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Since foreign travel is the side-topic of choice...

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:25 pm
by Celidah the Bardess
In a week-and-a-half, I'm going to be leaving the US until October. I'm going to Bangladesh to help my future in-laws and their team at the Malumghat hospital by teaching computer classes and doing computer work (e.g. making PowerPoint presentations) for them.

For those of you who have traveled outside the country, especially into this area, do you have any travel tips for me? This is my first long-term business trip-ish (it's volunteer work) as well as my first excursion outside the US, so I'd welcome any advice I can have. Thoughts?

FYI, if you want to keep updated on my trip, I'm going to be posting the journal I'll keep on here once I get back, starting October 10.

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:38 pm
by BrockthePaine
Don't bathe in the Ganges, and don't drink the water, either. Stuff in both will do its darnedest to kill you. The stuff in the water does it quiet-like, whereas the stuff in the Ganges uses its teeth.

Re: Since foreign travel is the side-topic of choice...

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:12 pm
by Wanderwolf
Celidah the Bardess wrote:In a week-and-a-half, I'm going to be leaving the US until October. I'm going to Bangladesh to help my future in-laws and their team at the Malumghat hospital by teaching computer classes and doing computer work (e.g. making PowerPoint presentations) for them.

For those of you who have traveled outside the country, especially into this area, do you have any travel tips for me? This is my first long-term business trip-ish (it's volunteer work) as well as my first excursion outside the US, so I'd welcome any advice I can have. Thoughts?
I won't be leaving the country until next year, when the TSA-Bash goes Canadian. But I found some travel tips here and here, as well as here.

Safe journey, Celidah. May your road home be at least as smooth as the road out.

Yours truly,

The wolfish,

Wanderer

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:13 am
by Chaser617
Unfortunately all my travel involved military dependency, so we tended to go to places like Germany, England, Panama or Japan. My advice to you is try to bring a comfortable pillow if you can on the plane, your in for one heckava long time sitting down in one spot.

Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:48 pm
by TMLutas
Chaser617 wrote:Unfortunately all my travel involved military dependency, so we tended to go to places like Germany, England, Panama or Japan. My advice to you is try to bring a comfortable pillow if you can on the plane, your in for one heckava long time sitting down in one spot.
On that theme, don't feel guilty about standing up, stretching, and doing a little aisle walk. Deep vein thrombosis is no laughing matter.

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 4:39 pm
by Dark-Star
Be CAREFUL if you encounter a cow! They are seriously holy to many Indians, so no cracks like "that's a lot of hamburger!". And if one's in your way, don't gripe very much...you can't possibly pay any taxi driver there enough to bump it out of the way and thus risk a riot.

(seriously, people have gotten hurt over these things!)

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 4:55 pm
by Celidah the Bardess
Thanks, everyone so far.

I watched the news earlier tonight with dismay...as I've said in other threads, I'm praying that my flight isn't affected by this recent situation.

I really, really also hope that enough hue and cry is raised so that Heathrow eases up and allows at least SOME carry-ons, or I can't (read won't-because-I'm-not-chancing-it-being-stolen) bring my laptop, which I could really use in Bangladesh, since I am doing computer work over there!

For those of you who are Christians, I ask for your prayers. For those who aren't, I ask for your crossed fingers...

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:41 pm
by Earl McClaw
Celidah the Bardess wrote:I watched the news earlier tonight with dismay... as I've said in other threads, I'm praying that my flight isn't affected by this recent situation.
What I've heard is that it's restrictions on fluids (beverages, gels, lotions, etc.) and obvious remotes (car openers were mentioned). I don't know just how restrictive it is, but it makes me glad I'm not flying in the near future. (I pack hand cleanser, shampoo, body wash, and nasal spray in my carry-on!)

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:03 pm
by Bruce Bergman
Celidah the Bardess wrote:Thanks, everyone so far.

I watched the news earlier tonight with dismay...as I've said in other threads, I'm praying that my flight isn't affected by this recent situation.

