Day 696: Yes I Awoke

27.11.10: But only because Dan woke me up.  Groggy and sleep deprived I clambered onto the minibus that would be speeding me back to Kupang.  Bye bye Dili!  The minibus ride to the border was brilliant – there were only two of us onboard so I could sit where I wanted and the seats went all the way back.  I lay down and gazed at the stunning scenery whizzing by: turquoise tinted bays dotted with wooden fishing boats, islands of green rolling hills stretching off into the horizon and fluffy white clouds idly drifting by against a sky of azure blue. The bus wound its way around the narrow S bends and switchbacks and before long we had arrived at the frontier with Indonesia.  After formalities I WAS BACK in West Timor.  Huzzah! As soon as I had Indonesian phone coverage, I texted Edwin to let…

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Day 685: A Bunch of Flores

16.10.10: The next boat that would sensibly get me to the island of Timor is leaving the southern port town of Aimere on Friday morning.  It’ll take me all of Thursday to get there, but hey-ho LET’S GO.  I also found out that the Wednesday ferry from Larantuka may well be a myth.  I had found this all out by about 8am after a bunch of phone calls and frantic arm-waving. My work here done, I went to the Lounge Bar for breakfast and ended up staying there all day, abusing the Wi-Fi, updating my website, researching the South Pacific and working on this damn promo video for series 2 of ‘Graham’s World’.  With over 100 hours of video to sift through, we could be here for some time…  I kind of wish that the first season was good enough to sell the second one, I…

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Day 684: The Slow Fast Boat

15.11.10: The bus drove through the night, arriving in the eastern port town of Sape at 8am, just in time for the ferry to Labuanbajo in Flores.  The helpful tout dude from Maluk yesterday ripped me off good an’ proper.  I paid 150,000 Indonesian Rupiah for a ferry ticket that was worth 40,000.  150,000 is about US$17: enough for three nights accommodation in a Indonesian flea pit hotel.  I may have to return to Maluk and kill him. He also lied about the speed of the boat: this was NO ‘fast boat’, it was slower than a West African internet connection and didn’t get me to Labuanbajo until it was almost dark.  This a merry man did me not make.  I checked into the cheapest joint in town and headed out to find out the times of the ferries leaving Flores for Kupang in West Timor. …

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Day 656: When I Left School

18.10.10: Borneo.  The second biggest island in the world, home of the mighty orang-utan and some of the last virgin rainforest left on Earth.  It’s divided between three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, and I was here for two reasons – Brunei (country 181) and The Philippines (country 182).  There’s a ferry service that leaves Sandakan in the (Malaysian) north-east of the island for the troubled Filipino island of Mindanao, Hobson’s choice I’m afraid – there’s no other sensible way of getting there without flying. When I left school, because I had only been taught completely useless things in geography like about the formation of ox-bow lakes, I thought Borneo was in South America, because I had heard word of there being a rainforest and the only rainforest I knew was in South America.  I also thought Brunei was in the Middle East, because I…

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Day 645: Charlie Don’t CouchSurf

07.10.10: Arrived Saigon at about 9am and scooted over to District 1 to meet up with me auld mucka Stan, here in South East Asia on holiday with his soon-to-be better half, Helen.  My backpack which I left in the luggage storage under the bus had got soaked on the way down here (apparently the middle of Vietnam is currently flooded), and I was in desperate need of the three ‘s’s: a shower a shave and a s---.  Stan and Helen graciously allowed me to abuse their hotel bathroom and before you could say ‘doesn’t he smell nice’, I was fresh-faced, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Also here in Saigon (having lived here for the past three years) was an old friend of Mandy’s and mine from Australia, Thro.  Thro (pronounced ‘throw) is here working as a teacher, has got himself a tasty young Vietnamese girlfriend and…

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Days 603-605: The Lost Weekend

28.08.10-30.08.10: By 11am we had arrived in Kathmandu.  The bus ride had tested my X-Men power to the extreme (that power with which I can sleep anyplace, anywhere, anytime) but I had still managed a decent amount of shut-eye and was raring to go.  Dawshan had arranged for me to be picked up by the hotel I was staying with – by the brother of the owner, no less.  But on arrival at the Khangsar Guest House, I met up with the owner himself, Raj.  But, alas, he had bad news – because my bus was late getting in, he doubted if I could get the Chinese visa I needed quick enough to get on the tour for Tuesday. But Raj wasn’t giving up hope just yet.  After a few phone calls, he asked for my passport and said he’d see what he can do.  It…

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Day 601: I Feel My Luck Could Change

26.08.10: Today started with a bit of a disaster when I awoke to find that my new laptop, Sony Jim, that I had cunningly placed between me and the wall the night before, was a lot more delicate than my old laptop, Dell Boy.  The screen had cracked in the night (I must have rolled over against it).  This was not a good start to the day and I was determined to not let it overshadow the rest of today’s shenanigans.  I had two – maybe three – countries to reach before the end of the day and a cracked laptop screen was the least of my worries – I had no visa for any of the countries I wished to visit. The train pulled into New Jalpaguri station in Northern West Bengal at 8am.  After throwing my bag into the station cloakroom and a bit…

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Where Do We Go From Here?

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks in the Omani town of Salalah trying to find a way to catch a lift on a container ship to The Seychelles.  Three ships, the MV DAL Mauritius, the MV San Cristobal and the MV Maersk Wiesbaden have all come and gone (to The Seychelles) in this time and none could take me on board. On Sunday I visited the captain of the MV San Cristobal onboard his ship.  The coils of razorwire encircling the deck were just a hint of what was to come… in fact, if you really want to see what I’m up against, have a gander on Wikipedia… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ships_attacked_by_Somali_pirates. The problem is this: The boats plying the shipping lines around here have special anti-piracy insurance.  Part of the policy demands that the ship run with the minimum number of crew possible.  As the captain of…

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This is THE ODYSSEY!

The Odyssey is an epic adventure, a world first, a race against time, a year (or two) of living dangerously!! Scouse film maker Graham Hughes' barking, madcap adventure TO EVERY COUNTRY IN THE GODDAMN WORLD!! 300,000 kilometers, 200 sovereign states, 5 continents, 1 man and no flights! The Odyssey will be a marathon trip like no other. In an attempt to break the world record of the fastest surface journey to every nation on earth, The Odyssey is the amazing documentary of film-maker Graham Hughes and his insane trip around the world. As well as the 192 member states of the UN, Graham will also attempt to step foot in the likes of Taiwan, Kosovo and Palestine, bringing the grand total up to 200 territories; which means less than two days per country and an average of 150 miles travel a day, every day for 52…

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