Thursday, February 5, 2009

Places I Would Never Travel To

A long time ago, a friend of mine got quite upset at me because I said, no matter what reason, I would never travel to an Arab country. He had just taken a job in sales as the middle eastern account manager for a company, and he was to expect at least two months a year being over there. That meant Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. He viewed my objections as bigotry, closed mindedness, etc., etc.

I have met many people who have visited, and lived in Dubai. Most people have great things to say about it, and how open minded the people are there to westerners. (Though some people who have worked there have grumbled about how they were treated, especially the arrogance and laziness of their bosses.)

It doesn't surprise me to come across this story about an Aussie skipper who was jailed and no charges have been laid yet. (From the Australian Online)

He was celebrated upon arrival as a "crazy Aussie" who had sailed the boat from Geraldton in Western Australia, to the Cocos Islands, the Maldives and on to Oman, with a young crew of three. Now he languishes in Al-Amir, Dubai's central prison, having been arrested at his apartment on October 8, with no clear idea of the charges he faces, or how long he might be detained.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said its consulate staff in Dubai had visited Mr McNeair six times in prison.

But it, too, has no idea how long he'll be there.


"It seems to change all the time," his mother said. "First, they talked about the alcohol, then about the air-rifle, then about assault against the girl. But they haven't charged him with anything and we're at our wits end. My boy's not a criminal."

The case comes after an Australian woman, Nasrah Alshamery, was detained in Kuwait, for allegedly insulting its emir.

I have been to Mexico where there is a risk that you might get framed up for something, but it least it's not a country whose religion views you as less of a person.

UPDATE: Partially on this topic, it seems that there is a trend these days of travelling to exotic and dangerous places. These are seen as more "authentic." For example a friend of my wife's took a trip to Burma with ther husband and two young children under the age of five. For god sakes, a military junta rules the place, wouldn't Hawaii be a better call?


  1. I think it is a lot like those white powder skiers that simply ignore an avalanche warning. The death threat adds to the thrill. I have met many people that have traveled through central Africa. Everyone one of them had a near death experience, or were robbed of everything including their shoes. I guess what ever turns you on.

  2. In a Gadda da VidaFebruary 5, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    A friend of mine was robbed and stripped in Nicaragua. He fled for his life in his boxers.

  3. Exactly. I mean asides from dysentery what to these people get out of these places? A good friend of mine lived in Saudi for a number of years. He said you would never buy black market booze from an Arab, because they would phone the cops on you right after the purchase. They think it is funny to see some white get tortured in prison.
    There was even a movie about some guy in a Turkish prison. Chretien had a nephew in a South American prison. Bottom line, bad things can happen.

  4. "Midnight Express" was the Turkish movie. Mind you the guy was caught smuggling a few kg's of hash-hish. You're asking for a lot of trouble pulling that stunt.