sweating your teeth out. I reached the PAE shipping office just after half eight and was taken around the office to meet the staff. I had already spoken to James Kurz, the operations officer, on Saturday morning and I spoke Trish to on Friday afternoon while feverishly attempting to gain passage on the MV Kota…

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Days M186-187: Mount Coo-tha

Sat 31.03.12 – Sun 01.04.12: Literally woke up in the gutter. Well, it was sort of half in the gutter half in a bush. Man that was a big night. Gathering up my belongings like a common vagrant, I headed over to the Brisbane library to finalise everything for my departure on board the Kota Juta on Monday. Only problem was that I got there at 6am and the library didn’t open until 9. I’m thinking this kind of things happen to tramps all the time. I lay back on a concrete plinth in the atrium and fell back asleep. You can do that kind of thing in Australia and not get your things stolen. Nice! Woke up again at 9.15 and sorted what needed to be sorted in order for the sorting to be sorted. This included writing to Hartmann Reederei, a German shipping company…

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Day M185: The Man From Del Monte Says…

Fri 30.03.12: The coach arrived in Brisbane’s miserable concrete Roma Street Transport Terminal around noon and I was off like Usian Bolt off the blocks to the library. Air conditioning, free internet and still clinging to the possibility of a ship getting me to Taiwan before April 15, I had work to do. After an hour of scouring the internet, I came across the Holy Grail: A ship. On Monday. Going straight to Keelung in Taiwan. Arriving April 13. And it was owned by – oh joy of joys – PIL. The same owners as the Southern Lily 2, the ship that had happily taken me from Fiji to New Zealand in January. The KOTA JUTA, you are my saviour! Emails went out to everybody I could find who worked for the charterers, an Aussie company called PAE. Within 20 mins I had a call back…

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Day M184: Feeding The Crocodile

Thu 29.03.12: Not wanting my trip up to Townsville to be a complete waste of time, Eagle, Sera and Robbie ensured that I at least had some most excellent experiences while up north. Last night I got to feed a freshly killed chicken to a python (called Leia) and today Sera to took me to the Billabong Animal Sanctuary where they all work so I could feed a crocodile Irwin-style. A giant (and I mean GIANT) salty – the biggest and most aggressive crocodiles in the world vs. me with a piece of meat on the end of a stick. Needless to say, the magnificent beast won the day, but not after a couple of minor skirmishes in which I was the victor – teasing the great reptilian with my prowess on the lifty-stick and the fact there was a nice high fence between the two…

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Day M183: Nein!

Wed 28.03.12: I can see why they call these coaches ‘luxury’, I mean – the seats recline a whole TWO inches! Amazing!! And the vibration of the window glass no doubt cures no end of ailments. They’re so lush they even give the driver a special pair of cast iron boots on which to gently thump on the brakes whenever he feels like (usually when you’re in the loo). All I can say is that it cost me $184 and it was worth every penny. If pennies were made of rat droppings. When it’s cheaper to drive somewhere on your own in a Hummer than to take ‘public’ transport, the word ‘public’ is nothing more than a shitty lie. The coach of all sorrow arrived in Townsville at around 1pm. I hurried to the internet café – but still no word from the owners of the…

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Day M182: North, Miss Tessmacher!

Tue 27.03.12: Crystal had to be up for work at 8am, so that meant I had to be up as well. After dropping me in Fortitude Valley (sounds like an area of Alton Towers) we arranged to meet up at 3pm before the bus left for Townsville. By now I was 95% sure that I’d be hopping on that bus whatever happens today. I slinked my way into a nearby McDonalds to abuse their internet. I had forgotten how painfully slow Aussie internet is. Seriously – it’s faster in Tuvalu. Hell, it’s faster in Nauru. Nevermind, I got to check my emails (I had been so panicky I had got Anna in the UK to check them overnight), but nothing from the ship owners in Germany. I decided to waste some time, so I began to walk from The Valley to the State Library. Had I…

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Day M181: How The South Pacific Was Won

26.03.12: The Pacific, south of the equator line, is now complete. Yes, there were a handful of territories – Niue, Tokelau, French Polynesia, Pitcairn & Easter Island – that I skipped, but if the purpose of this adventure is to have great stories to tell the grandkids, I need to finish this quest so I can work on spawning future generations of argumentative scouse dingbats to tell the aforementioned great stories to in the first place. Happily, I did get to visit the French territories of New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna (both of them!) and the US territory of American Samoa, bringing my ‘territory tally’ up to 9. Here’s a rough map I knocked together of the route I took, including ships and dates. Clicky for biggie. MASSIVE THANKS must go to the cargo kings of the Pacific Ocean - Swire, Neptune, PDL, PIL, Reef and…

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Days M150–153: Piercing The Gloom

Fri 24.02.12 – Mon 27.02.12: So I went from the Papuan Chief to the Pacific Pearl to the Southern Pearl to the Southern Lily 2 to the Sea Princess to the Scarlett Lucy: there are indeed a lot of ‘S’ n ‘P’s in the South Pacific. I’ll be on the Scarlett Lucy now for the next month. At the start of The Odyssey Expedition it would be an inconceivable amount of time to spend just visiting one country (I managed to visit 50 countries in one month back in April/May 2009!). I guess it’s a bit like the way that time goes slower as you near the event horizon of a black hole. But look at it is this way: Nauru will be the last of the South Pacific nations I need to visit. Palau and Micronesia are in the Northern Hemisphere. We left Brisbane just…

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Days M146-149: The Road To Nauru

Mon 20.02.12 – Thursday 23.02.12: Monday morning and I arrived in Sydney bright and early. After picking up a $1 coffee from 7/11 (I live off this stuff when I’m in Oz) I headed over to Summer Hill to see Benython (my agent) and talk shop. I’ve been a bit cagey about talking about the prospect of a second series of Graham’s World on this blog as there’s been a load of not very interesting behind-the-scenes shenanigans going on, chief amongst which is the closure of Lonely Planet TV in Australia (they what produced Series 1) and its relocation to San Francisco. The upshot of which is that we’re now dealing with a whole new bunch of people, all of whom need persuading that another series of my drunken misadventures in countries nobody has ever heard of is exactly what The Doctor ordered. Tomorrow we should…

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