Day 883: A Breath of Fresh Air

02.06.11: For somebody with my fun-seeking personality traits it may come as a shock to some of you that I’ve never knowingly taken an illegal drug. The closest I’ve got was haplessly sharing a ‘Happy Pizza’ in Cambodia back in 2002: coming from the country that also has a ‘Happy Rifle Range’ I (rather naively) thought it would be the Cambodian equivalent of a McDonald’s Happy Meal.  Well it wasn’t for kids and I didn’t get a toy, but do I have to concede: it did make me happy. So despite all the travel, all the gigs, the random house parties and music festivals I’ve attended over the years, nobody has ever seen me smoke a joint, snort a line of cocaine or declare I can fly after taking acid.  I don’t need acid to fly, I have Ryanair. Okay, some people may have seen me…

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Day 84: Chilli Con Carnage

25.03.09: So the day was spent entirely at the mercy of the rather wonderful Mexican bus service. Leigh got off the bus somewhere in the middle of nowhere to climb a mountain, and so I was left with only the movies to keep me company. Eventually we rolled in to Mexico City; unlike silly places (like London), Mexico City doesn't cram all of its long distance buses into a shed in the middle the town - it's got a different station for each of the four cardinal points (pay attention, London), so getting in and out of the vast metropolis is fairly straight forward. A short taxi ride to the North Bus Station, and a wonderful selection of buses to choose from heading up to the US border (unlike the ‘socialised' bus service of the US, which gives you the option of Greyhound, Greyhound or (if…

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Day 83: Mexico, third time lucky..

24.03.09: In the morning, I made a huge arse of myself trying to pull up the anchor (all those years of never going to the gym finally paid off BIGTIME) and before too long we had successfully manoeuvred into the marina and plonked ourselves down between two yachts. Had a chat with Kerri on the CB (desperately trying to resist the overwhelming urge to get on channel 16 and shout Calling all cars! Calling all Cars!) She reckoned immigration could take a day or so to complete. Johnny wasn't convinced so hopped into his trusty dingy and shot off to town. I just had time to have a (long overdue) poo and pack my stuff when he returned to say it all looked quite straight-forward. No medical, no sniffer dogs, just head over to Immigration, get stamped in, then see the port captain and get stamped…

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Day 82: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

23.03.09: The madness of leaving at night, drunk and without a weather window slowly dawned on us - looking to port and looking to starboard, electrical storms cackled like mischievous witches in the heavens. I mean, sitting in the middle of the ocean inside what is effectively a large lightning conductor has got to test the judgment of even the most illogical earthlings. So we dropped the sails and threw out the sea anchor - but this is the Gulf Stream - it's like the bit in Finding Nemo with the surf dude turtles - you can't fight the flow baby. Even with no sail, no engine and a sea anchor deployed, we were still doing four knots toward Mexico - four knots towards instant fried crackly doom. Captain Johnny laughed at me for hurriedly putting my gloves on. You think that a tiny bit of…

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Day 65: Rubber Gloves Not Included

06.03.09: All I got to see of Mexico City was the outskirts and the bus station, but I hear it's not much too look at anyway. Driving close to Tikal in Guatemala without getting to see it, was much more upsetting for me. We arrived at about 7am. A well-timed bus left the capital for Nuevo Laredo (on the US border) about 90 minutes later. This bus was the best of the lot - cheap, fast and it showed a load of great movies - including Leon (The Professional) and Babel - makes a change from the 1980s action movies that tend to dominate this sector of captive audience entertainment. Although I really don't understand why Central American bus drivers insist on setting the air conditioning to Hot. Outside, the landscape was becoming more and more arid and dry - greenery had given way to cacti…

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Day 64: Dinner With Homer

05.03.09: By this stage of my Herculean bus ride, it had been a week since I'd had a hot shower. To say I was beginning to smell a little ripe, would be an understatement! The bus got me to the Mexican border before Mexico had decided to open for the day, so I found myself waiting for a) Mexico to open, and b) the bus to the capital to show up. I had been told that the bus arrived at 10am. But you should know by now not to trust anything anyone says, ever. It came at 1pm. I was so excited to be back in Mexico - Mexican FOOD!! Woo! Enchiladas, Nachos, Burritos, Fajitas OH YEAH... I just wanted to stuff my big greedy face, but a nasty side effect of the malaria tablets I've been taking (incorrectly - they aren't joking when they say…

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Day 58: Go Yell It To The Ocean

27.02.09: The Longest Day Part I. So, we got to Tapachula near the Guatemalan border early in the morning to find another bus to Guatemala City waiting to take me away, ha ha. So goodbye Mexico, I'll see you again next week. The journey into Guate City was fairly uneventful, as was the quick change for San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. I got in about 7pm. After an amazingly scary oh-dear-it's-dark-I-got-no-map-where-the-hell-is-an-ATM-when-you-need-one walk around the city, I found a bus that was leaving at 3am going all the way through Honduras, Nicaragua and ending up in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. It would get me in at 10pm the same day. All good. I threw my bag in the bus station office and headed out to the pub. It was in the Irish bar (there's always an Irish bar) that I met Jorge…

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Day 57: Land Ahoy!

26.02.09: We arrived in Veracruz, Mexico at around 1pm local time. Yippee! Unfortunately for my itchy, goddamn-month-behind-schedule feet, the shipping agent says I've got to wait on board until 4pm before I can go to immigration and hit that goddamn road. Grr!! Because I've landed a good 1000 miles north of where I was supposed to be landing, I've got to get a bus down to Panama via Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and then back up again. Because I didn't get a chance to go to Fed-Ex in Jamaica, I don't have a guidebook, or a map - well, I've scrawled a quick map on the back of a scrap of paper in my back pocket. It'll do. Let's hope something is heading south this evening... Later... So at 4pm, it was time to say adios to my comrades on board…

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