13 Best Travel Affiliate Programs [2020 Update]

Swinger Travel

If you want to have sex on your upcoming vacation, this is the subreddit for it!
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Big list of Benefits.

Figured I would make one big list of benefits people might not know about. Compiled from a bunch of Reddit threads, articles, and things I’ve found on my own. A bunch of these I haven’t used personally so if I’m mistaken on anything please let me know so I can change it! Also if you have anything to add ill put it on the list!
EDUCATION:
Tuition Assistance. Up to 4000 dollars per FY for college classes, you can sign up at the local Ed Center or GoarmyEd.com some posts have collages on posts that offer day classes which with your commander's approval you can get out of work for 2 hrs a day to go to class. as well as night classes if in-person learning is more your thing.https://www.goarmyed.com/
Army COOL: Up to 4000 dollars per FY (shared with TA) to get credentials. A great new resource to help get yourself set up Promo points and get recognized for the skills you already possess. I haven’t used this myself so hopefully, someone else can share their experiences.https://www.cool.osd.mil/army/index.htm
CLEPS/DSST: Military personal are allowed 1 free exam per CLEP AND DSST so if you fail one, you can take the same exam again through the other. that’s even more free college credits and you don’t even need to sit in a class for themhttps://clep.collegeboard.org/earn-college-credit/military-benefitshttps://www.dantes.doded.mil/EducationPrograms/get-credit/creditexam.html
Skillport: Lots of IT and Technical classes here, I don’t believe that they give you certs but they definitely prepare you for the exam whenever you take it. I had to sign up for an account on ATTRS (Gov. Computer)https://usarmy.skillport.com/
Pell Grant: Even more free money! get up to a couple of thousand dollars from the government as long as your going to school, and its a grant so you don't have to pay anything back! https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/pell
Posse Veteran's Foundation: They partner with top schools to ensure groups of veterans are successful in elite undergrad programs. The program will pay for the rest of the time it takes to complete your degree regardless of G.I Bill benefits left. U Chicaco/UVA/Wesleyan/ Vassar College are all sponsors and would love to have more veteran students. The program consists of 3 interview rounds and there is no GPA/SAT threshold to reach to be eligible. https://www.possefoundation.org/shaping-the-future/posse-veterans-program
Warrior-Scholar Project: They host academic boot camps to prepare you to perform at elite schools. The boot camps are hosted by Yale/Harvard/MIT/Princeton/Columbia etc. and offer some great exposure college. The instructors exponentially increase your writing ability in the short time they have you. https://www.warrior-scholar.org/
Service 2 School: They match you with a mentor from a Vetlinked school and help tailor your entire application to the schools you want to apply to. They have had incredible success getting veterans to the Ivy League schools by providing 1:1 instruction for as long as you need. https://service2school.org/
Yellow Ribbon Schools: Ever want to go to Harvard or Yale or another big name school, but the tuition is so expensive you don't think GI Bill will cover it? Well, guess what? a lot of big-name schools will LOWER their tuition to the maximum amount the GI Bill pays out! https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/post-9-11/yellow-ribbon-program/
FedVTE: Another more technical/Cyber training website for government employees. https://fedvte.usalearning.gov/

LEISURE :
Space A. Travel: Free flights! If they are available, it can be a great way to vacation with a little bit of planning and luck involved.https://www.amc.af.mil/Home/AMC-Travel-Site/AMC-Space-Available-Travel-Page/
Epic Ski Pass: For $170 to get access to over 30 resorts including some big names ones.https://www.epicpass.com/pass-results/military.aspx
VetTix: Great way to get tickets to sporting events concerts and stuff. Just have to pay for shipping.https://www.vettix.org/
Blue Star Museum: HUGE amount of museums offer free admission to military and families. (not doing 2020 because of COVID)https://www.arts.gov/national-initiatives/blue-star-museums
Armed Forces Vacation Club: Weeklong Resorts/House/Hotel stays starting at $359 have locations all over the world. Some places offer shorter stays as well. (There's also a version of this for Veterans which is basically the same thing.)https://www.afvclub.com/
Seaworld / Busch Gardens: Seaworld offers military 1 free admission per year.https://seaworld.com/orlando/tickets/military-discount/active/ https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/military-discount/
National Parks: Tons of National parks offer free admission to military personnel. You have to get it in person from a park but it’s still a great deal.https://store.usgs.gov/faq#US-Military
Disney World: Disney World offers 4 5 and 6 day passes for as low as $265 with the park hopper option.https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/military-multi-day-tickets-2020/
TSA Precheck: Free TSA precheck. Just enter your DOD ID number in the Known Traveler number box.Games2Grunts: Free video games. First come first serve but normally they have some pretty good games and addons.https://gamestogrunts.weareosd.org/
Hunting & Fishing licenses: A lot of states offer free or resident rate hunting and fishing licenses. Have to look into your individual state for more details.
ETS:
SFL-TAP: SFL-TAP offers a lot more than just the mandatory classes and resumes reviews that most people, They offer Carrer Skills programs which you can do while you’re still in the Army, Gets you away from the unit for a while, help you learn a skill, and normally they will hook you up with a job when you get out. There are also some other things that are a lot more post dependant, Fort Riley, for example, offers free OSHA10/30 and Defensive Driving classes multiple time a year.
LinkedIn Premium: Free year of premium for Soldiers. Offers resume builders and other great resources for finding a job.https://socialimpact.linkedin.com/programs/veterans/premiumform
Boots2Suits: Resume, Professional picture. And other sorts of career placement help. The same people also offer 2 free business attire outfits.https://www.tailoredforsuccess.org/boots2suits
American Corporate Partners: Free yearlong mentorship in a career field of your choice. From what I've heard its a better more specific version of SFL-TAPhttps://www.acp-usa.org/mentoring-program/veteran-application
CDL: Depending on your MOS (or what vehicles you have one your license) some states will waive the Skill test required to get your CDL (Most states I've noticed will still make you pass a knowledge test.)
OTHER.
ID.me: This verifies you’re military affiliation and enables discounts through sites like apple’s military deals. many other benefits use this to verify your service. https://www.id.me/
Childcare: ChildcareAware offers assistance with paying for Childcare when On post isn't available. Apparently they also help cover summer camps.https://www.childcareaware.org/fee-assistancerespite/military-families/
GOVX: Online superstore with pretty good discounts on a lot of items and big-name brands.https://www.govx.com/
ExpertVoice: Basically same thing as GOVX https://www.expertvoice.com/
Firearm Discounts: many firearms and accessory manufacturers offer discounts to LEO and Military, most just require you to email them your proof. Glock and Vortex optics are just some of the options. https://us.glock.com/en/buy/blue-label-program https://vortexoptics.com/military-law-enforcement
Veterans day Meals: Every year tons of places offer free meals to veterans. There's too many to list here so here's a list I found of last year. should be similar year to year. https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/67508/veterans-day-discounts-2019/
SCRA: SCRA from my understanding allows you to refinance all Pre-military loans to a 6% interest rate. Lots of places go above and beyond for this including AMEX and Chase, Who offer their premium cards to active duty personnel with 0 annual fees. and they all come with a host of benefits including Uber credit, access to premium airport lounges. and lots of other things.
MilitaryOneSource: What DOESNT this site do? They offer free anonymous counseling, access to digital MWR libraries, a guide to space A. flights. an amazing resource for almost all things military. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/
Speech Therapy: This was one I was really surprised about if you suffer from a lisp or stutter or some form of speech impediment, give Behavioral Health a call and ask if they offer this. I was able to meet with a therapist once a week for a couple of months and now the lisp i had my entire life is almost completely gone. All for free
ASAP: Everyone hears about it as this bad thing, but if you feel you have a problem with alcohol this is an amazing resource to help you.

Special Thanks to
u/BlackShadow10020
u/Trick_Delay
u/jeebus_t_god
u/ideal_NCO
u/milo896
u/-bhank-
u/Designer-Lime

submitted by Sethman27 to army [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Monday 27th April

Good afternoon from the UK. It’s Monday 27th April.

It was an up and down weekend in the Fwoggie2 household. I went and did a major grocery shop at a Tesco Extra supermarket near me (Tesco = major supermarket chain in the UK) on Friday night. The store has a one way system to navigate round the store and you’re supposed to keep 2m away from anyone else. This is almost impossible I found as I constantly had to back the hell up as people barged in to grab what they wanted and to hell with any one way system. The older they were it seemed (I’m in my 40’s), the less they cared about social distancing. It took me 2.5 hours to finally complete the shop (I had to go back for a few more things on the Saturday morning).
As for Sunday, my wife was well enough to join me and the dog on a hour long walk (we never got within 10 metres of anyone else because we have lots of open countryside outside our front door so social distancing on walks is very easy to do) and the allotment got a major update; it now has 20 more white onions, over 50 red onion seeds, about 60 parsnips (which are notoriously hard to germinate especially in heavy soil like ours but it's worth a try), 7 rosemary plants and about 50 radishes. By the end of this week I hope to plant 75 carrots, 60 spring onions, 45 beetroot. The more we can grow the better; squash, courgettes/zucchini are on the agenda soon too with sweetcorn and brassicas a week or two further down the line.
Life though can twist and turn in an instant; #RIPMark has been trending on UK Twitter todayas Covid-19 takes another victim here in the UK with the death count now well over 21k (if you believe the government stats) or over 41k (if you want to believe the Financial Times instead). To see an example of the British Covid-19 story in three brief tweets, click here. Failing that, please continue to stay at home if at all possible.

Virus news







Supply chain news in depth


While passenger flights stay on ground freight rates are flying high - Stat Times reports that while passengers are going nowhere, there’s considerable demand for airfreight. Airfreight is the most expensive mode of transporting goods, but also the fastest, reliable and secure style of moving it. Roughly, airlines handle just one percent of all the global trade volumes but at the same time enjoy 35 percent of its value. In that sense, the pre-Covid-19 world was pretty sure about what sort of goods must move in the ocean and what in the air. But in the world hit by Covid-19 pandemic, air cargo has moved from the premium mode to the super-premium with freight rates climbing new heights each day it says. Demand for airfreight capacity from the West to China is limited, but large quantities of PPE are coming out of China resulting in rapidly growing rates.
(Cont’d) According to TAC Index, on April 13, 2020, the airlines reportedly charged a new record price of $9.64 per kg to move cargo from Shanghai to Frankfurt compared to $2.46 on March 9, a jump of 291 percent in just one month. Meanwhile, on the Frankfurt-Shanghai route, it fell around normal rates of $1.17per kg as of April 13 compared to $2.78 on February 17, when the rates were at its peak. The average air freight rate to transport goods from Shanghai to Europe is around $8.65 per kg, while from Frankfurt to China is $1.41. The same for Hong Kong to Europe is $4.66 compared to $5.11 on April 6 and $2.58 on March 9. The falling rates from Hong Kong are reportedly due to the new regulations introduced by the Chinese government in April to clamp down the low-quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) exported from the country. The government made it mandatory for PPEs to have customs clearance which pushed the companies to ship them from mainland airports instead of trans-shipping through Hong Kong.
(Cont’d) Airfreight rates on Shanghai-Dallas/Fort Worth route rose to $8.72 per kg on April 13 compared to $4.91 on March 9, while Hong Kong-Dallas is at $4.88 compared to $5.79 on April 6 and $3.53 on March 9. On average, air cargo from Shanghai to the US is now available at $6.92 compared to $3.36 on March 9, an increase of 105 percent in one month. Meanwhile the same from Hong Kong is available at $5.55 per kg compared to $3.35 on March 9. Rates from London to the US stood at $4.04 per kg compared to $1.12 on March 9, an increase of 260 percent, while Frankfurt to the US reported $4.12 compared to $5.31 on March 30, when it witnessed a steady increase of 223 percent, from $1.64 on March 9. While on the other side, from Chicago to European destinations, rates reported an increase of 173 percent. From $0.96 on March 9, it went up to $2.63 per kg on April 13.
(Con’td) It’s not all good news however, with some people priced out of airfreight moving to rail - and liking it. In the meantime, a large section of cargo that used to travel in the air is moving to more predictable rail route between Europe and China. Stakeholders of air cargo fear that a significant amount of cargo will move to rail, permanently. On April 3, 2020, the freight forwarding company, Davies Turner announced that its weekly rail import service from China to the UK has broken previous records in transit times amid demand spike. Philip Stephenson, chairman, Davies Turner said “The impact of Covid-19 will push many shippers to rethink their supply chains, and that could see a lot more Asia-Europe air and ocean freight traffic moving permanently to the rail.”

Coronavirus chokes the drug trade from Wuhan, through Mexico and onto U.S. streets - The LA Times explains Wuhan is known for its production of chemicals, including the ingredients needed to cook fentanyl and other powerful synthetic opioids. Vendors there shipped huge quantities around the world. The biggest customers were Mexican drug cartels, which have embraced fentanyl in recent years because it is cheaper and easier to produce than heroin. But the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan late last year before spreading across the planet has disrupted the fentanyl supply chain, causing a ripple effect that has cut into the profits of Mexican traffickers and driven up street drug prices across the United States. The narcotics trade, which relies on the constant movement of goods and people, has been stymied by lockdowns, travel bans and other efforts to contain the virus, according to government officials, academic researchers and drug traffickers.
(Cont’d) Logan Pauley, a researcher at C4ADS, a Washington-based think tank focused on transnational security, noticed a decrease in advertisements for fentanyl precursors. He said vendors switched to selling other products, including face masks and anti-malarial drugs that some doctors and politicians initially hoped would help treat the coronavirus. The drop in exports has left some Mexican drug producers with less access to needed chemicals. Simultaneously, cartels have encountered another colossal challenge: new restrictions on entry to the United States — the world’s biggest market for illegal drugs. Kameron Korte, a spokeswoman for the San Diego field division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said fentanyl pills in her region now sell for $7 each, up from $5 a few months ago. The average cost of methamphetamine has risen from $1,000 per pound to $1,400 per pound, she said. Similar price hikes have been seen in other parts of the country. Drug users have grumbled about rising prices on online forums. On a message board on the website Reddit, one person complained that prices of fentanyl pills in Phoenix had nearly doubled. “Border shut = less trafficking,” it said.

