Travelers checks and overseas financial security

September 14, 2008

Don’t use ’em.

That’s right.  Use cash instead.  Just take care with your money.  Keep it on you at all times.  The extra insurance of lost or stolen cash is *not* worth the hassle.

“But just what is the hassle?” You might ask.  An excellent question…

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Ungodly Hours

September 13, 2008
…sometime so early that it still feels late…

I soon learned that I could get a nice, strong cross-draft going in my room by opening up both sets of windows during the night.  The downside was, this made all those outside noises louder.  Traffic blairs at all hours.  But even that fades into background noise, unlike my first up-close experience with the Calls to Prayer.

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Working Class Arabs

September 12, 2008


I arrived in Jordan late — at around midnight.  I stepped off the plane, saying goodbye to my plush accommodations of comfortable, roomy seating, gourmet meals, and attentive and plentiful flight attendants.  There was also no recognizable air conditioning in the airport, but it didn’t need it.  The air, although a bit more humid, is much cooler here.  Trees actually dot the countryside.  But the highlight?  Working class Arabs.  Everywhere.  That’s right, folks, the people who work in Jordanian airports are, for the most part, actually Jordanian.  Take that, Kuwait!

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Reading Lolita in Tehran…in Kuwait…

September 11, 2008

On one of our last days in Kuwait, we went out to a (or the) main market place.  It’s basically a web of pedestrian-only streets lined with open shops and booths selling almost any and every type of thing people might ordinarily want to buy (and a few things that people might NOT want to ordinarily buy…).  It was definitely a highlight of my time in Kuwait, and the reason has absolutely nothing to do with what’s for sale.

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don’t (…or do) judge a nation by its airport security, pt. 1

September 8, 2008

Just one more note about privilege — my sister-in-law accompanied me past security in the Kuwaiti airport in June, on my way to Jordan.  It was an interesting circumstance, because technically she wasn’t supposed to do go through security with me.  But she did.  Several times.

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behind every fortune…

August 30, 2008

You know how that saying goes?  Well, I promised [myself] I wouldn’t touch on the [more than questionable] origins of my brother’s father in law’s newly-amassed fortune.  Consider that promise thoroughly broken.  Click here if you have trouble downloading…

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“Kuwait: where your car is conveniently your coffin”

August 30, 2008
1980s Caprice Classic smashed sideways into a light pole on Expressway 30 near Ali Sabah Al Salem, May 12 2005

1980s Caprice Classic smashed sideways into a light pole on Expressway 30 near Ali Sabah Al Salem, May 12 2005

There were two times during my trip through the middle east when I actually felt unsafe.  Being on or around a road in Kuwait was one of them.  Don’t drive or ride passenger in a car in Kuwait.  It’s tantamount to attempted suicide.  Apparently Kuwait has one of the highest motor vehicle mortality rates in the world.

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flattery is the best form of imitation

August 27, 2008

isn’t that how the saying goes?  at any rate, flattery buys me more time while i get my second post together, which will be up by the end of the week.  perhaps even with pictures added.  for the later post, that depends on whether someone gets me the trip pictures she promised…


August 19, 2008

Yak Skiing

Here’s a blog from someone I met in the Middle East who ended up being an impromptu travel companion for quite some time.  I think it’s safe to say we’re friends now.  I know details about her that she probably doesn’t want me to share publicly, and I’m pretty sure she knows stuff about me that I don’t want her to share publicly.  That’s the definition of a friend, right?

Regardless, the main point is that her writing is much more interesting than mine, it has pictures, and she’s shared some of our collective meanderings through the West Bank and Israel already.  It also happens to buy me some time before I type up and post my next journal entries.

how’s the weather over there?

August 19, 2008

Let me try to give a better impression of how hot it was in the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »