Elephant riding in Thailand
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.
The very law abiding state of Singapore
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 ?
SB's guide to killing Indian Cockroaches
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.
Non-patronising advice for single women in India
Several of the general pages on India mention the amount of hassle that single women travellers receive in India.
One solution many women use is to wear a wedding ring. The quality of false stones these days (I think they are called CV's) are very good. With a ring prominent you can make up any story you like about how your six foot four husband is on the next train / arriving tomorrow etc.Related to:
- Women's Travel
hair cuts (for men) in China..
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 !
Sourbugger's cure for diarrhoea
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.
Landmines in Cambodia
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.
Bottom problems in India
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.
Getting a hotel room in China
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
Ants in Cambodia
When I last travelled here I was talking to a Cambodian man and he claimed (I don't know how much of this is true) That every type of ant that is found in the world can be found in Cambodia - plus some more that only live in Cambodia.
I don't know if he is right or not, but the country does seem to have more than it's fair share of them.
You'll meeet beggars everywhere in Asia. Even in China you see them now.
Don't give to beggars!!
I do not give money or other things to beggars, because:
Beggars are normally organized by criminals.
Beggars have to give most of the money to criminals.
Beggars do not spend the money on a better living or for their children but often for alcohol and drugs.
What can you do to help the poor??
Give to organisations, which you know are of help! Find the local church, temple or school and give the teachers! Get to know the person, you want to help, better!
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.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
I do not give to children, when I am in Asia.
Because this way children learn, that they do not need to work to earn money (the "schoolpens" are sold at the next small shop).
Because they do not respect the hard work of their father and mother any more.
Because they do not go to school, when they are begging.
What can you do to help the children??
Give to organisations, which you know and which are of real help - they build schools and hospitals.
Have a foster child ! For more information please see the wonderful pages of VT-member tini58de!!
Give to children, whose family you know.
What regimen is appropriate depends on the country or region travelled to. This information is available and data is constantly changing and no general advice is possible.
It is interesting that Fansidar (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) is now recommended in Indonesia per a Forum post. But the combination of Dapsone 100 mg and pyrimethamine 12.5 mg once weekly (available as a combination tablet called Maloprim or Deltaprim) is not routinely recommended because of the risk of agranulocytosis.
Some antimalarial agents, particularly chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are also used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus associated arthritis.
The following regimens are recommended by the WHO, UK HPA and CDC:
chloroquine 300 to 310 mg once weekly, and proguanil 200 mg once daily (started one week before travel, and continued for four weeks after returning);
doxycycline 100 mg once daily (started one day before travel, and continued for four weeks after returning);
mefloquine 228 to 250 mg once weekly (started two-and-a-half weeks before travel, and continued for four weeks after returning);
Malarone 1 tablet daily (started one day before travel, and continued for 1 week after returning).
But data and recommendations constantly change depending on your location.
Currently used for treatment
Currently used for prophylaxis
hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)Related to:
- Family Travel
- Mountain Climbing
There have been some unrest in Indonesia with riots erupting and now bombings. Although it is hard for me to imagine that this friendly and peaceful area of the world might harbor danger for visitors, especially US citizens, the recent political climate might be cause for reflection before venturing here.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
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