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Published: April 1st 2011
First, i apologize for not updating in awhile, with only a few days left I have been doing a lot of last minute stuff.
With all my bad luck in the past, one important task I had to do is register my trip with US embassies in each location. In the past, this was much harder since you would have to go to each embassy but now they have a program called Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) that allows you to register online (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/). The main reason I find this important is because they can contact you when an emergency happens in the country you are in or going to along with services like reissuing a passport if you lose it, putting you in contact with legal services if you need it, and much more smaller stuff. Already, the embassy in Thailand emailed me warning of some floods and landslides in some of the islands in Thailand that have trapped nearly 600 tourist for nearly a week now.
But what are the chances of something happening in these locations? Here are a few headlines I have seen, and unfortunately my mother has seen, since planning this trip the last few months:
Japan: Earthquakes and tsunami have put the entire country and region in emergency mode. My heart goes out to everyone there and to everyone affected by this. Without getting too much into this, I must say I am impressed with how respectful the civilians of Japan have handled this compared to other emergencies around the world in the past. You don't see footage of looting, fighting, killing for limited food, water and resources.
China: There was a 5.8 earthquake the day before the one in Japan that killed 26 people and left hundreds injured
Thailand: Trapped tourist in the islands due to floods and landslides. Also shootings between Thailand and Cambodia over disputed boarder around the Preah Vihear Temple which has killed several soldiers in both countries and caused evacuations near the temple (right where I had planned on crossing the boarder).
Vietnam: At Ha Long Bay, where I will be on a similar cruise, a tour boat sank suddenly (within 2 minutes) while everyone on board was sleeping killing 12 people from 9 nations.
Germany: A day after I got my EURail pass, 10 people were killed and many injured when 2 trains crashed in Frankfurt, which is where I start my European journey.
These are just a few, i do have more, instances of some stuff that can happen in the places I was planning on going. However stuff is happening everywhere. Look at the mid-east. When flights in and out of Egypt stopped during the violent protests which tourist were being targeted, the US Embassy contacted those that registered their trips and helped get charter flights for everyone.
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