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#33389 - 11/03/02 09:41 AM Travelling to the Middle East
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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I live in Jordan. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I've been here a year and four months. And I'm safe where I am, people are just living their lives, going about their business, whatever.

My question is this: if someone offered you an all-expenses paid trip to a Middle Eastern country, would you take it? I don't mean an actively combatant country like Palestine/Israel, and obviously I wouldn't send you to Iraq (they wouldn't want you, especially if you were American), but to a peaceful country like Lebanon or Jordan.

Really I'm just curious about what the perception is of the Middle East right now, out in those other places where they are deciding my neighbors' fates. Would you come here for a visit?

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#33390 - 11/03/02 09:47 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
essay
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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I would definitely go if someone offered me an all expenses paid trip. But it's interesting that it probably wouldn't be near the top of my travel list otherwise, and there may be some fear factor in that. On the other hand, I'm not very good at initiating travel adventures, but am often very willing to go along on other people's schemes. I hate planning.

When one of my younger friends left to study in Turkey for a semester this fall, I did wonder a little at the wisdom of her timing, and that isn't even the Middle East, just near enough to be uncomfortable. But I didn't try to talk her out of going. It isn't like there is some really safe place you can travel to anyway. Who would have thought that nightclubbing in Bali could land you in the middle of a disaster?

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#33391 - 11/04/02 12:26 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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word, essay, on there being no safe place. I would definitely go to the Middle East if offered a trip. Some of the seemingly less safe places are ones I would otherwise find really appealing--Syria, Iran, Jerusalem. I would love to visit Lebanon, and I understand that there are some gorgeous, peaceful beach areas in the gulf states (though I have no idea to what degree women can enjoy the beaches).

I had a near miss with this kind of decision--I was booked to go on a press trip (expenses paid) to northern India in mid-October of last year. I really wanted to go, but the trip was canceled about September 8, for logistical reasons. I now wonder if I would have gone--being an American journalists traveling near the Pakistan border would have seemed terrifying just after the September 11 attacks.

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#33392 - 11/04/02 04:17 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
SusyQ
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 109
Loc: Seattle

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I loved Israel, and would like to return someday. India was interesting, but it's not on my top 100 list of places to go back to, although I would return to the Maldives.

I would go to Jordan in a red-hot minute if somebody else was paying the freight. I was there for just one day a few years ago, and spent the majority of it at Petra. I never felt the least bit unsafe there.

I would have to research Lebanon a little bit more before I could comment.

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#33393 - 11/04/02 05:06 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
Invinciblegirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 43
Loc: texas

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Well, I grew up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, so I kind of feel comfy with it. After living there for 18 years, you get kind of used to it.

If someone offered an all expenses paid trip to the Middle East? Man, I'd be on the shores of the Red Sea with all my diving equipment faster than you could BLINK.

I have a list as long as my arm of places I want to go in the Middle East. I'd definitely do it. Mostly the Red Sea, though.

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#33394 - 11/05/02 05:14 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
Angiv
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 1291
Loc: Scotland

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Count me in. If I had any money, I'd be there anyway.

I'm an Arabic and Middle East Studies major, so I probably have a somewhat atypical point of view, but I'd happily go to an actively combatant country too. A friend spent a summer at Bir Zeit university and had some great experiences mixed with the horror.

Funny story (well, not really, but, y'know...): a couple of friends of mine were in Lebanon for a year. They were out taking photos of bombed-out East Beirut one day when they were held at gunpoint by Hizbollah guerillas. They'd inadvertantly photographed the cadet training HQ, and were mistaken for Israeli spies. Oops.

I know people in Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and I'd love to visit them. I also want to see Petra (who doesn't?) before it's closed to the public, and what's left of Iraq.

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#33395 - 11/11/02 08:24 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
SusyQ
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 109
Loc: Seattle

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Angiv, when and why is Petra going to be closed to the public?
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#33396 - 11/12/02 04:34 AM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
Angiv
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 1291
Loc: Scotland

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SuzyQ - as far as I know there are no definite plans to close Petra, it's just something that's going to have to happen sooner or later because the tourists are destroying it. And I want to get there before then.
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#33397 - 11/12/02 02:52 PM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
SusyQ
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 109
Loc: Seattle

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Oh, I see. Yes, it's definitely worth the trip. Breathtakingly beautiful--and I rode my first camel there. (Sorry, couldn't resist using the smiley.)
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#33398 - 11/21/02 11:31 AM Re: Travelling to the Middle East
juliette
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 11/21/02
Posts: 2

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I'd take it in a minute.

I had originally planned to go to Morocco next Spring, but so many friends and family gave me a hard time about how dangerous it would be that I changed my planned destination to Turkey. Same story (even though neither are technically in the "Middle East.") Now I'm going on a walking tour of Ireland, and everyone is happy. Sigh.

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