Day 1,201: Full Steam Ahead!

Sun 15.04.12: There’s a lot of boring technical stuff that I have to keep on top of while bumming around the known universe. Keeping this website updated is one thing, keeping my cameras charged is another. I also need to avoid running out of tapes. Thus far, this expedition has eaten over (get this) 500,000 words, 600 blog entries, 300 hours of video tape, 10TBs worth of disk space and tens of thousands of digital photographs. There’s one person generating all that content, and that person is me. Needless to say, managing it single handed is a bit of a nightmare. But that’s no excuse for running out of tapes. While I was wondering around Taipei on Thursday night I saw a ton of camera shops, all selling the little miniDV cassettes that my antiquated steam-powered Sony A1 uses. It gives a great picture quality though,…

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Day 1,200: To Curse A Thief

Sat 14.04.12: After the good news from Hartmann, I did what all good backpackers do on Friday nights in strange and foreign lands. I went headed to the pub. A guy staying in the hostel called Nathan gave me a lift to the Brickyard and there I met a bunch of Canadians and Americans with which to celebrate my good news. I woke up this morning, well, this afternoon, in the spare room of a couple I had been drinking with, and after thanking them profusely (and eating their bagels), I headed back to the backpackers to get everything all sorted for tomorrow’s big excursion. Saturday 14 April 2012 was a big day for us scousers, as not only was Everton playing Liverpool at Wembley for the FA Cup Final, the Grand National horse race was also being held at Aintree. Intending to watch both of…

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Day 1,199: Friday the 13th

Fri 13.04.12: If I was going to stand any chance of getting on this ship, I needed to head down to the southern port city of Kaoshiung, stat. Luckily for me, the Taiwanese have been good enough to actually building a speedy, efficient and, most importantly, INEXPENSIVE way of travelling from one end of the country to the other. ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION BRITAIN, AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA? It’s quite a simple concept that they’ve come up with: they have a ‘railway line’ and what they like to call ‘trains’ run along it. For those of you living in backwards, impoverished nations like Britain, Australia and America, a ‘railway line’ consists of two metal rails which run parallel to each other, separated by blocks of wood or concrete that we like to call ‘sleepers’. A ‘train’, a thing that’s a bit like a coach but can hold…

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Day 1,198: Palau On My Mind

Thu 12.04.12: If I’m to stand any chance of completing this quest, there are two things that must happen. One is that I am given permission to travel on the Mell Sembawang, a cargo ship out of Taiwan that calls in to both Micronesia and Palau – two of the final six countries I need to visit. The other is that a kind-hearted yachtie takes pity on me and agrees to ferry me up to The Seychelles from Madagascar. For the other countries, there are other options, other routes, other shipping companies, but for these two critical legs of The Odyssey Expedition, I have no other alternatives, no aces up my sleeve, no Plan-B if things go tits-up. It’s Hobson’s choice, and if Hobson says no, then I’m screwed. I had sent an email off to the owners of the Mell Sembawang as soon as I…

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Days 1,188-1,197: Placating Neptune

Mon 02.04.12 – Wed 11.04.12: It was an early start on Monday morning. Sam had to go into work, so I grabbed all my gear and tagged along with her towards the city centre from St. Lucia. After saying thanks and goodbye, I reached the city centre with half an hour to spare. Although only 8am, it was already shaping up to be another SCORCHING HOT Brisbane day. I really don’t know how people do it. It is nice once in every blue moon to go a whole 24 hours without sweating your teeth out. I reached the PAE shipping office just after half eight and was taken around the office to meet the staff. I had already spoken to James Kurz, the operations officer, on Saturday morning and I spoke Trish to on Friday afternoon while feverishly attempting to gain passage on the MV Kota…

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Days 640-641: Sino-Sino Relations

02.10.10-03.10.10: In answer to the question I posed at the end of the last blog: VERY EASILY.  Yup, just like the globe (thanks to oil companies and climate changer deniers), relations between China and Taiwan are warming.  In fact, they’re becoming positively cosy.  Just last year it would have been impossible for me, as a Johnny Foreigner, to travel directly from China to Taiwan and back.  I may have been able to do it on a cargo ship to Hong Kong, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t holding my breath. Hurrah then for THE MAN IN SEAT 61 (http://www.seat61.com) one of the best websites in the world for overlanders such as myself, and one I do not hesitate to recommend.  When I was in India, I set Odyssey fan Alex Zelenjak in Sydney the task of finding me a route to Taiwan.  It didn’t take…

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