Safety Tips in Middle East

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Middle East

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    THE SQUAT TOILET

    by DAO Updated Sep 28, 2010

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    Also know as the long drop. At some point you are going to have to face up to this challenge. I suggest that you do 2 things. The first is practice. The second is plan in advance. There is a very good chance there is no toilet paper and water all over the floor already. The locals clean themselves with a small water hose or a cup from a bucket rather than paper. Figure out where you are going to put your things and how you will position yourself so you can get the job done and not slip and make a real mess. Also plan on there not being any soap to wash your hands once you have completed this big challenge.

    Be careful!

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    The Palestino-Israel Conflict

    by dr.firas Written Jun 29, 2003

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    No matter if you’ll be dead from an explosion by a Palestinian Extremist, or to be dead from a falling Building which is falling over your head by an Extremist Israeli Giant Truck, like what happened with the poor young American Journalist!
    This danger is always surrounding you in great Cities like Jerusalem for example.
    Nothing left more to wish but Peace and Peace and Peace!

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    The Sun

    by dr.firas Written Jun 29, 2003

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    The sun is really hot and could be dangerous for the not adapted tourist’s organisms.
    Especially in summer time,
    Be careful from this fact! It could lead you to have a sun shock and you’ll be hurt.
    You have to prepare yourself well to avoid such a thing.

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    CAMEL CROSSINGS

    by DAO Updated Aug 23, 2013

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    A few VT’ers have seen my Camel Crossing sign and thought it was a bit of a spoof. I can assure you it is not. There are quite a few desert/dry areas across the Middle East and Bedouins do cross empty roads from time to time. If you are on a long boring road - do be vigilant. Hitting a camel would definitely damage your vehicle. Driving is challenging enough with lunatic drivers, but don’t forget about the animals.

    Please note: Sometimes camels die in the road and are just left there. Do not slow down, the bodies attract very bad flies and this will cause you a lot of issues. Make sure your windows are closed.

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    Oh Man the Weather : (

    by JohnniOmani Written Feb 18, 2007

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    One of the biggest concerns for travellers is the weather and when is the best time to go to the region? The ME as a whole can be warm year round but Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iran can get chilly and see snow from time to time. (I was in Jordan in January and it was bloody freezing). There are places you can go skiing in Iran and Lebanon from January to February.

    The Gulf is usually hot year round and the temps are as follows:
    September is about 25 to 30 degrees. October is about 25 degrees and November around 22 degrees. December is around the same and January dips into the teens to around 15 to 18 degrees. March starts to warm up and by April the daily temps in the Gulf are around 35 degrees again. May sees temps around 40 degrees while June cracks the low 40 mark. July and August are hellish with temps reaching 50 like it is nothing (eventhough the Govts will never admit this because they are supposed to shut down after 50 deg). Syria , Jordan etc dont reach 45 + but they can be boiling during the summer. Anyway, the best time to visit the Gulf is in January and February. The best time to visit Lebanon, Israel etc is in November or in April. Enjoy :)

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    Visa Things...

    by coceng Updated May 23, 2005

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    In my humble opinion, please secure your visas even before reaching any country in The Middle East ! Sure, guidebooks & even your friends (who have been there...) could say that visas are available at the borders or at the airports, but you will never know when the visa regulations would change.
    In addition to that, some people pay different prices for their visas, also depending on their nationalities.
    The best way is please be well-informed about the visa before you entering any country in The Middle East or you could be denied entry !
    IF YOU HAVE ISRAELI STAMP ON YOUR PASSPORT, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER MOST MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES.
    So, make sure you make Israel as your last destination in your trip to The Middle East !

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    Please Give Me Money !

    by coceng Written May 23, 2005

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    Okay, I have decided that the number 1 thing that is so so annoying to me in The Middle East is The Baksheeh !
    Even if I'm rich, I wouldn't spare a dime to anybody just because he smiled at me !
    It seems that when you ask somebody's help, they are bound to ask for baksheeh !
    Of course it's not everybody is like this, ONLY people who work directly or indirectly in the tourism industry...
    You have been warned !
    What is a 'baksheeh' ?
    It's like a tip given to somebody (normally people working at the tourist sites NOT everyday people on the streets or at the bus/train stations) who helps you.
    It's not compulsory...It's just to show them how rich you are !
    You only get hassled in the touristy areas whereas in other areas, people don't even care about you !
    You take a photo of a camel, the owner wants a baksheeh.
    If you take a photo of a policeman, he wants a baksheeh too.
    A guard showing Queen Neferttiti naked, carved on the walls, he too wants baksheeh.
    A guard showing a sex scene on the ancient wall, give him a baksheeh !
    How much the baksheeh that we can give them ?
    Well, roughly about 2 USD or less !

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    Some Girls' Are Bigger Than Others !

    by coceng Updated Jul 3, 2005

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    You know the song by The Smiths ?
    It goes like this, "Some girls' are bigger than others...Some girls' mother's are bigger than other girls' mother's..."
    To the girls : In some Middle Eastern countries, please don't flash the size of your boobs ! They (the size of your boobs) are offensive to the local people.
    At least, carry a shawl to cover a bit (if not much...ahem !) of your boobs !
    When going into the mosques, you can cover your hair or you can have a special attire given by the care-taker of the mosques.
    For men, we can only cover the area between our navel & our knees ! It says in The Qur'an !
    Nevertheless, dress smart is more proper.

