AVERAGE KENYA SWEPT ASIDE

Kenya were never really in the match and ended up losing by 148 runs.

Our free tickets from the team mean that we are now sitting with the wives and girlfriends of the Kiwi cricketers. This means that we have to be reasonably well behaved. This didn’t stop a couple of them doing funnels though ;)

ENGLAND GET WASTED

Made my flight withough losing my passport or anything else really stupid.

I finally got to the game and hooked up with the boys over half way through the first innings. My penalty for missing 35 overs was seven Denises. This might require some explaining.

Our boat has a crew of eight. Myself, Runty, Woza, Beige, Hummus, Toddie, Judge and Denise. All except one are hard drinking sport loving Kiwi boys. The final member of the crew is Denise a four foot long plastic tube with a large funnel attached to one end. This is the vessel from which all punishment drinks will be consumed on tour. And I can tell you that losing your passport and missing 35 overs is reason for plenty of punishment. All in all I think I got of pretty lightly with a meer seven funnels on arrival. One for every ten overs missed (there was talk of one for every five) and four for wickets and catches taken by Scotty Styrus. Each of us has a nominated player whose number is on the back of our shirts. When that player does something good like taking a catch or running someone out then you owe a funnel. When they do something bad like dropping a catch or getting out then you owe a funnel. As you can imagine it keeps the drinks ticking along nicely. I thought I had cosen well with Styrus as he has had a bad run of form lately. Buy not today. He took a number of catches and wickets and had a brilliant spell with the bat (more funnels) and was eventually made man of the match (another funnel). At least I got off more lightly that our skipper Woza who has the Kiwi Captain, Stephen Flemming won the toss (one funnel) and made several key decision as captain which eventually led to a convincing victory. Woza was overjoyed.

Walked home with a large number of very quiet English fans.

Later that night we went to a large street party and rolled in between 12 and 3.

CARIBBEAN TOUR 2007

My life in London has been punctuated by four major tours of different parts of the world.

  • 1999 Western Europe
  • 2001 Middle East
  • 2002 Africa
  • 2004 Easter Europe, Iran and India

So far my efforts have taken me to 67 different countries and today I am off again. This time I plan to notch up a few more sailing around the Caribbean following New Zealand’s fortunes at the Cricket World Cup.

Whenever possible I will try to put some photos on my http://www.flickr.com/ site.

A DISASTEROUS START

Despite all my boasting about places I have been etc I made the worst possible mistake on the way to the airport. I lost my passport! An hour of frantic phone conversations with disinterested train pions later I had it tracked down to a police station in central London. About the same time I tracked it down the guy who found it texted me and told me where it was. Not only a good samaritan but also someone with the initiative to jump on Google and see if there was anything else he could do. Top Bloke!

To make a long story short I paid a taxi driver a small fortune to drive it to Gatwick in a record breaking two and a half hours. Record breaking because that might be the longest that journey has ever taken. British Airways were a lot more helpful and got me on the afternoon flight to Barbados (68) with a connection to St Lucia (69) the following day.

On the flight out had a few drinks to calm the nerves.

Spent the night near the airport so I would be ready to make the short hop to St Lucia tomorrow morning.

PARIS WAS THE WINNER ON THE DAY

France 11-23 New Zealand

There is an inverse ratio of the number of Mexican Waves at a live sporting event and how exciting the match is. And while this weekends match rated a stonking 5 Mexican Waves it only scored a dire 2 out of 10 for excitement.

That didn’t matter though because we had a blast anyway and Paris scored massive 9.5 for tourism, restaurants and generally getting messy.

Photos in the usual place

DAY 82 – ALL BLACKS V ITALY (AUDIO ONLY)

Spent all morning taxiing around Tehran’s five star hotels looking for one that had a satellite sports package. Sadly the best they had was CCN and BBC with no sport. Gutted. This will be the first AB test I have missed in years and years

Went totally against my backpacker roots and have booked four internal flight to see most of Iran. This had to be done to make up time because I need to be in Mumbai in India in fifteen days. They only cost twenty quid each and it will save me around 53 hours of wasted bus time.

It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan where they all fast during daylight hours. As a tourist I am not expected to fast but the food places are mostly all closed so it’s academic. Have managed to find plenty of fruit and nuts which is lucky if you like living off foods that you can normally forage for in the for jungle.

Saw the National Jewels Museum which rivaled the collections I have seen in London and Moscow. They have a very impressive globe with 51366 precious stones on it. It would have been even more impressive if the eejit who made it had included New Zealand.

Walked past the German Embassy which has a memorial outside to the Iranians who were gassed by Saddam during the Iran Iraq war. Apparently the Germans supplied the gas to Iraq after the war had started. I wont type the whole thing but the last sentence reads ‘Iranian people who have been continuously witnessing the martyrdom of their beloved sons who had been victims of such lethal weapons shall never forget the German government’s complicity and undeniable role in this atrocious crime’. They don’t mince words here and they don’t forget or forgive quickly.

The building formerly known as the US Embassy but now known as ‘The US Den of Espionage’ is far more entertaining as it is covered with rabble rousing murals. Here are a few examples:

  • We will make America face a severe defeat.
  • On that day when the United States of America will praise us we should mourn
  • United States of America after ghods occupier regime is the most hated statebefore our nation
  • and the old classic Down with AmericaThere are other images showing America as warlike and corrupt as well. Well worth a look.

Had to read and listen to the ABs v Italy. The audio commentary over the internet by a group of guys at http://www.tvnz.co.nz/ was very funny. I emailed the show about how I had tried every five star in Tehran and they read it out on air to the whole wide world. My ego nearly exploded.

