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Fear Mongering!!!

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Guess I am lucky to be alive!!! Well that would be the case if I believed fear mongering being spread by the likes of Lonely Planet & the illustrious Canadian government!

As a result of being scammed  by Passport Canada, I have been perusing some Canadian government sites & some are absolutely incredible on how they err so far on the side of caution as to be ludicrous to the point where anyone believing 1/4 of what they say would never leave Canada.

But hold on, wait a minute haven’t there been people innocently walking down the street in Toronto been killed by stray gunfire? Darn right there have!!

Is it really safe to be in the drug dealing area of Wentworth & Glenn Sts or the Crack houses on Ritson Rd in Oshawa at night? Not in my books!

Better yet how about when the police chief of the Canadian capitol city, Ottawa, begs the Ontario premier “Mcsquinty” for money for more police as the drug scene is out of control & he is completely ignored & refused a meeting!!

I guess one has the choice of taking some minimal risks in life & travel or lock themselves in their closet.

Have always taken Lonely Planets advise with a grain of salt as they have a hard time getting their travel advise more than somewhat right but once they start in on political advise they get pretty far from reality.

So when they say “It’s not advised to cross the border here due to the violence and instability on this coast of southern Thailand.” Referring to the Rantau Panjang/Sungai Kolak crossing. Then go on to claim that there is a Bangkok train that crosses there, which there is NOT as it originates on the Thai side.

Then one does a bit of research & finding no particularly good reason not to, goes for it (crossing the border & catching the Bangkok bound train) with no problem.

Afterwards, when one reads the Canadian travel advisory (which I have taken with a cupful of salt since researching Bali & finding an advisory against travel there but a week later seeing that there was a world conference there being attended by Canadian officials!  Hmmm—!!)

“AVOID ALL TRAVEL” outlined in a big red box & it goes on to tell of armed encounters, bombings, beheadings & all sorts of stuff, that makes the French Revolution look like a picnic in the park is happening (well a tad here & there over the past 4 years). Then goes on to mention that all this is taking place in Hat Yai.

Whoa hold the horses here, Reality check time!!! Like I have been in Hat Yai twice in as many weeks & the only problem I saw was way too many tourists as it was Chinese New Year & the restaurant in the hotel didn’t serve beer so had to go down the street to the 7-11 (be nice if you could pick up a cool one at the local 7-11 in Ont) heck even the soldiers guarding the train got off in Hat Yai & there was never any security on the buses heading south!

That warning is blatant overkill something usually done by people/organizations/countries fearing the person/country they are trying to denigrate!! Of course the Canadian Sheepole are supposed to be uninformed about the realities of the world beyond the propaganda approved to be disseminated by CNN & CTV & gullible enough to believe it!!

However there was one voice of reason to be found, Mark Smith who is the Man in who summed the situation up as follows “—even as in London and New York there might be a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time if you were to hang around any length of time.”

Too bad the Canadian government couldn’t use a bit of reason before crying “wolf” because, as in the fable, when one cries “wolf” too often no one heeds! Of course using the words “government” (read simple serpent) & “reason” in the same sentence is an oxymoron!!

Think I will continue to travel as I see fit & use the Canadian government advisories solely for amusement! Oh yeah there is no way in hell I am going to inform the Canadian government of my whereabouts!! Well until the day it becomes mandatory to have a GPS chip implanted but then again what are the capabilities of the new cc’s with the chip Hmmm???

Plan change

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Unfortunately my plan to overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa which had to be done by the end of Oct. made for kind of a hectic & not very flexible trip up to that point.

Since then however had been kind of winging it on a general path that is covering most parts of SE Asia & all was fine until the glitch with the rainy season in Oz made me rethink my plans & led me to the TEFL course & Bangkok again.

When considering my next years plans a combination of running a tad over budget on the European leg of the trip then some loans that aren’t being repaid as agreed + loosing the court case, that in an uncorrupted world, would have been a sure thing, was going to eat into my principal had I carried on as planned.

So when after talking to Leigh at the school it became apparent that a job in Thailand would be a sure thing when the new term starts at the end of Oct + the fact that he is a Brit with connections there for a work visa & I will be finishing my RTW there in Sept, all the ducks fell in a row.

After the course will carry on with my trip as planned to Honolulu but then think will duck down to Guatemala for a bit. After that I have heard rumors that One World is resuming the DFW-ANC flight in the spring. If correct will take that flight then return down the inside passage to Seattle where will catch either Amtrak or the Grey Dog to Portland (gotta stop in & say Hi to Chris & the staff at Boots).

With my goal of visiting all 50 states accomplished I shall make my way back up the coast to Vancouver/Victoria/Salt Spring Island where I have some cousins (if they haven’t disowned me) & I believe there is even a follower of this blog & the Cuba forums, I haven’t yet met. Then West jet has some good fares to YYZ to wrap up my Canadian affairs, do one last Canadian road trip before leaving the end of Aug to London.

Will need about a week in Britain, which was already in the plan, then with visa in hand will have 5-6 weeks to take another epic train trip from London with stops in Paris & Vienna on to Istanbul for a couple days before heading to Syria, Lebanon & Jordan to Petra. Then on through Israel to Egypt for a couple weeks touring before flying onto Bangkok & a teaching job for a couple semesters until my pension kicks in.

Then, who knows, Guatemala is still a possibility but with TEFL “The World’s My Oyster” LOL 😀

Isn’t it called FRAUD

Thursday, February 25th, 2010
when you sell something as being good for 5 yrs but omit telling the buyer that is only if they don’t use up the miserly 24 pages??? Something like the joke of the mechanic guaranteeing the car for 5 minutes or ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Jungle Train & Lonely Planet is full of BS

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

“The Jungle Train” what a misnomer that is. The only jungle is the 20 yards or right-of-way on each side of the track, other than that the train travels through forest plantations for about 9 hrs of the 11 hr ... [Continue reading this entry]

It just gets better

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Caught the train out of Stesen Sentral in KL to spend a day in the small town of Gemas before heading north up the center of the Malaysian Peninsula to Gua Musang on the “Jungle Railway” which was as far ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pleasantly Surprising Malaysia

Friday, February 19th, 2010
kuala-lampus-malaysia-029.jpgSo after spending a night in Hat Kia I boarded the hour late executive bus to Kuala Lumpur & 12hrs & 1 time zone later arrived in what would prove to be another favorite city, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Epiphany!! What took so long??

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

As is the case with most long haul bus companies (outside of NA) they have their own bus barns & also pickup at travel agents offices & drop off at convenient locations. This is the reason that the Hat Yai ... [Continue reading this entry]

Traveler Beware!!

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

is a good policy to keep in mind where ever you may roam but in heavily touristic areas it is essential!

Can’t say for Phuket Town (which I have heard compares favorably with Antigua Guatemala—NOT imho)  itself as I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Visa run

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Travel is hard at this time as it’s Chinese New Year & the new middle class there is using their new found wealth to do just like us & travel to the beach (got the last berth on the train ... [Continue reading this entry]

More time in Thailand

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
In my planning I overlooked the wet season in OZ so found that the 30 day tour I had planned wasn’t available until mid April which left me with over an extra month to kill in SE Asia. So when ... [Continue reading this entry]