Day 666: Such a Chill

28.10.10: I awoke with my teeth chattering like I was camping naked under the stars in Svalbard: my jumper, jeans, waistcoat, sleeping-bag AND blanket were not enough to shield me from the searing frigidity of the air conditioning on this bus.  I mean, I’ve been on buses where the driver has had the same homeostatic malfunction that allows fat orange girls from Newcastle to go out in a blizzard wearing little more than a piece of dental floss, but this was just nuts. I tried to get him to turn it down, but he just laughed and ignored me.  Was I the only one suffering?  Would I be the first person to die of hypothermia in the history of Borneo?  Everyone else looked just as frozen to death as me, but they seemed to be taking it in their stride.  One guy was wearing a woolly…

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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 655: Monty Python’s Floating Circus

17.10.10: ROLL UP! ROLL UP! For one day only: the magnificent, the hilarious, the intrinsically fascinating BLOKE WHO’S NOT FROM AROUND HERE! Yes, I get stared at a lot.  Usually because I’m walking down the street babbling inanely to my camera, but mostly because I’m as whiter than a late-era Michael Jackson and I have the most unusual mutation on my 16th chromosome that makes my hair a most ridiculous shade of red. I guess there’s a point (usually when you reach India) when you stop seeing it as rude, but you know like, sometimes, you just really want to – you know – scratch your arse?  Or maybe adjust yourself after a night’s kip?  What if doing so resulted in gales of laughter from the stalls?  I better explain. Yesterday, after fighting Jakarta and losing miserably (and then winning by default) I was in no…

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