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Old 28-09-2010, 20:04   #16
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Given how good natured and magnanamous Gary Goodlander is as a result of his travels in the 3rd world, I was really surprised by the tone and candor of his aricle in CW, and frankly, even more so that CW published it (given the propensity of publishers to be so PC).

If nothing else, Gary's umbrage at the events illustrate the extent to which westerner's fail to appreciate the extent to which a shadow of Spenser's social darwinism--where exploiting other's weakness and misfortune is an accepted practice--abides as a matter of course in the middle east. Western morality is largely based on the concept of doing nothing to another one would not have done to one's self. While not perfectly practiced, the ethic predisposes westerners to afford kindness to those suffering misfortune or injury, even their enemys. That is largely not so in the middle east and particularly not when the sufferer is an "outlander" and exploiting his/her misfortune is not likely to result in any future direct retribution. That, of course, does not apply to "invited guests" who are affored all of the privledges/protections of the community/tribe/clan, but uninvited interlopers travel at their own peril and no particular shame accrues to their exploiters (hence legal "authorities" are commonly little or entirely unmotived to apprehend perpetrators). Westerners commonly find all of the foregoing incomprehensible while there, they find western incomprehension, incomprehensible.

That Mark and Nic, "Fatty" and Caroline, and many others have made the Red Sea/Canal sojoun unmolested is more a case of good fortune--and absence of weakness-than anything else.

Lastly, on the matter of "baksheesh", westerners look upon this as a "bribe". In the middle east the ability to recieve baksheesh--or pishkesh in the case of potential long-term dealings--is considered a part of the consideration one receives for holding an office (hence the practice of paying for an appointment to a potentially lucrative office). While there may be a "salary" or wages for holding a position, if any at all, these are commonly nominal. One is expeced to obtain one's compensation from those that recieve the services of one's office and the more dear the service--e.g. pilotage through the Canal--the more the compensation expected. To some extent the same is praticed in the West, particularly in restaurants where, if one wants good service or assurance of a table, one needs to be willing to afford a waiter or headwaiter a good "tip".
While vexing, Gary's experience was simply a matter of course in the locale.

The foregoing are offered merely as observations and not as an indictment nor invocation of discord. In the course of travel, one's expectations need be tailored to the exigencies of ones venue, or one shall always be disappointed, no?

I'm really glad Fatty doesn't have the moral understanding to realize why it's OK to risk a man's life in order to get a "tip". Maybe the world would be a more understanding place if all of us ignored the dog fights, child prostitutes, and precious commodities slave camps with the attitude of "that's just how they do things here". Personally, though, I'd rather have the "tone and candor" of harsh judgement in all of those cases.


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Old 28-09-2010, 21:24   #17
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I have read about this kind of thing. If I remember the book, "Sails full and by" makes some mention of baksheesh and bribery. I am curious about this kind of interaction. Although not curious enough to visit...

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Old 28-09-2010, 21:40   #18
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That's one part of the world I have no desire to visit by any mode of transportation.
"Go simple, go large!".

Relationships are everything to me...everything else in life is just a tool to enhance them.
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Old 28-09-2010, 22:23   #19
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svHyLyte, excellent and insightful post. You put your finger on the cultural misunderstanding that exacerbates these encounters.
"The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end." ---Aldous Huxley
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Old 28-09-2010, 22:25   #20
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My wife and I have been to Egypt - It's a poor country for all the wrong reasons. The tourism "industry" is so important to their economy but many couldn't care less about tourists, ripping them off every chance they can get. The country and the history are great and there are a lot of great people there if you take the time and look past the negative. I doubt I would go back but I certainly don't regret having visited.

Having said that, I have read a few horror stories about the canal and they don't surprise me at all. We saw many examples of this kind of treatment of tourists. I guess you just have to either except the cost and play the game or find a different path - the game isnít going to change just because we don't like it. Such is life.

My two cents worth....
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Old 28-09-2010, 22:39   #21
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Ah the dilemma for people who want to be understanding, tolerant, and culturally sensitive but who aren't sure if they're supposed to tolerate disrespect for the value of life, exploitation of the weak, brute force thievery, slavery, kidnapping, extortion, murder, and other instances of people not being nice even when we ask ever so politely.

Ah well the saints among us say -- maybe we just didn't ask nicely enough.

Ah well the not-so-saintly among us say -- maybe we didn't just use a big enough stick.

Ah well I say -- I think that part of the world can be bypassed and South Africa sounds like a great place to visit.
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Old 28-09-2010, 23:24   #22
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It goes with the territory. Its the third world for a reason. They simply arnt like us and dont share the same values. We know that and decide accordingly.
I personally wont go to places like that and when ever ive flown east, ive chosen flights that dont even stop over in arab or middle eastern countries on principal.

Corruption is rife in other parts too. Italy still stumbles under the weight of it and ive witnessed it in the UK too. In France, if you wish to succeed, befriend the mayor. Wine and dine him to get your house built. If your stopped for a motoring offence in Thailand, offer the cop your papers with 100 Bhat inside. They have to supply their own uniform and weapons, so have to earn the money somehow.

23 years ago whilst working for one company supplying goods to the UKs largest supermarket, the head buyer was fired for demanding bribes from suppliers.
His replacement made an appointment to visit to meet and greet and no sooner he was in our office, he shook hands, introduced himself and announced that he liked whiskey. Cases, not bottles.
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Old 29-09-2010, 02:08   #23
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dog fights, child prostitutes, and precious commodities slave camps
ah come on now, Tennessee's not THAT bad

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Old 29-09-2010, 02:12   #24
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Well on the other side of the coin, in that part of the world and Morocco (also india and asia) I have been on the recieving end of great generosity and kindness from people who, compared with me or pretty much anyone else on this forum, have hardley anything to give and certainly didn't expect anything in return. Speaking with local people, baksheesh seemed to be an extension of the central islamic concept of generosity to strangers. Just that many people in power seem to take it a little to far...
But you only remember the few that you meet that rip you off, not the unmet majority who, in my brief experience anyway, offer a much warmer welcome than you would ever find in a western city.
Just don't get a guesthouse next to the mosque...
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Old 29-09-2010, 02:44   #25
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its worth bearing in mind, that you sail into these countries in what to many there is a boat worth a fortune maybe in excess of 100K or even double that. On top of that you have an indolent lifestyle, allowing you to live without a job for several years, all this sceams wealth ( which it is in fact). Hence the local, scraping away a living on next to nothing ( his interpretation) , just sees a floating money pot.

ANd you wonder why these people want to releive you of it.

SO what ,you get stuck for 100 dollars or more over the transit costs, most of you have spent more on your footwear.what dont like "bribes", suck it up folks and get on with it



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