Supply chain news in brief













Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but as you may have read above, food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Wednesday 16th April

Good morning from the UK. It’s Thursday April 16th.

Virus news in depth


U.S. International Aid Groups Sending Help Home - PBS in the USA is reporting that international aid groups (so often the grateful recipients of donations from American sources) are now setting up emergency responses in the US due to the severity of the situation in the country. Doctors without borders has set up just a few streets away from its office in New York by supporting soup kitchens, setting up hand-washing stations, and training local officials how to prevent the spread of infection. Samaritan’s Purse International has erected a 14-tent field hospital with an ICU in Central Park. “That international aid groups are supporting the U.S. healthcare system shows how dire the need is domestically, and how inadequate the federal response has been.” says PBS. “Clearly, we have been caught flat-footed,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University’s Global Health Institute. “The fact that resources from these organizations are coming to the U.S. is, on one hand, helpful to Americans, but pathetic in terms of what it says about American responsiveness.” CARE, a 75-year-old humanitarian group, is sending relief packages to medical workers, caregivers and individuals in need. “CARE has never delivered in the US before now, but this pandemic has meant a scale up in our response internationally and here at home as well,” said CEO Michelle Nunn. Dr. Jean Fritz Jacques, a general surgeon in Haiti who runs Healing Arts Mission Clinic, is bracing for the worst. His country is utterly unprepared for the pandemic, and he’s watching the group’s U.S.-based donors supply American institutions. In Haiti, private hospitals are closing for lack of supplies and equipment, and public hospitals aren’t ready, he said. “We are just praying that the chaos will not happen,” Jacques said.

Virus news in brief














Supply chain news in depth


US factory shutdowns near Second World War demobilization levels - Supply professional reports that American industry collapsed in March as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the US economy. Manufacturing and overall industrial production posted the biggest declines since the United States demobilized after World War II. The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that manufacturing output dropped 6.3 per cent last month, led by plunging production at auto factories that have entirely shut down. Overall, industrial production, which includes factories, utilities and mines, plummeted 5.4 per cent. The declines were the biggest since 1946 and far worse than what economists had expected. Production of autos and auto parts went into freefall, dropping 28 per cent. The lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 have brought economic activity to a near-standstill. Output dropped 3.9 per cent at utilities and 2 per cent at mines as oil and gas drilling plunged, the Fed said. Factories were running at 70.2 per cent of capacity last month, down from 75.1 per cent in February and lowest since 2010 when the US economy was still recovering from the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

‘Unprecedented disruption’ to supply chain slams US port volumes - Freightwaves reports that the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Houston, Jacksonville and Charleston have all reported volume drops in March 2020. Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) Chief Executive Officer John Wolfe said during a press conference Wednesday he expects second-quarter volumes will be soft as the “unprecedented disruption” to the global supply chain continues and container shipping lines cancel more sailings. “Total container volumes in March were down approximately 21% as compared to March of 2019,” Wolfe said. “That brings our year-to-date first-quarter decline to 15.4%.” The NWSA, which operates the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, said it handled 264,133 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March. Full imports in March declined 28.2%, while full exports decreased 8.6% year-over-year.

Coronavirus in the Caribbean: Container volumes plunge - Freightwaves reports that container volumes for Carribean destinations are down 30-50% - a main cause of which is the collapse in tourism. The tourism shutdown doesn’t just erase cargoes that would have gone to hotels and restaurants; it slashes islanders’ spending power. “All the people who worked in hotels and restaurants won’t be able to go to the supermarkets because they’ll have no money to spend,” Tom Paleinck Executive vice president of Caribbean Feeder Services (CFS), a neutral carrier that provides intraregional connections for mainline carriers said. “They’ll fall back on buying from local farmers. Imported corn flakes from the U.S. have suddenly become a luxury item.” Tourism is not the only headwind. Oil-producing nations in the Caribbean Basin such as Trinidad and Colombia — and those that hoped to be big players, such as Suriname and Guyana — are being hit hard by plunging crude prices. “Each island and each country have a different story,” Paelinck said. The ones with oil exposure “got a double whammy.” On a positive note, he sees one trade that’s not being affected: Caribbean Basin fruit and vegetable exports. “Fruits are still growing, people in the U.S. on lockdown are still eating fresh fruit, and I haven’t seen any coronavirus effect on this yet,” he said.

Supply chain news in brief












Good news


I flagged a story yesterday of 99 year old Capt Tom Moore’s sponsored walk round his garden - he wanted to do 100 laps of the 25m walk before he hits 100 at the end of April. Good news, he finished with a guard of honour this morning live on BBC 1. His fundraising appeal continues to attract considerable attention and donations though; it’s currently at £12.3m.

Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

The Mysterious Disappearance of Samantha Moore

Dear Reader,
I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t think I would sit down and write this. Quite frankly, I’m absolutely terrified of what may happen to me if the wrong people read this. But I can’t let her story go unheard, and I sure as hell don’t want this to happen to anyone else. I hate myself for what I’m about to say…I hate that I wish I didn’t know you…but if I had known where this path would lead me, I would have never walked down it to begin with. If you knew what kind of horrors exist unchecked in this world, I doubt you would be able to keep yourself sane. If you knew what I knew about Samantha Moore – you would have done the same.
LOG 1- January 14, 2018 -- The Past
My sister Samantha was only 16 years old when she mysteriously vanished from our lives. There were no warning signs. It was as if she was erased from the earth overnight. I remember hearing my mother cry after the first 48 hours of her disappearance. Never have I heard wails so stricken with pain. I still wince when I hear her cries in my head. My father didn’t react much, he was never an emotional person. He chose to hold everything in regardless of how much it hurt him. But I know it affected him too. Just in his own way.
The night of Samantha’s disappearance wasn’t an ordinary one. She had been selected to compete against different vocalists in our small boring town of Howell, Michigan. My sister loved to sing. It was all she really wanted to do; her pride and joy. Ever since she was little, she would sing a long with any song she heard, even if she was just saying gibberish.
When she got a bit older, Samantha started picking up guitar as well. She would practice every chance she got, and man did she suck at first. But she kept at it, and eventually learned how to write her own songs and play just about anything on guitar. In fact, she was so good, that during her nighttime play sessions the music she would play helped me sleep better. I don’t care how stupid that sounds. She had real talent.
So of course, being able to showcase her talent with the possibility of winning over $50,000 in prize money was her “ticket to the big time” as she would say.
“The Pinnacle” was what they called it. They traveled all around the world looking for the best up and coming musicians who were ready to take their talent to the next level. My sister knew she had to do her best, especially because one of the main rules of The Pinnacle is that you can only compete once in your entire life. That’s it. No second chances. I remember being nervous for her, as I didn’t want to imagine her losing and never being able to try again. Life is full of things that can’t be done your first try, it seemed unnatural that the judges were so firm about this “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
After the opening ceremony, which seemed to drag on for ages, one by one the contestants performed their parts. All the contestants were extremely talented, but I knew Samantha had something they didn’t. My sister was the last one to take the stage.
The crowd loved her. They screamed and cheered for her more than any other contestant. I knew she had won. There was no way the judges could deny the awe that projected from the audience. Once the intermission was over, the judges announced Samantha as the winner. Let me tell you, I had never felt so happy in my entire life, and I wasn’t the one walking home with 50k in my pocket. I knew just how much this meant to her. Things would finally be looking up for our mediocre little family.
That night I went to sleep after saying goodnight to Samantha and my parents. The night didn’t feel different in any way. The weather was the same – cold, but just warm enough you didn’t have to crank up the heat too much, and the wind would sweep through the trees every few minutes or so. I slept like a baby. Come to think of it, Samantha didn't play a single song that night either.
When I woke up all I could hear was crying. It sounded like my mom. She kept screaming “Where is she?! Why would she leave without saying goodbye?! Samantha?!” I immediately went to Samantha’s room only to find her bed perfectly made, and her room was extra tidier than usual. When I went downstairs, my mother grabbed me and asked me if I saw Samantha leave this morning. I told her I didn’t hear a thing. She grabbed the note off the kitchen island and told me to read it. Here is what the note said:
Dear Family,
This is Samantha. I am sorry but I can’t stay here anymore as your daughter. I have to go now and be the best version of myself. Please do not look for me. I will be fine. Nothing is wrong. Please go on living your lives as if I never existed.
Sincerely,
Samantha Moore
Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. Something isn’t right about this note. I understood why my mother was so scared, because she knew that wasn’t Samantha who wrote it. Sure, the handwriting was right, but the words themselves were cold and loveless. Samantha and my mother were extremely close, and I know for damn sure she wouldn’t have left like this…like a stranger. No…something was very wrong.
For days my parents and I put signs around the town, asking people to call if they saw Samantha or anyone who matched the description. Not a single soul called us. My dad gave up around the 3rd or 4th week, he chose to believe Samantha decided to run away and become a druggie or something. For a while I tried to argue with him that she didn’t just leave, but over time I realized deep down he knew there was more to this than meets the eye. It was easier for my father to pretend his daughter died out in some alley than by something far more sinister. I get that now. Dad if you ever read this… I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner..
After about 3 months, my mother stopped posting signs, calling the local police to check in, and leaving love notes outside our door in case she decided to come back home. “If she sees one of those notes, maybe she won’t be afraid to come back inside…maybe she’s thinking about coming in any second! You never know!” she would say. I would just smile and agree. I didn’t want her to give up like my father did, but eventually her heart couldn’t take it anymore. First it was the stuff in her room, then her clothes, then pictures around the house were taken down. In her mind, Samantha was dead. In my mind, Samantha was dead. We had to go on living as if she never existed.
Log 2 – Present Day
Today is August 17th, 2024. It has been over 6 years since my sister Samantha went missing without a trace. You’re probably wondering why there is such a big time gap between these logs. Well if you must know, my life after Samantha’s disappearance wasn’t very eventful or log worthy. I continued to live my life to the best of my ability. I graduated high school like a normal kid would, and I am currently working towards a degree in computer science. I may even be interning for a very successful company called NuWave as a software developer. NuWave specializes in music making software, and lots of popular artists nowadays have producers who use their product to make their hits. I figured if I could help people who have the same passion as Samantha did; I would feel some relief or maybe find my own calling or…I don’t know. I’m hopeful is all.
When I have time to think, it makes me realize how life is so different now than back then when I was in my teens. People don’t really talk to each other anymore; their faces are buried deep in their phones, or their ears are plugged listening to whatever is popular at the time. Any conversation you do have with someone is short and well…a drag. No one seems like they want to be around anyone, and someone like me who craves interaction is deemed strange in this society. Oh, how the tables have turned…hah.
My parents and I don’t really talk as much anymore. My mother spends her time volunteering for a local homeless shelter. I like to think she goes there because she thinks she will see Samantha somehow. I’m sure it’s only to get out of the house and out of her head. My father…well, he's in prison. My mother wouldn’t tell me why he was locked away, not because she didn’t know, I could tell she knew. She just couldn’t tell me. No matter how many times I asked I would never get a straight answer from her. We started talking less shortly after that.
Although, I had my theories about my father’s arrest. Not long after I graduated high school, he became a drunk. He spent most of his time and money on booze. He didn’t really connect with my mother and I anymore. So, most of the time we’d just see him grabbing another drink from the fridge and then he would retreat to his dark abyss for hours. Sometimes I’d hear banging through the walls. I assumed he was moving things around, but eventually I realized he was punching hole after hole in the wall.
My theory is that my father got drunk and beat some random person up to let out everything he’d been holding in, or maybe someone started a fight with him. Which nowadays can land you 10 years in prison minimum. There is no tolerance for violence in the “New America” as I like to call it. Needless to say, people don’t just commit crimes willy nilly anymore. It may seem stupid, but it’s the only theory that makes sense to me. My father wouldn’t have gone to prison for something evil or cruel. I’m sure of it.
It’s getting late now; I should probably stop writing this and get some sleep. Plus, an interview with one of my favorite musicians, Violet Rain, is on tonight. Her music keeps me going these days and helps me sleep.
Log 3 – August 18th, 2024. When I woke up this morning, I realized I was still in my clothes from yesterday. I must have crashed out as soon as I got into bed. By my table was an empty bottle of wine. I need to not drink as much. Especially when my semester is starting up in a couple of days. After getting ready, I decided to head over to NuWave to fill out some necessary paperwork for the internship and to learn my way around the area.
When I walked into the NuWave building, I was greeted and asked to sit in the waiting area while they fetched my paperwork. As I was waiting, the TV in front of me began to play an ad for something I had not heard in years. The Pinnacle. Just hearing the name gave me chills. The event was to happen on August 21st, so only a few days from now. I don’t know why, but the ad seemed strange. All the kids who were smiling in the background seemed…fake. The smiles seemed incredibly forced, almost like they were puppets…it made me uncomfortable as I watched. When I tried to focus my attention elsewhere, I was able to hear the announcer say something…”Be the best version of yourself!” That sounds so familiar…where have I heard that before? I thought to myself.
When I got home with the paperwork, I started looking up the phrase “Be the best version of yourself” on the internet. It took me to a lot of different links, mostly ones about bettering yourself and whatnot. But one of those links took me to a website for the Pinnacle.
I looked through the website for about 30 minutes, until I reached a page called “Contestants”. Within that page there were pictures of the contestants and a brief description about them. What was odd, however, were the photographs. All the contestants seemed…ill and slightly malnourished. It was very subtle. I decided I wanted to know more about the Pinnacle.
So, I made a post on reddit and asked anyone if they knew anything about what goes on at the Pinnacle, and what it’s like to work there etc. For a few hours I didn’t get a response. Then out of nowhere, I get a comment on my post from a user named “midnighteyes07”. He told me to join a chatroom he created that would encrypt our conversation to ensure we weren’t being spied on. At first glance I kind of laughed and wondered why that was even necessary. I mean we’re not doing anything illegal, are we? Despite my doubts, he insisted that we use his chatroom. I obliged and he gave me the connection info.
Here is our chat log from August 18th 2024 at 11:23pm:
USER Oliv.ur114 HAS CONNECTED SUCCESSFULLY.
Midnighteyes07: Are you affiliated with law enforcement or any government entity? You are legally obligated to tell me if that is the case.
Oliv.ur114: No man. I’m just looking for some basic information about the Pinnacle.
Oliv.ur114: We didn’t have to go to these lengths, Lol. It’s not that big of a deal.
Midnighteyes07: Listen. I don’t think you understand what you’re trying to find.
Oliv.ur114: Wait. What? What the hell does that mean?
Midnighteyes07: Why are you interested in the Pinnacle?
Oliv.ur114: You’re gonna think I’m crazy lol
Midnighteyes07: Try me.
Oliv.ur114: I saw these pictures on their website and idk something seemed off about them. The contestants seemed like they were sick and scared for some reason.
Midnighteyes07: They aren’t contestants.
Oliv.ur114: What are they then?
Midnighteyes07: Why are you interested in the Pinnacle?
Oliv.ur114: Answer my question. If they aren’t contestants then what are they??
Midnighteyes07: Tell me the real reason you want to know more about them. I know you’re not just fishing for “basic information”. If you refuse to answer me again, I will disconnect you from this chatroom.
Oliv.ur114: Wait. Don’t disconnect me. Please.
Oliv.ur114: I saw one of their adverts today and I heard the announcer say something that was incredibly familiar to me…
Midnighteyes07: What was it?
Oliv.ur114: You’re gonna think it’s stupid.
Oliv.ur114: “Be the best version of yourself.” I know I’ve seen that somewhere.
Midnighteyes07: That’s one of the Pinnacle’s slogans. They use it all the time.
Oliv.ur114: Yeah but, I swear I’ve seen this before.
Oliv.ur114: Wait…hold on…
As I sat here for a moment, I realized I had a few things from my parents house I still hadn’t sorted through yet, and decided to see if I could find anything that would help me remember. As I looked through the final box, I noticed a small piece of paper crumbled up in the corner of it. I grabbed it and opened it up. It was the note Samantha left the day she disappeared. As I read through her note, I stumbled upon this sentence: “I have to go now and be the best version of myself.”
In that moment, I felt the blood in my body turn cold. My skin immediately went pale, the hairs on my neck raised as I continued to reread that sentence.
I have to go now and be the best version of myself. I have to go now and be the best version of myself. I have to go now and be the best version of myself.
At this point I was shaking. I felt my stomach sink to the floor. How could I have not noticed? How did my parents not notice?? What the fuck is going on here? Where the hell is my sister?!
Oliv.ur114: Tell me everything. Right now.
Oliv.ur114: God dammit what is this. What the fuck is going on dude? Who are these people???
Midnighteyes07: They took someone you cared about, didn’t they?
Oliv.ur114: …They took? You mean like abducted? Pinnacle abducted my sister???
Oliv.ur114: There’s no way…no how could this be real?
Midnighteyes07: 472 Old Birde Dr, The Rose Petal Hotel
Oliv.ur114: What? What did you just send me?
Midnighteyes07: It’s an address for us to meet.
Oliv.ur114: I never agreed to meet you.
Midnighteyes07: I can tell you more about what I know. But we can’t talk here. You have 1 hour to make a decision.
Oliv.ur114: Wait I have some questions—
Midnighteyes07: We will talk soon then. Goodbye for now.
YOU HAVE BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM THE CHATROOM
What…is this? This can’t be real. Samantha is dead. She must be. There’s no way…I can’t…please…I can’t do this right now.
I need to lay down.
TO BE CONTINUED…
submitted by chillain420 to nosleep [link] [comments]

