What Country Should I Visit? (Win $1,000,000!) (in Contests)
October 8 2006 2:06 PM EDT
I will have a spectacular opportunity this summer; I will be able to volunteer at a local medical institution outside of the USA in 1 other country. However, I am having an extremely difficult time trying to choose from which of the 12 to go to. The countries available are:
- Brazil, Salvador
- China, Xi'an
- Costa Rica, San Carlos and Cartago
- Ghana, Volta Region
- Guatemala, Guatemala City
- India, New Delhi
- India, Dharamsala (Himalayas)
- Peru, Ayacucho
- Peru, Lima and Ayacucho
- Russia, Yaroslavl
- Tanzania, Kilimanjaro and Arusha
- Thailand, Bangkok and Trang
This is where you come in. Choose one of the 12 countries above and explain why I should go there instead of the others. The person whose response is most informative and convincing will win a cool $1,000,000.
Some more information to help you decide: I will be volunteering for a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of probably 4 weeks. I will have some evenings off and all weekends off to travel to visit places.
Brazil ! All those beaches man ! You should find out where in Brazil and how much off time you get.You probably get jambed up somewhere in the mountains and no way to get to a beach.
wow that is actually a really tough choice
for me it would depend on what i wanted out of the trip if its just a working/do some good trip id go to the country/area in most need and least likey to get the help
if your going to do good but use your spare time to find out about the country id choose the most country im most interested in first and if stuck id then do it by there need aswell
If going to do some good aswell as see lots of touristy things then you will have to take in what season it is there and what you can do
also you will pick up a bit of language while your there if its not all english speaking so it might be nice to pick up a bit of a launguage you can use at home after
but out of that list 'personally' id rule Thailand, Bangkok out ... its a back packers paradise over there so you will lots of people from around the world but might not learn loads about the people you are helping ...but that maybe a plus for you as you would be helping the people which is the main aim and yet could socialise with people from all over and party with them out of hours and see all the tourist stuff like the beach from the beach). You can prob rule a couple out out straight away depending on what you want to give and get from it
the other ones 'id' rule out were russia in winter and places like india in monsoon season etc .. i dont mind rain and snow but its nice not to have it everyday
places id consider for me but only if i had say a week after to do my own thing etc or just the time
tanzania .. depending where you are (and how big the place is lol) knowing you even climbed to the base camp of kilmanjaro would be something.
china ... the great wall etc (personal aim of mine if poss is to cycle it)
Guatamala the rainforest and orangatnges would be a most
Brazil ... carnavil time while your there. no need to say more lol but rainforest etc
peru .. the inca's and the inca trail
the others have stuff to (india elephants etc) but it comes down to you and what you want from the trip ... party round the world whilst helping or help and see some of the sites.
how long is it your going for? what do you want to party and do a couple of small bit or do a bit of the culture thing and whens the usa summer start lol
October 8 2006 2:49 PM EDT
Do you speak any of the languages of those countries you listed? If yes, then choose whichever you are best at speaking. If no, then I cannot help you. ;)
forgot to add you will have to insert grammer and the odd word into that reply lol (never seen so many wrong spelled words in the spell checker XD)
was actually going to look at what you could do in each of the places but i started with ten things to do in brazil using google it offer 10 thing in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo etc and im guessing the same for the other places
my suggestion is to google 10 things to do in the area of the centre as you will get days off (even if not the week off at the end) for each place ... then pick which is more you. Then if your still stuck put which places you can do more good in
where ever you go you will do good so its not to much of a factor but you wont just be working and all can use you so putting a place that has more stuff that you want to do
but if your scared of needles etc you could prob rule out the places that need jabs XD
October 8 2006 4:02 PM EDT
hi im jake's response:
you should go to brazil.
WHY: in brazil the weather is mostly nice. You can meet lots of people in your medical excerisoin. you could visit the beatiful citys in which there is. you can visit the extravigant landscape. you can visit the landmarks. there is lots of good food and you would be going to a place where lots of people have lots of fun. (you dont have to post this but this is my thaught)cant post :(
October 8 2006 4:18 PM EDT
goto India, Dharamsala
because that is where you'll meet the Dalai Lama, and its a nice Himalayan place with good scenery and Buddhism, etc. India, New Delhi is just a congested capital city and the heat is simply awful in the summer, but Dharamsala has a Tibetan flavour, and the cool weather is also congenial round the year. An added plus is that you will be able to visit a lot of other nearby tourist places in Northern India on week-ends.
October 8 2006 4:24 PM EDT
I've updated the locations to more accurately depict where in that specific country I'll be. I've also added a little more information about my time off. I will be working Monday through Friday with some evenings off to go out. I will also be able to go out on the weekends to do any sight-seeing and anything extra to go with it. I will probably be there for a time length of 2 weeks to 4 weeks.
