Better be safe than sorry!
With all that is going on in the world today, when heading out to a foreign country, (no matter where), it's always wise to check for general information and recommendations relating to "security risks" and "health concerns".
Go to a doctor or health advisor. Each region requires a specific treatment, although the importance of this cannot be mentioned enough times. Go see your doctor. If you are not properly protected you may contract an illness which you carry back to your own country where you can be bittten by a native mosquito which will also become infected. This mosquito then lunches on a new host and the cycle continues.
Locals said that Ilyas is under pressure to give up support to the hashish
sellers. He is said to have come under pressure from Javed Karmazkhel, his
cousin and known militant commander, to abandon the hashish-smoking Taliban.
Ghulam Jan appears to be leaning on Karmazkhel to dissuade Ilyas. For now
there is a stalemate.
But this situation, government officials and tribesmen in Wana agree, is
unlikely to cause any rift between the mainstream Taliban and their
hashish-loving armed comrades. For their goal is one, when it comes to
For now the hashish shops are open, although barbers in nearby shops are
forbidden to shave beards or play music.
Article courtesy of www.dawn.com
South Waziristan (Urdu: جنوبی وزیرستان) is the southern part of Waziristan,
a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan
and covering some 11 585 km² (4,473 mi²).
The row began, according to locals, when commander Ghulam Jan seized one
Gulab, a local drug peddler, who sold hashish from a room inside a
government school in Karikot near Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan.
Ilyas gathered a group of his supporting Taliban at Laman, about 15km to the
south of Wana. In line with tribal tradition, the armed men were feasted on
lamb and rice.
Their concern was common ? the threat to hashish shops in Waziristan. So a
message was given out to the ?other? Taliban: ?Lay off.?
Money was pooled, helped of course by owners of the hashish shops. Together,
they have bought two vehicles, including a pick-up truck, to provide a
security cover to the shops.
Locals said that Taliban against the closure are as good fighters as anybody
else. Some of them are veterans too, like Ilyas, who is in his mid-40s. They
have battled the Northern Alliance and are now fighting the US-led coalition
forces in what they believe is a jihad.
The commander of these rag-tag militants himself fought at Bagram against
the Taliban. A former sportsman at the South Waziristan Scouts, Iyas has
left his job to take up arms in support of the Taliban.
After a hard battle with their enemies, these Taliban like to sit together,
fill a cigarette and then take turns to have a puff.
So endemic and acceptable is this that according to eyewitnesses, commanders
or the amirs of these Taliban either condone the practice or simply look the
Drug ban divides militants
By Ismail Khan
PESHAWAR, March 20: With their long flowing hair, beards and boots, they
could resemble the hippies of yesteryears. Except that these hippies from
the wild western borderland of Pakistan are gun-toting, rocket-carrying
militants ready to kill or be killed.
The hippies of the 60s were pacifists but these turban-wearing, young tribal
Taliban are as wild as their looks would suggest. But one thing they have in
common ? a love for hashish.
Welcome to the restive South Waziristan, the heartland of the tribal
militants, where a group of the local Taliban have not only taken up arms
against the government but also turned their guns against their own ilk for
threatening to close down hashish shops. They have done so in Karikot, Azam
Warsak, Shah Alam, Raghzai Ghwakhwa, Spin Tanai and Dabkot. Defiance of
their attempts has come not from the owners or operators of the shops, but
from some of the Taliban?s own ranks.
A militant commander, Ghulam Jan, recently warned hashish shop owners to
close down their business or face punishment as Islam prohibited the use and
sale of drugs. Worried, the shop owners gathered to ponder over the
situation and find a remedy. They were pleasantly surprised to find that
they were not alone.
Soon a group of about 200 hashish-loving Taliban gathered and nominated
their own commander, Ilyas, to fend off pressure against the drug, according
to locals. An official report, however, put the figure at more than 500.
How do I know about beggars being organized in criminal structures??
I have seen it with my own eyes!
