Saturday, 16 June 2012

HOOK of HOLLAND - and HOME RUN !

15th - 16th June 2012

End of the Journey
I had a decent supper on board the splendid HMS Stena Brittanica and watched most of the footy where, uncharacteristically, "Ingerlund Ingerlund" won. I thought they performed rather well and seemed to display rare good manners and fair play; but then I know diddly squat about football.
Earlyish to bed in comfortable cabin and the next thing I knew it was a happy 'Good Morning' call over the PA system at 0500hrs. We were due to disembark at 0630hrs. I was back in UK. So thats it. Journey over, I suppose; or as we used to say in the army 'ENDEX'.
Not many pics of the return because I really couldn't be buggered to find my way up to the promenade deck on the roof to take a snap of what, frankly, looked a dull view over an ordinary harbour in fairly dismal overcast weather. I just got off and wandered down a long covered passageway to check in through what is now called Border Control. Not even a sight of the ship after stepping out of it. The Border Control people were dressed in rather scruffy black tie-less shirts. Why do our officials ( in most agencies ) seem to wish to look so down-at-heel and sport what can only be described as the baggy, unkempt Oxfam style? They are, as we put it, in shag order. Other nations' officials tend to take pride in looking smart in well fitting, stylish uniforms, polished shoes and are well groomed. Having said that, the lady who checked me in was at least polite and cheerful. Maybe they are trying to cultivate the 'homely and casual' look. Personally I think they lack a good Sarn't Major to smarten 'em up and give them a bloody good rifting and, from what I have read, their so called 'officers' are a bit of a shambolic, irresponsible and 'slopey-shouldered' shower. It shows.
I reckon I've had a most entertaining and educational trip around the globe, having visited 31 countries ( and I count Hong Kong as separate from China, which in fact it still is as any Hong Kong resident will tell you ). It has been done in a fairly relaxed fashion in just less than 18 months; 508 days to be precise, but who's counting. Well I was, obviously. If time and money had permitted I might have taken in more countries but the only additional places I would like to have gone to, but didn't, were; Alaska, Japan, Egypt, most of the rest South America, lots of Eastern Europe especially Poland and Turkey and perhaps the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania group. It is good to leave a few places for future ramblings.
Of the countries I did visit I really only scratched the surface, but got a reasonable idea of what they are like. Some places I am keen go back to, to explore and enjoy further. In many ways this scamper around the world was just a bit of a 'recce'.
The inevitable question people ask is "which country did you like the best?" It is impossible to answer, because one thing I did confirm is an already firmly held belief that all places/countries/nations have their pluses and their minuses, pros and cons, good things and bad things, good people and bad people. People are people the world over; and they are governed, and manipulated ( and lied to ), for better or for worse, by systems that are essentially beyond their control, however much the 'powers that be' pretend otherwise. They are then duly subjected to that government's laws, like 'em or not. I could, but it would be rather pointless, list all the things I, personally, found agreeable or otherwise in each country, so I won't. You should go and see for yourself, because your views are your own. Some people like marmite, some hate it.  I mean, some weird people in this country might even enjoy all the intrusive 'elf 'n' safety and surveillance procedures to which we are subjected nowadays ( for our own safety and protection, of course ) including those constant and maddening public transport 'announcements', or even wish them to go further. As individuals we don't really have any choice. Nowhere is perfect. That is for sure.
I will post this off as my FINAL BLOG, but may at some stage add an appendix chiefly for my own benefit, but which might also be of use to others wishing to do a bit of long distance travelling. It will list tips for kit, admin and procedures which I have learnt, often the hard way, over the past 18 months. Having said that, I never experienced any serious problems despite all the horror stories I was regaled with by well meaning 'advisers'. Neither did I feel it necessary to invent some dramas and crises to improve the story, as I am sure most successful travel writers do! For me the reality was good enough.

BYE BYE FROM TRAVELLIN' UNCLE MATT ( AND RAT ).


3 comments:

  1. Matt,

    Thank you for keeping me entertained and well informed by this wonderful blog over the last eighteen months or so. It is a masterpiece in its own right and all the stronger because you didn't, as you say, invent anything to spice it up. I agree, it didn't need it because the photos and your commentary were enough to keep a host of followers eagerly awaiting the next posting. I shall miss it, so if you decide to go wondering off again please let us all know so we can follow your adventures once again. If they include North America (Alaska isn't that far from me) there will be a bed and a glass of Scotch for you here in British Columbia (when I get the place finished that is) and you can tell me all the things you couldn't publish in the blog.

    I guess you are looking forward to just relaxing and taking in just how much you have seen and done over the last year and a half. I imagine you'll give some thought to a book and your next adventure. Good luck.

    Chris

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  2. Wotcha Chris!
    Many thanks for your kind comments. I will continue to be amused by your blog too! I will make a point of visiting for the house/hut/cabin warming party if I have recouped enough dosh by then, so don't hurry it! Hate to arrive early and expected to do some heavy lifting.
    Matt

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