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Sunday, July 10, 2011

LOTS OF TRAVELER'S TIPS

WHAT'S UP

I had met up with a 'Turkish small businessman' - one of those guys who has a lot of different jobs with vague titles and not much time required at the office, if you know what I mean. He told me that four in five clubs here are stocked with prostitutes. A lot of people come in from Turkey for 'sex tourism'.

After two weeks (or so) I've managed to become a bit more of an authority on 'what's in the area around the hostel'. I realize that it would have taken Pete 'a half day and a bit of a wander' but I'm still pleased at being able to tell guests who come to the hostel what's around.

I've also gotten well known enough on the Turkish street that I can't go down it when I'm in a hurry - too many people to meet and greet, getting sucked into games of Backgammon, tea, etc. But I do find it quite a nice diversion.

Most of the guests here believe I own the place (the hostel, not the city) but I did have to work harder to convince a Turkish tourist Ekin (Nike backward - cool nickname) that yes, I indeed work here. Really. Now, give me your fucking passport. Anyway, he shared some interesting information on Jordan with me. (See Traveler's Lore). After we got over this initial speed bump, he was a wealth of information.

Since I am following the advice of my sensei Adam and staying put for a few months, most of the stuff I'm typing in is 'traveler's tips' rather than 'this is what happened to Logan'. This is as much for my records as your edification.

For those wondering 'so how are you doing with your spending'? It's a constant struggle. Fortunately, it can cost about the same to eat out as it can cooking my own food. Since they have no kitchen facilities here, that works out for me. In general, my costs are going about like this:

Breakfast - yogert (2.4 GEL)
Lunch - Bakery hamburgers. I buy two of them, take the toppings and meat from one, stick it on the other and pretend I am eating in the US. (2.6 GEL or so)
Dinner - I either eat a packet of noodles (1.5 GEL) or take people out to the white room for a huge feast (7 GEL, give or take) depending on how many people we have, my mood and so on.
Miscellaneous stuff like cigarettes at a buck (US) per pack, haircuts, replacement gear, medicine and all that also kick in.

I have been trying to keep to 20 GEL per day but find I often go up to 30 GEL per day. 30 GEL is till half my daily money allowance so that isn't too horrible but I'd like to get my spending to 1/3rd.

Checking with my bank account (which is way too frankly honest) and taking when I last withdrew money and dividing by the number of days till I need more show my spending is actually about 45 GEL per day. Not good, but I had to blow a bunch of money on replacing my medicine and such. Not a thrilling happy thing but not unexpected either.

Bottom line, I'm working on doing better but I'm under the break even point and am saving money now. The question is 'how fast am I saving money'. I know what my goal is and I don't know if I'll get it for awhile.

For leisure, I am talking to people, drinking a bit of tea, water and juice, watching movies and TV on the tiny netbook screen and reading books on the Kindle. I figured the Kindle would come in handy eventually and now seems to be the time.

I haven't started contacting people via couch surfing to hang out with yet - keeping that for a 'later' thing as I'm still inundated with people coming to the hostel to stay.



SINGLE WOMEN TRAVELING ALONE

I talked to a girl who was traveling alone here and asked if she had any tips for other women traveling by themselves. Here is what she said:

a) Trust your instincts. If you're not comfortable (in a place, situation, etc) don't try to convince yourself to stay. Just go. Trust your instincts.

b) Avoid arriving late at night to a new destination. If you must, give someone a ring just to tell them where you are.

c) Don't dress stupidly (aka 'sexy' aka 'revealing skin'), especially at night.

[These are good pieces of advice and I thank her for them! Hopefully, we will get more people willing to travel solo. Traveling by yourself is such an interesting experience!]



TRAVELER'S LORE

I had found out about a Facebook page called 'Cairo Scholars'. It has links to the expat community in Egypt as well as places to stay and such. I decided to 'like' it because it is possible I will be 'wintering' in Egypt this year. It is always interesting what sort of resources people know about.

Ramadan is starting on the first of August. I do not at this time foresee being in Egypt (or any Arabic country) for that event. Although I have heard that it gets to be a lot of fun at night - many parties, casual feedings and such so it might not be a good thing that I miss it.

Getting to the Turkish border (and a nice beach) you can either take marshutka 101 or possibly 146. This goes to Sarpi, Georgia.

Jordan: Seeing Petra costs an amazing $70 US. For those too lazy to click on the link, that's where the climax of the third Indiana Jones movie took place. I know that inside is nothing but a couple square rooms - nothing cool. Hence, another way to say it is 'to get your picture taken in front of it is holy shit $70!' Even the Brits who like to charge outrageous fees in London for seeing things (Churchill's Bunker, Westminster Abbey, etc) don't go above 20 BPS (aka $31) for that crap. I was told about an adventurous tourist who snuck in there at 4-5 AM to avoid the security guards and such that would later be demanding money. In addition, it is advisable to have a receipt for your accommodation with you at all times or they charge you double price to see stuff. Robbery! Jordan itself is very expensive - I've been told equivalent to Switzerland. This tells me to keep the fuck out.

Turkey - try to bargain down the price of lodgings down by up to 40%. How much you can knock them down depends on how full they are and so on.

Turkey - check out Pamukkale (town). They have some unique hot springs and such there. It sounds good to me. I ws also advised to check out a hostel called 'Mustafa's Pension'.

Turkey - the two big bus lines are Metro and Pamukkale (named after the city).

Turkey - check out Bodrum. They have the largest under water archaeology museum in the world. Also, there is a hostel there. [Note - they have one hostel there and it has a really horrible rating. Reading the reviews on it somewhat dampens my will to go there. By somewhat I mean 'all the way'.]



COSTS

Indian food - kind of crappy (mostly bone with a little chicken hanging on it = kill the cook) - 10 GEL

Shorts - gaudy and very Georgian in fashion (I dislike the shorts a lot) - 10 GEL

Flip flops - Iraqli found me some good ones as the 9 GEL ones I had bought literally were pounded flat, had a hole through them and were about dead in a mere ten days - 17 GEL

Getting to Trabzan (Turkey) via a very nice bus with air conditioning and possibly a toilet (Turkish buses are nicer by a long shot than Georgian) - 20 GEL

A guest at the hostel was telling me about a forty minute boat ride along the coast you can get though I haven't gone and confirmed it - 5 GEL

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap |

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