Days 997-999: Far From The Madang Crowd

24.09.11-26.09.11: Eddie left early Saturday morning to go Scuba diving (did I mention that PNG offers the best Scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities in the world? – Excellent visibility, tropical delights, coral reefs and – oh yes – hundreds of WWII wrecks for you to explore… nice) so I met up with his fellow piloty mates Duncan (NZ), Heinrich (SA) and Shane (Oz) to grab some commonwealth brunch on the way to the airport. Port Moresby airport is a pretty sweet little aerodrome, but I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this friendly sign. Ah... Madang internet no likey uploady images... I'd add it later!! I said thanks and goodbye to the guys. They’ve got a couple more years to run on their contracts so no doubt I’ll see them again if and when I return to PNG. Up up and away!! The prop plane…

Continue Reading Days 997-999: Far From The Madang Crowd

Days 995-996: Please Sir, I Want Moresby

22.09.11-23.09.11: After meeting with Sophie I was whisked away to her flat which overlooks Ela beach and she made me some din-dins which we ate with her flatmate Alex on the balcony as the sun went down. Port Moresby has this dramatic look to it, with many of the buildings perched on the hillsides that drop off to the sea – sadly, most (if not all) of the buildings are made of that cheap nasty concrete stuff that so excites the loins of architects and accountants, so the next day I visited the Port Moresby museum to see some authentic PNG art and culture – and I’ve got to say I wasn’t disappointed. The museum is free – okay, so it could do with a spring clean -- but the wooden artefacts, carvings, totems, masks, canoes, shields etc. are a sheer joy. The Papuans have been…

Continue Reading Days 995-996: Please Sir, I Want Moresby

Day 994: Beyond the Valley of the Ultra-Conservatives

21.09.11: I left Mandy in Melbourne’s wee Tullamarine airport on Tuesday evening. We had spent the afternoon getting the last things sorted: chief of which was a new click-click camera for me as well as a teeny battery powered razor (which I heartily recommend to any would-be globetrotter who likes to play with his (or her) facial furniture). Mand was with me as I checked onto the flight and after us both hoovering up some Nando’s chicken (truly South Africa’s second greatest export after Nelson Mandela) we said bon voyage… a parting made a little sweeter by the fact we would be back together again at the end of October. A couple of hours later I was in Brisbane airport looking for Mandy’s mate Matt who had kindly offered to put me up for the night. After a swift half at an Irish pub that was…

Continue Reading Day 994: Beyond the Valley of the Ultra-Conservatives

Days 990-993: Go-Go-Gadget Backpack

17.09.11-20.09.11: Today THE ODYSSEY EXPEDITION gets its skates on again. Living up the traditional Odyssey brand, I’ve been waylaid for far too long - but thanks to some clever editing, I’m sure nobody watching series two of Graham’s World will notice that 9 months has passed between episodes 6 and 7. No doubt state-of-the-art CGI will be employed to reduce my ever-expanding beer gut to reasonable standards. I’m chipper, feeling good, motivated and excited about the next chapter… one that will, if all goes well, take me halfway across the world and back again. Even after I finish the South Pacific islands, I still have to pesky Palau… and I have to (somehow) get back to Taiwan to get there. Even then there’ll be four countries left to tick off the list: Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and South Sudan. So from Taiwan I’m going to have…

Continue Reading Days 990-993: Go-Go-Gadget Backpack

Days 988-989: WOO HOO!!!

15.09.11-16.09.11: I’ve just heard back from Martin at China Navigation (the subsidiary of Swire Shipping involved with PNG) and the good news is that there is a ship willing and able to take me from Lae in Papua New Guinea to Honiara in The Solomon Islands and back to Australia so I can FINALLY officially tick this great big silly continent off my list. The ship is called the Papuan Chief (cool name eh?) and it’ll be departing Lae around the 10th of October. Major thanks to Swire Shipping, China Navigation, Ray and Sebastian in PNG, Paul in Melbourne, Ross in Sydney and Martin in Singapore as well as kudos and kisses for Lorna and Mandy who helped out with the deal. Lorna especially so: she’s in the UK and the time difference meant she either had to stay up very late or get up very early in…

Continue Reading Days 988-989: WOO HOO!!!