I really, really also hope that enough hue and cry is raised so that Heathrow eases up and allows at least SOME carry-ons, or I can't (read won't-because-I'm-not-chancing-it-being-stolen) bring my laptop, which I could really use in Bangladesh, since I am doing computer work over there!
All will be well if they wake up to the realities of expensive items regularly and systematically being stolen from checked baggage by baggage handlers and security screeners :twisted: and implement some extra security measures so your valuables will arrive when you do - registered items, traced pouches, insurance guarantees, proper 'Luggage Claim Check' ckecks when you retrieve your bags... But you'll notice that I'm not holding my breath.

The current wisdom is "There are only two kinds of airline luggage - Carry-on, or Lost." With Carry-on eliminated...

The only solution is to FedEx or otherwise ship your laptop and valuables ahead and home, and insure the heck out of them both ways so the freight carrier has good reason to track them and watch their security very closely. Or better yet...

Does that hospital need another good desktop computer? Find out what they need, and see if you can get one donated to the hospital. Get it all loaded, updated and backed up, then box it in the original factory cartons and pads, overpack the factory cartons in plain brown boxes or plywood crates with another layer of foam padding and generic FRAGILE labels (Printed computer boxes = "Steal Me!") and ship it ahead.

Allow a few weeks before your flight date - in case it doesn't make it there in one piece, you have time to devise and activate "Plan B".

Plan on leaving that desktop with the hospital for their IT departmant when you're all done with it, you can bring your files back on DVD-R or E-mail/FTP them ahead.

Myself, If it's domestic travel I'm driving, or I'll take the train, or a bus... I'd rather spend a week on the road each way rather than put up with the indignities they put you through to fly. Even a year ago, it was a circus just flying locally from Bob Hope (Burbank) to Sea-Tac and back.

I can only imagine the extra indignities they have in store for you now - "Papillon", anyone? :o

Rule Number One: There is no such thing as total safety - If they really want to cause an incident in the name of Total Jihad, they can. We just have to stay one step ahead of the baddies.

And the other wonderful thing about Terrorism is, they only have to affect a few people - the word gets around through the news, and terrorizes many - If We Allow It To Terrorize Us, and we don't have to.

The proper response to terrorism incidents takes both a strong stomach and a unified will by the entire civilized world, we have to respond "The Chicago Way" - 'You put one of ours in the hospital, we put ten of yours in the Morgue.' It's brutal, true - but it's also rather effective.

The only way to make air travel almost safe would be to have everyone strip and change into TSA supplied underwear, Tyvek jumpsuits and booties at the airport, take a full-body X-ray or CAT scan to make sure they didn't have bombs swallowed or surgically implanted, and absolutely nothing carried on (not even a paperback book) - One of these days they'll figure out a way to make explosives into clothing, or swallow the explosives and timed fuse in a baggie.

The next step would be individual locking compartments for each passenger or row in First Class, and getting handcuffed or shackled to your seat in Coach, ala "Con Air".

--<< Bruce >>--

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:31 pm
by BrockthePaine
The next step would be to allow America's 100 million gun owners the right to pack a good .45 aboard the plane.

Terrorist: "Alright folks, we're taking control of the-"
Passengers: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! :sounds of reloading: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
Stewardess: Figures. It was my day to clean the carpet...

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:13 pm
by Bruce Bergman
BrockthePaine wrote: The next step would be to allow America's 100 million gun owners the right to pack a good .45 aboard the plane.
I suppose the makers of the "Glaser Safety Slugs" would like that - they'd sell a lot more for range practice.

Fantastic idea, but the ONLY way they're going to allow it at first is for sworn law-enforcement officers and soldiers. After a while, common sense and good results might expand the plan.

The gun practice ranges in major metropolitan areas would have to build airliner mock-ups for training drills - they are going to insist that anyone going in armed should be properly trained and certified on Air Marshall procedures first, or no boomstick for you.
BrockthePaine wrote: Terrorist: "Alright folks, we're taking control of the-"
Passengers: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! :sounds of reloading: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
Stewardess: Figures. It was my day to clean the carpet...
:( Darn it all! Forget the Club Soda, that stain is NOT going to come out...

