Day 292: The Docker’s Omelette

19.10.09: Yesterday was spent creeping around Justine's apartment like a mouse. I think she's from Switzerland and I managed to get her to reveal that she worked for the government, but beyond that I drew a blank. I just kept to myself, edited some videos and read my book, trying desperately not to ruffle any feathers. This morning, I left as soon as I got out of bed. I was honestly happy to be out of there, the cloying atmosphere was incredibly oppressive. Not a pleasant couchsurf, it has to be said. Maybe her cat had just died or something. I guess I'll never know. I whiled away the day writing and editing until it was time to get on the boat – 4pm. I got to the café with the booking agents in the back, and they took me over the road to the port.…

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Day 291: George Lucas Syndrome

18.10.09: I firmly believe that behind every great man, there are a bunch of people telling him he's an idiot. Conversely, behind every idiot, there are a bunch of people telling him he's a great man. I call this the George Lucas Syndrome. If anyone cares to peruse the archives, you'll find a story that took place in a Californian screening room in 1976 – the screening of the rough cut of Star Wars, what was to turn out to be the greatest film in the world (unless you're joyless toad with no soul, or a girl). However, given the lack of special effects (ILM were too busy lounging around smoking dope to actually get any done in time) and shoddy dialogue, everybody at the screening said it was a big pile of steaming monkey droppings. Except for one man – Steven Spielberg. Now, in the…

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Day 290: Another Night In

17.10.09: The big news of today was the fact that the boat was delayed until MONDAY – what a surprise!! I TOLD you it was too easy. Apparently they're waiting for the cows to come home. Seriously. Sounds ominous. Dylan was scooting off into the bush with his mate Brad, so I was at a bit of a loose end. Brad suggested that I stay at his place, since his flatmate Justine is a couchsurfer. It sounded like a plan until Dylan and Brad loaded up their 4x4 and left me there on my own. I'm sure Justine is a lovely girl, once you get to know her, and I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I have never felt so unwelcome somewhere in my life (with the possible exception of the time that I turned up to midnight mass, drunk…

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Day 289: The Dar Side

16.10.09: Had a bunch of stuff to get done today, but as usual, I neglected my duties and proceeded to faff about instead. That's a little unfair, I did make it back to the port with my money for the ticket, and I also got a shave (much needed, I can tell you) and spent AGES in a bookshop looking for something that I haven't read but would quite like to. In the end I plumbed for “The Wizard of the Nile”. Imagine my disappointment when I found out it wasn't a Dungeons N' Dragons style Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, but a hard-hitting account of the life and times of Joseph Kony, that fruitloop who's been waging war in Northern Uganda for the best part of two decades. Bah. After lunch (more curry!), I headed back to Dylan's place and I tried to get on with my work,…

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Day 288: Well That Was Easy

15.10.09: So here we are in Dar es Salaam, which means 'haven of peace'…ahhh, isn't that nice? Although, it wasn't too peaceful ten years ago when some Al-Qaeda nutjobs blew up the American Embassy here. I sprung from my ethereal slumber like a cat whose just been pushed off the television and headed downstairs for my free breakie (I wasn't going to squander my free nosh now, was I?). There, I got talking to a girl from Dublin, who didn't half remind me of Laura McGann – probably related somehow. After that, I headed down to the port to do business with people who do business in Great Waters. I spoke to a shifty guy on the dock gate, he lead me to the back of a nearby cafe and there I met Mbuyi, a shipping agent who had a boat, leaving for the blimey-I-didn't-know-that-was-a-nation of…

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Day 287: The Slog

14.10.09: The big event of today was crossing the border into Tanzania, which is a little like Tasmania but with different letters. Nation 121. I've got to a whopping EIGHT countries in just ten days and I was (understandably) feeling rather happy about the current turn of evens. What I less happy about was my seat on the coach. Sat in the middle of the back row and with no back window, there was no way I could see – much less film – any of the exciting Tanzania stuff that was no doubt whizzing past. I was also less than impressed by the fact that – once again – the nation had just decided to embark on a whole new programme of road building just as I show up, turning a projected 12 hour journey from the border into a 20-hour slog. I contacted my…

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