If you go early in the morning to the Silk Market in Beijing you maybe see vans arriving, letting out women and children, whom you later meet again begging.
In Calcutta I had the following experience:
Everytime I went down a big street the same beggar was following me until a certain point. Then he left. Within a short time the next beggar followed me another hundred meters. So they had a certain area, which was their place to beg.
Just recently I have heard the same in Hannover. I witnessed, that a beggar was complaining to a young man, that the place, where he normally sat, was occupied by another. Sometimes I help some homeless people in Hannover. One of them told me, that certain beggars are organised.
COST OF LIVING AROUND THE WORLD
Rent of flat Bus/tube ticket Music CD Intnl paper Cup of coffee Burger meal
Moscow £2,057 N/A £12.77 £3.24 £3.14 £2.47
London £2,000 £3 £12.99 £1.20 £2 £3.89
Tokyo £2,110 £1.32 £8.13 £0.66 £2.33 £2.77
Copenhagen £1,182 £1.73 £14 £1.64 £2.55 £4.99
New York £2,057 £1.03 £8.96 £0.84 £1.93 £2.93
Beijing £1,461 N/A £11.29 £2.06 £2.32 £1.36
Sydney £1,048 £1.01 £10.05 £1.81 £1.41 £2.60
Vancouver £700 £0.98 £10.06 £1.64 £1.42 £2.18
Johannesburg £490 N/A £11.19 £1.68 £0.98 £1.40
Buenos Aires £720 £0.18 £5.81 £2.99 £0.91 £2.24
Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting
As expected, Tokyo and Osaka are on the list. Sydney is always there. Because of the falling american dollar the middle eastern countries didnt make the top list, Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the middle east.
I wonder where Yangon placed in this list?
Believe me, this works.
Forget all those concoctions of the pharmacutical industry (which are actually available at a fraction of the cost of the same remedies in the West).
You just need two things. Plain white rice and flat diet coke. Eat and drink loads of the stuff. It fills and binds as it goes. No, TMI, I'll stop now.
Let's face it. Sooner or later travelling in India you are going to end up having a touch of the dreaded 'Delhi Belly'. Or the 'Calcutta Craps'. Or the 'Madras mile'. Or the 'Bangalore Bottom'.
You see see some people working out the maximum distance they can safely travel from a clean toilet, or pack 50% their luggage with bog roll.
Sourbugger has managed to develop his own solution. Buy an extremely large paperback book (in terms of number of pages, rather than page size). This should be of Indian manufacture as the paper tends to be of lower quality and thus greater absorbancy.
I think you may be able to see where this going.
I went into a hotel in Suzhou a few years back and asked for a room
"It's awlful" (all full) they said
"I don't care if it's awful, it's one in the morning and I need a bed"
"So you keep saying. Well I'm sleeping in your lobby then, nice sofa. Good night"
"Oh...we do have one room sir"
"How much ?"
"It's the presendial suite"
"Very nice I'm sure, for the price of a single room"
"I can't do that, sir"
"Yes you can, I can't see any President walking in here at one in the morning"
-- staff have intervening 10 minute conversation out the bacK---
"OK sir, room at single price"
Stand your ground, you might just end up with a bargain
China is still a nominally communist nation. Over the years different professions have, however, been allowed to come under the control of private enterprise.
One of the first areas to go down this route was hairdressing. Whilst there are many perfectly honest barbers plying their trade, the act of getting your haircut can be fraught with problems (especially if you are a man)
At best you might be overcharged for any extra hair products used. If the 'barber' in question (and this is invariably a young lady) begins to give you a relaxing head / back massage then be prepared for a stonking great bill. The saloon may well employ a very hefty looking gentleman to make sure your bill is paid.
At worst you may well be invited into a 'private room' at the back for a 'cut and blow dry', and if you mis-pronounce that, then you will know exactly what I'm talking about. To put in bluntly there a good few members of the second oldest profession who use barbers shops as their 'shop window'. The request for a 'short back and sides' may be taken as a request for a kinky sexual practise rather than a haircut.