The Annapurna Circuit: Trip report and guide (Intro and Part I)

Based on my July 2018 experience
This was not technically an ultralight backpacking trip. However, my experience on this trip was a catalyst to me switching over. I remember the clear difference between two fellow trekkers I met. One carrying 25kg of gear, the other only 7. The former I passed one day struggling up the trail despite him having several hours head start. He looked miserable. The latter never seemed as tired as I was and rarely stopped for breaks. My load was between the two but I wished it was much lighter.
This is also not a backpacking trip in the traditional sense. No tents or sleeping pads. Beds every night. You don’t cook your own food either. However, you could do those things on this trip as several other backpackers that I met attested. Regardless, it is an adventure that I think the ultralight community will appreciate as we all long to be back in the wilderness. Also worth noting: I am not sponsored by anyone. Any recommendation is simply based on my experience. No free gear was received in exchange for mentioning it. All of the links are for general information and are not affiliates of mine.
This is just part one of a two part series since I can't only post so much in one Reddit post. Look for part two to come out soon.
I've included several links to spreadsheets and photos:
1). Gear List. Includes gear I brought and its weight as well as what I’d bring now for comparison.
2). Cost breakdown. This is an itemized report of prices on the trek for housing, water, food, beer, transportation, and sunscreen.
3). Elevation and Distance. The third spreadsheet shares the rough distances between villages and communities along the trek along with elevation change.
4). Photos. Finally I’ve included a link to my website which has some of my favorite photos from the trip.
Please ask any questions you have. I’ll do my best to answer them. Hopefully by this fall some of you will be headed to Nepal for your own adventure!

INTRO
This is a complete guide to trekking the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. I did this with my partner in July of 2018 during one of two off-seasons. Summer (May-September) is the rainy season and the trek doesn’t see much traffic during this time. Winter (December-February) is the other off-season for obvious reasons.
I’ve divided this trip report into two main sections (it's two long to post in one post on Reddit). The first part talks about the general logistics such as how to get to the circuit and what you should bring. I will try to include as much exact information about what I actually brought as I can and then provide some commentary on what I’d change when I go back.
The second part will focus on a timeline of the trek. What towns did we stay in and what were they like? What were some of the things we saw along the way and what were the trail conditions? This part will basically be a long blog post about our trek divided by the villages we stayed at or passed through along the way.

BACKGROUND
Why the Annapurna Circuit and why July (arguably the worst time of year to go). I am not a mountaineer, rock climber, athlete, or otherwise elite outdoorsman. In fact, the Annapurna Circuit was really my first backpacking trip and still my longest one to date. I did, however, grow up camping and loving the outdoors and am an experienced day hiker. Travel is also something I have some experience in, having been through much of North America and over 30 other countries.
Over the past few years I’ve grown a love for photography and a desire to capture natural landscapes as I see and feel them. Combined with my passion for the outdoors and a mild case of wanderlust, I began creating an unofficial list of places I definitely want to visit in my lifetime. This list includes Patagonia, New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the Andes Mountains in Northern Peru, and the Himalayas.
In May of 2018, my partner and I quit our jobs and bought one way tickets to Singapore to start our first visit to the continent of Asia. I had researched the Himalayas enough to know that Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp, and Everest Base Camp were probably the best options for first time trekkers with epic mountain scenery. However, we made no specific plans on when we would arrive in Nepal if at all on this trip.
Fast forward through our first month in the hot and humid SouthEast part of Asia, and I soon realized that the climate differences for a resident of dry temperate Northern California were more than I anticipated. Added to that were the vast cultural differences between western countries where most of my previous travel had been and that of many SouthEast Asian countries. I found myself longing for the cool familiarity of the mountains and Nepal seemed the right choice.
So one day we bought a ticket from Malaysia to Kathmandu, knowing we would arrive during the rainy season but figuring we should give it a shot. We landed on a hot July day in the rain and were soon greeted by the chaos of Kathmandu. Here we opted to spend five days exploring the city, eating good food, researching all the ins and outs of the treks, buying supplies, and determining the best trek for this time of year. We talked to local guides and foreign adventurers alike trying to gage whether we should attempt trekking at all this time of year.
Eventually, after receiving some mixed accounts, we decided to risk it and head out the next morning for the Annapurna Circuit. We heard from both ends of the spectrum including some vehement statements that we shouldn’t trek this time of year and other trekkers who had just finished and had a wonderful time. We knew that we could always turn around and come back if it felt too dangerous.

MORE ON MONSOON SEASON
July is the middle of the monsoon season in Nepal. It’s also summer which means the lowlands are a steaming jungle and the mountains are often hidden in clouds. Due to the steep terrain, the land is prone to mudslides which can block roads and send vehicles down ravines. Leeches are also a problem at lower elevation which we soon found to be especially true when walking through dense foliage.
However, there are several benefits to trekking this time of year. Being the off -season there are far fewer tourists both in Kathmandu and on the trails. This means lower prices, easier to obtain rooms, and less crowding on the streets and trails. Along with the rain comes greenery. The flowers are in bloom and the trees are their greenest. The alpine hillsides are green as well, turning brown later in the year when trekking peaks. The nights don’t get as cold even at high altitude where guest houses are without heat, so fewer warm layers are required.
Of course, the dangers are real. Nepali people die every year in monsoon related road accidents and it's not uncommon for a few tourists to die as well. Delays are inevitable due to poor road conditions made worse by the rain. On the trail, many of the guest houses are not operating during the off season or may be more hesitant to welcome guests or have many food options. While crowds can create hassle, some comradery on the trail is welcome but much harder to find during the off-season.
NEXT TIME: Based on our experience, I wouldn’t change what we did. However, I would probably not go during this season again or necessarily recommend others to go during July. Instead I would opt for the end of the rainy season right before peak season (late September) or the end of the second trekking season right before the rainy season (late May).

PART I: LOGISTICS OF THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
Almost everything you need for your trek can be bought in Kathmandu. Prices are cheaper than in the west but the quality is lower and most stores sell knock-offs of the brands they claim to sell. The neighborhood of Thamel is the primary trekkers hub in Nepal’s capital city. Here you will find more shops than you can count offering new and used gear, from real name-brand stuff to cheap knock offs. If you are coming to Nepal as part of a longer trip that includes travel to much warmer countries (as we did), you might consider buying some of your gear in Kathmandu.
We bought two synthetic sleeping bags (rated -10C but probably only good down to freezing) for $25/each. We were offered supposedly 100% down rated -20C “waterproof” sleeping bags for $50/each but were glad we didn’t get them. I purchased a decent quality “North Face” jacket with synthetic down filling for $15 and “waterproof” shell for $15. Diamox (a medication for altitude sickness) and many other meds (Decadron, a steroid, and various antibiotics) can be purchased for about $1 for a week's supply and without a prescription. The quality and purity of these drugs is unknown. I would definitely bring my own backpack as you will want something better quality than what I saw available. Same with shoes (or boots, it doesn’t matter really but trail runners are more comfortable and do the job perfectly) as you want them broken in. Everything else could be bought in Kathmandu but you won’t find anything ultralight or top quality.
NEXT TIME: Since trekking I’ve learned a lot about the value of a light backpack and minimal (but sufficient) gear. If trekking in Nepal was the only aspect of my trip from the US, I would bring nearly all my own gear. Everything would be quality and as light as possible for the task. An ultralight down quilt, wool underclothes, a down puffy, a waterproof rain shell, and a quality lightweight backpack 50 liters or less. I think a sub 10 pound base weight is reasonable even with a heavy camera.

PASSES AND PERMITS
You are required to have a TIMS card and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit to trek. There are plenty of good blogs online describing these so I won’t go into great detail. They can both be purchased at the Nepal Tourism Board about a 20 minute walk from Thamel. Each costs about 2000 rupee ($17) and during the off season there was very little wait. I was told that you can get them in Pokhara and Besi Sahar as well but can't confirm. Bring passport photos (they wanted 4 each from us) and your passport as well as travel insurance information (required, we used World Nomads). Keep your permits handy as there are frequent checkpoints on the trek.

MONEY MATTERS
Everything is cash in Nepal. Many places that have MasterCard and Visa plastered all over their storefront window or list online that they take credit cards. This is almost always inaccurate. I’m not sure why. Mobile data and wifi are generally available and it would be helpful for tourists even if it meant slightly higher prices. Also there is a feeling of dishonesty when a business clearly advertises one thing but practices another.
For the trek you should bring all the cash you need with you. There are no ATM’s from Besisahar to Jomsom. The ATM’s in Thamel, Kathmandu usually only allow 15-30k rupees per transaction (many banks have limitations as well). You will also likely pay a fee every time you withdraw money and probably not always get the best exchange rates. I estimate that I lost about 10% on every withdrawal between fees and bad exchange rates.
How much money you need on the trek depends a lot on how much time you plan to take and what “luxuries” you want. I read blogs before my own experience suggesting $25-35/day per person. By watching our budget and going in the off-season we spent closer to $15/person and could have been quite comfortable on $20. Beer ($2-5), hot showers ($2 when available), and western food (always more expensive than Nepali food) can quickly double that. Most snacks are cheaper in Kathmandu (with the exception of Manang) but then you have to carry them all that way. If you purify your own water you save a lot.
NEXT TIME: I would probably plan to spend a little bit more to make the journey more enjoyable. An occasional beer or more variety in food choices can really improve your day. Hot showers are definitely worth it if they are gas powered but probably not if solar (they don’t actually get hot). I would also take more time on the trek, thus increasing the amount of cash I needed. That being said: the 50,000 rupee I brought on this trek would still probably suffice. If you are going without a guide or a porter the trek is automatically going to be significantly cheaper than those with planned tours.

