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Middle East Warnings

Court

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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
 
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  • Added on: May 10th, 2005
This is a new thread of Middle East warnings. It is to be used for Middle East specific warnings only. Warnings include instances of robbery in a certain part of a city, bad hostel experiences, etc. As a content-rich thread, we do not want any back-and-forth or questions. Please direct all questions via Private Messages (Click on "Go" in the left hand corner, select "My Space" and then "Private Messages") to the poster. You can also issue a PM by clicker on the poster's name and selecting "Private Message". Any post that does not contribute relevant information will be deleted. Examples include: responses to previous posts in the thread and questions. The information can be on any city, region or country in Middle East. When reading these experiences, please remember that there are two sides to every story and warnings should be issued sparingly.
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Eppyboy

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Location: New York

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  • Added on: January 14th, 2006
i know that there is a page for middle east warnings. If the moderator wants to move it then so be it. I was recently on birthright, and for those of you that don't know it is a free trip to israel but a huge umbrella organization that sends over 10,000 jewish kids a year to Israel for 10 days.

This warning is for anyone traveling to Jerusalem. Over a two week span including the 2 nights my group spent at this hotel the cleaning people were found going through a girls purse. Some say, well it's only one account. Well it turns out that this woman along with others were going through people's things in their rooms looking for cash and other things to take easily. I was rubbed the wrong way when i got back to my room after a long day to find my roommate and my stuf ransacked. I spoke to a security guard who was actually switching jobs and he said conventiently over that two week span things seemed to be "disappearing." Coincidentally or not all the rooms of the people were American, and some from Buenos Aires. So I want to post a warning to people about this hotel, sure it may be cheap when split two ways, but is it worth getting your money stolen, passport or other things you leave in your room that is supposed to be secure:

Prima Kings Hotel
60 King George Street
Jerusalem

this is the link, so people know if its the right one.

http://www.prima-hotels-israel.com/kings/index.html

it is cheap, but not worth it. I promise you. Thanks
Josh and Nicole aren't going anywhere for a while, but you can still read about their past trips herehttp://blogs.bootsnall.com/eppyboy

jamesintheworld

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  • Added on: June 3rd, 2006
Don’t listen to the so called “travel warnings” from any government, they are surely politically motivated. No western government wants you to know that Iran is safe and full of pleasant and cool people. Ask someone who is in the Middle East or has been there.
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gonorth

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  • Added on: July 19th, 2006
Supraintendents Report on Beirut is a great example of a report from somebody on the spot which would not only confirm that citizens might be advised to take notice of Government Warnings but in this case they are not only be getting the hell out of the place, but Governments will be assisting them to do so.

Ignoring Government Warnings is to do so at your own risk.
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He just wants my port and cherry ripes

Dbird

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Joined: April 29th, 2006

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  • Added on: July 19th, 2006
I have also been following Superintendent's updates, including the latest post from Syria, where he sounds fine. But a travel agent in Turkey just advised me to drop plans to go to Aleppo late September. US travel advisories concerning Syria include adoption warnings but I don't see anything advising Americans not to make plans to travel there at all. I don't want to be naive but I am in fact inexperienced with this sort of situation and would appreciate advice. I am inclined to get travel insurance but to go ahead with plans. Thoughts?

static

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  • Added on: July 19th, 2006
It is hot as hell in September in Aleppo. Just sayin'.

Dbird

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  • Added on: July 20th, 2006
It may be hot, but if this decade's weather patterns are any predicate, it will be a good deal cooler at the end of September than in June, July or August. At any rate, heatstroke isn't my main concern in considering plans for Syria. As I rose to your bait following my initial post about travelling with Intrepid and am now putting together my own itin., would particularly appreciate your counsel (and that of anyone else) vis a vis the emerging political situation.

static

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  • Added on: July 20th, 2006
Don't worry even for a minute. Go and have a good time.

shahi

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Joined: July 3rd, 2007

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  • Added on: July 5th, 2007
Do not stay in the Alaska Camp if you go to Dahab, Egypt. It seemed cheap at first so we went there (we thought we wouldn't find anything else because we had no reservations) and we stayed for 5 days where the staff were being extra horrible to all of us and simply did not make us feel safe. Then we went to this other camp that looked much more like what we wanted (bungalows) and less like a prison (what Alaska looked like) and we didn't need any advance bookings and it cost us the same as Alaska, except our bathroom actually had a door. Basically, you don't need advance bookings in Dahab and when you get off and go to the area with all the camps, just avoid Alaska and always bargain for prices, it always works.

Rodwell

Thorn Tree Refugee
 
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Joined: December 19th, 2007

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  • Added on: January 16th, 2008
I have been living in Amman, Jordan for the last year and a half and I love Jordanians. Amman is not my favorite city but I love hiking in this country, seeing the historical sights, speaking Arabic, and forming bonds with people who are in reality quite different from us Westerners in some important ways. I frequently read posts on this site written by people who say that Jordan /the Middle East is safe and anyone who tells you any differently is an ignorant closed-minded Westerner (gharbi). So I thought I should post some information that is more balanced. In general, Jordan is safe and the people are kind. HOWEVER, if you are a western woman, there are some men who are going to think you will have sex with anyone and that raping you (a non-muslim) is not a crime/sin. You need to be careful as a Western woman. If you are a Western woman, hitching is not a good idea. Staying at a stranger's house is not a good idea. I attached a story below about 2 British girls who were raped in Jordan in October 2007. Their lives will never be the same after their short trip to Jordan. By all means, come to Jordan and experience these very kind and wonderful people and see the sights but know that this IS a different culture especially as it pertains to women.

http://jordantimes.com/?news=2925

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7047588.stm

tsftd

Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Joined: October 11th, 2008

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  • Added on: October 13th, 2008
a couple of things based on my experience and studies:

1) In Egypt, if you have an Israeli passport OR an Israeli stamp in your passport, the hotel/hostel is required by law to notify the government. While this SHOULDN'T be a problem, personally I would recommend that you find a helful hostel (like the one I stayed at) who will (on request) "forget" to submit the paperwork until after you have left.

2) Islam has issues with alcohol. While some places (like Egypt) it's more or less OK, other places (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc), it can get you arrested. Just be aware. On a similar note, in many middle eastern countries drug offenses have penalties up to life in prison/death.

3) Islam (and the Arabic culture) is very sensitive about sex. I know that, being young and travelling, meeting new, young, and attractive people, it's nice to spend an evening together. I highly recommend against doing this in muslim/highly muslim countries (remember, Lebanon is only about 60% Muslim, with ~40% Christian). Not only with the locals, but also other travelers you meet. In fact, I would be wary about even just being alone with a female. When I travel in the M.E. with women, we always state that we are relatives, to avoid possible problems.

Prisa

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  • Added on: October 28th, 2008
A few days ago the US attacked Eastern Syria. This caused the deaths of some civillians and there is quite a bit of outrage going on right now.

Normally Syrians are quite good at distancing travellers from their armies and leaders. After all, they've had their fair share of nasty powers-that-be.

But right now they are calling it a 'Terroristic activity' and I would urge most Western tourists and travellers to keep out of that area of Eastern Syria.

Also I would urge Western tourists to not discuss politics while in Damascus or Aleppo or wherever. At least until Syrians have some time to cool down.
Temperments are running pretty high right now.

And by all means, do not point out that the US was going after a terrorist. Just dont do it Smile
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'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings

Prisa

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  • Added on: October 30th, 2009
I think this belongs here. Maybe in Europe. Whatever.
Hotel Beyce in Istanbul. Dont stay there. Really. No matter what. It's not a hotel as much as a brothel full of creepy men who look into your bathroom through the vents.
___________________________
'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: October 30th, 2009
There are a lot of places like that. Let me guess- it was on the street going up from the docks, and was darned cheap for a long term stay.

A friend of mine stayed in one of those. It was plain creepy.

Yes- if you stay in Istanbul, stay in one of the better hostels. There are two or three in one area down the street by the Blue mosque, India hostel, Istanbul hostel, and a few others. Then there is the Paris Hostel, and one near it. I always forget the name.

Unfortunately, there are precious few hostels not filled with dirty old men, or dirty thinking young men that hit on the women. Many naive Americans actually fall for it. The Paris Hostel is the only one I know about where this does not happen.

Also, while we're on the topic of Istanbul, don't go to XXX bar. It makes a habit of ripping off tourists, as many bars on the main strip do. Do NOT go popping off to Lalalei, the russian district, looking for prostitutes. You'll just get robbed. If you want a prostitute, for whatever reason, talk to your hotel manager. They'll know a safe way to bring a woman to your private room if you have one.
Oh- and unless you have a police badge, standing in line for the public prostitute line will just get you tapped on the shoulder and ejected. They only serve Turkish men.

When going to bars, only bring enough money you want to spend, and don't let any strange sit next to you or befriend you, especially if they're turkish and attractive. Pay for each drink as you order it. That way you know what you're paying. Watch out for drinks delivered by anyone but your friend.

To get to see them, flash something interesting(Like a South african federal police badge), at the tourist police office and they'll finally manage to open out a black book and get you an appointment. (True story)
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow



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