Days 985-987: Saddle Up, People!

12.09.11-14.09.11: The time for procrastination is over. Much of this year has been spent – some might say wasted - holding out hope for a yachtie to invite me onboard his vessel and whisk me away into the wild blue yonder for nothing more than the price of a few beers and a barrel of diesel. After being held on tenterhooks for 8 months (repeatedly being told that the yacht in question would be ready to go ‘in a few days’) I gave up that pipedream. I guess the old adage is a good today as it’s always been: if something sounds too good to be true… So I cast my net out wider, appearing on TV here in Australia and on countless radio shows, always throwing in the ‘anyone up for an adventure?’ line (while trying not to sound too desperate, of course). I got…

Continue Reading Days 985-987: Saddle Up, People!

Days 974-984: Conspiracy Nut Cornflakes

01.09.11-11.09.11: I was a kid in the eighties. I grew up with the distinct possibility that at any moment the Russians might take a dislike to the latest Madness single or something and destroy the entire world. Films like Red Dawn and When The Wind Blows didn’t help. My brother Alex and I would waste entire summers digging fallout shelters (which invariably ended up as two foot deep puddles of mud) and learning to fend for ourselves in the field across the road, seeing if we could live off ‘rations’ of sugar and ketchup sachets stolen from Little Chef, you know: just in case. And then one night, suddenly and unexpectedly, the Berlin Wall collapsed. All that fear, all the paranoia and all the neuroses that the Cold War had instilled in my and my parents' generation had gone. The sword of Damocles that had dangled…

Continue Reading Days 974-984: Conspiracy Nut Cornflakes

Days 963-973: 10 Things I Hate About U(K) – Part 2

21.08.11-31.08.11: Here's the rest of my jolly list of ten things that make me pull my hair and scream about silly old Blighty... 6. The Daily Mail For the non-Brits reading this, I’ll let Uncyclopedia explain what The Daily Mail means to us lot in the UK: Often referred to as "Fascism with Oven Gloves on" The Daily Wail, also known variously as The Daily Hate, The Daily Heil, The Daily Bile, The Daily Hate Mail and The Daily Fail is a hugely popular British comic for those who believe themselves (usually mistakenly) to be members of the middle classes. While I have nothing but quiet distain for comic-book newspapers like The Sun and The Star, at least everybody knows they’re comics. The Mail is different, it tries to fob itself off as a serious newspaper while obsessing over celebrities, immigration and Princess Diana like some…

Continue Reading Days 963-973: 10 Things I Hate About U(K) – Part 2

Days 949-962: 10 Things I Hate About U(K) – Part 1

07.08.11-20.08.11: Occasionally I get messages from malcontents who find themselves offended by negative comments I’ve made about their country on this blog. It goes without saying that you can’t please all the people all of the time, but I wouldn’t want you thinking that I’m blinded by some misplaced sense of patriotism into believing that the UK is the be-all-and-end-all. It’s not. My League of Nations list is (as I admit in the pre-amble) tremendously subjective, and the fact that England comes out on top has more to do with my family and friends than it does any sense of rabid nationalism. With that in mind, and with last week’s riots leaving a bad taste in our mouths, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give the UK a damn good dressing down. Before I start, let me just say that the UK has many, many things…

Continue Reading Days 949-962: 10 Things I Hate About U(K) – Part 1

Days 943-948: Ain’t No Fat Lady Singin’

01.08.11-06.08.11: So I’ve come to the fine city of Sydney in pursuit of a yacht captain who is looking for ADVENTURE, EXCITEMENT and REALLY WILD THINGS on the high seas. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet the most excellent Team Odyssey members Alex Zelenjak and Damian Pallett in real life instead of in electric dreams. While I’m here, I’m going to be trying to get as much exposure for my quest as possible. I’m also having meetings with publishers – a nice little advance for my forthcoming best-seller “The World Is Slightly Pear Shaped (A Drunken Stumble Through Every Country On Earth)” would seriously help me finish this crazy backpack extravaganza sometime this decade. This morning I was on Channel Nine’s Today show, which is Australia’s equivalent of GMTV – I only had five minutes, so I just blurted out everything I could think…

Continue Reading Days 943-948: Ain’t No Fat Lady Singin’