--<< Bruce >>--

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:12 pm
by Celidah the Bardess
Earl McClaw wrote:
Celidah the Bardess wrote:I watched the news earlier tonight with dismay... as I've said in other threads, I'm praying that my flight isn't affected by this recent situation.
What I've heard is that it's restrictions on fluids (beverages, gels, lotions, etc.) and obvious remotes (car openers were mentioned). I don't know just how restrictive it is, but it makes me glad I'm not flying in the near future. (I pack hand cleanser, shampoo, body wash, and nasal spray in my carry-on!)
Well, it's different everywhere you go (don't you luuuuuv bureaucracy?). The policy you're talking about is rule-of-thumb for most US airports. However, ALL travelers coming in from the US to any UK airport--at least the British Airways travelers, which is what I'll be--are forbidden from carrying anything onto the plane except wallets, important travel docs such as passports, eyeglasses, "ladies' things" (unboxed), keys (no car remotes), non-liquid (unless verified as authentic) perscription medication, and baby food/formula (which must first be tasted by the passenger at the checkpoint, and only if traveling with an infant).

Whew, that's a lot of parentheses. Anyway, that is the word from the offical BA website. Sigh.

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:12 pm
by Jwrebholz
It's more trouble these days to fly than it's worth. Couple that with my horrendous luck on airlines and it'll be a cold day in Hell before I set foot on an airplane again. 1. Show up 2 hours early. 2. Get singled out for "random" security screening, have some nitwit rifle through my underwear and not find anything out of the ordinary. 3. stand in line for 30 minutes waiting to go through the metal detector. I've presented my ID to no less than four different people at this point (ticket counter, bag screener, beginning of the line for metal detector and again at the metal detector). 4. Remove shoes, loose change, keys, hull bolts from the Titanic, etc. place on conveyor with carry-on. Walk through metal detector, get singled out for second "random" search. 5. Get dressed after being stripped to my skivvies. 6. Haul ass to the gate because by now I'm cruising to miss my flight. 7. Show ID AGAIN to the lady at the gate and board at last possible moment. 8. Sit for 30 minutes on the runway in a traffic jam. 9. Be forced to sit next to cranky kid/sick kid/chatty moron/guy with BO/all of the above. Arrive at connection 20 minutes late, sprint across terminal, miss my connection. 10. Wait two hours for the next flight. 11. Board next flight. 12. Sit on tarmac for another 20 minutes in another traffic jam, next to more cranky kids/sick kids/guys with BO/fat guys/chatty guys. 13. Finally arrive at my destination several HOURS behind schedule. 14. Spend 30 minutes getting off the plane and working my way down to baggage claim. 15. Wait 20+ minutes for bags to start rolling out. 16. After an hour with no bag, file a claim for lost luggage. 17. Go home. 18. Bag arrives next day, in tatters, with missing items. 19. Attempt to file claim for stolen goods with airline--get stonewalled at every turn.

And people wonder why I hate flying.

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:50 pm
by Nick012000
Dark-Star wrote:Be CAREFUL if you encounter a cow! They are seriously holy to many Indians, so no cracks like "that's a lot of hamburger!". And if one's in your way, don't gripe very much...you can't possibly pay any taxi driver there enough to bump it out of the way and thus risk a riot.

(seriously, people have gotten hurt over these things!)
Uhhh... dude? He said he was going to Bangaladesh, not India. Bangladesh is largely Islamic.

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:45 am
by Celidah the Bardess
nick012000 wrote:
Dark-Star wrote:Be CAREFUL if you encounter a cow! They are seriously holy to many Indians, so no cracks like "that's a lot of hamburger!". And if one's in your way, don't gripe very much...you can't possibly pay any taxi driver there enough to bump it out of the way and thus risk a riot.