Hope that helps a bit more.
How are you with political instability? Bad smells? How far down the ladder of "modern day conveniences" do you want to go? Do you want to go where you are most needed? Where you are least likely to be unwelcome, as an American? What healthcare issues do you wish to have experience addressing?
My choice would be Dharamsala. Beautiful people and land in exchange for using bottled water on one's toothbrush. Buddhism and Hinduism. Relatively temperate. Offers something about as far from Westernism as possible. Mountains, rivers and greenness.
Normally, I'd just say 'write down the good and the bad of each and pick which one you like the most', but that probably won't work.
But it really depends on what you want. If you like good weather, you're probably not going to go to Russia. If you don't like really hot weather, you're not going to a place near the equator.
So, basically, I'd just Google each place, check out the nearby attractions, historical venues, and the what the weather of each place is like around the time of year that you'll be there.
If you're really having a hard time picking, simply pair off the countries, and pick the ones you would like more, sort of like a tournament. Then find out more about the remaining countries and eliminate some more.
Other than that, because I'm simply much too lazy to Google each area and find out more about them, 'write down the good and the bad of each and pick which one you like the most'.
You have a great choice of countries to choose from. But only Brazil, Costa Rica and Thailand are really intersting.
You get to help the locals and have something to do with your days off. For sight seeing and such.
But since you life in the States, Brazil and Costa Rica are more accesible for you. Its a quick fly and your there.
Try a different continent. Go somewhere, where you normally won't go.
And i would say Thailand.
Yes its a tourist country, but you have the unique opportunity to do something there. And in those 4 weeks you have plenty to see.
The reason why I would choose Thailand was my vacation in Thailand, i visited Bangkok.
And I liked it, the city has many things to offer.
Culture, food, history, friendly people, night life and a clean environment to work in.
It's an modern city with plenty to do. The surroundings are astonishing.
If your on a break or a have a few days off i would recommend you to go explore. Bangkok has a huge temple complex in the heart of the city. And if you want to go outside the city you have the rain forest in the north and the beaches in the south.
You need something to do on the weekends, you need it close by on a short drive, Thailand has these things to offer. Bangkok is a huge city and you would like it.
see also: http://www.tourismthailand.org/ and http://www.bangkok-photos.com/
October 8 2006 5:53 PM EDT
Personally, I'm very interested in Asia, so I'd definitely choose one of those countries. I may get around to posting reasons and suggestions for going to those places, but before I do, I can offer to either get you in touch with, or get info from people from many of those places.
I have friends from Bangkok, Xi'an, and New Delhi, and I know several people from Bhutan, a mountain kingdom in the Himalayas (should be similar to Dharamsala). I also have a friend who has traveled throughout most South American countries, and another who spent time in Ghana volunteering with Engineers Without Borders.
If you're interested in first (or second)-hand info about those places, before or after you choose one of them, just ask.
October 8 2006 9:59 PM EDT
Experience the true poverty of china in first person. I've been there, and it is dramatic. Also, however compare the richer and more modern sites. Being able to contrast the two, think about what changes could be made. After I visited Xi'an China, I had a different view of the world. Good food, very good food. It is completely different than the US because of its diversity, not by nationality, but by styles of living. GO!
October 9 2006 12:17 AM EDT
your choice should be based on "who you can help the most" 1st and everything else is secondary.
October 9 2006 3:31 AM EDT
even going solely by the criterion of "who you can help the most", imho, it is Dharamsala, India that requires your attention the most among these various places. Secondarily, you will also be helping yourself spiritually; and getting a flavour of some nicer, [weather-wise in summer], tourist spots in Northern India. Don't miss this opportunity!
October 9 2006 4:02 AM EDT
if u don't mind me asking why isn't Australia up there on one of those country's
October 9 2006 4:27 AM EDT
Juzza, we're talking voluntary medical work in places where its needed the most. imho, Australia wouldn't qualify for that by a long, long, overlong mile :)
pweew Belgium is not in it, i would go for Tanzania, then you can visit the Tazmanian devil from looney toons ;p
Chuck, would you care to address this one too?
October 9 2006 4:37 AM EDT
/me kicks himself for not reading all of it and reading the countries first and reading the word holiday. I am a very hasty person
October 9 2006 5:03 AM EDT
squeak, AoD, as Bast suggested, the answer to why Belgium doesn't join that list is to be found in the full text of SNK's original post. Perhaps, you can use the words "voluntary" and "medical work" as hints about the nature of activity involved. Or, maybe I am all wrong, there are places in Belgium where the health service is understaffed or would require such assistance as SNK is able to provide.
