Day 174: This Is A Low

23.06.09: Last night, I met with a really lovely girl from North London called Pricilla. She’s been working for UNICEF in Guinea-Bissau, one of the more worrying countries I have to visit. The President was assassinated back in March and one of the candidates for the ensuing election has also been murdered. The elections are due to take place next Monday I think. To make things worse, West Africa is now full pelt into rainy season, when the rivers are flooded, roads impassable and malaria is rampant. My timing couldn’t be worse. But that’s something to worry about once I leave. Which, according to Mito and the captain of the Micau will definitely, definitely be tomorrow. The boat will come into port tonight and leave tomorrow afternoon. I have Mentor phoning me every day, the fishermen (whose livelihood depends on getting their fishing boat back) are…

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Day 173: In Praise Of Science

22.06.09: Did I really expect to be leaving today? I am that stupid? The Micau is still out there in the water, bobbing up and down and laughing at me. Not going anywhere. Last Saturday, I met a captain of another ship, The Manx Lion, which was heading to Banjul in Gambia. He said he’d give me a lift but I (stupidly) took a punt on the Micau actually leaving. I could be halfway back to Africa by now. I had a bit of a Thomas Tantrum and a bit of a cry, and then my thoughts turned to my blog, which while stranded on Calypso’s Isle here may as well turn in a sort of newspaper column that nobody in their right mind would ever publish. So the topic of discussion today will be religion. Ha! Only joking! Yeah, not a great idea when I’ve…

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Day 172: In Defence Of Downloads

21.06.09: So I’m still here in horrible Cape Verde. My boat SHOULD be leaving tomorrow, but to be honest I’m not holding my breath. Today, I whiled away my time at Café Sofia, met some lovely interesting people, played a game of chess (and won!) hung out with Mito’s friend Nilsa and ended up at 3am in a hotel room with a whole bunch of American Peace Corps types getting so drunk on the local grog (YES IT’S CALLED GROG!!) that when I awoke the next day I was surprised I could still see. In keeping with my last two blogs, I thought I would use this opportunity to bleat on mercilessly about a subject close to my heart. So today you (lucky lucky blighter) are going to hear my thoughts on technology and the way the establishment just DON’T GET IT and never will –…

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Day 171: Architecture and Morality

20.06.09: Yesterday, I waxed lyrical about the (lack of) British film industry, and now while I’m stuck in Cape Verde, I’d like to draw your attention to a series of parallels with the unbelievably arrogant and idiotic world of architecture. Luddites With iPods In a recent survey carried about for the BBC’s excellent ‘Restoration’ series, they asked bods in the street whether they preferred old or modern architecture. The overwhelming response was, predictably, the old stuff. This is not because we are a bunch of crazy luddites who can’t see a good thing when we see one, if the question had been ‘do you prefer iPods or cassette walkmans?’, the response would have been firmly on the side of the clever, shiny and new. The reason why so many people love and are willing to fight to preserve old buildings is because they are simply better…

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Day 170: The British Film Insanity

19.06.09: I think my boat is going to leave today, but I still don’t know. At the moment I am sitting outside Café Sophia using Mito’s laptop and I’ve got nothing better to do, so I thought I would entertain you with my thoughts on the British Film Industry, or as I prefer to call it, the British Film Insanity. Hollywood depresses the hell out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the films they make, and a week doesn’t pass by without them releasing at least one movie that is worth watching. My favourite films – Star Wars, Sullivan’s Travels, His Girl Friday, The African Queen, The Apartment, Ghostbusters, Back To The Future (I could go on all day) have all been produced by the Dream Factory in over there in La-La Land. No problem with that! The reason Hollywood depresses the hell out…

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Day 169: Are You Still Here?

18.06.09: Are You Still Here? asked a kid this morning as I walked down for breakfast at Café Sophia. I told him my boat would be leaving tomorrow. That’s what you said last week, he said. I shrugged. Anyway, I went over to see Mito at the office (Christ he must HATE my guts by now!) and spent the morning chatting to Mandy online, which was nice. After lunch, Mito and I went back to see the Captain of the Port for one last bit of needless bureaucracy, only to discover that he now wanted twenty euros processing fee or something. Well, I think(!) it’s all sorted now, but it doesn’t look like the boat is going to leave until 10pm tomorrow (they just can’t bear to see me leave), so there might be time to watch the new Star Trek movie before I leave. And,…

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Day 168: Take A Deep Breath…

17.06.09: Woke up, excited and invigorated. The Odyssey is back on the road!! All I have to do is pay the shipping guys and get my passport back. LET’S GO!!!! I grabbed a bite to eat at Café Sophia and headed over to the office to meet Mito. Then we went to see the shipping guys, got a letter off them saying they wished to take the pirogue and were giving me passage, then went to see Maria the Lawyer, got a letter requesting (demanding) that they let me take the boat, went to the port office, got told to come back with a copy of the boat’s ownership documents, went back to Mito’s office, got in touch with the fishermen and got them to fax the ownership documents over to Maria, made a number of calls to my STUPID bank who have locked my telephone…

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Day 167: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

16.06.09: Mito rang with some good news - my boat, the Micau, was in port! And would be leaving tomorrow! Wonderful news. I got excited and Tweeted and everything. My boat is leaving tomorrow. My boat is leaving tomorrow. Yippee!! We went to see the boat guys. To transport me and the fisherman’s boat, they wanted €5000. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. Mito managed to get them down to €3500, but still. My word. Is Africa the most expensive place on Earth? I bet Japan will be cheaper. I bet. Tonight we met up with Helga and Nilsa again, but I crashed out early. Yeah! Outta here tomorrow!!

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Day 166: Graham’s War on Woo!

15.06.09: Travel broadens the mind. Or so they say. I’m always a little sceptical about what they say, I would proffer that it is education that broadens the mind. When you go somewhere new, you are thrown into a situation in which you have no choice but to learn a bunch of stuff you never knew before - words of a different language, perhaps, the plan of a new city or metro system or the history of the ungainly edifice for which you just shelled out €10 for the guided tour. Your brain, inactive for the past few turgid months of daily grind and talent show television, is suddenly bulging with new and exciting stuff – which your mind must naturally broaden itself to encompass. So being a rather well-travelled chap, it is with an immense chagrin that I find myself being accused of being closed…

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Day 165: Peace, Inc.

14.06.09: With nowt to do, I got up late and headed over to Café Sophia for a beer and to read a book. I got chatting (and playing cards with) a lovely American couple, David and Caroline. They’re in the peace corps in Mali, of all places, on a two-year assignment. Crikey. That’s hardcore. Caroline teaches and helps out with microloans so that women can start their own businesses while David works with Water and Sanitation! Gawks! That’s what I’m trying to raise money for!! I had a tremendously pleasant afternoon with my new American friends, and we also got chatting with another American called Debbie and a girl from Zimbabwe called Jennifer. That night, David and Caroline left to get the boat to another island, leaving me, Debbie and Jennifer to go out and grab some food. Later I met up with Mito, who took…

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