Days 361-362: All Aboard!

27.12.09-28.12.09: 3am phone calls are not my favourite form of wake-up call. When I picked up the phone it somehow integrated it into my dream so much that I assumed it to be part of my dream and therefore completely acceptable to ignore. The next call five minutes later was not so easy to dismiss.. It was Abdi-Chakour telling me the ship was leaving early and I had to be on it within the hour or else I'd be swimming to Egypt. Biggidybiggidybong and whoosh, before I had shook the sleep out of my eyes I whisked away from the rathole that was the Sheraton Djibouti and plonked aboard the good ship Turquoise, shown my cabin and promptly dived into the bed and fell asleep faster than you can say Coco-Pops. I simply can't thank those guys from Djibouti's CMA-CGM office enough. They made my year.…

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Day 360: Boxing Day In Somalia

26.12.09: This was it. The most critical day of The Odyssey so far – make or break, do or die, cake or death. Dino Deasha, that magnificent chap, had cadged me a lift on the MV Turquoise, a huge container ship affiliated with those good folk at CMA-CGM and bound for Suez in Egypt, due to arrive on the 31st December. But first, I had not just to get to Djibouti City, I also needed to get to Somalia and back. Yeah, Somalia. Don't panic! Somalia is perfectly safe. Well, no, it's not – it's the most dangerous country on Earth. What I mean to say is that the part which I intend to visit is perfectly safe – I'm going to Somaliland. History lesson! (Cos I know you love them soooo...) In the same way that we had British, Dutch and French Guyana and Portuguese,…

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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 351: The Race Is ON!

17.12.09: Right. Here's the deal. It's Thursday 17th December. If I play my cards right, I reckon I can get to Egypt via Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Saudi Arabia before the end of the month to meet my girlfriend Mandy. We haven't seen each other all year. I have just 10 days from today to get to Djibouti (via Burundi) to catch a cargo boat up to Port Said. This is going to be AWESOME. The race, as they say, is ON!!! Today we got into port nice and early. Before long I was stamped back into Tanzania (had to buy a new visa – grr). I said my goodbyes to Thomas and Sevine and stepped back onto the continent of Africa. I hurried over to the bus station to find that there were no buses to Rwanda until Saturday (I…

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