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Don't Book it - Thomas Cook it.

It all began when asylum seekers discovered that boats travelling to Australia ended up anywhere but. The Australian government, wanting nothing to do with them, sent them to New Zealand and the previously little known Nauru. The first batch were highly disgruntled, not really wanting to be in New Zealand, and definitely not Nauru, which seemed to be as far from anywhere as you could get. But they quickly turned it to their advantage.

Several hundred asylum seekers piled onto a boat bound for Australia. They were detained outside Australian water; the country would not admit them, and began hunting for nations to which they could be offloaded. The asylum seekers let out word that if not Australia, then Japan wouldn't be bad. This seemed like a pretty good idea to the Australians, so a couple of days later, they ended up in Japan. It was evident that the system could be worked. Asylum seekers from all over the world congregated on Australia, all hoping that Australia would be the last place they'd end up. There comes a point when anywhere is better than where you currently are, and they embraced this gleefully, ending up in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and even as far from their original destination as India.

It was thus a natural progression that safe, secure Westerners began to exploit this as a way of getting a cheap holiday. Not long ago, a small pile of tourists crowded onto a cargo boat headed for Australia, and when they arrive, made murmurings about Bali. Fairly soon, they ended up in Bali, where they stayed for only two weeks, soaking up sun, before piling on a one-way flight home. They saved packets on transport, and started a trend. Pretty soon, the transport network as we know it collapsed - the only to go anywhere, it seemed, was to go to Australia. And make sure you didn't get in. Thomas Cook, Lunn Poly, all the major travel agents began running these low-budget tours officially. You saved vast quantities of money, only paying for decent transport on the way back, and if you were lucky, had the chance to soak up the sun on the deck whilst outbound, as well as at your destination.

The holiday season may be over soon. The Australians, contrary to popular belief, are not stupid. They're looking into means of stopping this: not listening to the opinions of the travellers, and instead sending everyone to China, where it's a bit harder to get by as an asylum seeker (which these tourists legally or), or perhaps drawing up laws forcing boats to land at their initially stated destinations. Meaning that if you say you're going to Australia, you're going to Australia. Harsh, but fair, and to be honest, hardly incorrect. If that ever happens, it's going to take a fair while to put the whole situation to rights. I mean, there are floating fuel depots out in the Antipodes, just to top you up before you make the second part of the journey, which varies in length hugely depending on destination, and in some areas, whole floating "service stations" to keep the deck-bound passengers happy and satiated. These are of course illegal, and the Australians are looking into shutting them down, but it's a slow process, especially when everyone knows at least one person going on holiday by this method.

So whilst it lasts, take advantage of this incredible offer. Me? I'm off to Holland, by oil tanker, via Australia.

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