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Visa and Manners

Hobo Travel Tips
By Andy the HoboTraveler.Com

ISSUE:  009
DATE:  May 07, 2000
TIP:  Visa and Manners
LOCATION:  COLOMBIA!!! Guaduas Manizales Medellin Caucasia Los Arboletes Covenas Sinecejo Cartagena Santa Marta



TRAVEL TIPS - Commentary

Travel Manners, or Etiquette when traveling.

I think my biggest problem of traveling is the lack of manners of
people I meet, both the other world travelers, and the people in the countries
I visit. Of course different cultures have different customs, and I sure do not
want to be an imperialistic American. Not that I really understood the
phrase but I did know they was not giving me a compliment.

I decided to do some research on what Imperialism is: I opened
my Microsoft Encarta CD ROM encyclopedia... hmmm...

“Imperialism, practice by which powerful nations or peoples seek to
extend and maintain control or influence over weaker nations or peoples. “

OK, I am sure I am at fault, and I am sure my nation is also. But I would only,
like them to stop spitting at my feet. It irritates me.. and if one more
person walks in front of me in line, I am going to “ahorcar” them, or choke them
to death.

I am traveling around in some conservative cultures, where on many
occasions I have to meet the parents of women, just to have a date,
and soon they ask me what religion I am. OK, so I am in their country,
and they deserve respect.

I was in the a small Hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala about 10 months ago,
and was very irritated. The hotel was ran by a very simple, and
friendly family. They were great people, fun, and happy.
They had two daughters, one 14, the other 18. Very nice
polite, and pretty. I walked out one morning to take my shower,
and here is this (COUNTRY) guy, standing in front of the mirror
shaving in his underwear. Being from conservative Indiana, my
first thought was “what’s wrong with that guy”, but than I thought
to myself. Oh yea, I am from a conservative culture. I thought
to myself. but wait, this is an even more conservative culture.
This man had made the decision that what is acceptable in his
culture was going to be acceptable in their culture.

I think I will call him an “imperialist pig”. He was forcing his
culture on the other country.

Now respect is where you have to start to have manners. What
is proper, what is respectful, and how do you like to be treated.
Often the young travelers venture themselves, intellectuals, students
of the world. But I find the first words out of their mouths is something
negative about the USA. OK so some things are true, but you
do not need to talk bad about my mother, oh I mean my country.
Intellectually I would say to have world peace, we need to
find more reasons why we are alike, than reasons we are different.

So, in this confused, and crazy comment on manners,
I have to always remember to have:

Respect for the local customs.
Do no FORCE them to accept my customs.
Remember the words, thank you, please, excuse me, and learn them in their language.
Just because they do something bad, is not a reason for you to.
(i.e. if a person throws trash on the ground, do not do it also)
Do not make a person responsible for the actions of their country.
Find out why we are similar, and not why we are different.

I am trying to compile a list of manners, that maybe we can
force hehehe... the world to do. i.e. stand in line (Queue).
Or at least that would appear to be a universal need to be polite.

Thank you for patience with this stupid, uncultured,
and absolutely no knowledge of geography person.
Or, this is what everyone seems obligated to tell me.

Andy the Hobo in Merida, Venezuela May 7, 2000

Note: Lonely Planet, Footprints, Rough Guides all have good
comments in their guides on how to behave as travelers.



Hey ,
thank you for the email and that you are willing to
answer my questions. As I will go backpacking to a
great extent for the first time and none of my friends
did this before, I have quite some questions.
My friend and I want to start in September and tour
our way to Israel via some Greek islands. We are
applying on a voluntary job in Israel at the moment.
That should be no problem.
Then, after about 6 weeks we want to head off to
India, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand and different
parts of America. The whole trip will take us about
one year.
Now, how do we apply for visa best?
Did you apply for visa directly to the embassies or
via an organization? How long before you go do you
have to apply?
Did you book your flights last minute? How do you get
the cheapest flights?
How did you manage your money matters?
Did you work anywhere?
How much did the trip cost you?
Which places would you recommend and which not?
Any other advice?
I´m glad about any information I can get.
Thank you for all your help!

Steffi Pöhler

Sounds like my kind of trip. Exciting.

Visas are tricky question, and has a lot to do with which country you
are from. I am from the USA, so I can travel pretty easy, and do not
have to get many visas, or special entrance.

Things I do...
1. Read the Guidebook sections on Visas before you leave.
I have a guidebook for the whole continent. I am in South America right
now, and I read through the parts on each countries that said what is needed
to enter each countries. Looking for the exclusions, prices, etc. I found that
for Brazil I needed a Yellow Fever shot to enter, so when I was in Quito, Ecuador
I got a shot. I just got a Visa to enter Venezuela from Colombia. I got it in Cartagena,
Colombia. It took 4 days. The first 2 days were a holiday that I was not aware of,
and on Tuesday I applied for the Visa, on Wednesday I received it.
Hans at the Viena Hostel in Cartagena probably save me a day.

2. Get advice from a person that knows.
i.e. an owners of hotel, or other traveler.
I save a day because Hans told me I had to where long pants. Cartagena is very
hot, and not a place to where long pants. But since he gave me help, it went

3. Dress nice, and do not complain.
Try to be a respectable citizen, and realize, they have the power, and you have none.
You are a visitor, and they do NOT have to allow you in their country. Having
bad manners, and demanding things, is a great way to have problem. Probably the most
common reason.

4. Go to the embassy of the country.
You go to the embassy of the country you wish to enter. This could be a problem, if you
get close to the border, and do not have a visa. ONLY the big cities have embassies,
and not all big cities. Know where you are going to apply. The closer to the country,
the easier it will probably be to get the visa.

5. Take these things for sure.
Passport, Copy of passport, Proof of money. 100-200 US dollars in you pocket.
Get some cheap passport photos for some countries. If you do not speak the
language, take along someone to translate the form. Take along you best
humble attitude, and best manners.
Carry a copy of your birth certificate

5. Do it ahead of time.
Know at least one month ahead of time, where and when you are going to apply.
Do not plan on only one day to get a visa. Plan on at least 4 days, and up to a week.

6. Do not worry, they want you in the country.
There is always a way, so do not worry. It is something that will happen, and you
do not need to worry. All the things they want can be bought, or purchased easily,
as long as you have a current passport.

7. Have you picture taken with a tie.
I was told by Hans in Cartagena to have my passport taken with a tie.
They like rich people to enter their country. Look a little rich.

So have fun, and do no worry.



Hello, Here is a Travel Tip written by Andy of Visa and Manners