Day 353: A Dish Called Rwanda

19.12.09: Wow. Rwanda. Like, really, wow. I know what I like and I like what I see. I dragged my reluctant carcass out of bed at some ungodly hour and headed over to the bus station with a local guy called Charles who was also taking the bus somewhere. It was too early for me to focus on anything, but before I knew it I was sitting on the front seat of a minibus heading towards the Rwandan border. I arrived at 9.30am, glad to discover that the 'six-hour' border process took less than ten minutes. And, what's more NO VISA REQUIRED!! So Rwanda started well and it just got better from there on in. One of the things that was annoying me about Tanzania was that my Vodafone mobile internet thingy wasn't working, and it took about half an hour just to send a text…

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Day 349-50: All Aboard The Good Ship Simacom!

15.12.09-16.12.09: Yesterday I and 43 other passengers boarded the 'Simacom' bound for Dar es Saleem, three weeks to the day since I arrived in Comoros. It was supposed to have left two weeks ago, then last Saturday, then yesterday. It's now Tuesday we're still in port. Time is not money. Time is not money. I'm here with a lovely French couple, Thomas and Sevine, who arrived in Comoros on Sunday. They live in Reunion and they're trying to get back to France without flying. They spent the last three weeks waiting to leave Mahajanga on a boat – nice to know I'm not the only one! But, given the choice, I would have preferred to be stuck in Madagascar for three weeks than here. But watchagonnado? The delay today is being caused by some passengers having outstayed their 45 day visa for Comoros (possibly because they've…

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Days 318-348: Don’t Look Back In Anger

14.11.09-14.12.09: Oh Graham, you tease, what's the meaning of this, compressing an entire MONTH of gallivanting into just one blog entry? Well, truth be told if there was something of any note to tell, I would give you the Full Monty and no mistake. But as is the way of things in The Odyssey, stuff has a disgraceful habit of not going according to plan. It took me just 10 days to get from Dar es Salaam to Mauritius. It took me SEVEN WEEKS to get back. I ran down to the port in Mahajanga bright and early on the morning of the 14th November eager to jump on the boat that was apparently leaving for Comoros. Ah yes... the boat. Try again tomorrow. So I checked back into Chez Karon and waited. And waited. And waited. The excuses were plentiful (although the one about the…

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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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