(seriously, people have gotten hurt over these things!)
Uhhh... dude? He said he was going to Bangaladesh, not India. Bangladesh is largely Islamic.
He? HE????? Do I SOUND like a "he" to you???? *looks worried* I mean, I don't, do I? :o

Just messin with ya. Anywho, Bangladesh is indeed mostly Muslim, though Hinduism is the next-most-prevalent religion. Anyway, the cows weren't in our way....most of the time. When they were, we just swerved around them.

Oh, by the way, I'm back, in case you hadn't noticed. Great trip. I'll be starting to post a journal soon here...after I recover from the jet lag. :P

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:15 am
by RHJunior
Earl McClaw wrote:
Celidah the Bardess wrote:I watched the news earlier tonight with dismay... as I've said in other threads, I'm praying that my flight isn't affected by this recent situation.
What I've heard is that it's restrictions on fluids (beverages, gels, lotions, etc.) and obvious remotes (car openers were mentioned). I don't know just how restrictive it is, but it makes me glad I'm not flying in the near future. (I pack hand cleanser, shampoo, body wash, and nasal spray in my carry-on!)
Yeah. Brilliant, isn't it?

Of course, THAT'S the common thread between all the terrorists--- METICULOUS HYGEINE.

I swear, our "fearless leaders" need psychological reconditioning. Consisting of tying them to a chair, asking them "what is the suspect profile" and BEATING them with a rubber hose till they say "Islamic males" consistently.

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:21 am
by RHJunior

Fantastic idea, but the ONLY way they're going to allow it at first is for sworn law-enforcement officers and soldiers. After a while, common sense and good results might expand the plan.

The gun practice ranges in major metropolitan areas would have to build airliner mock-ups for training drills - they are going to insist that anyone going in armed should be properly trained and certified on Air Marshall procedures first, or no boomstick for you.
You wanna know something that'll make you scream?

They decided ages ago that the air marshals <I>no longer had to meet the marksmanship requirements</i> before signing up.

It's not about safety. It's about those in authority maintaining their whiteknuckle grip on power and control.

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:57 pm
by Wanderwolf
RHJunior wrote: Yeah. Brilliant, isn't it?

Of course, THAT'S the common thread between all the terrorists--- METICULOUS HYGEINE.

I swear, our "fearless leaders" need psychological reconditioning. Consisting of tying them to a chair, asking them "what is the suspect profile" and BEATING them with a rubber hose till they say "Islamic males" consistently.
Ralph, the suspected plot in question requires smuggling electronics and semiliquid explosive substances onto a plane. Sooo, multiple choice question:

Given the above definition of the plan, which of the following items must be checked?

A. TV and garage door remotes.
B. Shampoo and hair gel bottles.
C. Sealed jars.
D. Digital cameras.
E. All of the above.

If you answered "E", then you actually have a grasp of how to keep explosive liquids and potential detonators off our nation's airplanes.

Oh, and Ralph? "Islamic" is not an ethnic. It's a religion. There's a difference.

Yours truly,

The logical,

Wanderer

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:37 pm
by BrockthePaine
Wanderwolf wrote:Oh, and Ralph? "Islamic" is not an ethnic. It's a religion. There's a difference.
I don't think he mentioned racial profiling, did he? Looks like he was talking about religious profiling to me.

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:59 pm
by Wanderwolf
BrockthePaine wrote:
Wanderwolf wrote:Oh, and Ralph? "Islamic" is not an ethnic. It's a religion. There's a difference.
I don't think he mentioned racial profiling, did he? Looks like he was talking about religious profiling to me.
That's the trouble; religious profiling is downright impossible.

Unlike racial profiling, there's no dedicated visual cue to define a religion. Sure, you can safely bet that a long-bearded person in a robe and yarmulke is Jewish... but there are black Jews, Arabian Jews, Chinese Jews. Islamic? Same can of worms. Remember, John Walker was an American of Caucasian descent who joined the Taliban.

Worse, there's no religious symbol for Islam. Christians have the cross, Jews have the Star of David. Islam has no symbol.

Thus, my comment. At least with racial profiling, you can try and look for something. Until they develop a Soul Analyzer, religious profiling just isn't workable.

Yours truly,

The wolfish,

Wanderer