GUIDES AND PORTERS
There are numerous options to do a guided trek including booking months in advance through large North American companies like G-Adventures or REI. For a more hassle free experience, this could be a good option. However, you definitely do not need a guide for the Annapurna Circuit. And I’ve read many stories of the guides being more trouble than they are worth.
The trek is super easy to follow with a map. Often because of the rain, we just followed the rough gravel and dirt road that nearly makes the entire circuit. During peak seasons, the trail looks very well marked and easy to follow. There are quite a few side trails, but these are easily avoided by referring to your map.
Porters are also unnecessary for nearly all trekkers, even those with guides. You need such minimal gear compared to backpacking in the wilderness or mountaineering, that your pack shouldn’t be an issue. I couldn’t believe how much stuff some people brought with them. My pack weight was over 30 pounds and 55 liters and I definitely saw a large number of much bulkier packs on the trail. Some people had a porter carrying a huge load for them on top of the oversized day pack on their own back.
Cost-wise hiring guides and porters would at least double your cost. Sure it helps provide jobs, but also may keep you from staying in that little unique guest house on the edge of town or spending an extra day somewhere that intrigues you. Guides will often direct you to stay at a specific guest house for which they get a commission even though there may be better options available. Some friends did Everest Base camp with a tour company later in 2018 and spend nearly 7 times what we did on our trek (there are no luxury hotel options on the trek and flights are not included in most tours). Having the independence to travel at your own pace and stay where you want, when you want is all something that money can’t buy.
NEXT TIME: I would definitely do this trek (also Annapurna and Everest Base Camps) on my own again. While there are some incredible guides with much knowledge and enjoyable personalities, the Annapurna Circuit is just too straight forward for me to justify needing one.

FOLLOWING THE TRAIL
There are several options for trails maps. Maps are easily available in Kathmandu for about 400 rupee. These are fairly accurate and up to date. Look for one made the same year (or at least previous) as your trek date. If you buy a map in the US before traveling, it may be slightly less up to date. For example, we ended up with the September 2017 edition of Nepa Maps NA504 Around Annapurna. Now, over a year later, the latest edition I can find online is the 2014 edition.
A road that parallels the Circuit is rapidly being constructed and the trail is constantly being rerouted when its path is more desirable for the course of the road.
Free offline apps such as Maps.Me offer downloadable trail routes for the Annapurna Circuit. Other options such as Gaia can assist with terrain but I never used it. Another invaluable source that I used for information about stops along the way, distances between villages, and what to expect, was the Wikitravel Document on the Annapurna Circuit.
The main trail is marked with red and white trail markers that are fairly visible. Some of the trail simply follows the road which isn’t a bad walk during the off season. However, in high season the dust and frequent jeep traffic would make this option uninviting. Luckily, most of the way up the path there are alternative trail options which are often on the opposite side of the valley as the road. Since leeches love foliage, we opted for the foliage free road most of the way up but outside of the rainy season this shouldn’t be a problem.

ELECTRONICS
CHARGERS: I would recommend bringing one universal adapter, preferably with multiple usb outlets in it. Outlets are hard to find and while some are universal, not all are. Some places charge you to use an outlet so being able to plug multiple devices into a single outlet saves you money. With my adapter I could charge my back up battery, phone, and camera all at once from one outlet.
PHOTO AND VIDEO: If you are a casual photographer just looking for some nice photos to show friends and family, I would recommend investing in a flagship smartphone or a Gopro rather than carrying the weight of even a small interchangeable lens camera. You just don't need all that extra weight unless you want significant zoom or professional quality large prints. The Go-pro is super light, takes decent 4k video, has image stabilization built in (much better video quality), is waterproof, and is tiny. Bring multiple batteries if you plan on a lot of videos. Also bring one SD card per day to reduce the risk of losing data.
I consider myself an advanced hobbyist when it comes to photography. Currently I use a Sony a7r II. I only brought one lens, the versatile Sony 24-240mm FE f3.5-6.5. If you are really serious I'd recommend a wide angle as well (16-35mm f2.8). This would especially be nice during drier weather when you can actually see the night sky for stargazing. The mountains are so vast and towering that a wide angle is really the only way to properly capture them without doing a panorama. I chose not to bring a tripod. If you are carrying your own gear it's a lot of extra weight to carry.
NEXT TIME: I’d bring the same camera set up and add a wide angle lens and an ultralight fold-up tripod. I would bring four batteries and probably an SD card for every other day. It’s a lot of weight but the photos are so worth it.
BACKUP POWER: I used a generic large backup battery charger with two usb ports. It was rated for 20k mAh but I don’t think that was accurate. My 10k mAh Anker is lighter and holds a similar charge . Whenever there wasn't charging available, I'd plug into this and when there was charging available I'd make sure it stayed charged. Even so I bought 4 batteries for my camera. One alternative, if going when the sun's out, is to rely on solar energy for charging.
MEMORY CARDS: I brought 8 memory cards including 4 micro SD and 4 regular. If I had to do it over I’d bring more. I had one scare where the camera said it wasn't writing the files correctly and when I went to flip back through them, I got error messages. I switched cards at that time and more frequently afterward. Turns out nothing was wrong but if you are a serious photographer you want to minimize risk of loss.
DRONES: This is a subject that has not been addressed in any other blogs I've read at all. Before going I watched numerous videos of people flying drones in the Himalayas. YouTube has several vloggers who have droned their treks and filmmakers who have made beautiful drone documentaries of these great mountains.
Unfortunately none of them address one serious problem, the Annapurna Conservatory at least (and possibly all of Nepal) has banned the use of drones without a permit (some say it's easy to get one, some say it's not). In some instances police have simply confiscated people's drones on the spot. In a country where one can hardly breathe in major cities due to dust and pollution, you'd think there would be greater issues than a couple of drones flying around. After consulting with some locals who saw my drone, I concluded that there is a significant risk that the police will take your device if they catch you. Many will find this a risk well worth taking and in some places there is limited police presence. The Annapurna Circuit has a surprisingly strong police presence in several towns (Chame for example) but not everywhere.
A drone is a lot of weight to carry if you don't feel comfortable using it for risk of having it taken. If you do plan to use it, either get a permit or exercise extreme caution and don't use it around villages or locals who might feel led to alert authorities. If you are a professional, just get the permit since your gear is likely worth a lot. If you are an amateur and want to risk it, bring a small, light drone that you can hide well if need be. I don't have specific information about getting permits, but it seems like the process isn't easy or quick.
OTHER: I brought a headlamp but never used it. For outhouse runs and power outages my phone served just fine though the headlamp would be much more convenient for longer periods of darkness. I would still recommend one.

CELL SERVICE
If you want to pack super light, aren't serious about photography or filming, but want some nice shots to bring home, I'd bring a high-end Samsung Galaxy, iPhone or similar. Since I had camera gear, I ended up using a cheap Samsung J2 pro (picked up brand new in Malaysia for $125). It takes relatively bad photos and video but was really just used to post updates to my Instagram story during those rare WiFi moments.
It is easy to get a SIM card for your global compatible phone in Kathmandu and even at some locations on the trek. There are two main providers Nepal Telecom and NCELL. We went with the private company Ncell because we heard that they were faster. Unfortunately, we soon found they didn’t currently offer much coverage on the circuit. However, judging by the number of locals using their cell-phones I’m guessing Nepal Telecom offers better service up there. Data is inexpensive and definitely worth it for navigating Kathmandu.
NEXT TIME: I would go with Telecom as having some coverage is better than none at all. I would also bring a better phone with a better battery life. One less thing to worry about charging all the time if the battery lasts longer.

WATER
Drinking water can be purchased at quite regular intervals along the trail in 1 liter bottles of filtered safe water for 30-150 rupee/liter. However, this adds up quickly (2-4 liters/day) and is quite bad for the environment. Safe water filling stations are available in many towns during trekking season for 30-60 rupee/liter. These were all closed except Thorung Phedi when I trekked this July. Bringing a 1 liter bottle to refill should be plenty when the clean filling stations are all open.
Another method is to fill up from the numerous running water stations in towns and villages along the way. Some of these are running constantly and are quite clean (coming from the mountains upstream from the village). However a village further up the mountain, animal waste, or other contaminants could still get you sick. I met trekkers who drank this water without problems but I would not risk it. While it usually didn’t appear to need filtering, I would absolutely purify it first.
I brought chlorine tablets (over iodine because chlorine also kills a virus that is a common cause of water related stomach illnesses) and a Steripen. The Steripen uses ultraviolet rays to kill pathogens. It required a wide mouthed water bottle to use (won’t work with a Smart water bottle). Also any curves or hidden areas where the light might not reach the water can leave it unclean. Mine required two ca123 batteries (not common) and can only do about 50 liters/two batteries. I carried several extra batteries.
Some sort of water purification tablets were available in many stores along the way. With a method to purify water, you save money and plastic and can even get your water from a stream if needed. We found the chlorine tablets did make the water taste somewhat undesirable so you may want to bring some sort of water flavoring. Another option is the two step water treatment drops that take more time but are arguably the most effective against the most possible illnesses with the least negative effect on the flavor.
NEXT TIME: I would bring my Sawyer Mini and add chlorine tabs if the water seemed exceptionally sketchy which is rarely if ever did. The Sawyer Mini works with any lightweight water bottle or 1 liter filter bags which are light and easy to store.

FOOD
You don’t need to bring any food from your home country (and probably shouldn’t). Snacks are available at steadily increasing prices and regular intervals as you head up the trail. Snickers, potato chips, sodas, cookies, nuts and granola bars were easy to find even in the off season. If you are on a strict budget you may want to find an inexpensive supply of snacks in Kathmandu before heading up. If you want fresh produce, you will likely have to purchase from Kathmandu or along the way as there is very little on the trek.
A helpful tip: snack prices in Manang oddly aren't much more than Kathmandu (Snickers only increased from 85 to 100 rupee despite bringing more than 150 rupees in earlier towns).
Healthy options are harder to come by. Certain times of the year you can get apples but not during the summer. Most meals included cooked vegetables grown fresh in the village. Every open lodge had food available. We generally avoided the meat due to limited safe storage options. We only had minor trouble with the food. Dal Bat is the traditional meal on the trek. Garlic soup is another popular one. We really enjoyed the Tibetan Bread with Honey for breakfast. If you are trying to eat low carb, good luck. Every meal is very high in carbs. Eating vegetarian is fairly easy to do.
NEXT TIME: We tried to eat a lot of Dal Bat as it was the least expensive way to get a lot of food. Often when you are very hungry, it just makes sense as they keep refilling your plate. However, I think it's worth spending a little more to eat more variety and change things up. With so many long days of trekking, it's a good way to keep up your morale.

LODGING
We did not book a single place on the trek in advance. I had heard that during peak season places fill up and guest houses end up packing extra people in the common areas. This was not a problem during such a slow time of year. We had more of a problem finding that places were closed due to the lack of traffic. I would not recommend booking anything in advance. If you go during peak season just try to arrive early enough to find a good spot before they are all taken.
As numerous other blogs describe, the lodges are typically referred to as tea houses although to me this implies more of a small home stay. A few of the locations we stayed in were someone’s home with extra rooms for guests. Others were more like mini hotels in which a room or two was saved for the employees. They all had kitchens and dining rooms which appeared like great places to gather if we had had other guests to gather with. Most had wood burning stoves in the middle which would have been wonderful as we increased in altitude. However, it was not cold enough for them to justify burning precious wood for just a couple of trekkers.
In every village, we first walked through the entire village (most take 10 minutes to walk through) to see where we felt the most welcome. In some places like Chame, it was easy. A kind lady called out to us upon passing by and after seeing her rooms we realized they would be perfect. Other places, like Manang were larger and had more options to choose from. Here we actually looked at a couple of rooms that we just didn’t love before settling on one. A few villages had vastly differing prices (ranging from free to 700 rupees) so if you are on a budget it pays to shop around. During peak season you may not have this luxury and may just have to take what's available.
NEXT TIME: I would still not book anything ahead. I would look for places that were clean and comfortable. A shower isn’t necessary every night. And sometimes the best places are away from the main lodges. I would also try to stay in a few of the smaller villages that aren’t necessarily on the main trek. Most likely I would do this trek slower (and in better weather) so as to experience more of the culture and hopefully meet more trekkers to swap stories with along the way.

GETTING THERE FROM KATHMANDU
We went to BG Mall (400 rupee taxi ride north of Thamel) to get our bus directly to Besisahar where the trek begins. The taxi actually dropped us off at the Gongabu New Bus Station. However, upon asking around we were directed to the BG Mall around the corner.
There are mini buses (think minivans with way too many seats packed in them) going to Besisahar directly. While popular with tourists, these appeared cramped and uncomfortable to me. They also tie all the luggage outside on the top of the van so it ends up covered in exhaust and dust. One benefit is that these minibuses go direct and don't stop to pick up more passengers along the way. I've heard they run about 700 rupee.
We chose what we were told was a tourist bus. In reality it ran more like a local bus to Besisahar from BG Mall. We didn't buy tickets ahead but simply paid the driver 450 rupees each. We had our backpacks stored underneath, had our own seats, and the bus was never full. However, I think during peak season it would have been much more crowded. Even though we stopped to pick up passengers whenever we saw them, most of the delays were the terrible traffic jam coming out of Kathmandu (3-4 hour traffic jam. Even so, we made it to Besisahar by about 3pm (9 hours) without switching buses. There are supposedly non-stop “luxury” tourist buses available for a bit more. However, you won’t find anything that approaches the quality of buses available in South America or Europe.
As with all transportation in Nepal, be prepared for longer than expected journeys and over packed vehicles that wouldn’t be up to safety standards in the US. There probably won’t be air conditioning in the summer either. And the passengers tend to be quite loud the entire trip.
NEXT TIME: I would probably still risk buying a last minute ticket. That way I can assess the condition of the bus before purchasing. The mini-buses, while perhaps slightly faster, look way less enjoyable unless perhaps you have a large enough group to book the entire bus.

