||VAWN HIMMELSBACH, Chic Savvy Travels
Perhaps you’re not expecting to dodge bullets on your next vacation, but would you know how to react if you were attacked or caught up in a riot? Would you recognize the signs of severe dehydration, heat stroke or hypothermia? And what if you couldn’t find tampons anywhere, or ran out of your birth control pills?
Author Rosie Garthwaite
From self-defense to first aid, Rosie Garthwaite’s How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone: The Essential Survival Guide for Dangerous Places (Bloomsbury, 2011) has you covered — even if you’re not a war correspondent.
Garthwaite — a former Al Jazeera journalist and current freelance reporter for Reuters, The Times and the BBC — has been gathering practical advice on this topic since her first assignment in war-torn Bosnia. Her tips include contributions from 57 journalists in the field, as well as dozens of anonymous voices.
She takes a no-nonsense, often humorous approach, and provides plenty of personal anecdotes. In one example, she says she had secretly been hoping for a touch of diarrhoea as a way to get rid of that last bit of tummy. But she learned her lesson:
“I was supposed to be invisible in case our presence at a petrol station or food stop alerted hijackers further up the road,” she writes. “But I kept having to run out to use the loo at each place we passed. It was usually a fetid, stinking hole in the ground, with no door and a grinning audience.”
This book is like a having a survival expert in your backpack. If you’re going to encounter a potentially riotous crowd, for example, Garthwaite recommends taking along toothpaste to protect against tear gas (smear it under your eyes) and to avoid wearing oil-based moisturizer or sunscreen (chemicals in pepper spray will cling to it). Who knew?
Checkpoints make you jumpy? “Authority breeds arrogance, and that can be dangerous in a place where laws mean little,” writes Garthwaite. She explains how to avoid miscommunications and act like a local, and provides tips on dealing with checkpoints (including how to spot a fake one), knowing when and who to bribe, and how to pass under the radar.
She offers up advice on everything from first aid (with an “A to Z” on medical emergencies), surviving extremes and self-defense. And for hard-core travelers, there are sections on surviving landmines, IEDs and chemical perils — even a kidnapping.
Hopefully you’ll never be in a situation where you need to use these tips, but it’s always better to be prepared than ignorant — it could save your life.
After all: “I do not agree with people who say that if God wanted you to die this day, you will, no matter what precautions you take. I believe God gave me a brain to do my best to avoid getting into such situations.” –Imad Shihab, Iraqi journalist
Copyright @ 2012 Chic Savvy Travels
Date Added: November 16, 2012 | Comments (0)
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