If you see a cow with a wire coming out of its ear .....
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
do NOT go near it - as it is probably a road side bomb!
That is one of the things I learned last week. And what else have I learned recently travelling extensively in the Middle East and Africa?
- Never let a women go into a cab before a man, the cab can then start off and kidnap the woman! .... ehh .... so what to do then when you travel with only female colleagues?
- Always watch the women and what buffet they go for- expect it to be the small table in the corner in the back of the room. Remember - if you touch the food on the other buffets, then the very religious males cannot eat it!
- If you travel alone as a female, take trains and busses instead of relying on a single driver to bring you where you want to go. You and your passport represent a tremendous value, and could give him a doubled yearly income or even more.
- When you get introduced to the men, remember to hold your hands together on the back, to ensure that you do not out of habit stretch out your hand to greet him. He might feel extremely awkward, and intimidated. Wait until he makes a move to shake hands, - if he does.
- When you enter an armoured car, make sure that your colleagues help holding the second sliding door behind the first one, so it will not clip your arm or leg.
- Always wear a scarf around your shoulders, you will never know when it becomes handy to look like the other females with covered heads in a split second. Practice and practice until you master the technique. And cheat as they do, they use pins.
- Have two straps on your handbag, with metal liners inside. One strap goes across to the other shoulder, the other goes around your waist.
- Put a hanger on the handle of your door, as an extra alarm for intruders.
- Bring a door stopper.
- Bring a lamp and batteries.
- Always bring duct tape and wire strips.
- Each night when you go to sleep, pack your emergency backpack and have it beside the bed.
- Chose a room on floor 2-7, not higher and not lower. First floor - intruders - 8´th floor and above, no fire ladders can reach.
- Count the number of doors in the hotel, and the number of seat rows in the airplane to the emergency exit.
- Get a room facing away from the street and the front part of the hotel.
- Do not accept a room where the bar, the gym or the restaurant are just beneath. That is where the westerners congregate.
- Use an ankle- and a thigh wallet as well.
- Bring copies of all vital documents, passports, visas, driving licence etc. And bring them electronically as well. And a couple of extra passport pictures.
- Bring printout of all vital phone numbers, in case your mobile gets stolen.
- Know the address of the embassy and nearest hospital with western-like treatment by heart.
- Always bring a map, use your phone as a navigator. Punch in important addresses, so you can verify that the taxi driver are heading in the right direction next time.
- Let hotel order a cab, to ensure you get the right type.
- Take a picture of the licence plate of the cab with your phone before stepping into the cab, and send it to somebody that will come looking for you if you do not return.
- Always have the hotels phone number on you.
- Never ever pick something up others are dropping out of their pockets. Propability is large it will be money, and the split second you touch it, and bring it to him, he will call the police and insist there were more money in the bundle, and you will have to pay or go to jail.
- Always wear your car keys on your fingers, if you have to fight they can come handy as a weapon.
- Wear a wedding ring, even if you are not married.
- Pack expensive cameras and lenses in old socs and use bags that is not for cameras.
- When driving and coming to a red light, always stop one carlength behind the car in front, it becomes more difficult to box you in.
- Look under your car before you open the door and get into it.
- Always have a loud whisle on you for attracting attention and help.
- Always take down the windows in the car 2-3 millimeters, then when people want to smash them they are more flexible because they are not held in place at the top, they resist better.
- Have a kevlar plate as a back plate in your backpack, and keep your backpack on the side of you that faces the sidewalk if you sit in a car or a bus.
- Remove any visible signs on the car from the rental company if possible.
- Look for the changes, if the marketplace is always full of people, get out of there if there suddenly are no locals left.
- Slim females (look at their neck) that might be sweating and walk hunched forward like carrying a large weight in bulky clothes, might be doing just that. Get out of there - immediately!
- If a man shows up with a gun, run for the door, never hide beneath a table, that is for earth quakes. If you cannot get out, lock the door and block it and stay silent.
- Remember when you go for the ground, always to have the feet pointing towards the expected bomb, cross your legs, close your eyes, cover your ears with your hands and open the jaw slightly. Practice until it becomes doable in less than a second.
- Never, EVER accept ice in what you drink.
- Never, EVER eat the salad, vegetables or the fruit, even if it makes your Sparkstreak crash, if those items are not cooked and cooked well.
And accept the hospitality and the food as long as it is cooked, even if Spark page does not have nutricious info on snake skin, scorpions and bugs in general. Asia / Africa. Expect the food to be good for you, and rich in protein, and just make an educated guestimate for the foodtracker, and look like it becomes you well!
Wonder if a prolonged stay there would help move the weight ticker in the right direction?
................... somehow we are gifted and very lucky living in the part of the Western world we do.
Now-some of the above listed advice might be relevant here, as well, But travelling in war- and politically unstable zones suddenly makes you appreciate what you have at home.
We are blessed. We truly are.
And you know what? It is in those countries I have met some of the people that have impressed me the most, and whom I respect beyond belief. There are some very bright and shining souls there, which makes each and every trip worth it. These people are struggeling so hard, and intensely that you only can be truly amazed and feel a deep and sincere respect. And feel humble and very blessed for what we have of opportunities in our part of the world.
Some ask me: "Why are you doing this? Why are you travelling to these regions?" "WHY?" And I have been thinking and asking myself the same thing - Why?
The answer is simple: Because it makes a difference. Because I make a difference. Me. I. These people that I reach out to and teach, needs it, wants it, and appreciates it. It is like spreading the Spark, but within my professional field instead of weight loss. That is why.