Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

OK...Now I'm Officially Freaked

We love to travel, and we're probably more experienced than most though foreign languages other than Spanish are difficult for us to understand. Generally, when we've been out of the country, we've been accompanied by someone who is fluent in the local language: Thai, Spanish, Swedish or Khmer. Not this time, though. We're heading out alone, and I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous, and reading articles like "10 Ways To Stay Safe Abroad" don't help. While I will admit that the advice was sound, the ominous tone has me a bit jittery about our upcoming trip to foreign shores where English is something of an afterthought.
All in all, some of these things should be easy, but others, well, perhaps we're just a bit too naive at times. Here are a few of the notable warnings:

1. Don't be drunk. Obvious...drunks get rolled here in Titletown so this should be an easy one, although the preferred alcohol in Greece is something like 40% pure intoxicant. Note to self: Don't drink that stuff.

2. Don't look rich. Easy enough. I'm not, though being an American in a foreign country sometimes translates that Nikon digital camera or bling in evidence. Note to self: Be sure to have the sweetie leave that diamond ring (now noticeable) at home.

3. Kids don't play. We're suckers for kids. We take bubbles and little toys like jump ropes and engage them in some fun. However, groups of youngsters mired in poverty have nothing to lose and can easily be hyena-like in their pack attack. Note to self: Learn how to look somewhat menacing and how to say "'Sup, dog?" in Greek and Turkish.

4. Watch people watching you. THIS one has me paranoid, to say the least. It's like everyone is waiting for the opening to beat, rob and otherwise molest every traveler. While I hope that's not the case, I don't even know how to say "Help!" in any language other than my own. Note to self: If I have to reach for a phrase book (or the translator on my iPad), it will be too late. Learn some basic stuff, doofus! And, of course, my iPad might already be gone if I carry it around with me just to take that cool video that shows me appearing to hold up the Parthenon.

5. Don't put expensive stuff where thieves expect it. Okay, so I won't leave the iPod or iPad plugged into a wall socket or money lying about when I leave the hotel...too easy. Note to self: Check the hotel for a safe and try to hide things in places that are not easily-accessible (on the theory that anyone who breaks in will be in a hurry to escape undetected).

There are five more items on the list that include calling a cab instead of just picking one that seems to be merely waiting outside and looking like I would not be an easy robbery target (hey, I've been working out!) as well as listening to locals concerning where to go and where NOT to go.
Maybe I'll just stay in the hotels.
Oh yeah, terrorists blow up places that they know foreigners frequent.
I wonder if they have these problems in Sheboygan?


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