Day 420: Lie To Me

24.02.10: I thought I would have a few hours to mooch around Rome in the morning, but I found myself unable to prise my worthless body from my bed until after 10am. By the time I had breakfast and tried (and failed) to find a free wi-fi zone, it was time for me to take the train to Civitavecchia, Rome’s port and the place where the boat to Tunisia left from. Urk. The boat to and from Tunisia was horrifically horrific last time, and this time it was no better. Same boat, same company, same unholy rip-off. For a start, the boat was two hours late boarding, which meant that I was left standing in the car-park like an unsuccessful prostitute for longer than would otherwise be sensible. Once (finally) on board, the horribly familiar interior of the Sorrento loomed into view. I had a 'deck'…

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THE ODYSSEY: Review of 2009

I guess now is a good time to look back over what was the year that was, the highs and lows of life on the road. If you can't be bothered reading my blogs for the whole year (and who could blame you?) here's 2009: An Earth Odyssey in a nutshell... January 2009 Ah, January – the whizzbangshebang through South America... for the first two weeks I was on target and on schedule. But then The Caribbean reared it's ugly head and well and truly stuffed me up for the next couple of months. Countries Visited: 19 Running Total: 19 February 2009 February was a difficult month – just getting from St Vincent to Mexico required all my skill and dexterity, of which I have neither, which is probably why it took me a month, not the week I expected it to. Countries Visited: 10 Running…

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Day 132: Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Ass On The Way Out

12.05.09 Not much to say really. Said my goodbyes to the chaps in the hostel, jumped in a taxi and headed on over to the port, stopping at various banks on the way out... er, can I change this wad of YOUR JOKE MONOPOLY MONEY to Euros please? No, sorry, interdit. What? Your currency is so rubbish that I can't even change it back to Euros in YOUR country? Yep, it's against the law. You can only rid yourself of your rotten Dinars in the airport. Christ Almighty. Fingers crossed, I could change the money in the sea port, I arrived in good time for my ferry which was (supposed to be) leaving at 1pm. I asked at information if I could change my Tunisian Dinarse here, they said I could but I'd have to wait for the bureau du change(s) to re-open. Er... they are…

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Day 131: You’ve GOT to be kidding

11.05.09 You can probably tell by the title of this day that things did not go according to plan. I got to the Algerian embassy for 8am, waited for it to open, waited to be let inside and then waited to find out if I could get a visa. By 10am, I had my answer. No. You can't get a visa for Algeria unless you apply for it in your home nation. Rats. This was not good news. Kicking myself AGAIN that I didn't take the boat with Laura on Saturday night, I rang Grimaldi ferries (they put the GRIM in Grimaldi) and they said they couldn't alter the ticket - I had lost it. Seventy Euro down the drain. CHINNNNG!! [the sound of Sonic the Hedgehog landing on a spike and losing all of his rings]. After a cheap and cheerful sojourn around Europe, Africa…

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Day 130: Deal or No Deal?

10.05.09: So I missed the ferry back with Laura, I had shelled out for a cabin and everything. Having a relaxing night on the boat before saying our farewells over an ice cream in Sicily would have been perfect. But the world is not a perfect place and Africa is not my friend - it doesn't want me here, I can tell. I met Raouf that morning, and we went for something to eat (not such a great idea, I was hungover to hell). There he pulled out a letter, written in Arabic, with only the words ‘visa' and ‘BBC' in Roman font. It had a stamp at the bottom and all looked quite official. But when Raouf wouldn't let me film it, that ol' spidey-sense turned into full on alarm bells. Something wasn't right. We then walked around the town to where the louages leave…

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Day 129: Close But No Cigar

09.05.09: Again we were up at the crack, I said my farewells to Laura and shoved her on a Louage back up to Tunis (or at least I thought I did). I got a Taxi to the Libyan border, and in a damn near carbon copy of what happened yesterday, the Tunisian border guards turned me back. Leo - the Webmaster - doesn't like me swearing on my blogs, but you can probably hazard a guess at the string of expletives that I launched at the desert. But they said I could get a visa from Sfax, a city halfway back to Tunis, and that the embassy was open today. I made a beeline, passing up my change to go and visit Tatouine (oh yes it exists!) and the Star Wars film sets. Bah! Upon arrival in Sfax, I headed to the Libyan embassy, which was…

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Day 128: Interdit!

08.05.09: Laura and I hauled ourselves out of bed as early as we could and jumped a taxi for the short ride to the Algerian border. Now, if this was anything like the border into Panama, Ukraine or Belarus, it would be possible to get through the first set of border guards (the ‘home nation' if you will) and talk to the second set (the country you wish to enter) and by doing so step foot over the border, which invariably runs half-way between the two. That's not the case in Tunisia, though, as I was about to discover... We arrived at the border around 7am. Laura stayed in the cab (best not filming stuff on borders - gets you into trouble!) and I went to speak to the guard - would he let me pass to go and speak to the Algerian guards? Would he…

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Day 127: Welcome to Africa

07.05.09: The ferry to Tunisia was supposed to leave at 8am, so Laura and I dragged our asses to the port for 7am. The ferry didn't arrive until 8am. By 10.30am, we were still in port. Welcome to Africa. We haven't even left Sicily yet. Better get used to it. The ferry took all day - it was supposed to get into Tunis at 4pm. Ha! We got in around 8pm. The first guy I spoke to (well, he spoke to me) claimed to be a taxi driver (he wasn't) and would charge us 20 diner (about a tenner) to take us to the bus station. I haggled him down to 15 diner and we jumped in his ‘taxi' ('twas a car). Upon arriving at the bus station, he demanded 20, which considering we had made some unscheduled stops along the way, I thought was fair…

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