October 9 2006 5:09 AM EDT
AoD, Tasmanian Devils abound in Tasmania, which is in the country flamey lives in, down under, which is far, far away from Tanzania in Africa.
chuck i was joking about the tasmanian devil and i said pweew as in yeppie, Belgium not in the list so he cant meet me
so before complaining try to understand first what they are saying
My advice is to goto Lima, Peru. My reason is because I went there in summer 2005 and their healthcare is really poor and you could help them out a lot. I suppose that that's the case with most of the places listed, but I've seen it first-hand in Lima, so I think you should go there.
Second of all, though this is much less important, there are cool things to see around there. Namely, Macchu Picchu, the ruins of an old Inca village or temple (?) up in the mountains. I didn't see it personally when I was there, because I was busy with other things, but I did see a large, overhead photograph of it, and it looked really cool to see.
Another thing is that the exchange rate in that country is really nice, and you can go to the flea market and get a lot of good products for pretty cheap. If you go with dollars though without first trading for local currency, the merchants will take them and want to round up on the conversion rates. Using a combination of Dollars and Soles, I was able to buy an entire jewelry set (necklace, earrings, ring with a gemstone in it, and a bracelet), an ornate box to put it in, a pancho, and a teddy bear (that looked like an Ewok, and I'm pretty sure was made out of llama fur) for my girlfriend, plus a few other things I can't remember right now, for only about 80 bucks. If I had used all Soles, it probably could've been closer to 60.
Finally, the people there absolutely love americans. Granted, they think that we're all rich, and they might secretly expect you to give them some money, but they won't act like it. They're just fascinated with our culture and our society and our music and our movies and our money, even if they're about a decade behind. I had one guy there tell me I looked like Kurt Cobain, and then ask me if I listened to Nirvana. Lol.
It's pretty safe, as far as I know (though we did hear what sounded like gunshots from downtown one day, but I never saw any violence), especially if you're not in the city itself, or if you're inside a hospital you should be fine. When you go around other places, it can't hurt to have a guide or some local friends go with you, though it isn't really needed. I just remembered that the traffic is one more thing that might seem weird to you there, because it is unusually dense, but the locals know how to drive in it, and I never saw an accident in 10 days of going all around the city, so you should be fine as long as you can get a ride from someone else.
My point is, it was a great experience for me, I think that they can really use your help in a place like that, and it's a safe place to go. Just don't drink the water :-P.
October 9 2006 8:43 PM EDT
October 9 2006 9:10 PM EDT
Lukey - Kudos to that.
October 10 2006 8:13 AM EDT
Lukey and Zach, as great as Canada is, we're not a third-world country in desperate need of medical aid. Oh. Wait. We do have obscenely long waiting lists at hospitals for basic and emergency services...
i would pick india or tanzania for the beauthyfull view and if you got a day off you can climb the mountain for the fun of it :p
think india really needs help too
October 10 2006 7:31 PM EDT
I think you should go to any of those Peruvian cities. Just this summer I went to Peru for a Boy Scout "Venture Crew" trip. We visited not only Lima, but many other cities such as Agua Caliente, the city to go to if you are interested in seeing Machuu Pichuu, one of those once in a lifetime things to see. But that's somewhat besides the point. When I was there, we went to a far away village away from the main city where we stayed at (Cuzco) and we gave them school supplies, like pencils and notebooks and reading books. But what really touched me was when we gave them a brand new soccer ball. I'll never forget the shine in the kids's eyes that day.
As we drove back I really took a look at the surroundings. Poverty was amass. Homes built out of mud (mostly mud) was somewhat common. Children had no shoes, dirty faces, torn clothes, running around the dirt roads (if you want to call them roads). The people of Peru could definetly use your helping hand SNK3R.
October 10 2006 7:32 PM EDT
Honeslty I didnt visit a medical insitution of any kind, but I'm sure they could use your help.
October 12 2006 6:06 PM EDT
This will end on Saturday at 1:00 PM EST.
October 12 2006 10:06 PM EDT
I agree with 3D, the Peruvian cities would probably be your best bet. There's plenty who need help there. There's also plenty of good tourist attractions for any spare time you've got - Salsa dance classes at the nearby Amauta Spanish school in Ayucucho, as well as beautiful scenery, ruins, peaks, and in Lima, new films usually arrive and are displayed cheaply there before anywhere else. (In case you're a movie buff, you know.)
And there's Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake. If you go for no other reason, go so you can tell your friends you visitied Lake Titicaca. Just the name makes for a great story when you get back.
