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Things To Discover In The Discreet Country of Laos

October 16, 2016

Laos is a beautiful untouched country in South East Asia. I’d pick Laos over busy Bali any day – why? Because it’s super chilled out and has a raw beauty and serenity which I hope, I really hope, doesn’t change.

Things to see in Laos

Luang Prabang 

Take a walk through the countries ancient capital that feels as if it has been frozen in time.

Vang Vieng

Popular among backpackers and Korean tourists; explore the many caves and bright blue lagoons that dot the landscape tucked among the mountains jetting up from the valley floor.

Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) 

On the border of Cambodia and Laos the Mekong River gives way to a large watery plain dotted with islands. Explore the area on bikes or kayaks, take a look at the large waterfalls that plunge down towards Cambodia, or take in the serenity in your bungalow swinging in a hammock. NOTE: no ATM on the islands. Bring plenty of kip.

Tham Kong Lo 

Hidden in the Phu Hin Bun wilderness area in the southern panhandle of Laos the Nam Hin Bun river flows through Tham Kong Lo cave. Float through the 7km tunnel only illuminated by flashlights and headlamps. Hire a boat from one of the nearby fishing villages. Not for the faint of heart.

Pha That Luang

The most famous and important site in all of Laos, which you’ll find on all of their currency, is a must see, especially if you arrive via Viantiane. Don’t stop here however. There are many temples, many of which are centuries old, to explore.

Kuang Si Waterfall 

Hike up and around this beautiful area exploring the various falls and bright turquoise pools. An hour by tuk-tuk, don’t book a tour. Instead, find enough people to fill the back of a tuk-tuk and haggle the price.

Slow Boat to Muang Ngoi Neua and Nong Khiaw

Relax along the Ou River and travel to the quiet river villages of Muang Ngoi Neau and Nong Khiaw. Relax or hike around the infrequently visited area.

Phonsavan

Occupied by the United States at some point decades ago during the war, some western characteristics remain like the Laos “cowboys” you may come across. Good place to visit the plain of jars from as well.

 

Asia Blog

My Peaceful Trip To Rosh Pinna

October 6, 2016

I ended up hitchhiking to Rosh Pinna from Nazareth which I didn’t plan to at all. I was waiting at the bus stop for the bus from Nazareth to Tiberius so I could change there to get to Rosh Pinna but it wasn’t coming. Either I’d got the schedule wrong or it just wasn’t coming at all but it was getting late and the dusk moonlight was starting to creep in and as the journey took an hour I needed to get moving before it was really dark. Luckily the first car that saw me stopped and I jumped in. He was heading to Tiberius so I figured I was lucky… until he started acting strange.
Perhaps I was his first ever hitchhiker, or he was a natural weirdo but his actions were over friendly which made me uneasy. He kept looking at me. Just staring, then all at once he randomly pulled over and stopped in an Arab town in the valley and jumped out and bought me TWO falafels and some water. I finally saw him in outside the car setting and he was huge, wide and scary. He could crush me with him toe… but though he was extremely questionable, I still accepted because I was hungry – what can I say.. a girls got to eat.
He kept stopped off a view points too which now I am pleased about because I saw some spectacular views of Tiberius and distant Jordan but I kept thinking that this was his way of sweetening me up for something horrible. I even memorized his number plate when he bought the food. It was just intuition, but finally we got down to Tiberius bus station and I jumped or should I say ran out. I arrived in a very still Rosh Pinna 40minutes later in pitch black darkness.

“Rosh Pinna was the unwanted rock, which found its place as the corner-stone of Israel”, a local told me.

Rosh Pinna is a wonderful picturesque little place in Northern Israel. Though be careful, because as much as Rosh Pinna is welcoming, locals tell me that she (Rosh Pinna) also spits people out after a while. I still don’t get it… It might be a personal experience.

The source of Rosh Pinna is the fountain at the end of the village. It is the chakra of the town, Eldad told me so – so it must be right. When you are there you feel a different vibration.The people welcome you like you’re an old friend or even a local. They don’t waste time with formalities either. Conversations I had in Rosh Pinna usually started from the middle, rather the beginning and worked their way backwards. Truthfully they are a little peculiar, but aren’t we all? They are the kind of people who put gnomes outside their house and leave their doors wide open while having arguments, sex, family gatherings and parties for the entire neighbourhood to hear – just because we are ‘all one’. I remember a local asking me ‘what do you do?’ and I gave my best response and when I returned the question ‘and what do you do?’ he responded ‘that’s a good question, I’m still trying to find that out’ in a wise buddha type way. I felt like such a tool for answering so thoroughly.

