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Kiwi Pair Not Concerned About The Middle East


Media Release December 11, 2002

Kiwi Pair Not Concerned About Visiting Every Country In The Middle East


Two New Zealanders trying to visit every country in the world in 160 days are not worried about entering the Middle East as their journey through every country in Africa comes to an end this week.

John Bougen and his cousin James Irving have in 105 days visited 124 of the 193 countries they need to visit and are scheduled to fly from Cairo to Amman in Jordan on Sunday.

They have been on 161 flights, travelled 159,000km and spent a total of 381 hours (almost 16 days) waiting in airports.

The pair are seeking to set a world record of entering all 193 recognised nations in 160 days and are expected back in New Zealand in February.

``From a security point of view we hold no concerns for the Middle East. The terrorism attacks of late seem to have shifted to everywhere other than the Middle East - Israel/Palestine being the exception,’’ Bougen said.

``Whenever we have been in majority Muslim nations we have felt very safe and welcomed by all that we meet and we see no reason why this will not continue.

``Frankly we had greater concerns in many West African Nations. The chances of a terrorist attack anywhere on our journey are so slight we don’t give it a second thought.’’

Their worst airport visit in Africa has been Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They said it was appalling in every sense. They strenuously recommended no one go near the Republic on Congo.

The intrepid duo are supporting Save the Children charity as they attempt to travel 200,000km, spend 400 hours in the air and move in and out of 200 different airports.

The cost of the trip is about $nz350,000 which they are meeting themselves and through assistance and sponsorship from the Flight Centre, Vodafone and Mike Henry Travel Insurance.

Bougen said the search for photos for their Children of the World book has taken them to places where tourists never go.

``We learned the cost of one year’s school fees for a child at a private school in NZ would put 60 children through school for a year in Nairobi, Kenya.

``This gave us pause to think as we stood among abject poverty in Central Africa.’’ He said.

Their route will take them through the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia and they plan to arrive back in New Zealand on February 1.

Mr Irving was born in Christchurch and his home is in Brisbane. Mr Bougen was born in Timaru but has spent most of his life in Auckland.

Ends

Media advisory: For further inquiries contact: Kip Brook, Word of Mouth Media NZ , 03 374 5426


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