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  • Avoid please

    by dsantosh Written Jul 17, 2003

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    Forbidden Places. Do not attempt to enter the holy cities of Mecca and Medina unless you are a Muslim. It is absolutely forbidden for non-Muslims to set foot in either place. Do not attempt to enter a mosque. When using taxis, it is best to settle on the fare in advance. Most "men of affairs" drive themselves or ride with their chauffeur.
    Do not bring to Saudi Arabia any items which are either illegal or considered offensive to Saudis. This refers mainly to alcoholic beverages, books, and magazines of an explicit sexual nature. It also includes materials, which are critical of the Arabs, Islam, and Saudi Arabia.

    .
    Telephone, Telegraph and Mail Service
    Telephone service in Saudi Arabia is generally good, especially within and between major cities.

    Home Security. Except for driving hazards, Saudi Arabia is one of the safest countries in the world.

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    BE CAREFUL TAKING PHOTOS OF WOMEN !

    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2009

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    The receptionist in my hotel In Yemen saw me taking photos of women walking by from well inside the lobby entrance. He said “They will kill you” in a mixture of resignation and friendly concern. I am not sure how accurate he may have been and I suggest you do not try and find out. Across the Middle East you will see women dressed in a veil. This is because Islam dictates modesty for women. Their clothes should cover their feminine features, hair and sometimes their face. Sometimes even the eyes are covered which caused several minor accidents I have seen. That’s because the ladies involved couldn’t see where they were walking.

    If you want to take photos, then do so out of your hotel window or very discretely from your waist so it looks like you are not taking photos. In photo no. 2 here you can even see 2 men waving 2 women out of the way so I could take a photo of a school class visiting a museum. It can be frustrating when you want to take photos of the local culture, but it’s their rules here. With a bit of creativity you can probably get better photos than I did.

    Inside someone’s home is a very different story. Ladies can wear quite fashionable, even attractive clothes. Always ask permission, but you will probably find ladies a lot more willing to have their pictures taken at home.

    So can you get killed in Yemen for taking the photos? Considering just about every man has a Jambiya, or huge dagger, on them you may be in fear of your life if caught.

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    The Weather...

    by coceng Written May 23, 2005

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    Yes, of course the weather ! Even for me coming from another hot climate country, the hot weather in The Middle East is just different !
    In tropical country like Malaysia, there's no wind so when you walk, you are sweating.
    In The Middle East, there's wind ! Cool wind...
    When you walk & you sweat, the wind will dry you out ! You will end up having dry skin & dry lips in all your photos !

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    Taxi Drivers !

    by coceng Written May 23, 2005

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    Whereas in some parts of The Middle East, taxi drivers can negotiate with us of the fares but in some parts, the taxi drivers are just evil !
    They could squeeze you dry ! Especially in Egypt ! The more we give them the more they wanted !
    Always, always negotiate the fares with them BEFORE you get in !

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    Rush hour

    by dr.firas Written Jun 29, 2003

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    This is a well-known problem for a Middle Eastern Citizen!
    They know in Big Cities such as Istanbul, Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, Tehran, Baghdad, Riyadh and other, it could be very annoying to move on by any kind of transportation from a place to other!
    The only solution is to choose the write time for your tour!

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    Terrorism

    by JohnniOmani Written Feb 11, 2007

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    Terrorism after 9/11 has scared a massive percentage of travellers away from the region which is a double edged sword for most of the travellers actually backpacking the region. It is a shame that most of the travellers stay away in fear and miss out on what this wonderful region has to offer but it actually allows some of us to travel more freely and on a fixed budget. Governments tend to give this part of the World a negative image and there has been several terrorist attacks in Saudi, Yemen, Bahrain as well as Egypt, Jordan etc. Since 2004, attacks have taken place in the form of bombings, drive by shootings and kidnapping. Western expats, workers and journalists were among those targeted but the number of deaths for an entire region the number is relatively low. People get kidnapped in other parts of the world on a daily basis and drive by shootings happen daily in the USA. I can honestly say after living, working and travelling in the region as a 6ft 2inch Westerner, Ive never felt threatened or in danger and I dont live in a fantasy. I take the proper pre cautions and check Embassy homepages weekly and travel in safe areas ie ( areas of Yemen and Israel/Palestine are off limits). Terrorism has had a psychological damaging effect on the region and the world and it will be a long time before people consider the ME as a safe travellers den which in the end is quite sad and disappointing.

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    Gallopping Camels Or Donkeys !

    by coceng Updated May 23, 2005

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    If you want to ride the donkeys or the camels, make sure you don't put your money in your back pockets !
    These animals could gallop & most of the times, the owners would ask you to manouver their pets...which is great, if you want my opinion.
    At the same time, while we are busying manouvering their pets, the owners would slip their hand in our back pockets & there goes our money ! NOT OUR WALLETS !
    The trick is they would say later that we dropped our wallets but when we check inside, don't be surprise if our money is gone !
    Can you blame them ? Do you have any proof ?

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