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Bad Tripping: Why you Should Stop Complaining and Learn to Love the Israeli Mob

Israelis have a reputation and tendency of traveling in large packs. So large, in fact, that they sometimes take over entire towns. This is why you should accept reality for what it is, realize that the world of travel has changed, and love the Israeli mob.

BAD TRIPPING: Wayward Travel Advice for the Anxious and Burdened
Dear Bad Mike,

What is it with Israelis? I was in Ley and Manali in northern India this past summer and the place was 99% Israelis. Everywhere I went it was nothing but Hebrew. I might as well have been in Tel Aviv!

I am angry about that because to travel that far one expects to mingle with an international crowd and not be the odd man out because I don’t speak Hebrew. Are they all on one big charter tour?

Just call me Angry & Sore Steve.

Dear A.S.S.,

‘Tis true. Verily Israelis stick and clump together like last week’s pot o’ rice. And it is disappointing to endure a long and arduous journey to a remote corner of our soiled orb to arrive at what is essentially a frat party.

Less a predator drone track down and vaporize my witty self, like a little Palestinian girl joyously flopping about a playground, I need to tread lightly here. Israelis, despite their brusque demeanor, are overly sensitive to bad press.

With very few exceptions Israelis are not travellers. Many are on a stress releasing, bong fueled bender after their mandatory 3-year stint in the Defense Forces. They are tourists who have little interest in the local culture. I guess when you come from a tiny country that is the world’s whipping boy, surrounded by irascible neighbors with rockets who want you dead and buried then you tend to be insular and stick with your own kind. Like perpetually circling the wagons (i.e., as in cowboy movies).

A large part of their saturating a few, budget friendly locales is that many places do not welcome Israeli passports. Israelis cannot go to Malaysia or Indonesia, for example. In Europe they are not lovingly embraced. And in North India only the very foolish Semite would trot into Moslem Kashmir. Hence, the young Israeli venturer is limited to a narrow strip of Ladakh, Ley in the north and Manali in the south.

Plus just getting to India from Israel is a pain due to Iraq and Iran inconveniently blocking the way. The choice is either transiting via Moscow or humping on over to Amman, Jordan which is cheaper but no longer a prudent alternative with ISIL, that merry band of head choppers who’ve raided every bordello in the Levant for their silky black bed sheets, scouring the local garage sales for surface-to-air missiles. It must really suck to be an Israeli struck with wanderlust.

There are benefits to being an Israeli on the well-trod road. First, you never really leave home. There are Hebrew friendship centers where you can ditch your gear while you source out a room and friends; there is the Friday night Shabbat (get togethers for feasting, prayer, foot-stomping sing-a-longs and heart-warming stories); an abundance of kusiot (Israeli chicks stuffed into black leotards — I suspect black is the only color available); and dolphin rescue missions for the drug addicted lost and fallen — and not the kind that occasionally end up in your tuna salad.

If it were not for the Shekel madding horde there would be no chicken schnitzel, no stomach bloating lafas (french fries, humus and loads of other stuff packed into a pita), and no shakuras (eggs topped with a delightful salsa-like topping) for the biryani weary. So it is not all bad.

But let’s be honest here, the glory of the hippy trail is as faded as grandma’s tie-dyed panties. Places like Ley, Manali, and what the hell … Hampi, Goa, to name just a few are party bubbles for the young, the lustful, the soiled and the penurious. They are akin to real travel as what the counterfeit charms of a whore is to love for the besotted backpacker who has been on the road for far too long. Alas, I digress. My apologies ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… sigh.

Got a problem? Ask Bad Mike, badmike [at] vagabondjourney.com

Bad Tripping is an overtly twisted Q and A series on Vagabond Journey that covers the less discussed aspects of world travel (let’s leave it at that). Please send questions, love letters, beer money, and threats to badmike [at] vagbondjourney.com. Read the Bad Tripping archives or subscribe to the series by RSS.

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Filed under: Bad Tripping, India, Travel Help

About the Author:

I like the velocity of travel — it is the constant motion, like the flitting movement of a loaded brush over canvas, where a rhythm develops and is occasionally syncopated by thwarted plans or minor disaster. It is a way of living and an exploration of the outer world and my inner landscape. There are dangers in such a way of living. Rarely are there external dangers; what is to be feared is the habit of exchanging nullity for nullity, drifting from visa to visa until either the money runs out or the earth simply swallows you. Painting and writing is the binder that holds my center together while also compelling me onward. To what end I do not know … these are voyages of discovery. The destination, if there is one, will manifest itself at some point.

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