SOME MORE ON GEAR
You don’t need as much gear as a normal backpacking trip. While some people do choose to wild camp, most stay at the tea houses. Even if you do camp, food is so readily available, there is no need to carry large amounts with you. Bringing a tent would allow you to wake up in some truly wild, remote locations without any other humans around. It would also require you bring a sleeping pad and a warmer sleeping bag.
All the tea houses had blankets. Extras were available if we were cold though this is not the case during peak season. I would at least bring a liner if not your own bag for cleanliness and extra warmth. I think a light 30 degree quilt would be fine unless you went in the winter. There’s no heat in the rooms, but I imagine they keep more warmth in than a tent would. The coldest mornings during the summer were below freezing, but not by much in our experience. Peak season is in the fall so it will be colder for sure.
I’d probably go with my SWD long haul 50 out of my current gear. Although it would be bigger than needed, it carries really well and rolls down when not filled. You probably don’t need a backpack with a frame. Honestly, a Zimmerbuilt style QuickStep or similar would probably do just fine if you are not camping or bringing a lot of camera gear.
Any cooking supplies are superfluous unless you really want to eat freeze-dried meals or have a cup of hot tea on a random remote hilltop. There are actually small huts which serve hot tea at some of the more popular day hikes along the trek. These are only open during peak season.
I primarily hiked in shorts but if it had been much colder leggings or pants would have been nice. There’s a lot of exposure and sun during peak season (even in the summer the clouds cleared enough to get us burnt), so long sleeve shirts and maybe a hat would be nice.
Camp shoes and night clothes aren’t necessary but sure were nice to have. A change or two of underwear and socks would suffice. I brought some running shorts that double as swim trunks. There are several hot springs on the trek which are near town and close to the river. These were mostly flooded over with river water due to the monsoon.
We brought way too many toiletries and a large first aid kit. If I recall correctly some places had toilet paper in their bathrooms and it was also available at some of the shops.

BRIEF GUIDE TO KATHMANDU
We arrived in Kathmandu near the end of June to pouring rain. The airport is a mess of chaos. One had to take a bus from the plane to get to the terminal. Visas are available on arrival for US citizens and those of many other countries. We chose a 30 day visa for about $50 but there are longer options available. We took a taxi from the airport to Thamel for about $5 and settled into a hostel for the night.
Our first few nights in the hostel were nice (community atmosphere and cheap price) but we soon realized we wanted to be in a hotel and moved locations for our next three nights before the trek. You can walk Thamel in a day or less. There are plenty of decent restaurants and lots of trekkers and tourists. A few of the streets don’t allow cars which is refreshing as the dirt, dust, and exhaust they produce is overwhelming. The shops in Thamel offer everything you could imagine related to trekking but not all of it is quality. You are under constant pressure to buy something or some service you don’t want nearly everywhere you go in Thamel.
Five days in Kathmandu was too long. I’d recommend three to get accustomed to the place, buy any last minutes good for the trek, and get some cash. We left everything we had with us at the hotel including extra camera gear and a laptop. We locked it in a bag and they put it in a second floor storage room. The agreement is that you will stay with them when you return but since they didn’t have rooms we weren’t held to that. Nothing was lost, stolen, or damaged in our experience.
Lodging:
Alobar 1000 Hostel. We stayed two nights here. It was a friendly enough place with cheap water refills available and an inexpensive rooftop bar. There were all sorts of friendly travelers here from yogis and hippies to trekkers and climbers. Our private room was ok but the bathroom was shared and not always so clean. Price was approximately $10-15 per night.
Hotel Family Home. We stayed three nights here and stored our luggage here during our trek. Cost was approximately $20 per night. The rooms were ok. Not quite up to western standards. There was a free breakfast you could pick from (pancakes, smoothies, toast and eggs). The bathroom had an open window instead of a fan and was filled with bugs.
Trekkers Home: We stayed one night here after returning from our trek. It was a great price and the owners were friendly but the air conditioning didn’t work. With the pollution and the summer heat and humidity, having air conditioning is nearly essential in July. Cost was only $12 per night but didn’t include breakfast.
OYO 120 Hotel Tayoma. We stayed here three nights after the trek. It has a Pho restaurant with good food below it. The rooms are large and clean with cold air conditioning. This was probably our favorite spot in Thamel. Price included breakfast for about $20 per night.
Dining:
Himalayan Java Coffee - Thamel Chowk. This is a popular spot with trekkers and expats alike. Great coffee for the area and many baked goods as well as specialty drinks.
Western Tandoori & Naan House. We probably ate here half a dozen times. Excellent prices and amazing authentic Indian food better than anywhere I’ve had in North America and rivaling London. Local spot with nothing fancy that can get quite hot during the day. Looks a little dirty but we never got sick and enjoyed every meal here.
Northfield Cafe. Nice outdoor cafe with baked goods and a decent breakfast.
Weizen Bakery. Probably our favorite bakery in Thamel. Great chocolate cake and pastries. Half off after 8 pm!
The Cafe With No Name. Great little bar serving local micro-brewed beer and donating proceeds to charity. We went here several times and always loved the food. Definitely geared toward tourists.
Medical:
Pharmacies. There are numerous pharmacies in Thamel which don’t require a prescription to get things like Diamox, antibiotics, pain relief, or decadron. Quality is unknown of course so use with care.
CIWEC Hospital Pvt. Ltd. This is a private hospital especially for tourists that’s right outside Thamel. Due to an accident which required suturing we actually used this location and got excellent professional service. Our doctor spoke perfect English. She and her nurses all used sterile technique, practiced hand washing, and were very skilled and thorough in their care. I don’t think we would have received better care anywhere in the US. Cost was $330 USD which is a lot for Nepal but was completely covered by our travel insurance.
Transport:
Walking. This is the best way to get about Thamel and really much of Kathmandu. It's fun just to wander. There are hidden shops, alleyways, and restaurants everywhere. End to end, Thamel is only about a 15 minute walk one way.
Taxis. I don’t think we paid more than $5 for a taxi anywhere including going to the famous stupa or the airport. We paid about $4 for our taxi to the bus station which would have been a 45 minute walk. We usually negotiated the price down a dollar or two from their initial offer.
Buses. We did not ride any city buses. The main bus station for travel around the country is the Gongabu New Bus Station. The bus to Besi Sahar actually picked up about a five minute walk from here at the BG Mall which we found out on the fly the morning of our trip after our taxi dropped us off at the bus station.

This was PART I of a two part series on the Annapurna Circuit. Stay tune for the second part where I go into detail on the day-by-day journey itself.
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Backpacking Through the "Red Zone" of Colombia

Through the Zona Roja of Colombia:

“Go back to Ecuador. Colombia is not safe at this time,” urged the mayor of Ipiales, a dusty Andean border town between Ecuador and Colombia, to a group of stranded foreigners gathered at the bus terminal. I had arrived in Colombia earlier this morning, after having traveled for a month up and out of the Amazon Basin and into the Andes. As I was crossing the border, peasants were teaming up with the FARC to shut down major highways and had taken to the streets to protest a NAFTA agreement that would allow genetically-modified crops from the US to enter Colombia.
There were rumors that the protests would quickly lose steam or be quelled; I waited in Ipiales for days for bus travel to resume. Instead of easing up, each day the strike intensified, and violent incidents across Colombia increased. My prospects of reaching the city of Cali, my next stopping point, became less and less likely. There was a tiny airport in Ipiales, but I was broke and flights were exorbitantly expensive given the number of people now scrambling to leave the region. Truth be told, there was another, vainer reason I was reluctant to grab a flight: I was on a mission to complete my return home—at the time, located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.—from South America without air travel.
**
This resolution arose after meeting perhaps the scrappiest backpacker in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere. Benjamin, a skinny Frenchman with monk-like tranquility, was either a lost soul or a born nomad. We met while traveling on a cargo ship sailing from Manaus to the tri-border of Peru, Colombia, and Brazil (a.k.a. the ‘Amazonian Dog Head’ for its shape on the map), and we bonded over the long, monotonous days of river travel. Benjamin had been wandering the world for years, with no money except for the coins he earned busking on street corners, plazas, and open-air markets with a beat-up old guitar.
After working for years as an engineer, Benjamin decided that it was time for some adventure. Quitting his job and selling his possessions, he bought a one-way plane ticket to Vietnam and decided to backpack indefinitely, busking wherever he went and maintaining the goal of eventually seeing the entire world. He didn’t care how long it would take; at the time of our meeting, he had already been on the road for over four years and felt no compulsion to return to Paris to check on his former life. Hitchhiking, walking, hopping ships and trains, and free camping in cities and the wilderness, Benjamin tramped through South East Asia, India, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and now Latin America—all without taking any flights after the initial one from France to Asia. He had managed to cross the Atlantic while working in a kitchen on a ship, employing his French knack for cooking.
Sinewy and small, his underfed appearance, olive skin tone, and old, ragged clothes allowed him to pass through just about anywhere without drawing attention to himself. He was fluent in English, French, and German; he had learned basic Vietnamese and was now rapidly picking up Spanish and Portuguese. Swapping stories on the river, hearing Benjamin’s tales convinced me that this style of travel, without itineraries and with only the money you earn on the road, allowed for truly profound adventure to unfold. By the time we parted ways in the middle of the jungle, Benjamin had inspired me.
**
Back in Southern Colombia, I waited a solid week for the roads to open, but the strike only intensified. Law and order began to deteriorate in Ipiales and I wanted out. The entire police force had been summoned to monitor the protests and roadblocks in the countryside, and without cops, criminals assumed free reign on the streets. Muggings in broad daylight proliferated, and I was warned against even leaving the premises of the run-down hotel in which I was staying. Cut off from the highways leading out of the city, food became scarce in Ipiales; markets and bakeries boarded up their doors and windows out of fear of looters. To make matters worse for me in particular, the protests were explicitly anti-US, decrying a free-trade agreement that America had effectively jammed down Colombia’s throat. Anti-American messages were graffitied across the city.
A week in locked-down in Ipiales seemed an eternity. Hungry and unable to safely leave my hotel, I decided to cut my losses and backtrack to Ecuador. This meant abandoning the grand plan of returning home overland, but I saw no other sane option. It was a 45-minute taxi ride to the Ecuadorian border, and even traversing this distance was becoming more dangerous by the day. With my bag packed and a taxi summoned, I went to bid farewell to a clique of caleños, folks from Cali, I had befriended in the hotel. As I knocked on one of their doors, a woman frantically opened it and summoned me inside. She was in a mad rush to pack her bags and demanded that I cancel my taxi immediately.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“The military opened the highway in Pasto, the next city from here. If we get there by nightfall, we can catch a bus to Cali. We can be there by tomorrow morning! We are going to grab a taxi to the roadblock, ask the protestors permission to pass through on foot, and then hitch another ride to Pasto. If we stay here in Ipiales, we could be stranded for weeks at the rate that protests are intensifying. Are you coming with us?” Pasto was the capital of the province of Nariño, and looking at the map, it seemed a long distance from Ipiales.
Outside the taxi honked, and I rapidly weighed my options. Two relevant conversations whizzed through my mind. The first was with a police officer the day before. I had asked him if hitchhiking around the protests was possible; without hesitation, he informed me that this idea was extremely foolhardy, especially coming from a blonde foreigner with shitty Spanish. The second conversation was with another guy from the group from Cali in my hotel. Alex, a body-builder returning to Cali after working in Chile, thought that the highway would be clear after Pasto and proposed to his friends that they trek to the roadblock and simply walk through it. The agitators were blocking vehicles but might allow foot traffic. He sensed that we could be stuck waiting in Ipiales indefinitely and wanted to move sooner rather than later.
Desperate to get out of dodge, I asked Alex if I could join their impromptu foot-caravan. He looked at me with mixed pity and amusement and shook his head. “No, no, papito. If they see you out there on the road…” He did not need to finish the sentence.
As I stood and ran through the scenarios in my mind, the caleña woman assured me again that we would be in Cali by the next day. But we had to leave now, she insisted. There was no time to waste if we hoped to reach Pasto before dark. With my adrenaline already kicking in, I agreed to go. We met Alex outside of the hotel, standing with four others. He had apparently forgotten his refusal to allow me to walk with them.
With Alex in the lead, we trekked to the outskirts of Ipiales, where a local kid with a truck was ferrying people to the roadblock for a small sum of pesos. Waiting to hop in the truck bed, I noticed that the other passengers carried thick wooden sticks, simultaneously symbolizing solidarity with the protest and serving as a crude weapon. Some carried heavy metal pipes instead of wooden staffs.
We drove through the chilly Andean roads until we reached the protest zone. I naively had imagined the roadblock to be small and discrete—nothing more than a small group guarding a barricade. Instead, there was an army of indigenous campesinos, encamped for miles and miles on the highway and placing whatever they could across it to block traffic. As we walked through the protest zone, we were forced to climb over felled trees, severed guardrails, and metal dumpsters that had been thrown across the road.
We walked for hours and still did not reach the end of the occupying protestors. They had been camping here for days and had even erected mess tents and medical stations every few miles. The region’s Andean indigenous flag flew alongside banners denouncing the Colombian government and US imported crops (“Here, it will always be a ‘papa’, never a ‘potato’!”). Our small brigade was comprised of three black Colombians from Cali and one unmistakable gringo; as we entered the masses, murmurs and icy stares followed. Occasionally, somebody threw something at us. Alex’s imposing physique, towering over everyone, seemed to be the only deterrent against more direct aggression.
Trekking up mountain roads with no end in sight, dusk arrived. Pasto was still very far away—hours by car to put it in perspective—and it was becoming painfully obvious how misguided we had been to think we could reach the city by nightfall. Around sunset, we passed a cluster of houses next to the road and an elderly couple sitting outside of their house called us over.
“Are you walking to Pasto?” They asked us as we passed.
“Yes,” Alex said.
“You better stop in this town before you go any further. If you walk this road at night, you will most certainly get assaulted. Find Father Miguel in the church. He is giving mass tonight and will help you.”
We thanked them and walked down from the highway to the central plaza of a tiny—and surprisingly pretty—Andean village. We easily found the town’s church, the only large structure around, and Father Miguel greeted us at the door. He already knew that we were traveling to Pasto and invited us inside to the vestibule. In a few minutes, a young nun arrived with steaming hot coffee and soup. I had not eaten since that morning in Ipiales, and after walking for miles on end, the arepas, chicken soup, and avocado might as well have been a Michelin Star meal. Father Miguel agreed to let us sleep on the floor of the church, under the condition that we attended mass that evening.
The next morning found us back on the road to Pasto at the crack of dawn, climbing and descending misty roads hemmed in by trellised slopes of tree tomato, scarlet quinoa flowers, and citrus trees. After hours of walking on an empty stomach, we smelled fresh coffee from a cottage nestled by the road. Alex knocked on the door and asked the elderly lady who answered if we could buy breakfast. The family, Indigenous Andeans living in a cottage with a dirt floor, served us a glorious spread of coffee, hot bread, fresh fruit, and mountain butter. As their wood-burning stove smoldered in the single-roomed home, I felt something scurry across my feet. I recoiled and knocked my cup over; the Colombians laughed hysterically. The lady of the house explained that what had brushed my feet was not a rat, just one of their guinea pigs that they were fattening up to slaughter.
The walk continued until the late afternoon. We passed roadblocks every couple hours, and Alex would explain to the guards that we had been stranded in Ipiales and were hitchhiking to Cali. I was instructed to keep my mouth shut under all circumstances during these moments. Some men at the barricades wore bandanas around their faces, with only a slit to reveal their eyes. Instead of wooden sticks, they carried machetes or metal rebar. I wore a baseball cap and sunglasses to cover my face, and Alex carried my large travel backpack to deflect attention.
The trip to Pasto had taken twice as long as I had expected, and my beat-up sneakers blistered my feet to raw meat. As we arrived at the outskirts of Pasto, the protestors had again gathered into an army as they had outside of Ipiales. Even from afar, Pasto looked ominous, with street fires smoldering and herds of rowdy protestors occupying the roads. We had to find Pasto’s bus terminal, praying that there would be open routes to the north, the direction of Cali. As we entered the city, a gang of kids directly in front of us was trying to smash the windows of a moving car. Alex held out his hand to halt us and, luckily, the kids did not turn around. As we stood motionless, one of the kids, probably about 16 years old, bent down to sharpen a makeshift knife on the street curb. When he was satisfied, he jumped up and darted to catch his friends, still pursuing the car. I saw Alex’s hand reach down to a cargo pocket on his jeans; he had stolen a kitchen knife from the church’s kitchen the previous night.
We arrived at the bus station and were informed that there were no buses leaving Pasto. Period. The roads ahead were too dangerous, and no bus company would assume the risk of travel. There was a rumor that a solitary bus might leave the following morning, and we waited in the terminal the entire night on this hope. The next morning, we were informed that no such bus would in fact depart. Pasto was visibly more volatile than Ipiales, and I was nervous about the prospects of staying.
Around 6 am somebody whispered that a bus pirata (pirate bus) a couple of blocks away from the station was leaving for Popayan, a city en route to Cali, in the next few minutes. Alex and the others ran to grab a seat and told me that I better go with them. Neither the bus, ancient and painted with colorful designs, nor the driver was affiliated with any official bus line—it was just some civilian who happened to own a bus and saw a business opportunity. The vehicle was packed to the brim, but every voice hushed as I walked on board. Somebody broke the silence and loudly made a joke that as a gringo, full of dollars, I should pay every passenger’s fare. Acknowledging the shout out, I countered that as a guest in Colombia, they all should be chipping in to pay my fare; plus, they should also supply me with beer for the long ride ahead. They ate it up and immediately relaxed their tone towards me.
Tearing up country roads on the pirate bus, the atmosphere was celebratory. Somebody passed around a bottle of aguardiente and the driver blasted Caleño salsa. I had not slept in days, and I realized how exhausted I was. I thought the chaos was behind me, and I let myself relax and feel relief. The Andean countryside was utterly mesmerizing. Smiling, I thought of how much fun I would have in Cali after all of this shit. The respite was only for a fleeting moment.
About halfway to Popayan, high in the mountains, we were stopped at a military checkpoint in yet another dusty village. Soldiers, blocking our way on the road, summoned the driver out the bus. When he returned, he informed us that there were guerrilla groups directly ahead. We could drive no further. Even though he had only completed half of the promised journey, the driver initially refused to refund any of the fares. He changed his mind as the passengers began to form an angry mob.
Fear began to course through my body as I registered what I had just heard: I was in the ‘zona roja’, Guerilla-controlled territory. My presence was already causing a stir among bystanders outside the bus. The town was dusty and ugly; something in the air just smelled of desperation. An old man sitting nearby in front of a store began to eyeball me—it didn’t seem like benign curiosity. Ahead possibly lay the FARC, a terrorist organization internationally notorious for their murders and kidnappings, oftentimes of foreigners from rich countries.
I and the caleños huddled around Alex, our de facto leader, and discussed how to proceed. The woman who had initially encouraged me to hitchhike, visibly starting to panic, now suggested that I try to find lodging in this town and wait it out. Sure, I thought, I’ll just find a nice hostel in a fucking guerrilla-controlled village. Wow, thanks for advising me to join you…
The chatter continued: Perhaps the military would dismantle the guerrilla roadblock and highway travel would resume. It could happen tonight. But it also could be several more days of waiting. I had been ingesting this false hope of the military opening the roads over and over again for the past week. Now, in the zone roja, it did not seem any more likely than it did before. I knew one thing for certain: separating myself from the group was not a good idea.
Some other men from the bus pirata came over to join us*.* Alex kept looking over at me; there was palpable concern written on his face. He turned to me and explained the situation: the whispers that the roadblock ahead was controlled by an armed guerrilla group, maybe the FARC, were true. This meant that it was far more dangerous than the previous roadblocks. On the other hand, people were saying that Popayan was easily accessible after the roadblock. It was also confirmed that buses were running from Popayan to Cali. This time it actually seemed plausible that we could be in Cali by the next day. With a pained look, Alex told me that he was going with a group of other passengers from the bus pirata to ask permission from the guerilleros to walk through the roadblock. The other caleños one by one decided that they would also go to the roadblock. All eyes fell on me.
“Johnny, I don’t know how to say this…This is more dangerous for you than for anyone else. If you want to come, I will do my best to keep you safe, but understand the risk you are taking.”
I was not going to stay put in this village; just no fucking way. “I’m going too,” I affirmed.
“Ok. You are to hide in the middle of the group while we talk to the guerrilleros. Do not under any circumstances let yourself fall behind the group. Do not open your mouth at the roadblock. Keep wearing my cap to cover your face. I will carry your backpack again.”
The worst thing that I could have broadcasted was that I was from the US, so I pretended to be Brazilian. It helped that I spoke a Spanish-Portuguese hybrid, wore a ragged São Paulo soccer jersey, and that plenty of Brazilians were blonde-haired. There was a young woman from Medellín from the pirate bus who was now with us. We had become friends, and she agreed to pretend to be my Colombian fiancé. My cover was as follows: I was a Brazilian national who had met a woman from Medellín while on vacation in Colombia; we were returning to her hometown to get married. As before, we found a local who was taxiing travelers to the roadblock, and we were off.
Several months prior while in Amazonia, I had purchased a quantity of pure guaraná, a stimulant herb used by indigenous warriors before battle. I was saving it for workouts, but this seemed like the ideal time to take it. Mixing copious amounts of the powder in a water bottle, I downed the muddy brown potion. Within minutes, my heart was pounding like a large drum, my fingertips were tingling with electricity, and my mind sharpened itself into combat mode. Suddenly, I could understand Spanish more easily than I ever had in my life. What before had been an incomprehensible caleño accent, was now as clear as mid-Atlantic English. The world around me moved in slow motion.
In a packed truck bed heading for the final roadblock, I prayed on a small rosary a young girl in Brazil, a former student of mine, had given me almost a year prior. I had kept it in my pocket all through my travels, and I thought it kept me safe. After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived at the roadblock, an imposing metal barricade erected across the highway and guarded by armed men with covered faces. These were not the peasant campesinos with sticks and machetes from the previous days; these were trained guerrilla rebels with automatic rifles.
As we descended from the truck, a young guerrillero quickly appeared and demanded to know where we were going. Alex explained how we had been stranded on the southern border in Ipiales and had been hitchhiking for days to reach Cali. The young man seemed wary, and he kept asking politically charged questions:
“Do you understand why we are in revolt?”
Alex answered in the affirmative.
“Do you sympathize with the strike?”
Alex agreed. “Of course. The president is an hijueputa!” Calling President Santos a son-of-a-bitch actually seemed to win the young man over.
The guerrillero launched into an enumeration of the crimes and injustices that the Colombian government had committed against the campesinos, and explained that the recent free-trade agreement had been the last straw for them. They were too poor to feed their children, and, after peaceful petitions had failed, they had no choice but to resort to bold action to force the government to hear them.
Finally, the guerrillero asked if we had seen any military personal on the road from the town we had just left. I remembered seeing soldiers on the road; there was definitely military personnel headed in this direction. Alex, for some reason unknown to me, responded that we had not seen any military at all. The guerrillero’s next statement made my stomach contract:
“We cannot let you continue.”
Alex looked down and said nothing.
The young man continued. “The military shot one of our comrades yesterday.” A sound of angry disbelief rose from our group. “In retaliation, we have arranged an ambush here. You cannot be on the road.” They knew the military was coming for them and had laced the highway ahead with improvised explosive devices and hidden snipers. The road in front of us would become a war zone in the next few hours.
Nobody knew what to say. The young man turned surprisingly sympathetic, and he suggested that we find the town’s schoolhouse, where we might be able to shelter ourselves from the upcoming firefight. He gave us the name of the schoolmaster and advised us to ask permission to wait in the gated schoolyard.
We were granted permission and sheltered ourselves in the school. For hours, we listened in silence to what was happening outside. There were about 20 of us from the bus ride. What seemed like an eternity passed and nothing happened. Then, everything started all at once: the staccato chunking noise of automatic rifles; the boom of bombs exploding on the road; and finally, panicked human voices shouting. There was a Peruvian girl with me in the schoolyard, the only other non-Colombian, and we had bonded on the pirate bus. As the firefight started outside, she started hyperventilating and crying.
It was already late afternoon, and there was concern that the fighting would continue through the night and that we would not be safe in the schoolyard for much longer. A man suggested that we make for the hills and try to scramble through the countryside around the fighting. Alex opposed this suggestion, and the two men argued for several minutes, with the rest of the group divided over what to do. Suddenly we saw the flashes of guns and explosions in the hills exactly where the man had proposed that we go. If we had gone for the hills, we would have been right in the crossfire.
We hunkered down in the schoolyard for several more hours. There was a period of silence, and, dehydrated, I decided to risk going outside to find something to drink. The woman who was pretending to be my wife went with me. Within minutes of leaving the schoolyard, the shooting started again. This time it sounded like it was right on top of me; I felt the air around me reverberate with gunfire. My brainstem registered mortal danger, and my mind went completely blank. Without awareness of what I was doing, I sprinted away from the sound of the guns, seeking anything on side of the road that would serve as a bunker. I grabbed the woman’s arm so hard that she yelled. I had nearly ripped it out of the socket as I pulled her and ran.
Behind the cover of a large tree, I waited for another period of silence. I did not know if it was more dangerous to run or walk back to the schoolyard, but I finally returned. After sunset, the battle was over. The Colombians agreed that it was safe to seek somewhere to sleep. We found a local family who offered us room and board, and seven of us slept in a tiny, unfinished room connected to their cottage. I had a hammock and ropes from Amazonia, and I gave them to the woman from Medellin to use while I slept on the ground.
Guerrilla fighters, who had thwarted the military advancement, walked on the road right outside our room. I could see their faces; they were grinning. I was told not to go outside the room for any reason, even to piss or get water. Adrenaline was still coursing through my body, and sleep was impossible. As we lay on the floor, the conversation between Alex and me evolved from recounting the events of the past few days to a more light-hearted discourse on soccer and Colombian women. Before long, we were laughing about the incredible ordeal we had just survived.
"This is Colombia, my friend.” Said Alex. “Outside hell is breaking loose, but here we are having fun, bullshitting, and talking about women.”
There was calm the next day, and the road was clear enough to hitchhike to Popayan. Walking on the highway where the fighting had been, I saw bombshells and bullet casings scattered on the asphalt. Immediately outside of the town, the carcass of an 18-wheeler truck lay torched in the middle of the highway, gutted and burnt to a black crisp. The truck had likely been transporting the hated GMO crops, and the rebels had seized it and set it aflame. The equatorial valleys here were sunny and breezy, with rolling hills and lush farmland. If it had not been for the sights and smells of the previous day’s combat, it would have been a surreally beautiful hike.
After a series of rides, we arrived in Popayan, the ‘White City’ of Colonial Gran Colombia. The strike had not affected this region significantly, and there were buses running to Cali, also relatively immune from the chaos of the strike. I was planning to use the Couchsurfing website to find lodging in Cali, but the woman from the hotel in Ipiales told me I was welcome to stay in her family’s home as long as I wanted.
Seated in the bus station in Popayan with a ticket to Cali in my hand, the most intense relief I have ever felt in my life overcame me. I had not felt safe in such a long time, and registering what was behind me induced a strange euphoria. Pure gratefulness and relief were all I felt. I wanted to call my family, but I had no idea how to tell them what had happened.
After a long bus ride through sugar cane fields and sun-drenched valleys, we reached Cali, which might as well have been El Dorado. I did not know what to say to the people who had protected me over the last few days. The stress we had endured together had bonded us profoundly, yet less than two weeks ago, we were strangers. We said our goodbyes and hugged, and an emotion arose that made me want to either cry or laugh. I thanked Alex last, hoping that he understood how grateful I was for what he had done for me.
submitted by galego89 to backpacking [link] [comments]

Anyone Remember Francho Bradley, the guy arrested with a stockpile of weapons claiming he worked for an "unnamed agency" and was dealing with a virus?

