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I am still not overly worried. I know quite a number of people who live there without problems. They travel the roads, conduct business without armed guards, and in general, exercise only the extra precaution that any prudent person would. If we rely on statistics only, then Iraq is 3 times safer that New Orleans, twice as safe as Miami, Florida, and more than twice as safe as 7 othe cities in the U.S. If we examine only the statistics, Washington, D.C. is far more dangerous than any place in Africa. Now, how many tourists stay away from D.C., Miami, New Orleans, Houston, TX, or the other five deadly cities in the states. Do you see dire warnings about tourist travel there? Certainly an amount of precaution is needed. Don't ride at night. Don't leave the main roads, don't go into the slum areas, and avoid areas where there is known banditry. I have studied politics, and am aware of the societal problems. I do not approach the trip with a pollyanna attitude, nor one of resignation to a determined outcome. When I referred to the given money it was in context to an earlier statement made about bribes by officials, police officers, and possibly beggars: certainly not about robbers. Nor will I allow the paranoid fear of others to deter me from travel, just as most people who want to see The Smithsonian will not stay away because only two miles distant is a slum in which the crime rate is the highest in the world.
Well, Hindu, I hope you have a pleasant trip. Bon voyage and all that.
I must confess that I really don't know that region of the world as a tourist. I only know it from having lived and worked in Africa for the past 20 years, as an aircraft pilot in humanitarian relief service. I don't think I am either paranoid or fearful - if I was either, I wouldn't be doing this work. I'm prudent, that's all.
You should revisit your own analogies about travel to Washington, Miami, and so forth. If you want to make that kind of comparison, sure, it's perfectly safe to travel to Kenya and Ethiopia, as long as you go to the places that the tourists go to. However, the route that you proposed on the first page of this thread was very different from the usual tourist trip to Masi Mara game parks, the game preserve on the outskirts of Nairobi, and the beaches of Mombassa.
Well Duhh! Sure I am eager as hell to go to the slums, the deprived areas, the places where ganglords rule. That makes sense to me. Everyone who travels, spends money and makes years of plans sits back with his or her spouse and says "Gee, Sweetheart, let's pass by the tourist attractions, the natural wonders, the great markets, and go to where they are shooting at each other, where disease is rampant, and crime is at an all time high. Hey, I know, let's stuff hundred dollar bills in our pockets and go to Central Park New York late at night."
You know what, I had not really thought I was stupid about traveling until you pointed out that I should avoid those very areas I had planned above all else on visiting. Having spent 20 years on a bicycle traveling in some reasonably rugged country I should have learned what you learned in your 20 years of doing humanitarian work. I guess I need to visit more slums so I can get mugged more.
We rode this way (N to S) in Sept/Oct last year. The security situation seems to flare up and calm down periodically, so keep your ear to the ground there. The road is terrible on a bicycle, probably less bad on a motor (only guessing as I've never actually ridden one) but no worse than others in Africa.
It feels remote in parts and is very beautiful. We certainly don't regret riding it (although we probably did at the time...)
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