Changed some money on the street because the banks are closed. During the day the street value and the bank value is nearly identical. At night it’s a different matter. I found a guy and negotiated 35000 local for my forty dollars. When I counted and only found 25000 I asked what the deal was. He looked at me seriously and said one word ‘commission’. I gave him two of my own words and went to someone else. Money changers are one small step away from taxi drivers as far as I am concerned.

After dinner I caught the metro home. I’ve caught the metro in several countries now so I pretty much consider myself an international metro expert. Tehran’s metro is very new so it was easy to sort out. Firstly I checked the map and sorted out where I need to go. Then I bought a ticket for about 5p. I was cool. I had it under control. I walked down to the platform and wouldn’t you know it a train was waiting with its doors open. I didn’t run. I’m no metro beginner. As I calmly stepped onto the train I was smug in the knowledge that I truly am an international metro expert. I was performing a quick backup check to make sure there was no mistake when the conductor pulled my shoulder and signaled for me to step off the train. Eh? What had I done? What could possibly be wrong? And then I had an epiphany. As I stepped off I looked back over my shoulder and sure enough the carriage was full of women – and only women – all looking at me like I was a Muppet (or whatever they have here instead of Muppets because The Muppets is probably banned). How was I to bloody know the bloody tube in bloody Tehran is bloody segregated.

DAY 87 – LARNIKA AND FLYING TO ATHENS

Made the call early this morning to fly to Athens and to try to get an earlier Easyjet to London. I figure Easyjet should let me go standby if they have any empty seats. I mean why not move me forward in case they can sell my seat on my flight? Right? Anyway it wasn’t that much more expensive and it was fifteen hours and twenty minutes faster.

Tried to hire a scooter to go down to Larnika for a day at the beach but failed because I didn’t have my drivers license. This turned out to be even more of a bummer because the bus I took passed several beautiful bays that I would have loved to stop and have a look at. It didn’t matter too much though as the bay at Larnika was pretty bloody nice. It is surrounded by pine trees, a small white walled red roofed Greek town and even has a castle overlooking it. The water was much colder than I have grown used to but I stayed in it for ages anyway because I didn’t know when I would get a chance to swim again.

Going through customs at Rhodes international airport I set off the metal detector. As usual I was still stuffing my passport and ticket back into my money pouch. I looked up an started to apologise to the customs guy that it was my camera and I would have it for him in a minute and he just looked at me with an “and?” expression on his face. It took me a couple of seconds to realise that he didn’t want anything from me and that I was free to go. He relaxed attitude caused me to wonder about airport security. I mean I could have gotten anything through. Anything. Paranoia got the better of my thoughts, as this was the first time I has flown since September the 11th. In the departure lounge I noticed that the flight before mine was to Tel Aviv. How much of a terror target is that city I ask you? So lets recap:

  1. I set of a metal detector alarm
  2. At an international airport
  3. 25 days after the worst terrorist atrocity of all time
  4. That used passenger planes as terror weapons>
  5. In an airport about an hour away from one of the biggest terror targets of all time
  6. And I wasn’t searched
  7. And I wasn’t made to go back through the gate without the offending metal object.

Scary fucking stuff for the solo traveler with plenty of time on his hands to think. Damned overactive mind. Was initially calmed by the fact that the flight before mine is going to Tel Aviv. But then I was reworried by thought that a hijacker would probably rather hijack a plane full of soft Greeks (and one tough Kiwi) than a plane full of Israeli soldiers and undoubtedly some members of the Hot Chick Brigade, who can kill with a single punch. Eventually I got a grip on my paranoia and the flight went well. Of course.

At Athens it turns out that the price tag on taking an earlier Easyjet is one hundred quid. Fuck it I have gambled and lost. Now I am stuck in dirty old Athens instead of the paradise that is the island of Rhodes.

On the up side the mosquitoes are at least two days behind me again.

Bused to the center of town where a taxi driver offered to take me to my hostel for a mere nine pounds. I smiled and asked him for directions. Which he gave me. After that he said “So how much do you want to pay then?” I offered him two, which he declined. I offered my hand by way of thanks for the directions and he slapped it away, which was a fucking cheek. If you try to rip off a visitor to your country because you think they will be naive and stupid then you don’t you have any right to behave all snooty when they turn you down. In the end I gave him my ‘look mate, I’ve played this game with the Gypos’ look and walked off.

Ten minutes of walking later I started to worry if I had been given good directions or not (remember Morocco) when I noticed one of the three guys weaving in front of me was wearing a Speights t-shirt. Sweet, pissed Kiwis. They arrived in town this morning and their taxi driver didn’t know what or where a hostel was (yeah right) so they ended up paying sixteen quid each for a room for one day. For the billionth time, DON’T TRUST TAXI DRIVERS, almost all of them are laying cheating wankers. Not only were the Kiwis highly entertaining, but also they’re heading my way and they even gave me their map. And we only had to stop to buy porn once (them, not me).

Finally got to the Athens YHA to find it fully booked for the next three days. Eventually I found another hostel around the corner. The new place is the usual budget travelers, cramped dorm, red light district affair that I tend to find myself in. On the upside I share my room with three Japs who live up to all the usual Japanese stereotypes about politeness and quietness.

Am reminded by the advertising here that Athens is the host of the next Olympic games. During the thirty minute walk to my hostel I passed heroin addict woman with hundreds of needle wounds on her arms walking through traffic in a daze and was sized up by at least five street people (that I noticed) who were deciding how easy a mark I was.