Discovering

What Were They Thinking? 25 Crazy Laws from Around the World

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One of civilized man’s greatest achievements was the rule of law. A unified list of codes for what is essentially “right” and “wrong” to do with the threat of punishment if your actions fall into the “wrong” category. Over the years, however, it seems lawmakers started shooting from the hip, resulting in some strange laws making their way into the books. Some obsolete, some unnecessary, some weird, here’s a list of 25 of the world’s craziest laws. 25 of the World’s Weirdest Laws 1....

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Why Credit Card Fraud Protection Sucks

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Well I can’t really say that credit card fraud protection sucks, but it sure can be a pain in the ass. Before I left for Egypt I called my credit card companies and my bank AND my cell phone company to tell them about my travel plans for the next 3 months or so. I sat through the boring phone calls, transfers, and verifications like the responsible traveler I (sometimes) am. At least I didn’t wait until the day of my flight to Paris to get my Eurail pass, but that’s another story. So I thought all was well and good with the credit cards...

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6 Ways Egypt Confuses the Heck Out of Travelers

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1. The Time Issue Egyptians are not known for being prompt. One of the most perplexing aspects of Arab cultures for Westerners is their sense of time. When you’re meeting someone out on the town and they say 8, expect to see them around 10. When someone tells you they’ll get back to you at 1, it can be at 2, or 3, or maybe even the next day. “Give me five minutes” means “I need a little time,” “Give me an hour” means “I need a lot of time,” and “I’ll get it to you tomorrow” means you should plan for next week. And if...

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Secrets to Happier and Healthier Travel Days: Don’t Try to See Everything

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Trying to squeeze in too much is a classic cause of traveler anxiety and undue stress.  Novice travelers are prone to cramming too many plans in too short a time frame. It’s easy to think “how often do I get to travel all the way to **insert place**, I need to make the most of it while I’m here!” True, it would be a waste to sit in your Paris hotel and watch seasons one through six of Lost, but it would be just as bad to rush through everything the city has to offer and not enjoy or really experience any of it. So find the middle...

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A Day in the Life of an American in Cairo

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Sunrise on the Nile No matter what time it is, the sun has been shining on us for too long. The bed directly faces the folding set of glass doors to our balcony overlooking the Nile and Cairo’s eastern sky. Our entire room is illuminated once the sun comes up around 5am. I usually spend the next two hours rolling around trying to pretend it isn’t there. If I’ve managed to sleep through the car horns, the sunlight, and Casey jumping around the room, the alarm goes off at 7 and I pull myself out of bed. I’m in charge of breakfast, but...

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Unreal Buildings from Around the World

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Crooked House Sopot, Poland This dream-like design, by architects Szotynscy & Zaleski (pronounced how it’s spelled if you were wondering), was inspired by the children’s fairy tale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and the work of artist Per Dahlberg. Completed in 2004, the three-story structure was built with the surrounding buildings in mind to look as though it belongs there but has somehow melted or sagged under pressure. The Crooked House houses several tourist attractions other than its façade including restaurants, bars, and...

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Egypt Before the Revolution: It’s Either the Mubarak Way or the Mubarak Way

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The small lounge was as smoky as it was loud, and the music was blaring. My girlfriend and I sat at a table against the wall with a two of my Egyptian co-workers and a few friends of theirs. It didn’t take very long for the revolution to come up. We leaned toward the middle of the table to hear one another. “Mubarak is shit.” Ibrahim answers my question regarding the ousted dictator. I wasn’t surprised. His opinion is not unique among young educated Egyptians. They were the first Egyptians to grow up with extensive exposure to...

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15 Travel Quotes to Help Keep Things in Perspective

15 Travel Quotes to Help Keep Things in Perspective

Seeing the way others live is the only way to truly understand and appreciate (or seek to change) your own life. Traveling to other countries allows you to witness first-hand where people in different cultures live, how they get to work, what they eat for dinner, how they socialize, and all the little idiosyncrasies of daily life that are so fascinating to foreigners. However, most travelers would agree that a certain point those picturesque beaches, brightly painted homes, and endless smokey mountains start to lose the jaw-dropping effect...

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Oh, Those Dictatorships! Anti-American Propaganda at its Finest

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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (a.k.a Bat Sh*t Crazy North Korea) “Do not forget the U.S. Imperialist wolves!” It’s dark images like this that make isolated dictatorships like North Korea so scary and fascinating. This is an older poster, but like most outdated things in North Korea, it’s still being used. The poster comes free with the purchase of “Kim Jung Il, Our Divine Leader” commemorative plates!   The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (a.k.a. The Soviet Union – the Original Gangster) “Same...

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10 Tips for Haggling in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (and most other markets)

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Istanbul, Turkey is home to one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The Grand Bazaar, first opened in 1461, currently receives around 250,000 – 500,000 visitors daily. The vast majority of these shoppers are tourists, and most of them end up paying too much for their souvenirs. The Grand Bazaar is home to hundreds of multilingual expert salesmen who are determined to sell you their wares. Many of these salesmen have an array of witty greetings and one-liners, and are in general pretty entertaining people. They all...

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