Jane Hirshfield (jh) Wed 4 Apr 07 11:27
Marie, I feel like a total carpetbagger showing up with this question on your last day--it's a Well thing: I asked a question elsewhere and they sent me here to ask you... Do you happen to be able to tell me if it's standard for hotels in the Middle East (specifically Aleppo, Amman, Damascus, Jerusalem, Istanbul) to offer free wireless? (Being sent on a cultural exchange reading tour and trying to decide if I should carry a travel computer or not. I have been told zero details about where we'll actually be staying, as it's all still being organized--but it starts later this month.) Thank you for your kindness should you be able to answer. I've just got back from being on a simpler trip and haven't done one like this before. If anywhere earlier in this dialogue you answered questions about travelling tips, packing light, etc., do point me toward it? And again, huge apologies for arriving here both late and with such a narrow- curiosity-aspect to my questions. The cultural part looms so huge, my mind frets the practicalities instead.
David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Wed 4 Apr 07 13:36
Marie, Frako, thanks for a wonderful conversation. It's been big fun reading along. Our Official Eye Of Inkwell is turning to Scott MacFarlane's book and conversation now, but we'd love for you to stick around as long as you like to keep this conversation going.
mother of my eyelid (frako) Wed 4 Apr 07 13:57
As long as people have questions about Africa travel and living, I'll be here. And Marie will have the option of answering those questions at her leisure. But at the end of the 2-week mark I'd like to say Marie, it's been a great pleasure getting answers from you. I thoroughly enjoyed your book--thought it was a fun balance of humor, seasoned observation and emotional barometer of the smart traveler. I'm looking forward to the day *I* can compare all my eastern and western routes with yours!
Marie Javins (mariejavins) Thu 5 Apr 07 03:07
A quick answer for Jane: I haven't been to Syria since 1998, but I'd be *very* surprised if wi-fi was a standard inclusion at most hotels. A quick google of "wifi Damascus" did turn up some places. But by no means expect it there. Amman, Istanbul, and Jerusalem--it's far more likely. And I hope you are going to Jerusalem AFTER Syria and have no evidence of any visits to Israel in your passport. (Economic boycott, you know, same idea as Americans can't officially go to Cuba!) If you were going to the Gulf, you could expect wi-fi or ethernet access almost everywhere. But you're not, so the only way to find out is to find out the names of the hotels and google them. If you don't want the hassle of carrying a laptop, just use internet cafes. If you want your laptop, carry a USB stick so that you can download your mail and read it in your room later even without a direct connection.
Marie Javins (mariejavins) Thu 5 Apr 07 03:13
Thank you to everyone for participating and for thoughtful dialogue. And especially to Frako for keeping things moving along. It's been great fun and I'm happy to check in frequently to see if anyone has any more questions. Of course, I can also be emailed directly through my sites or blog <http://www.mariejavins.com> I am happy to try to answer questions about things, sometimes even when I don't have a clue (so proceed with caution). Finally, my whole point is that anyone can follow their traveling dreams--it's not so hard and not so expensive, and remember to stop at the travel clinic for dik-dik repellent before you go.
mother of my eyelid (frako) Thu 5 Apr 07 17:56
What's the best brand for that?
Jane Hirshfield (jh) Thu 5 Apr 07 23:09
In case Marie's still here--thank you for the answer--and, for being an Inkwell guest as well...
Marie Javins (mariejavins) Fri 6 Apr 07 12:19
Frako, I hear that Avon makes a product that is intended to be used as a nail polish remover, but many swear that they have anecdotal evidence that it wards off rabid dik-diks. Scientific trials have proven it to have no effect whatsoever on small animals but have conclusively determined Nails-So-Tough to be an effective enamel deterrent.
mother of my eyelid (frako) Fri 6 Apr 07 13:25
I'm hoping for something that repels only at close range . . . since I'd love for those adorable little guys to come up to me first!
Marie Javins (mariejavins) Mon 9 Apr 07 12:23
Careful, they look cute but are vicious killers.
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Mon 9 Apr 07 12:31
Keep those little horns razor sharp, eh?
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