Days 1,411-8: The Maersk Sebarok

Sun 11.11.12 - Sun 18.11.12 I was up an’ at ’em! by 8am, and by 8.30am I was on the bus back to Port Louis. I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to Arno, but not to worry, I’ve a feeling I’ll see him again some day. I was met at the old Post Office by my driver who would be taking me through immigration and then to the port gates. The immigration officer was incredibly friendly (Mauritius is a very friendly place) and he happily stamped me out the country. And then it was through the port gates (the officials nodded me through) and onto the minibus that took me across the port to THE SHIP: The Maersk Sebarok. Wow. When I say this ship is BIG. Understand: this ship is BIIIIIIIIG. Check out these stats: Length: 336 metres Width: 40 metres Height: 25…

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Day 1,390: The Costa Living

Tue 23.10.12: The two days at sea passed like some velvet morning (when I’m straight). For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to be less of a fat bastard using a novel invention I like to call ‘the beer diet’. It’s nice and simple: you just drink beer and don’t eat anything. Honestly, it works! Magic!! However, on a cruise upon which I can’t afford to drink and the food is UNLIMITED and FREE, my great diet plan has been turned on its head. Now all I have to stop me stuffing my face with cheese and prosciutto is my own willpower. ARRRRRRRRRRGH!!! On the Tuesday we crossed 0° latitude, that magic invisible line of red that seamlessly circumnavigates the planet. Why is it 0°? Because that’s the angle of Polaris, the North Star, in the sky relative to the horizon at this exact point…

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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 311: Here Be Pirates

07.11.09: Polished off the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol, which is, muh. Nowhere near as good as Angels & Demons or Da Vinci Code, the 'twist' was more obvious than if Bruce Willis spent the entirety of ‘Sixth Sense’ wearing a ten gallon hat with “I'm Dead” embroidered on the front in big glowing letters. And what with that bit where they stand around a severed hand for half an hour chatting about the ceiling? Why aren't they getting that thing on ice?? And (without giving too much away) what's with the history lesson at the end? It's akin to Anakin giving a guided tour of Jedi HQ to a bunch of old grandmothers immediately after his fight with Obi-Wan on the lava planet. One last thing, and then I'll hold my peace; If Sato had just taken Langdon's phone in Chapter 16, it…

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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 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 294: The Grottiest Boat Afloat

21.10.09: Sometimes words fail me. It doesn't happen very often but blimey this boat is a rotten carcass of grot. All I can think of as I see the 100+ people onboard lying in rows onto of undulating cargo, the smell, the litter, the way the food is handed out (all the men elbow to the front), the LIVESTOCK downstairs (which, funnily enough, have more room to move about than us humans) is Amistad. Christ, I know how bad that sounds and I can't believe that I was conned out of $225 for this nightmare. Actually I'm trying not to think about it, it'll annoy me off too much. Suffice to say, this boat is the grottiest boat afloat. Thank god I'm not crossing the Atlantic. I tried to time travel, writing up my blog amid 'breaks' when I'd go charge my laptop in the little…

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