Francho Bradley and his wife Adrianne Jennings were arrested in Massachusetts in 2018 with large capacity weapons, a grenade launcher, and non-functional silencers. He was arrested after calling the police to report that someone was breaking into his hotel room (he had a camera mounted to peer through the hotel door peephole). Upon being arrested, Francho stated he was in the area working with an unnamed government agency that was "dealing with a virus". When asked why he brought the weapons everywhere with him, even when travelling, he told officers something along the lines of "I need them at all times in case I am activated" (meaning his mission could be deployed at any time and he has to be ready).
Francho owned a company called Ensyma Engineering which actually appears to be a legitimate company, and may have even worked on virus projects before with different government agencies. If i remember correctly, he even attended scientific conventions and took part in some type of competition. On his website, he claimed that his company was affiliated with the CDC in some way.
One of the officers investigating Francho and his possessions post arrest discovered a series of parking tickets from Boston, despite Francho claiming he has no connection to Boston. The officer noted that the location his vehicle was parked at in the times he received tickets were on the exact route of an upcoming parade, March For Life.
More:
However, according to a listing on ICWATCH, Bradley worked with the FDA via his Enysma business. According to ICWATCH, in 2009 Bradley worked as a Program Manager on a project with the FDA. His duties involved creating a “Professional Services offering of the portable VPN connected DNA/RNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) device GeneStat.”
The listing goes on to read: “including business analysis, Quality Assurance and development of operational methodology, recruitment, section and training of personnel as well as selection of mobile First Contact Team communications, bio-hazard protective equipment and CLOUD computing solution. This program is designed to create the capability to forward deploy personnel into areas of pathogenic (namely Influenza virus) activity and conduct onsite, real-time PCR analysis against a database of known pathogens. The program is on hold pending FDA Emergency Use Authorization of the GeneStat device and UN-WHO certification of the company.”
Who was this guy? His company is real, and he really did do work on different virus projects. What do you guys think?

https://heavy.com/news/2018/03/ensyma-engineering-francho-bradley-wikileaks-weapons-cache/
submitted by MemoryHold to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Go for a Degree in Hotel Management in Haldwani

Hospitality industry and hotel management are two sides of the same coin. With the increase of tourism in states like Uttarakhand, the hospitality industry is on a steady increase in this mountain state. This is a good time for students to opt for careers in this industry. Here is how you can enroll for a diploma or degree in hotel management in Haldwani
India has always been a tourist hotspot due to its rich cultural tradition and numerous historical monuments. Apart from regular tourists wanting to experience nature, it is quite popular to have yoga tours, wellness tours in Uttarakhand. Tourism industry is always strongly supported by the hospitality industry.
First let us know the difference Between hospitality industry and hotel management.
Hotel management, is the study that covers all aspects of managing and maintaining a hotel. It involves understanding and training in all day to day hotel operations. Hospitality industry is a broad term that includes servicing guests in all forms of establishments like hotels, cruise liners, tourist guesthouses, inns, motels, and even nightclubs, casinos and restaurants

What do you learn in hotel management?

In hotel management all aspects of hotel operations are taught to students. The aim of this course is to train those who wish to work in the hotel industry the knowledge and expertise to become competent hotel managers. After completion of the course, students can aim for jobs anywhere in the hospitality sector as all guest servicing units require well-trained staff to ensure customer satisfaction.

Broadly a diploma or degree in hotel management teaches you:

Handle guest inquiries, their reservations and accommodate their last minute changes.

How to prepare rooms for guests, handle laundry and other items of room service
food production concepts
Servicing at restaurants, bars and lounges
Eligibility criteria
Students can opt after completing Class 12th, from any stream. There are many colleges which offer such courses, but students should always look for good institutes that can secure their future and give them hands on experience and value for money.
The Hotel School, with campuses in Haldwani, Pithoragarh and Delhi is a front runner in the field of skill education.
The Hotel School is operated under the aegis of International Skills Academy (ISA), a premier skills training institute. It was set up in 2011, with the sole objective of transforming students to trained and effective manpower. The ISA also operates the Cuisine School, The Healthcare School and the Travel School as part of its initiative.
The Hotel School offers a diploma and a degree in hotel management and also offers a one-year course in Food Production.
The Hotel School is an affiliated training provider of Tourism and Hospitality Sector Skill Council, National Skill Development Corporation under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India.

Features of The Hotel School

Students are taught in detail about the various aspects of hotel operations including food and beverage, bakery and confectionery, front office & reception, housekeeping, accounts management etc. The students are also trained in soft skills like functional English, grooming etiquette and communication skills so that they can become well rounded professionals
Through its unique Work Integrated Programme, The Hotel School ensures that students get mandatory practical training with best hotels along with adequate theoretical knowledge. Its quality curriculum, experienced faculty, modern infrastructure, well networked placement cell and focus on development of soft skills make the degree in hotel management in Haldwani a complete package for students.
The Hotel School operates a well-maintained website that has details on its courses. Admission details for the year, enquiry windows, contact details and even a virtual tour of the institute are all available in the website.
If skilled education or vocation course is what you are looking for, then the degree in hotel management in Haldwani offered by The Hotel School can give you a terrific start.
submitted by iskillacademy to u/iskillacademy [link] [comments]

