Day 56: Starry Starry Night

25.02.09: Last night, I spent a few hours up on the bridge with Alexander, one of the officers on board. He's from the Ukraine and loves to use the word ‘bullshit' in a thick Ukrainian accent. This I like. It was the night watch, so we went nuts on the coffee. The bridge is six stories above the deck (The Linge Trader is a big ship!) and there's a walkway around the bridge, which you can step out onto and give yourself vertigo. There was no moon, no clouds and the sky was littered with stars. Once again, I found myself wincing that Mandy, my girlfriend, wasn't here to see it. It's funny that every time I see something cool, I feel an overwhelming urge to grab someone else and say - look at this! Isn't it cool?! That's probably why I love Mandy - she…

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Day 55: Halcyon Days

24.02.09: I'm going to be 30 this Saturday. 30? Me? Where did all the time go? I'm still pleasantly surprised each morning that I don't have to put my school uniform on and listen to Brett and Jarvis and Thom and Damon on my Walkman WITH A TAPE IN IT outside the Old Swan pub waiting for the 68 or the 92 (whichever came first) with yellow, "Free Terry Fields" (who the hell was Terry Fields?) banners high on the nasty, nasty municipal flats that gloomily curved around the corner begging to be utterly destroyed and replaced with a great big, scouse Tesco! I still think it would be a good idea to head down to the swings in Springfield Park with Dino and a bottle of vodka and put the world to rights (and try to suss out the mystery of girls). I still think…

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Day 54: The Jam Maker

23.02.09: 5.30am. The phone rang. Groggily, I answered it. Hello? It was the captain. You have to get off this ship. Now. We will not take you and the ship leaves in ten minutes. Get off! In an obstinate attempt to force fate to ensure I got to stay on the Linge Trader, I hadn't packed my bags, and my crap was spread out all over the cabin. I hurriedly stuffed everything into my backpack, possibly breaking all my things in the process and trudged downstairs like a man condemned. Into the ship's office and there was Junior finishing up the ship's paperwork. What was I doing? I have to get off, the captain says... No, no, no - you can't get off here, they won't let you. What? Immigration say you cannot get off. I'll ring the captain. A fraught phone call ensued. The outcome…

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Day 53: Walking The Plank

22.02.09: We pulled into Kingston, Jamaica at about 6pm. I could see the Pamplona, the ship that will be taking me to Costa Rica, on the other side of the dock, ready to leave at midnight. But The Caribbean had one last trick up its evil little sleeve for me. The permission hadn't come through from the owners. To cut a long story short, there was no way I was getting on that boat. A flutter of activity between me and Dino (so sorry Dino), keeping him up until 1am on a Sunday night with work in the morning. Options, options, options. Then, captain Van Der Plaats suggested I stay on board here. We would be in Mexico on Thursday. I was tired, I was fed up and I had no intention of spending an extra second more than I had to in the Caribbean. I…

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Day 52: We Could Be Heroes

21.02.09: Dolphins!! I decided to stretch my legs out on deck and saw hundreds of dolphins splashing about in the water, having a good time. But by the time I got my camera out, they all splashed away. Must've not wanted the bother of signing those damn release forms. We made it into Port-au-Prince (Haiti) in the afternoon, and I can't help the feeling we are going nowhere fast - we've just sailed around the damn island! At least tomorrow we'll be in Jamaica. Oh yeah. Jamaica. I'm planning to meet a girl called Dianne who's going to teach me to play the steel drums. I tried to get out of the port to have a mooch around the city of Port-au-Prince, but it was getting dark and I couldn't get myself a port pass, which is different from a passport. So I watched the containers…

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Day 51: The Other Odyssey

20.02.09: Today passed in a daze. Out to sea, no mobile phone, no internet. I think I had been saving up my first day off work for today. I lay exhausted, in my cabin and read The Odyssey again. The old one, not this one. I'm not that much of an ego maniac. Although I've got to say that old Odysseus and I would have probably got on like a house on fire - faced with choosing between sparing the life of a priest or a poet, he spares the poet. Nice to see adventurer/priestly relations haven't improved much in three millennia.

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Day 50: The Choir Invisible

19.02.09 Fifty days in, who'd have thunked it? I'm still in the Dominican Republic. I've been here over a week! Bah! But I leave today (thanks again, Team Odyssey!) and all, for the moment, is good. Met a friend of Ken's called Esperanza. She's from Colombia and she photographs naked chicks (including herself) for a living, pretty good at it too (ahem - by all accounts). Ken does her website. Not often you meet a good-looking girl and the first thing they show you are naked photos of herself, but there you go, welcome to the DR. A light lunch with Ken and Esperanza and then off to the offices of DR1.com to say goodbye to everyone. Got down to the docks in good time, only to find out that the container boat, The Linge Trader, wouldn't be leaving until tomorrow. More delays! But...I was allowed…

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Day 49: Go, Team Odyssey!

18.02.09: Still no word from the Linge Trader. Hugh has gone to Germany now and Lorna and Dino are in work. I'm in the office at DR1 with Ken, TJ, Lu, Lee and Robert - it's becoming like a proper job. I'm going to get editing Week 5 and 6 videos now, so I don't think anything more exciting is going to happen today, but if it does, I'll be sure to let you know. Sorry it's taken me so long to update my blog - it's hard when all the time you are awake, you are trying to get your next means of passage secured. Once I'm back on Terra Firma and I'm sitting on buses for hours on end, they'll be up here every day. Promise! OH, HANG ON A MINUTE... WHAT'S THIS?! I've just this moment received an email from the dude in…

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Day 48: Home Cookin’

17.02.09 Are you still here? Got an email from Lonely Planet telling me not to feel too bad about being stuck in the Caribbean, because of all the great footage I'd be getting. I didn't have the heart to tell them I sat in an modern office all day working on a computer like a chump. So another day of phone calls, shipping timetables and website after website. Dino, Hugh and Lorna were on the case and eventually we were all left playing the waiting game. I did my sums and there's an outside chance that I could make the Eimskip boat from Canada to Iceland on 8th March... IF I can get on the ‘Linge Trader' to Jamaica; IF I can get the ‘Pamplona' to Costa Rica on Monday; IF I make every bus connection to Key West in Florida and get there from Costa…

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Day 47: The DR1 Will See You Now

16.02.09: I needed somewhere that I could sit and work, and Ken and TJ work in a place around the corner - the offices of DR1.com, which is a website for English Speakers in the Dominican Republic with news, features, bulletin board etc. They work in the office with an American guy called Lu, a Brit called Lee and another Brit called Robert - the owner of the company. Media stuff on everyone's screen, everyone working away but taking breaks every now and again to tell jokes, a dart board on the door... All it was missing was a sexy pole-dancer who worked upstairs and I could have been home. A wonderful guy called Román Cid who had seen my videos on YouTube (Week 1 - 220,000 hits and counting! Woo! THANK YOU YOUTUBE!) got in touch and really, really helped out - he managed to…

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