Archive for the ‘Causes’ Category

Why You Should Always Negotiate

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

If you’ve traveled in a developing country, you’ve probably been in a situation where you need to negotiate a price. Actually, you’ve probably been in this situation hundreds of times. Whether it’s a taxi ride or a souvenir, in many places in the world it is perfectly normal and expected to negotiate for a price.

Many tourists and travelers have trouble with this concept. Depending on where you are, the item in question might only cost a few bucks at the most. But to that local shopkeeper or taxi driver, it could be a lot of money. Why not just give them that little extra that they are asking for? What’s the harm? They need the money, and they are supporting their families, right?

At the risk of sounding like a totally stuck-up snob, there are actually some very good reasons why you need to be negotiating for the things you buy in developing countries. At a personal level it feels good to give a little extra, but from a macroeconomic perspective, you are actually doing more harm than good. (more…)

Mali: Come and Understand

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Here’s another country from the “places you never thought to visit” file: Mali. On our trip around the world we spent an entire month in this diverse and stunningly beautiful West African nation. It may surprise you that Mali has enough to offer to warrant an entire month, but we dove in and didn’t even have time to see everything.

The famous city of Timbuktou (yes, it really exists) is probably the biggest tourist draw. This Saharan trading town is slowly disappearing into the desert. But even more fascinating is the area known as Dogon Country, where an entire ethnic group made their homes in and around a huge cliff several hundred years ago to hide from Islamic invaders. They still live as they have for millennia: farming their land with little water or electricity.

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