You can normally tell if barber shops are of this ilk if it seems to be populated by just a few too many young women for the number of seats, and their clothing is just slightly tighter than is strictly necessary !
Only in Singapore would the Draconian laws be made into a tourist attraction - various laws appear, often with an appropropriate (or otherwise) cartoon to accompany them on various tee-shirts and the like. I found the following laws Not to do :
NO - Importing Gum
NO - Smoking
NO - Chewing Gum
NO - Flower picking
NO - Vandalism
NO - Nudity
NO - Firework
NO - Kidnapping
NO - Molesting
NO - Rioting
NO - Durian (the best law by far)
NO - Fishing in Reservior
NO - Water Wasting
NO - Overstaying
NO - Assaulting
NO - Extortion
NO - Robbing
NO - Spitting
NO - Handphone
NO - Bird Feeding
NO - Skateboarding
NO - Littering
NO - Public Speeches (another excellent one)
NO - Keeping wild animals
NO - Pornography
NO - Speeding
NO - Dancing without Licence
NO - Urinating in lifts (Oh no really ?)
NO - Flushing (of toilets I presume)
So what can you do for a good night out ? Try to break as many minor laws as possible inside five minutes
Do you think they have spy cameras in the public bogs to know if you actually flush them ?
The danger is not for the tourist - but rather for the animal. Elephant trekking is the latest "big thing" in the area - and unfortunately this means that the market has not really settled down yet. Operators are supposed to be licenced, and many are humane and perfectly acceptable in their treatment of these beautiful beasts. Some operators are however less mindful of elephants needs and are there to pick up as much as they can from this latest 'cash cow' .
Operators change all the time - so it is difficult to give advice, but the following tips may helps (taken from www.phuket-guide.net)
1) Avoid elephant operations that allow the Mahouts (elephant keeper) to use the dreaded metal hook to control the animal. This device is cruel and unnecessary for a well trained and happy elephant, but are legal in Thailand and are frequently used.
2) The dawn to dusk regime of many elephant camps is unhealthy for the animals. Adult elephants need to graze for 8 to 10 hours a day. Elephants are forest animals and do not like being in the direct sunlight. Avoid camps that have the animals staked outside in the sun all day.
3) Elephants are nervous around automobiles, and loud noises, and they do not eat properly when in this type of environment. Many of the roadside elephant camps are offering little more than a 'photo opportunity' of you while riding atop an elephant, before it plods slowly down a well worn path for your ten minute elephant trek. If it looks like a fly-by-night operation it probably is one. Avoid the elephant camps that appear to have just opened yesterday.
Cheap hotel rooms are a wonderful thing - but you do need to check if the place has a bug problem. If you see an en-suite bathroom floor painted red then that is a good sign to leave - it's the colour of their droppings.
If however you arrive late at night or everywhere else is full (or the same) then you need Sourbuggers indispensible guide to cockroach extermination. Remember, these little bastards can survive a nuclear strike and the black death.
First, remove your shoe or trainer and hold it at the ready.
Secondly, be aware that any cockroach is most likely to head for the bathroom shower hole (they usually live in there).
Thirdly, a bit of cockroach psychology here - they navigate by firm objects like walls.
Now you are ready. Stand on the bed and jump up and down firmly. This will get them running - cut off their line of retreat and smack the living daylights out of the little bastard with your footwear.
Then wrap it up and take it to the reception counter. If you stand there long enough and show it to anyone who passes you will obtain a discount on you bill. It never fails.
I love my running, and whilst in Siam Reap (for Angkor wat), Cambodia I wanted to run off into the fields for my daily 40 minute jog.
I was very clearly told that if you venture more than a couple of feet off a tarmaced / gravelled / marked path the landmines could be lurking.
I know that the problem is still massive because in June 05 the Falkland islanders in a very altruistic move suggested that Britain moved it's mine-clearance resources to Cambodia because they would save more lives there than in the Falklands. Good for them.
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