If you make your way to downtown Rosh Pinna from the fountain, you will walk past the picturesque old village which is home to art galleries, magnificent look out points and a synagogue. I took a walk though the Wadi Rosh Pinna and it was so silent that I could hear everything is icy clarity. Every bird, branch, leaf and rustle of the trees. The mountains were like barriers separating me from the world, I was completely alone say for a few lizards and other wildlife. I remembered what a big deal solitude meant for me, the last time I was totally alone in such a vast space was in the Mitzpe Ramon. I climbed to the top of the Wadi and looked down – everything was laid out clearly to me, the world was mine – even just for a day. If anybody was there, I must have looked like some random hiker lost in the valley.

 

Asia Blog

Watching The Sunset In Mikhmoret

September 20, 2016

Walking softly on the evening sand.
I can feel the softness of you hand.
I don’t need to try and find the words to say.
Enjoying things that make me feel this way.
The sand feels so loose beneath our feet.
This moment in time makes me feel so complete.
Looking across the water as the sun slowly dips.
Like a huge animal that’s bending down to sip.
I can smell your sweet fragrance with you so near.
The winds faintest of whisper ringing in my ear.
Forever in time, this moment stands still.
Aching to hold you so close, that’s how I feel.
A walk on the beach, hand in hand, like we just met.
There’s just nothing like it, we are sharing the sunset.

-Not for any contest

Asia Blog Uncategorized

My Trip To ‘No Mean’ Nazareth

September 12, 2016

Bus from Jerusalem to Nazareth cost 39NIS and takes just under 2 hours.

Nazareth. Open for business?

Nazareth, started as a little Jewish town around 2,000 years prior has spread its name far and wide as religion and skeptics alike desire to see the spot where the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ had lived, though to me, this mainstream holy city brough a new type of enlightening to mind.

It’s not that Nazareth is empty. It is closed, look at my pics! This beautiful forgotten city in the lower Galilee is practically a ghost town situated in the heart of a valley encompassed by mountains that surround a few of the most vital Christian houses of worship on the planet. Did I feel an otherworldly or blessed atmosphere? No. Did I feel as though I walking in a trance through a city rich in holy history. No. This is the city where, as indicated by popular custom, the blessed messenger Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the force of the Holy Spirit, and the spot where Jesus spent his adolescence and youth. Yet, it is an epic fail – empty and deserted it is so hard to believe that Nazareth, the biggest Arab city in Israel, has around 30 houses of worship and religious communities, and in addition mosques and antiquated synagogues is dead. I figured everybody was probably in Tel Aviv – the alternative city where (almost) anything goes.

nazareth

If I told you Mary had 7 kids and remained a virgin who would you trust?

Some confusion as to Marys Grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the divine pregnancy!

Some confusion as to Marys Grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the divine pregnancy!

I took a visit to the Church of Annunciation and stood outside Joseph and Mary’s home and just as I was about to sneak in for a closer look when I had a moment of truth. I suddenly converted my thoughts. I finally got it. Defined by her virginity, lauded for limitless humility and submission, Mary is the baddest bitch that ever lived. Stories have successfully convinced people who, while a virgin she and gave birth to Jesus. Whatsmore, she still remains a virgin even though the gospels clearly stated that Jesus had four brothers and two (unnamed) sisters the theologians of Christ were disposed to argue that the virgin “purity” of their goddess was not to be compromised: she had, they insisted, remained a virgin throughout the whole birthing process.

Mark Twain — ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.’

Jesus of where?!

Food for thought

When we look for historical confirmation that Nazareth is the hometown of a god – …OMG! – no source confirms that the place even existed in the 1st century AD. What the devil is going on?!? The expression ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is actually a bad translation of the original Greek ‘Jesous o Nazoraios’. More accurately, we should speak of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ where Nazarene has a meaning quite unrelated to a place-name. What we do know is that ‘Nazarene’ (or ‘Nazorean’) was originally the name of an early Jewish-Christian sect – a faction, or off-shoot, of the Essenes. They had no particular relation to a city of Nazareth. The root of their name may have been ‘Truth’ or it may have been the Hebrew noun ‘netser’ (‘netzor’), meaning ‘branch’ or ‘flower.

• Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.

• The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

St Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. Rabbi Solly’s epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

• No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

 

Photos of the Empty Streets Of Nazareth

Nazareth

Empty Streets Of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Empty Streets Again of Nazareth

Asia Blog

My Half Day Trip To Bethlehem

September 7, 2016

And so to Bethlehem. I didn’t really want to go to Bethlehem. It was Saturday (Shabat) and on Shabat you’re not suppose to do anything. But I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I didn’t go to Bethlehem. If not for me, for my grandmother.

My (Catholic) grandmother is going to LOVE me

The journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is about 20minutes and costs 6NIS one way and the bus passes a check point as you enter Palestinian territory where soldiers get on and check passports and ID cards. I’d like to describe Bethlehem as a holy sacred city – quiet and peaceful where people sit and pray all day. But I can’t. I honestly didn’t expect it to be an Arabic city, with market stalls and crowded streets, it is really not what I expected. Yes, during my visit to the city where Jesus was born I entered one of the oldest churches in the world; the Church of Nativity, I discovered the Milk Grotto and learned of its history and origins, strolled through the Shepherd’s fields and walked through the old city of Bethlehem. Oh and I even snuck into the cemetery on the top of the town, it gives a beautiful view of Bethlehem. I was totally alone, with these beautifully laid out graves and tombstones. It was strangely the most beautiful moment I’d had that day – being in a cemetery… though I was a bit scared that I’d get locked in and left after 20minutes.

Well, that’s pretty much it I’m afraid. I had another walk around the market before I returned back to Jerusalem and went drinking with German and Australian tourists I met. We met up in the streets of Jerusalem and drank on the inactive (electricity doesnt run on Shabat) fountains, we even came up with a phrase for vaginal piercings ‘perfect pierced pussy’ a.k.a. Tripple P. Used in a sentence it would be ‘Hey, you know I have a tripple P? or I want to change my Tripple P soon’

For me, the sacred town of Bethlehem is just a small crowded Arabic town. Yeah, it’s nice, its pretty, it has churches, it has an old city… I can think of one word to describe Bethlehem it would be humdrum, which means boring. Typical Arabic attitudes, people and atmosphere. It is not at all the Bethlehem that my Catholic grandmother raves about when she recites stories about Jesus. She’d be shocked if she came with me and I’m certainly glad she didn’t, she’d be disappointed – worse of all, loose a bit of faith.DSCN0630 DSCN0627 DSCN0625 DSCN0615 DSCN0610

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Asia Blog

My Holy Trip To Jerusalem

August 31, 2016

One of the best aspects of traveling, is the opportunity to experience the vibrancy and diversity of local religions, traditions and cultures. Jerusalem provides many such opportunities.

Craaaazy, loud and rude!

The zen state of mind I reached in Mitzpe Ramon vanished the moment I stepped off the bus and into the holy city they call Jerusalem. Jerusalem is crowded and the traffic is impossible but in a strange way that’s part of the excitement. Jerusalem is the only city I can say about that, apart from New York. In fact, the New York Jewish neighbourhoods is just what Jerusalem reminded me of – it had the same noise, honking, chatter, the same buzz of energy.

streets of Jerusalem

streets of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the holiest city in the world has over the centuries switched hands as frequently as one changed their underwear. Since 4500 BC to now (2016) Jerusalem has switched hands 20 times and the last real Jewish rulering was in The Hasmonean dynasty in 165BC-37BC. Jerusalem has seen many different shades and religions through the years which is why it is no surprise that today Jerusalem’s Old City is split into Jewish Quarter, Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter and the Armenian Quarter; and surprise surprise, there is still a dispute over Temple Mount. Yet the amazing thing is that the amidst the disputes and conflict the city still thrives.

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Aside from the Old City, Jerusalem city centre has a different flavor entirely. While Jerusalem isn’t architecturally interesting it is historically fascinating and Jerusalem is decidedly hip, with pricey boutiques, swanky nightspots, and rising rents. The bread bakeries, falafel shops, fresh fruit stalls, and produce vendors will send your senses reeling. The fabulous Mahane Yehuda Market  offers the freshest produce, ingredients, and incredible falafel. At every turn off Jaffa  Street you can find live music, pantomines and performances being played out.

Jewish people are rude.

Don’t expect to be drawn to the conviviality, warmth and exuberance of the neighborhood locals… it’s nothing personal but they won’t make you feel like part of the family – that’s just how it is. A Jewish in Jerusalem has less manners than a baboon – and that’s insulting the baboon. Most locals I encountered did not have any sense of respect and everyone is pretty much out for themselves and don’t care how it affects other people’s lives. So it’s normal to be not so courteous and barge your way into a line, just remember, before you get angry that it’s nothing personal – it is just how it is.

Love Shuk

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I wandered through the narrow central market isle, dumbfounded at the scale of the place. Locals and tourists alike stream into big, bustling Mahane Yehuda Market where more than 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables to customers yelling out their orders wildly like lunatics. The combination of old tradition and modern flare is the most unique aspect about the market. Stalls and shops which are traditional and modern stand meters apart, both styles adding their own vigor to the atmosphere. Recent additions to the market’s stalls include an espresso bar, “hip jewelry” stores, and designer clothing “boutiques. At night, the open-air Mahane Yehuda Market closes the fruit and veg stalls and transforms into a vibrant nightlife spot with speciality bars, restaurants, live music and singers and becomes a place for people to gather, drink, dance and converse over loud music. Day and  night, this is my favourite place to be in Jerusalem.

jerusalem night

A Walk Through The Most Fanatic Jewish Orthodox Neighbourhood

luckily, nobody threw any stones, nappies or spat at me!

Mea Shearim - ultra orthodox Jewish neighborhood jerusalem (23)

warning in the street

Guided by a local I walked through the most fanatic Jewish Orthodox neighbourhood in the world, Mea Shearim. Very few people go here and it is a rare opportunity to take a peak inside ultra-Orthodox life.

Established in 1874, Mea Shearim is an insulated neighbourhood in the heart of Jerusalem. It is one of the first neighbourhoods out of the old city which makes it one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the new city, from the modern age. This is an ultra-orthodox neighbourhood occupied by the Haredi Jews. The term Haredi means I fear the meaning of God. With its overwhelmingly Haredi population, the streets retain the flavor of an East European Life back in the 19th century which revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish texts. Traditions in dress may include black frock coats and black or fur-trimmed hats for men and long-sleeved, modest clothing for women. “Modesty” posters in Hebrew and English are hung at every entrance to Mea Shearim. When visiting the neighborhood, women and girls are asked to wear what is deemed to be modest dress (knee-length skirts or longer, no plunging necklines or midriff tops, no sleeveless blouses or bare shoulders) and tourists are requested not to arrive in large, conspicuous groups. During the Shabbat (from sunset Friday until it is completely dark on Saturday night), visitors should refrain from smoking, photography, driving or use of mobile phones. When entering synagogues, men should cover their heads.

road in Mea Shearim

side road in Mea Shearim- Jewish man bows his head to look away from me.

The walk itself was tense, it kind of looked like I was walking through an Eastern European ghetto. The streets were tightly packed, dark and narrow, blocking out all sunlight which gives it a very gloomy depressing vibe. Nothing is affluent and certainly not modern, it just looks run-down. As I looked around, I was constantly waiting for something to happen – I’d heard so many stories about stone throwing and people being ran out. My heart was constantly beating faster than usual and I had a eery feeling that I was in the wrong place – at the wrong time. Actually, there was no right time for someone like me to be there. I was uncomfortable and very aware that I was wearing a t-shirt and trousers. Due to my severe immodesty men immediately looked away from me and the women too. True, they choose to be the way they are and I can’t apologise for who I am, but I felt guilty being there and although nobody threw things at me or told me to leave, my heart rate returned to normal once the walk was over and I was back in the open air of Jerusalem city.
(It struck me as bizarre that the atmosphere in Mea Shearim contrasts sharply with the surrounding modernity of Jerusalem center)

The Holiest Day of My Life

Friday at the Western Wall. WOAHHHH!!!!!

If you are in Jerusalem on Friday night – go to the Western Wall and observe, or take part in the recitation of special Friday evening prayers known as Kabbalat Shabbat, the joyous Jewish ritual of welcoming the Sabbath. These prayers have been recited by Jews around the world for centuries, and consist of silent prayers, singing, and spontaneous dancing.

It really just looks like a big holy party. The men and women are seperated by a wall and on both sides people are dancing, singing, chanting and praying.

isr_western-wall_61614_539_332_c1Shabbat at the Western Wall is often described as a magical experience. At sunset on Friday, thousands of Jews gather at the Western Wall to welcome the Sabbath. Soldiers in uniform with rifles on their backs dance with men in long black coats and teenagers with backpacks. The divisions of Israeli society are not as polarizing here, where Jews of all beliefs and backgrounds join together in joy and prayer.

Placing my note to G-D in the Western WallPrayer_Papers_in_the_Western_Wall

During the celebration I squeezed my way through the busy crowd to the front of the Western Wall and took the chance to put my note ‘to God’

Jerusalem City By Day

I went on a walking tour by Sandeman Tour Group which left from Jaffa Gate and was led by Emmanuel, a half Israeli half Manchester guy.jerusalem golden dome

To step through Jaffa Gate is to be lost at once in a random, seemingly endless warren of rank, alleyways, narrow passageways wandering between rows of old, sand-coloured walls. We started at the Tower of David which was naturally impressive, but I confess that all the history facts were largely wasted on me after I learned that the story didn’t entirely make sense.

We toured all four Old City quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian & Armenian and got incredible views of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Mount of Olives. We explored Hurva (Ruined) Synagogue, David’s Citadel, Roman Cardo Maximus and the Amazing (Arab) Suq – Covered markets

Arab Market in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City is an extraordinary place – crowded, noisy, extremely colourful – Arab Quarter Jerusalemwith individual, open-sided stalls specializing in fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, clothes, spices and other commodities. Every stall was a picture of abundance and sumptuousness, every nut and tomato and spice more neatly arranged and more richly coloured than any I had seen before anywhere. It seemed impossible that one person could agree to buy just one thing. There was plenty. Beyond the main food stalls was a sort of bazaar of dark stalls containing everything from cloth to small electrical items. I noticed men selling small ornaments – batteries, torches, plastic wallets, key rings, playing cards… Arabs know how to run markets.

Emmanuel, the tour guide, gave us (my fellow group members) what can only be called an exhaustive tour. There wasnt an alcove or pediment to which we weren’t given a full history, not a pit or dwelling whose excavated contents werent thoroughly described. We left packed with knowledge and admiration, and ready for a very large meal. Falafel, humus and pita.

 

Asia Blog

My Hike Trip To Mitzpe Ramon

August 28, 2016

On the edge of the Ramon crater, at a height of some 300 meters above it, sits the town of Mitzpe Ramon. This pleasant, quiet town, built in the landscape of the largest of the Negev craters, between paths and cliffs, mountains and springs, has recently become a thriving little tourism town. Mitzpe Ramon was founded in 1951 and it even has Israels most expensive hotel which is £700 per night. 

From Eilat, the bus ride to Mitzpe Ramon gives you a beauitful glimse into the Negev Desert as it winds its way up to Mitzpe Ramon and it only cost 39ILS. Mitzpe Ramon is a peculiar little town. It is home to a hippy community that sits on the east of the town which is home to organic food shops, art galleries, a bakery, a jazz bar and various cafes and restaurants. There is also a spice quarter where you can find all kinds of exciting spices

If you go to Mitzpe Ramon you are bound to do at least one hike trail. There are several hikes you can take around Mitzpe Ramon. I buddied up with an English girl from Essex I’d met at The Green Backpackers Hostel in Mitzpe Ramon and we embarked on a sunrise trail at 5am and ended our trail around 8am. We hitch hiked back to The Green Backpackers. Short and sweet, it was one of the best trails I’d been on for a very long time.

Not everybody can handle the serenity of desert life. It is quiet and there is not much to do. Hike, relax, cook, socialize, build… If you have a lot on your mind, you should consider going to the desert, just for a few days to realign your thoughts. It can be scary where your mind can lead, but it is well worth the clarity. My mornings were spent either meditating or hiking and my days were spent at The Green Backpackers or walking around the town.

 

mitzpe ramon 8  mitzpe ramon 2

mitzpe ramon 7

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mitzpe ramon shop

artsy shop in Mitzpe Ramon

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art on the wall in hippy part of Mitzpe

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mitzpe ramon town

Asia Blog Israel

My Trip To Eilat

August 27, 2016

They say that all the crazy people all move to Jerusalem and the crazier people move to Eilat.

Eilat lays awkwardly in the crack between the borders of Egypt and Jordan. It is Israels southernmost spot and it looks as though it has squeezed itself in between and made just enough space to form a city.

I walked the border from Taba, Egypt to Eilat, Israel stress free almost as though I was in a rush. For information about crossing the border from Egypt to Israel please click here. I was in a rush to leave Egypt – putting it nicely, I’d had enough of Egypt and needed a change of mentality.

The moment I cross the border from Taba to Eilat, into Israel I felt welcome.

The border is on the coast and I immediately saw people young and old, shirtless and in bikinis enjoying the beach and the water. I walked along into Eilat on the border road and passed men and women with dreadlocks, sides of their heads shaven, piercings and tattoos. It was a mixed bag of people. Multicultural too. The type you see in places like Berlin, London or Barcelona. For a few moments I stood stunned. How was it that 10 meters away in Egypt things were so so different. Eilat and its people symbolized everything that Egypt didn’t. The people expressed their individuality freely through their style, I saw alternative, hippy, nerdy, retro, emo, diva and boy next door all in one. I didn’t even stand out… Unlike in Egypt, nobody acknowledged me as different. In fact, i blended in so much that until I spoke English, everyone assumed I was from Israel.

Eilat is small so you can walk from one end to the other in a day.

The strange thing about it is that there is an airport right in the center of the city. Unlike most airports which are situated in a vast, quiet location close (rarely inside) the city, Eilat airport is a part of the city’s infrastructure. It neighbors hotels, shopping centers, canyons the beach, bars, schools, houses. This means that you can can look above and see several planes landing and departing in a day. It must be the tightest place to land ever. I am surprised that there are no accidents. Another strange thing about Eilat is that they have no traffic lights. The took them all out and replaced them with mini roundabouts. – another strange thing about Eilat is that the addresses are called only by their numbers. For example; 113 or 467 and not 113 fungi road.

Eilat city is a little gem.

The secret of this little city’s charm is its special location in the northern end of the Bay of Eilat. The combination of a hot climate, a tropical sea and a breathtaking background of wild, bare granite mountains has turned it into a tourist gem all the year round. It has sparks of magic everywhere. I was happy to spend 90% of my time there on the beach relaxing and snorkelling and meeting the fish of the Red Sea. A snug little town by the Red Sea, with perfect weather all year round, beautiful views, clean environment that is so important these days. It may be because I’d just come from Egypt, but I was really pleased to be in Eilat. I was 100% happy… The strains of being in a closed society left me and I was comfortable.

Cool things to do in Eilat

Ice Mall & Park

Eilat Mountains

Beaches; Dekel Beach, Princess Beach, Mosh’s Beach

Red Sea parasailing

Camel Ranch

Rope Park

Links:

Taba to Eilat Border

 

 

Asia China

Beijing Teahouse Scam

July 22, 2016

It took me 4 years for me to mentally process that I was a victim this scam

Beijing tea house scam

How the Beijing Tea House/Shop Scam Works

Step 1

Pick an obvious tourist from the crowd. Preferably one who is young, alone and fascinated with their surroundings. In this case me. 

Step 2 

Find an innocent looking friend and approach your target with a smile full of Hellos. 

Step 3 

Engage your target in conversation. Pretend to be fascinated by their adventure and repeatedly compliment them on their bravery. Go as far as calling them the most amazing person you’ve ever met. 

Step 4 

Ask them if they want to experience a traditional Chinese tea house

Step 5 

Once inside the tea house order the most expensive teas for 3 people. While doing so engage your victim in conversation to distract them from the bizarre the situation

Step 6 

Order the bill and get up to go, leaving your victim with ¥600 (£60) to generously pay for tea

Step 7 

Share the profits between the owner of the tea house and your acquaintance. ¥200(£20) each may not seem like a lot but the cost of living back then was low. It was a decent hustle. 

Why I didn’t pay a penny for the Beijing Tea House Scam

Those crooks didn’t get a penny out of me. I slightly realised something what’s going on once I was in the tea house but back then I was too shy to leave. The tea house was on a backstreet in the centre of Beijing. It was tiny, compact and smelled like wet dog. The girls did well to revert my attention back to our conversation which was oh so funny. Half way through us sipping tea I had been texting with the Chinese businessman I met on the overnight train from Mongolia. He wanted to meet for dinner with his family so I vaguely told him where I was. I didn’t know the name of the tea house or even location. I have no idea how he find me and so quick. All of a sudden he burst in and gave one disgusted look at my company, exchanged furious words with the owner and we left in his car for dinner. He later warned me to be very very careful and not to trust anyone. It took me years to process what happened, it was all so strange and rapid I didn’t get my head around it. One minute I was in Beijing square looking around with my mouth hanging open in awe and the next I was in a back alley Chinese tea house only to be rescued by Chinese superman.  

There are many tourist scams in many countries and some which you may not realise is a scam. Unless you make friends with locals nobody will save you!

 

Beware of the Beijing Tea House scam!