Just returned from the Middle East and because I’m not writing a Travel Blog here, I was going to take all this great information to my grave. But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced there’s one reader out there who can benefit from my strangely comforting travel tips. Are YOU that reader??
Taking the Mystery Out of International Travel!
- When in airports that have heightened security, don’t sit around on benches darting your eyes furtively around. YOU know you’re contemplating which Duty Free shop to go drop major bucks in (because you forgot to souvenir shop for your kids) but the armed soldiers in Israel won’t get it. Neither should you have this dialogue. SOLDIER: State your business for being in this terminal, Miss. ME: Oh, I’m just killing time. SOLDIER: Killing??! Passport and ID. Now! ME: Wait, what? That’s just an expression. You know like, “Wait till you hear the huge bomb my ex dropped on me last night!” SOLDIER: You’re coming with me.
- Try not to walk into open air market places and say, “Excuse me but which aisle would feminine hygiene products be on?”
- Don’t finally make it to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, extremely honored to slip a prewritten note of prayer into one of the cracks (because it’s the holiest spot in the country and there’s a direct connection with God there) get confused, and instead slide in your “To-Do” list for when you return home.
- As you enter the country of Jordan, never tell the stiff, rigid-looking Border Crossing Guards that you almost named your son “Jordan” but then thought it might sound too girly so you went with “Benjamin” instead.
- At the Dead Sea, agree that you WILL float. Don’t argue with everyone around you that you’re an exception because you weigh too much for this natural phenomenon to work on you. JUST BELIEVE. In fact bring reading material so you can have a photo like this fellow.
- Three hours later when you’re finally satisfied that you can float with the best of ’em and decide to try covering your body with the black sludge that sits on the shores (because it’s supposed to have healing and therapeutic qualities for your skin) don’t go around saying, “Guess I’m just a stick in the mud, eh?” and elbow people roughly trying to nudge a laugh outa them. Saying “Well, here’s mud in your eye!” gets even less of a chuckle.
- You will encounter co-ed public bathrooms. You don’t need to document this fact with photos. People back home WILL believe you.
- Many places will bargain for their wares, but you’re not Monty Hall. Don’t say, “Let’s Make a Deal! How about I give you some Mickey Mouse soap from an official Disney hotel, a Hershey bar, and I’ll throw in a lock of hair from my firstborn for that Star of David necklace in the window?”
- Don’t go to Masada remarking, “Gosh, it looked far more grandiose in the Peter O’Toole movie.” And hiking around Petra asking every tour guide, “Exactly which Indiana Jones movie was filmed here again?” won’t ingratiate you.
- Don’t think you’re so clever figuring out that the Med, Red & Dead Seas all rhyme (and you can make money off that) because there’s already a tee-shirt for that.