Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Craig, Feb 15, 2006.
New article written by Army Fencer:
[Read the full article]
Mentions reading his blog, but without a link....
The word "blog" is a very hard to distinguish link.
The link, btw, is http://patient-touch.livejournal.com
The word blog is a hyperlink to it.
Ah, fooled by the lack of underlining. Should have mouse-overed (overred? Problems with verbizing non-verbs... ).
Why would there be no vendors at a World Cup?! Was his comment about the lack of vendors specific to the regions he traveled to recently, or are vendors at WC events hosted by countries that have more vendors that the U.S.?
I rather liked the comment about "black market Ukrainian blades"...
I've been to plenty of WC's that don't have vendors.
As been said, many times there is none or one vendor.
The 'black market' has been going on for much longer than I have been around. When the Soviet Union came; at the end of the tournament, every fencer would sell everything including the shirt off their back for blue jeans or hard cash. They knew they would have all new gear for the next tournament. The armorer would sell all the spare weapons. I once got a complete Foil, all Uhlmann parts for $50.
The armorers sideline for all the former Soviet republics is to sell off blades. They even have 'Official cards' from the manufacturer. When they bring the blades with the team they are reported as 'Spare blades', in case of breakage. We all know that you need a couple hundred spare blades for a team when you go to a competition.
One would think that the "rest of the world" might as well be the wild nether-regions of the universe. It is of course important to travel smart, especially when spending a lot of money to compete internationally. But is it not hard to "smell the flowers" when one is exerting so much energy making sure one has supplied the child with all of the necessary US produced foods, staying "aware" of everything, and increasing the population of overly-resistant bacteria? If you forget the child's Propel, why not live on the edge and try (the Oh so exotic) Isostar powder -- it's sweeter, but damn good.
I think I agree with Smurfette. Mo, I know your post was made with good intentions, but it reads more like a laundry list of why it is dangerous to travel, and will act more as a deterrent for parents and fencers than anything else.
Sure there are places that are more "dangerous" than others. Those places can be found in the US also.
For sports drinks, the powder stuff is the best, you can carry a greater amount of it than the bottled stuff.
Regarding carbonated water, there are lots of round non-carbonated water bottles: evian, vittel, for example.
Danger can flourish just as easily on home ground. One of my clubmates was in the round of 4 at a Div I NAC in Ohio a few years ago and finished her bout to find that someone had stolen her purse out of her fencing bag, leaving her with no cash, credit card, ID, car keys . . .
And she's a grown-up, so she had no mummy or daddy to set things right.
Those are very good points.
I tried to make my article quick and humorous, not comprehensive. I figured that it would stick a little better that way.
I found Army Fencer's article quite amusing. Well done for him for writing it.
I've travelled all over the place - never been to China or the Americas though - and I have to say that reading some of Mo's comments about travelling in Europe made me chuckle. You would honestly think you were in a different country!
Gav's top tip #1: ALWAYS travel as light as possible. Your bag will inevitably be heavier on the return trip so don't bother to take extra kilos. Remember that some carriers can be absolute bastards for extra charges. IF that means no hair dryer, granola bars, moistureiser then learn to live without. Don't travel with foodstuffs if you can avoid it. Some places can be funny about that and, in my experience food never travels well.
Gav's top tip #2: Leading on from food in bags... If you are going somewhere exotic (e.g. Middle East, Africa, India etc) don't eat the local food if you have to compete the following day. Just don't bother. Get the curry afterwards when it won't matter that you will be sitting on a toilet for days on end. Don't forget that the reason that a lot of these places will serve you spicy food is to disguise rotten meat - although poor food preperation and hygene is more of a problem. If you are staying in a good hotel then eat there and eat something you recognise. Of course you never know - you might just be unlucky.
After the tournment go nuts! If you have the time eat the local food and take in the sites. You ARE in a different country.
Gav's Top Tip #3: ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK. If you know people who have been there before - ask. If you know people who have eaten there before - ask. If you have local contacts - ask. If you have access to consular officials - ask. Is there a tourist information point - ask. Identify people you can trust - and ask questions. Oh, and be polite and patient. There's not much worse, when you live in a tourist area, than having to deal with ignorant foreigners. If people start getting bolshy then don't pursue it; just drop whatever is your problem.
Gav's top tip #4: "When in Rome..." Yes, that's right, you are in a different country. Expect a different attitude. Go in with the attitude "why can't it be like my country" and expect things to get ugly*. IF you are female and travelling somewhere with different customs make sure you are aware of what is acceptable. If people have told you that miniskirts are not an option then don't pack miniskirts. Just cos you get away with X at home doesn't mean you will get away with X elsewhere.
Gav's Top tip #5. Enjoy yourself.
My top travel tips
1) Don't wear a fanny pack, or call it such in the UK
2) Don't look at a map in the open
Isn't there a paragraph or sentence somewhere in all the USFA forms that we sign when going to a world cup/world championship that says you agree NOT TO BUY or bring back blades/equipment. Somewhere I remember signing something like that before a vet's world championship.
Also in certain countries DO NOT ASK THE POLICEMAN ON STREET FOR HELP, this especially includes simply asking for directions. You will find yourself hit up for some made up broken law or rule and he can "help you" by take your cash payment for the fine on the spot. Better to ask regular people you see working in a store. If you need a cop, go into the local police station, or have your hotel help you out. We have gotten really great local tips from our hotel clerks and bell boys.
I think what MO is trying to point out is that traveling to another place is dangerous, or can be. The places you go may not be especially dangerous, but speaking as some one whose town is over run with tourists every summer, visitors stand out. Predators look for those who stand out. Just a fact of life.
Good point -- the "target" thing definitely is not fun. Though sometimes being overly vigilent can also serve to make one more of a target.
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