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Old 09-08-2006, 10:57 AM   #21
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I'm somewhat suprised that no one brought up taking a self-defense course.

I can agree with the paranoia; regardless of how carefree we want (and how gun/weapon-free a country can seem [read: England]) there's always bad apples.

I've always felt the first line of defense is always to be aware. I don't know about you guys, but I can pick up pretty quickly on A. when you're in a "questionable" neighborhood (hint: look for the bars on the windows) and B. when you're not welcome in a place. I'm all for adventurously wandering into hole-in-the-wall bars, but if I have a bad vibe by the end of the first drink, I tip, and take my leave.

That being said, if the unthinkable happens, there's a lot of non-weapon items that can convert a would-be attacker into someone who can't catch you. In addition to the aforemention knees and elbows, any object shoved into the mid thigh will effectively disable the leg (pen, keys, 2" blade). Eye gouging is a long-standing Marine hand-to-hand ritual (hint: dig the thumbs in).

I carried a 5" hunting knife (non-folding) to Europe, post 9/11. I brough it entirely for self defense, but it ultimately came in VERY handy for cutting cheese, butter, bread, etc. I carried mine in my bag until I slept...and if I didn't fell 100% where I was sleep, I unpacked the knife and kept it under my pillow while I slept.
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Old 09-08-2006, 11:31 PM   #22
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I have to say that I have no plans to carry any sort of weapon on my trip.. but the main reason for this is that im super clumsy, and if anyone is going to end up hurt, chances are about 98% it would be me...
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Old 09-09-2006, 12:56 AM   #23
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Yeah, I'm inclined to agree that bringing along a weapon for defensive purposes is pretty well asking for trouble. I have a small Swiss Army knife that I carry always (ie, even in my purse to Church), which I use for exciting things like slicing apples or cutting gauze bandages to fit small scraped knees.

I far prefer to avoid dangerous situations, by applying the best defensive weapon of all - common sense - being aware of my surroundings and not doing stupid things. I'm sure all of you talking about carrying weapons can handle all the alcohol in the world (because you are young, strong and invincible), but since alcohol has been known occasionally hinder one's judgement and reflexes, if you've been out for a rough night and get into a little mix up, your reflexes might not be spot on if you do bring a weapon into the fray...which could lead to rather unpleasant consequences.

Nowadays, I have my children around to protect me (believe me, kids grant extreme immunity in some parts of the world), but back when I traveled on my own, I had the common sense to not get wasted and then wander around on my own. I did walk down back streets between bars and train stations, in port towns where I didn't speak the language, at 2 in the morning...and I'm a GIRL!!! and never had any problems I couldn't resolve by moving fast, looking confident and being aware of the people around me. I just read up about local dangers, and avoided them. Been traveling and living overseas for most of the last 15 years, and I've never been mugged, assaulted or worse during that time. (Where's the touch wood smiley?! )

Bottom line, if you go looking for trouble, it will probably find you.

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Old 09-09-2006, 08:46 AM   #24
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I think weapons have their advantages, however, when you are traveling it is not wise to bring a weapon, especially when traveling overseas. After all, the airport security took away my nose hair clippers that were neatly tucked away in my toilet kit.

The wise thing to do is to stay away from areas in which you are not familiar with, especially at night. Every city and town has it's dangerous neighborhoods. Be street smart and be careful. Use your 7th sense. Ask people at your hostel or hotel what areas should be avoided. If you meet someone and you don't trust that person, don't go anywhere with that person. We all have to make judgements when traveling. Trust your judgements.

I have an advantage because I am a big guy and have lived in some bad neighborhoods. I know what a bad bar looks like and I know when to talk and who to trust. Look around your environment. Every country looks different and you may become confused about your location or environment. Trust what you see. On the other hand, if you are traveling alone and decide to drink alcohol, your reason may be become impaired. Make a card with the address of your hostel or hotel and carry it with you and use public transportation or legal cabs (this requires knowing beforehand how you can identify a legitimate cab; everyplace is different). It may be wise to go with a group from the hostel or hotel. Alcohol and drugs will probably impair your ability to make good judgements.

You will meet charming people who may not have your dignity in mind. They may use their charming ways and alcohol to take advantage of you. Be safe!
You can't take a shirt from a naked man. - Arab Proverb

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Old 09-12-2006, 08:47 AM   #25
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pfffftttt screw that, when Im going to bangkok in a week im gonna pick up some nunchucks and maybe a throwing star or 2......that is if I dont find an AK-47, then let someone try jumpin me!!!
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