Mon 20.02.12 – Thursday 23.02.12:
Monday morning and I arrived in Sydney bright and early. After picking up a $1 coffee from 7/11 (I live off this stuff when I’m in Oz) I headed over to Summer Hill to see Benython (my agent) and talk shop. I’ve been a bit cagey about talking about the prospect of a second series of Graham’s World on this blog as there’s been a load of not very interesting behind-the-scenes shenanigans going on, chief amongst which is the closure of Lonely Planet TV in Australia (they what produced Series 1) and its relocation to San Francisco. The upshot of which is that we’re now dealing with a whole new bunch of people, all of whom need persuading that another series of my drunken misadventures in countries nobody has ever heard of is exactly what The Doctor ordered.
Tomorrow we should have a better idea of whether LP are up for another spin on the merry-go-round as the prospect of Series 2 will be brought up at a development meeting. I’ve also managed to bring my agent round the idea of publishing my travel memoirs as an all-singing-all-dancing eBook with pics and video and all that jazz (although it does make me wish I had taken more photos along the way).
I worked all day formulating pitches and coming up with good arguments for making Series 2. Benython treated me to lunch, and that kind of made it all worthwhile. I will quite literally dance for food. By 6pm I was back at the main bus station, ready to board the overnight Greyhound bus to Brisbane.
I know I swore never to take another Greyhound bus ever again after my treatment in the US, but (according to Wikipedia) Greyhound Australia is a completely separate company. It does crack me up though that they call these buses ‘luxury’. HA! They don’t know the meaning of the word!! Luxury is what you get in South and Central America: big, fully reclining seats, a steward doling out free coffee and great movies on the TV. Luxury is what you get in Turkey, where the tea is unlimited and the buses have free wi-fi. Luxury is a Chinese coach on which you get your own bed. Bliss!
Luxury is not a seat that reclines a measly 10 degrees, a chemical toilet covered in piss and air-con set to ‘nuclear winter’. And luxury is definitely NOT a driver who drivels on over the loud speaker about nothing in particular for half an hour while you’re trying to talk to your mum on the phone or watch the second series of An Idiot Abroad on your laptop. Like, shut up already!
I got to Brissy, a rather unfortunate looking city (think Birmingham but Australian), just after 10am. I immediately headed over to the nasty concrete library (think South Bank) for a bit of free wi-fi. In the afternoon I checked into the backpackers ready to leave tomorrow.
On Wednesday I headed over to the port. Being an idiot, I hadn’t checked on the Googles how far the port was from Brisbane City. It’s 35km away. No simply walking from the ship to the backpackers as is possible in Auckland, Suva and Melbourne: getting to Port of Brisbane is a bit of a trek to say the least. You have to take the Cleveland train to a town called Wynnum, which takes 40 minutes, then blow the best of $25 on a taxi to get from Wynnum to the port. Not that I’m complaining: Neptune Shipping have really outdone themselves, helping me on board the Southern Pearl, the Southern Lily 2 and now the Scarlett Lucy: the ONLY cargo ship I could find doing a regular trip Nauru. If Neptune had said no, I would have quite literally had no way whatsoever of getting to Nauru: there’s no yachts going there, no cruise ships and no other options. I owe these guys and I owe them big.
It looks now like the ship won’t be leaving until 1800 on Thursday, so with any luck, I’ll manage to cadge a lift back to Wynnum so I can get these blogs uploaded and everything up to date. The route of the Scarlett Lucy is a follows: Brisbane > Noro (Solomons) > Honiara (Solomons) > Tarawa (Kiribati) > NAURU > Noro (Solomons) > Brisbane. The round trip takes a good four weeks, but I’m here, I’m aboard, my passport has been stamped out and I’m all ready to go go go.
Once we set sail, any website updates will be few and far between and even phone calls are going to be very difficult indeed – there’s no roaming in Solomons, Kiribati and quite possibly Nauru. Mandy will be manning my email while I’m on radio silence. Our ETA back in Brisbane is March 23.
NAURU, YOU NAUGHTY LITTLE BADGER…