Mega-List: Israel's Crimes and Controversies

Updated on 11June 2020, Arranged in Chronological Order
All articles cited are from reliable and trustworthy sources (some may be NSFL):
Use this website to read any paywalled site you might encounter in this list.
Major Incidents:
ONE. Assasination of Jacob Israël de Haan (1924), a Dutch-Jewish diplomat, for attempting to make a peace deal with the Emir of Mecca - his plan was a Palestinian state in a Jordanian federation, the Zionists would drop the Balfour declaration and any claim to a state in exchange for unrestricted immigration. He was assassinated when leaving a synagogue by Avraham Tehomi (who admitted to it much later), on the orders of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who later became the 2nd President of Israel:
Wiki, Haaretz, 972mag
TWO. King David Hotel Bombing (1946) where right-wing Zionist terrorists attacked a British HQ located within the hotel killing 91 and injuring 46. The leader of the perpetrators, Manachem Begin became the Prime Minister of Israel in 1977:
Wiki, Haaretz
THREE. Deir Yassin Massacre (1948) where 110 villagers were slaughtered, some members of the perpetrators were at a later time, absorbed into the IDF, one even became PM of Israel:
Wiki, Haaretz, Britannica
FOUR. Document from IDF archives (1948) which after translation states:
"In the villages lying between Nahraiya and Tarshiha there are no foreign troops for the time being.The villages are armed and ready for action1. Your orders are to occupy, kill the men2, destroy and burn down the villages of Kabri, Umm al-Faraj and al-Nahr."
[1] Ilan Pappe notes that the villagers had no proper arms, only for hunting purposes and people who served in the police; without Arab troops that were absent they stood no chance [2] In April 1948, the Intelligence of the Hagana defined men as anyone above the age of 10
Sources:
-Photo taken from IDF Archives 1676\51\12
-Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-1949, ISBN 0-521-33028-9. P. 133
-Hagana archives, 100\35, dated May 19, 1948
FIVE. Palestinian Exodus "Nakba" (1948) was an expulsion of 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their Homeland during the war and establishment of Israel in May 1948, these includes testimonies of massacres, rape and looting. During and immediately following the state’s creation, Israel expropriated approximately 4,244,776 acres of Palestinian land.
Haaretz, Haaretz, Atlantic, Vox, TheWallsOfJerusalem
SIX. Assassination of Folke Bernadotte, (1948) UN Mediator for Palestinian Refugees by Israel's Zionist Paramilitary Group, Lehi. The killing was approved by the three-man 'center' of Lehi, one of which, after the assassination, became 7th Prime Minister of Israel (Yitzhak Shamir). No one was convicted for the assassination:
Wiki, Independent, Haaretz, WRMEA
SEVEN. Lavon Affair (1954) a failed false flag operation where Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli Military Intelligence to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American, and British-owned civilian targets, their foiled plan was to blame the attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood:
Haaretz, TimesofIsrael, Wiki
EIGHT. Kafr Qasim Massacre (1956) where Israeli Border Police killed 49 Arabs (19 men, 6 women, 23 children, 1 unborn child) returning home from work during a curfew they were unaware of. Those involved in the massacre were found guilty but were pardoned and released from prison in a single year. The highest ranking official prosecuted for the massacre confessed before his death, that the massacre were planned to ethnically cleanse Israeli Arabs from the region, and that his trial was staged to protect Israeli political and military elites, including Prime Minister Ben Gurion, from taking responsibility for the massacre:
Wiki, Haaretz, 972mag, Medium
NINE. Apollo Affair (1965) an incident where 200-600 pounds of highly enriched uranium disappeared from a Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Highly suspected to have gone to Israel's Nuclear Program particularly given the visit of Rafi Eitan who was under the guise of a chemist but later revealed as an Israeli spy and who was later involved in the Jonathan Pollard incident:
Wiki, LATimes, Mondoweiss,
Archive of the findings of Roger Mattson, a Physicist who investigated the Incident for the Nuclear Regulatory Commision,
YouTube, 1968 FBI Report, FBI's Declassified Memo PDF
TEN. USS Liberty (1967) where Israel deliberately attacked an American Cargo Vessel killing 34 without any repurcussions:
YouTube, Haaretz, Wiki
EVEVEN. Operation Trojan (1986) according to ex-Mossad agent in his book, Mossad instigated the US bombing of Libya by planting a transmission device and impersonating as the Libyan Govt sending terrorist orders to its embassies around the world. (Story in Page 113-117) (Downloadable PDF File):
Other Side of Deception PDF
TWELVE. Cave of Patriarchs Massacre (1994) Israeli Settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 worshippers and wounding more than 125:
Wiki, JPost
THIRTEEN. Qana Massacre (1996) IDF fired artillery shells at a UN Compound where 800 Lebanese civillians were taking refuge. 106 civillians were killed, 116 injured, 4 Fiji UN forces were also seriously injured:
Wiki, AlAraby, Independent, DailyMotion
FOURTEEN. 2nd Qana Massacre (2006) air-strike carried out by IDF on a building Lebanon during the war. 28 civillians were killed out of which 16 were children. Upon investigation, IDF concluded that there was in fact no rocket launched from Qana on the day of the deadly strike by IDF:
Wiki, BBC, Norman Finkelstein
FIFTEEN. Israeli Mossad posed as CIA agents to recruit terrorists to carry out False Flag Operations against Iran (2007-2008)
Haaretz, ForeignPolicy
SIXTEEN. Four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated and another was seriously wounded in an attempted murder between (2010-2012). US officials confirm that Terror Group, MEK was financed, trained, and armed by Israel in killing the nuclear scientists:
NBC, Guardian, Guardian
Sidenote
What is Zionism?
YouTube
Palestine before Zionism (Pre-1948):
Youtube (1896)
Youtube (1900s)
Youtube (1930s)
Youtube (1946 - Arrival of Illegal Zionist Immigrants)
Divide & Conquer: An interactive map explaining the Israel divide and control of Palestinian Land (2019):
Interactive Map
JIDF: Israeli Government is paying and giving away scholarships to students who fight internet battles and spread propaganda (2013):
BBC, USAToday, Huffington Post
Israel's JIDF Hasbara App (2017):
YouTube
App on GooglePlay where people defend Israel on Social Platforms to gain points (2019):
GooglePlay
Intl Law:
Apartheid Against Palestinians:
Protected Wiki
International Law (Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, UN Resolution 37/43) dictates that Palestinians have a legal right to an armed struggle to resist occupation:
Add. Protocol I, Geneva Conventions (PDF), UN Resolution 37/43 (PDF)
Israel's building of settlements in occupied territories such as the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, violating Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 as well as the Statute of Rome, Art. 8 (2)(b)(viii) which states: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.":
Wiki, UN, International Law on Occupation, Al Jazeera, Amnesty, Amnesty, B'Tselem, YouTube
Israel's destruction of homes in occupied territories such as the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, violating Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 which states: "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons ... is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.":
Fourth Geneva Convention (PDF)
Others:
Israeli former nuclear technician turned whistleblower was lured to Italy where Mossad drugged and abducted him back to Israel for the trial that was held secretly behind closed doors. He spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 in solitary confinement. Says he suffered "cruel and barbaric treatment" at the hands of Israeli authorities while imprisoned because he was Christian. After his release in 2004, he was subjected to a broad array of very strict restrictions on his speech and movement (1986):
Wiki, Youtube, NYT, Guardian, CNN, Wired, Telegraph
2nd Intifada, 12 yr old boy shot dead, father severely injured (2000):
CNN, Twitter
Breaking the silence - targeting civilians with grenades and machine guns during the 2nd Intifada (2000):
YouTube
5 Israelis working for an Israeli Company "Urban Moving Systems" were arrested on 9/11 after being seen photographing and celebrating the attack on the WTC. Owner of the company fled to Israel after the incident. FBI still lists him as a 9/11 suspect but Israel refuses to extradiate him (2001):
9/11 War by Deception, YouTube, Forward, NYT, Haaretz
Netanyahu caught on tape: "America is something that you can easily maneuver and move in the right direction" (2001):
YouTube
Netanyahu lying during his speech at the US House of Representatives on Saddam Hussiens WMDs which doesn't exist (2002):
YouTube
Advocating racial purity in Israel, Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract (2003)
Guardian
Tom Hurndall, a British Peace Activist, was shot in the head by an IDF sniper while he was helping Palestinian children flee from cross-fire in Rafah, Gaza strip. His killer was released from prison 2 years early of his 8-year sentence (2003):
Wiki, BBC, Guardian, Evening Standard
Rachel Corrie, American Activist who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer destroying Palestinian homes in Gaza (2003):
Imgur, BBC
New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over an incident where 2 Australia-based Israelis, who were allegedly working for Mossad, attempted to fraudulently obtain NZ Passports by claiming the identity of a disabled man. 2 others, Ze'ev Barkan and David Reznick, are believed to have been the 3rd and 4th men involved in the scandal but they managed to leave NZ before being apprehended. NZ PM viewed the incident as "not only utterly unacceptable but also a breach of NZ's sovereignty and international law". The following year, Israeli foreign minister apologized for the incident. (2004)
Wiki, NZHerald
Breaking the Silence, testimonies from IDF Whistleblowers (2004):
BreakingTheSilence
Not guilty, IDF Captain who empties his magazine on a 13yr old girl, says he would have done the same if she was 3 yrs old (2005):
Guardian
Phosphorus and cluster bombs which is illegal under international law heavily used by Israel during the Lebanon war (2006)
Haaretz
Israel celebrates Irgun Hotel Bombing (2006):
Telegraph
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami: “If I were a Palestinian, I Would Have Rejected Camp David” implying that the Camp David Summit Offer by Ehud Barak in 2000 was unreasonable and designed to be rejected (2006):
DemocracyNow
Jewish National Fund (a charity) owns 13% of the land in Israel and stipulates that only Jews can buy, mortgage or lease their land. (2007):
Economist, Wiki
Operation 'Cast Lead', estimated 1391 Palestinians killed, 759 to be civillians, 344 children, 110 women 13 Israeli killed, out of which 10 are soldiers (2008-2009):
BBC, Haaretz, Haaretz, Amnesty
Israel admits using White Phosphorus during their military offensive on Gaza (2009):
France24
Palestinian who claimed to be a Jew after a consensual sexual encounter with an Israeli woman jailed for 'Rape By Deception' (2010)
[ABCnews](https://abcnews.go.com/International/palestinian-claimed-jew-jailed-rape-deceptio
Israeli Organization, Kav La Oved: "Israel owes billions of shekels to Palestinian workers" (2010) (Downloadable PDF File):
KavLaOved PDF
Using Palestinian captives as human shields (2010):
Imgur, Guardian, Haaretz, Haaretz
Gaza Flotilla, Israeli Commandos raid 6 civillians ships carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, 9 activists were killed, 10 Israeli commandos wounded (2010):
Guardian, CNN
Hashomer, Haganah, Irgun and Lehi which operated against the British Government and Arabs in Palestine used to hide weapons in synagogues, women's rooms and kindergartens. Something Israel criticises Hamas of doing today. (2011):
Haaretz
IDF soldier caught kicking a Palestinian child (2012):
RT
Hierarchy of the Human species according to Eli Ben-Dahan, Israel's former deputy minister of defense: Goyims (Non-Jews) placed below Homosexual Jews (2013):
Haaretz
Israeli Trade Minister: "I've killed alot of Arabs in my life, there's no problem with that" (2013)
JPost
IDF soldier posting an Instagram pic of a Palestinian clild in his rifle crosshairs (2013):
Guardian
Ethiopian Jews injected with contraceptive birth control without their consent (2013):
Haaretz, Independent, Guardian
In 2013, Israel awarded 'Genie Energy', an American Oil and Gas company, rights to drill in Golan Heights (Syrian territory occupied by Israel) despite international opposition. In 2015, Israel claimed a massive discovery of oil in the area, which Israeli officials reportedly believe could supply the country’s oil needs for many years to come. (2013):
Here are the prominent figures in Genie Energy's Board of Advisors:
Jacob Rothschild (British banker of the prominent Rothschild family), Dick Cheney (Ex-Vice president of USA), Rupert Murdoch (Billionaire American Media Mogul), James Woolsey (Ex-CIA Director), Lawrence Summers (Ex-Head of US Treasury), Bill Richardson (Ex-Energy Secretary of USA), Michael Steinhardt (Wall Street Trader, Investor and Hedge Fund Manager)
BusinessInsider, TRTworld, Yahoo Finance
4 boys playing soccer in an open beach bombed by an Israeli warship, a later report in 2018 then revealed that it was two missiles fired from an Israeli armed drone that actually killed the boys (2014):
NYT, Intercept, Haaretz, Independent
Israeli police officers beats up a 15yr old American boy a week after the boy's cousin was killed, no jail time was given to the officers (2014):
BBC, TimesofIsrael
Palestinian boy beaten and burned alive by Israeli settlers (2014):
Guardian, Wiki
Israelis cheering on the Gaza bombing (2014):
Guardian
Statistics of Palestinian children killed in Operation 'Protective Edge' (2014):
Telegraph
Avraham Shalom (Former Head of Shin Bet) compares Israel's Occupation to Nazi Germany's actions in WW2 towards the Czechs, Poles and Dutch (2014):
YouTube
Killing Gaza: Documentary on war crimes committed by the Israeli Military, with direct testimonies and evidence from survivors (2014):
KillingGaza
IDF beating up a Palestinian man who told them to stop firing tear gas (2015):
YouTube
Eli Ben-Dahan, Israel's former deputy defense minister: "Homosexual Jews are superior to Gentiles (Non-Jews), a jew always has a higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual" He also says "To me, they (Palestinians) are like animals, they aren't human" (2015):
TimesofIsrael
Israeli Foreign Minister says disloyal Arabs should be beheaded with an axe (2015):
WashingtonPost
Israeli Radicals celebrate by stabbing picture of Palestinian baby that was killed in a firebomb attack (2015):
Haaretz
Beitar Jerusalem, the most racist football fanbase in the world (2015):
YouTube
IDF Soldier assaults and beats up Palestinian Shopkeeper as he was loading boxes (2015):
YouTube
Former IDF Soldier Ido Gal Razon testifies to murdering people in Gaza (2015):
YouTube
Israeli racist police officer assaults their own african soldier (2015):
YouTube
Shir Hever, Israeli Economist: "78% of Palestinian aid money ends up going to Israel" (2015) (Downloadable PDF File):
ShirHever PDF
Brooke Goldstein (Director of the Lawfare Project who has assisted in many lawsuits towards Palestinian activist groups) declared to enthusiastic applause at a meeting of key Israel lobby operatives in New York: “Why are we using the word Palestinian? There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person” (2016)
Video
Many Palestinians including children are detained in Israeli prisons without trial or charges (2016):
Time, Haaretz, 972mag, B'Tselem
Jewish Community Watch: "Israel becoming a safe haven for paedophiles worldwide" (2016):
Independent
IDF Soldier throws disabled man out of his wheelchair after he attempts to help a 14yr old who was shot (2016):
Independent
IDF throws stun grenade at unarmed Palestinians talking outside their home (2016)
YouTube
IDF soldier laughs as Palestinian man is crushed at the gate (2016):
YouTube
IDF killing a 15yr old Palestinian travelling home from a family outing (2016):
Guardian
Report: Israel's repetitive destruction of EU-funded projects in Palestine (2016):
EuroMed
Former Director of Mossad defends Israel providing aid to Al-Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda's Affiliate) in Syria (2016)
Youtube, WSJ, Haaretz
Israeli Former Defence Minister says ISIS fighters apologizes to Israel after mistakenly launching an attack on IDF. Refused to comment on how they expressed their apology. Have since forgiven ISIS (2017)
Independent, DailySabah
Reports of Torture during custody from Palestinians held imprisoned without charges or trial (2017):
Haaretz
IDF Veteran: "I was the terrorist" (2017):
YouTube
Israel seizes solar panels donated to Palestinians by the Dutch govt (2017):
Independent
Israelis speak candidly about Palestinians to Abby Martin, includes lots of racism (2017):
YouTube
Gaza: World's Largest Open-Air Prison (2018):
NRC
Sentence to 9 Months after killing 2 unarmed Palestinian teens (2018):
972mag, WashingtonPost
Unarmed protestor holding flag shot by live bullets (2018):
YouTube
Unarmed protester shot in the head during the protest (2018):
Gyfcat
IDF assaulting medics and injured protesters (2018):
Gyfcat
Abdullah Shamali, was shot while standing and talking with his friends 700 metres away from the fence (2018):
Twitter
Muhammad Ayoub, 15yr old was shot in the head while running away from the fence (2018):
YouTube
Mentally disabled man shot in the back of his head as he was walking away (2018):
Haaretz
Elderly man waving a flag and a medic got shot at by a live round (2018):
Gyfcat
Shot dead for waving flag (2018):
EgyptToday
Medic shot dead by an IDF sniper (2018):
WashingtonPost
IDF edits video of Palestinian Medic who was shot dead by them to misleadingly show that she was a human shield for Hamas and justify her death (2018):
Independent, BuzzFeed
Canadian Doctor shot by IDF sniper (2018):
CBC
Israeli Border police throws stun grenade at a Palestian couple and their infant baby as they were fleeing (2018):
YnetNews
IDF Snipers cheering as they shoot an unarmed Palestinian (2018):
Guardian
Similar incident, cheering after shooting a Palestinian (2018):
Guardian
"Nation State" Law gives Jews exclusive rights over Arabs living in Israel (2018):
Guardian
List of active discriminatory laws in Israel:
Adalah
Did you know that 97% of drinking water in Gaza (under Israeli control) is contaminated? (2018):
Haaretz
IDF Soldiers shooting tear gas into a Palestinian school (2018):
Haaretz
Israeli settlers beating up Palestinian farmer in front of his children (2018):
Haaretz
Former Chairman of Israel Labour Party says relationships between Jews and Non-Jews are "an actual plague" (2018):
Twitter
4 year old child dies 4 days after being shot by the IDF while protesting (2018):
Reuters, PressTV
An alternative view, Palestinian Christians on Israel (2018):
Youtube
Chief Rabbi calls black people "monkeys" in his weekly sermon (2018):
TimesofIsrael
Israel's Supreme Court rejects legal challenge on the military's rule where soldiers can fire on UNARMED protesters (2018):
APNews
Mohammed Tamimi, 16, who was shot in the head by Israeli forces held in prison for 2 days without explanation (2018):
Haaretz, Haaretz
Most demonstrators shot by the IDF with live rounds are unarmed and not in immediate vicinity of the perimeter fence (2018):
B'Tselem
IDF edited out key footage of Gaza missile strike which killed 2 Palestinian teenagers (2018):
Youtube, 972mag, B'Tselem
Multi Award-winning short documentary on the occupation of Gaza (2018):
YouTube
What if your whole family was being forcefully evicted from a home you lived in since 1948 to make way for new settlers? (2019)
Haaretz
Palestinian Boy on the way to school shot in the head by Israeli Police (2019):
Haaretz
Video of war crimes screened at UN Human Rights Council (2019):
Youtube
Top Rabbis in Israel defending and calling for donations to an Israeli charged with killing a Palestinian woman (2019):
Haaretz, Haaretz
Israeli Settlers attack Palestinian Mother and her son (2019):
Gyfcat
IDF Harrasses ambulance crew and demands for their key (with sound) (2019):
Gyfcat
"Israel is the nation state of Jews alone" Netanyahu responds to TV star saying Arabs are equal citizens (2019):
Haaretz
Arresting children in school, IDF threatened breaking the teacher's arm if he doesn't let go of his student (2019):
CNN
IDF Soldiers laughing as they assault a Palestinian Father and Son handcuffed while in custody (2019):
i24News, Haaretz
PART 2, 3 & 4 CONTINUED IN COMMENT SECTION BELOW
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As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of different ways to approach a travel affiliate website. keyword research is one of the best ways to decide which angle to take with your site.. Product Based Keywords. Keywords such as “best luggage brands” and “best suitcase” have a high search volume combined with a low level of competition. 1. Expedia: Earn Up to 11% commission. Expedia is probably one of the largest affiliate networks that has access to over 500,000 hotels worldwide that you can use to recommend on your travel sites to earn more commissions.. How much can you earn as an affiliate with Expedia? The commission that you make from Expedia affiliate program completely depends on the type of transactions you make and Fabulous Affiliate Travel, Hotel Website Free Installation + Free Hosting. $12.00. Free shipping . All My online Entrepreneur Course 3 TB Worth of Value Bundle zero to $$$$$ $9.99. Free shipping . Best Automated Flights / Hotel Travel Website For Sale + Free cPanel Hosting. $12.00. This website has multiple sources of revenue including 2 travel affiliate networks. When visitors go to the website looking for hotel/ flight/ travel bookings, they enter destinations & dates in search criteria of hotel search screen. The system displays suitable hotels for given destination from a huge database. 1. Access high converting affiliate tools, from deals widgets and search banners to data feeds and a deep link generator, to create highly optimized campaigns 2. Access to worldwide affiliate programs and global hotel inventory 3. International, multilingual programs in multiple currencies regardless of the language of your site 4.

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