Travel Tips to North Africa and the Middle East in 2011
I Predict a Riot!
As we’ve been watching on BBC or CNN recently, there has never been a better time to visit the Arab world and watch history unfold. Surely there can be no better story to tell your grandkids than an “I was there” tale about the toppling of a statue of Gadafy in Tripoli whilst you were choking o tear gas and with a bullet in your shin. But what should you pack and how should you prepare for going on such a holiday? This article will teach you the “dos” and “don’ts” of an Arab holiday in 2011.
Unfortunately a few such opportunities have already been missed; Egypt and Tunisia have already begun the process of overthrowing their evil dictators and have inconveniently returned to some approximation of normality. However, as Muammar Gadafy stated last night on Libyan state television, “Egypt and Tunisia aren’t affected by unrest as they don’t have tourism there, unlike Libya.” This seems a logical statement as apparently it’s virtually impossible to get a space on a Libyan beach, and I’ve heard there’s nothing worth seeing at all in Egypt. I believe him. Let’s get one with the list.
Travelling there and getting around:
1. Only book a single flight to Tripoli, Bahrain, Sanaa or Tehran. A return costs more and won’t be needed as your own foreign office will fly you back when the proverbial really hits the fan, or in the event of your death. Do make sure you have good travel insurance there, or arrange for government secret police to have you buried in a shallow grave in the case of you untimely demise.
2. Once in North Africa steal a car with decent “off-the-line” speed and a good sized trunk. You can “modify” the car in an A-Team style by looting some corrugated metal from a smashed up shop and welding it to the side of said car to prevent incursion by bricks, rocks and assault rifle rounds.
3. Claim you’re a journalist and get a lift from the BBC. This shouldn’t prove difficult as every journalist in the western hemisphere has descended on the region and nobody has a clue of what’s going on. This option beats public transport which is generally squalid and cramped in the Arab world and is generally currently burning in its depots.
Like all holidays taking time to prepare for the trip is everything. You’re packing for an indefinite period of time after all, so be prepared for the long haul where flights are terminated out of the region after a lengthy period of time. Equally, you be prepared to go out in a blaze of glory, petrol and shrapnel within the first 36 hours of reaching your destination. Your packing should reflect this;
1. Injections are a must before travelling to anywhere with a poor health record. Tetanus is common as there is a lot of broken glass on which to cut yourself in most areas and you should be vaccinated appropriately. I’m investigating whether there is a jab to stop tear gas from bothering you whilst in riots, but there’s not much info. In the mean time, a medical mask can be employed to stop the worst effects.
2. Suncream is essential as the holiday may involve long periods of standing in exposed squares in the sun. It is also possible that you may spend some time in an open-air prison once the respective government wrestles back control of the situation and sun burn can be very painful, particularly when being electrocuted with a car battery!
3. Placards have proved very popular, but are bulky to pack in a case. Instead take some marker pens to write a cool “freedom” message on a sign which you can take from another protestor who is dead, injured or finished with it.
4. A helmet has proved a must in recent weeks. A motorcycle helmet should be enough to repel the worst of the hails of rocks, but tend not to stop a high velocity bullet. Bicycle helmets can also be used, but you’ll look a bit un-cool.
So you’ve got your flights and transport sorted, got your bag packed, now time to accustom yourself to the countries and warm-hearted people you’ll be rioting with in the essential dos and don’ts section of the article:
- Choose a side and try to stick with it. The in thing is to go on the side of the anti-government protesters. This is probably due to “underdog syndrome”, but this can have its problems. Firstly, they don’t tend to have guns or heavy artillery, whereas the governments do. If you don’t want to be caught short on the side of a rag tag bunch of stone throwers, take the side of the organised troops initially, then switch sides to whomever is winning.
- Get a chant going. “Down with the government pigs” seems to have been popular thus far, but you could mix it up a bit by setting it to the tune of a popular song. Remember to take your shoes off and wave them in the air frequently.
- If you get lost, as a policeman. Libyan, Iranian and Yemen state TV has shown what a nice and innocent bunch of people the police are. They’ll be more than willing to help you out with directions.
So you’ve got all the information you need for a cracking time of tear gas a Molotov cocktails! What are you waiting for?! Book you (single) flight to the Arab world today while they are still at rock bottom prices, provided you can find an air carrier. Don’t forget to film your experiences, then sell the footage to the BBC when you get back!
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