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Old 11-11-2010, 02:59 PM   #21
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I think I'd stay home and try www.gotomeeting.com
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:04 PM   #22
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I think I'd stay home and try www.gotomeeting.com
I used to use web meeting sites like this regularly when working with, and giving presentations to, my Indian colleagues, but face to face at least once makes a huge difference.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:31 PM   #23
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Ed, I lived in Islamabad for a couple of years. Now this is going back a while, but have to say having departed nothing could induce me to return there.

Islamabad was safer than Karachi or Peshawar, however that is not really saying much. How long has it been since they bombed the Marriott in Islamabad? How are you going to get there? Nothing safe about those airports as security is a joke.

I am firmly in the camp of don't go. India is a walk in the park compared to being in Pakistan.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:59 PM   #24
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I used to use web meeting sites like this regularly when working with, and giving presentations to, my Indian colleagues, but face to face at least once makes a huge difference.
I agree, but in this case I'm not so sure the OP will make it that far.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:43 PM   #25
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I have a friend who does this type of trip all the time, and I know many people from Pakistan, but I would personally not take this trip at this time because of concerns about disease (cholera after the floods) and terrorism.

I know you are a US citizen, but I did check the Canadian Foreign Affairs website, and the language is pretty clear:

AVOID ALL TRAVEL

Pakistan Travel Advice and Advisories | Government of Canada
Meadbh, thanks. When Canada becomes concerned about security, it gets my attention.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:02 PM   #26
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I was going to say go for it! I'm an adventurous type, and would pretty much always take a free trip (or a free meal ). But I have to say, the responses on this thread would make me think twice. I think I would still go for it given your explanation, but I'd spend a lot of thought on it. In my situation DW would would probably have the deciding word. She's a lot more careful than I am. But this is definitely one of those situations where you wouldn't want to have too much life insurance. No reason to tempt her.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:10 AM   #27
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Harley, you are reading my mind. I had dinner with a friend last night who worked in the Middle East for many years. He advised against it. I am still on fence, but as you say, I am thinking twice.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:15 AM   #28
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Ed, if you do decide to go please let us know the dates of your trip. I want to know when to watch the news for word of another American gone missing in Pakistan.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:23 AM   #29
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:54 AM   #30
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I often listen to KQED over the inter-net. Last night they broadcast an Oxford style debate between Muslims about militants in their faith. Very interesting. One made the observation that all monotheistic religions have had that over the centuries, another said that in Christianity there is a balancing message that does not exist in the Muslim religion. When talking about Iran one observed that their current government turned tradition on its head by becoming a government.

I have observed that not only are militants attacking non-Muslims but they are attacking other Muslims who are not of their denomination.

I don't think Pakistan will be safe for anyone until they have a strong enough government to keep these sects tamped down. IMHO they want an external enemy to keep the guns pointed out, India will be a handy target.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:33 AM   #31
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Ed, while you're there, could you find OBL, and kick his ass for me!
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:08 AM   #32
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Ed, while you're there, could you find OBL, and kick his ass for me!
There's still a bounty out for him--I think it is $25M. This trip could significantly improve the 'ol balance sheet if Ed can get it done.
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:41 PM   #33
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Harley, you are reading my mind. I had dinner with a friend last night who worked in the Middle East for many years. He advised against it. I am still on fence, but as you say, I am thinking twice.
Ed, do not confuse Pakistan with the Middle East it is a totally different kettle of fish. When I lived in Islamabad we used to travel to UAE for recreation, to get away from the oppression of Pakistan. Countries such as UAE are so different, so free compared to Pakistan.

It is a dangerous place, be in the wrong place at the wrong time and a bomb goes off. Let your guardeslip for a moment and you have some terrible disease. Add in the fact that you are a foreigner and I would assume you do not look like a Pakistani and that makes you a target for so much more.

It would just not be worth it.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:53 AM   #34
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Ed, do not confuse Pakistan with the Middle East it is a totally different kettle of fish. When I lived in Islamabad we used to travel to UAE for recreation, to get away from the oppression of Pakistan. Countries such as UAE are so different, so free compared to Pakistan.
Hi, DM. I know the difference. For example, I would not hesitate to work in Oman. Not very interested in Saudi. I also know that some of those Moslem countries are at each other's throats.

Having said that, I wonder if it would be feasible to set up a training program in some relatively benign place like the UAE, or maybe SA.

What do you think?
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:44 AM   #35
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Ed, there are a LOT of people in this part of the world (AFPAK) that want nothing more than to harm a westerner, particularly an American. If given the option, I'd avoid the region entirely.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:34 PM   #36
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Having said that, I wonder if it would be feasible to set up a training program in some relatively benign place like the UAE, or maybe SA.
When the U.S. Navy's submarine force offered to train the South Korean submarine force, they didn't fly a planeload of nukes to South Korea. They flew a planeload of South Koreans to Pearl Harbor to use the American training facilities, which pretty much tripled the fun for everyone.

You could go to Pakistan, earn a ridiculous sum of money for your next of kin, and have one heckuva hostage negotiation travel claim. Or you could stay on this side of the prime meridian, earn a respectable amount of money for your ER, and give the training someplace where the Pakistani students would rather spend their time anyway.

When spouse was in the Navy Reserve, one of her favorite stints of active duty was going to Thailand for the annual COBRA GOLD exercises. She led a team of senior officers who escorted the spies VIP military observers from other countries like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, PRC, Israel, and more Asian nations. By the time she'd heard two or three rounds of their stories, and seen their reactions to the things we consider "normal" in our society, we knew that we weren't interested in visiting any of those places anytime soon.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:29 PM   #37
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By the time she'd heard two or three rounds of their stories, and seen their reactions to the things we consider "normal" in our society, we knew that we weren't interested in visiting any of those places anytime soon.
Believe me, Doug, I know whereof she speaks. I have worked with such folks for years and years. You would be amazed at what they consider normal in THEIR societies. 'Visiting' ain't what I have in mind.

I found an interesting site: http://www.thenews.com.pk See the tab marked Islamabad and use the URL line to back up the dates. (They only go back about 2 months.) Except for the kidnapping for 2 years of the Afghan Consul General to Pakistan, the local cowboys appear to be just gang-bangers with Kalashnikovs. The local police appear to be easily corruptible.

Still gathering data. The 'boss' is getting an insurance quote. Bon Chance, mon ami. As far as I can tell, except for life insurance for death in auto accidents, ain't nothin' out there. BFD.

I am still of two minds. One says that these are morons. The other says that morons are dangerous.

ol' Ed
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:31 PM   #38
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By the way, another reason I have NO interest in Thailand or anything west of Hawaii. Only SOTB for me, amigos.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:20 PM   #39
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By the way, another reason I have NO interest in Thailand or anything west of Hawaii. Only SOTB for me, amigos.
I think the big difference is that in America we have strong expectations of property rights, civil rights/liberties, honest police, and eventual justice through superior litigation.

We might be just as deluded in those expectations as we would be in Thailand, the Philippines, or Latin America. But that's the culture we've come to expect.

However in Pakistan I'd add in a strong expectation of... body armor.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:08 PM   #40
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By the way, another reason I have NO interest in Thailand or anything west of Hawaii. Only SOTB for me, amigos.
SOTB?

By the way, Ed, I'd say it's 99:1 against you going. You are just having a little harmless internet fun with this.
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