Additionally, "Manu [National Park] boasts the highest bird, mammal, and plant diversity of any park on Earth, including 1,000 of the worlds 9,700 bird species, 200 species of mammals, and 15,000 species of flowering plants. The most photogenic spectacles are frolicking Giant Otters, thousands of parrots and macaws at a riverbank clay lick, dancing Cocks-of-the-Rock, habituated monkeys, and huge Lowland Tapirs at a forest clay lick."
How could you resist visiting a place like that? Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
More ravings about this nearby Park: "The most photogenic spectacles are frolicking Giant Otters, thousands of parrots and macaws at a riverbank clay lick, dancing Cocks-of-the-Rock, habituated monkeys, and huge Lowland Tapirs at a forest clay lick."
Don't even try to tell me you don't want to go see the dancing Cocks-of-the-Rock. I haven't got a clue what they are, but they sound HILARIOUS and definitely worth a few photographs.
"The impressive Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), located at the northern end of the plaza, is another lavish example of colonial opulence. The sumptuous state rooms are adorned with Carrera marble, cedar and mahogany woodcarvings, French glass and Czech crystal. Highlights are the Grand Salon, modelled on the Versaille Palaces Hall of Mirrors, the dining room adorned with friezes depicting Inca history and the private theatre. Outside, visitors can admire the elaborate military uniforms in the Changing of the Guard."
A lavish colonial palace? Wow. Also a great photographical opportunity. (Just do NOT forget your camera if you choose this location.)
Peru is also home to Chan-Chan, the largest pre-Inca mud city, at 7.7 sq. miles. Before you continue reading, let that sink in. A MUD city. Made of MUD. CITY OF MUD. Awesome. This is what every kid dreams of in the backyard after it rains.
There are sloths, capybaras, howler and spider monkeys, 1200 different species of butterfly, etc. living in Peru as well. Dude, a picture of you with a sloth. Priceless.
I know I focused almost entirely on the tourism aspect, and I know you'd probably not have time to visit all of these places - but to be quite honest, I only listed something like 1/3 of the attractions listed on the pages I found concerning Peru. I mean really, there's so much more you could do, and so much that you just couldn't do elsewhere. It really would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I guess all that was said to say this: Were I in your shoes, this is where I would choose to go - either Ayacucho or Lima in Peru. Maybe that's just my taste, but after looking through the various destinations, this is what I would choose. So hopefully that'll be helpful in your own decision. Good luck with whatever choice you make, I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time...
if you forget everything else here, don't forget, BRING A CAMERA! We at CB will want to see your photos when you get back ^.^
October 12 2006 10:24 PM EDT
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.
October 14 2006 10:24 AM EDT
Two words, COSTA RICA!
I am planning on traveling to Costa Rica next summer with my Spanish class, and I am excited for the rainforests and all of the wildlife. The island is know for its "Rich Coast" and your trip will be great to help people and see some awesome views.
October 14 2006 2:07 PM EDT
Peru, Lima and Ayacucho for sure
The mayan temples there are awesome. You HAVE to see them... Just going to any city in peru is worth it. Some of the places there are so breathtaking. The places are scattered so you can take a nice walk in the fields, and find the Mayan temples. Some of them you can even walk in and see some artifacts. Best of all its free. Some of the places you can find, and just walk in.
You totally have to go and See Peru.
October 14 2006 2:25 PM EDT
The contest is over and I've decided that the winner is BBQ upon the criteria of the initial post. Thanks for playing, guys!
$1,000,000 has been sent to BBQ.
October 14 2006 2:30 PM EDT
Yep, after reading all responses, I think BBQ's bit deserved to win. Maybe BBQ should try his magic wand on Dharamsala next time :)
October 14 2006 4:54 PM EDT
Thanks SNK3R! Fantastic contest, and don't forget to take pictures!
October 15 2006 3:24 AM EDT
gj bbq, and yay ure going to peru SNK3R. you have got to love that spell checker doing its job :D, yep almost love it as much as i love to ramble on until the thing says that i
[This rambling has cost Hyrule Castle $25,000 as per this
October 21 2006 12:47 PM EDT
YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GO TO THAILAND!!! There is always amazing food to try and if you crave some snacks there is always a 7/11 around near by. LOL. Also the exchange rate is like $1 USD for like 40 baht; you could probably buy a whole chicken with that. Thailand has some pretty amazing scenery and temples to visit as tourist attractions which you could go see on your spare time. All in all Thailand is a pretty sweet place I must say. Everything you buy here you can get there for alot cheaper if you do a little bargaining in the market (don't worry, it's not hard at all). So I say you should definitely go to Thailand.
October 23 2006 9:37 PM EDT
lol I should get something
Since the winner MENTIONED AND SUPPORTED MY NAME in his post =)
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