June 2, 2008

Travel Advice

Tyler Cowen offers advice on visiting a developing country for the first time - geared towards aspiring development economists but sound advice for anyone and any country, developed or otherwise.  These were my additions in the comments:

- Read a local, daily paper if you can manage the language or if there is an English edition.
- Eat local bread everywhere you go - everyone makes better bread than the average American slice, mostly by virtue of being fresh.
- Ask lots of questions and listen far more than you talk - shoot for a 4 to 1 ratio.
- Where it is safe (Tyler's #1), walk. You can overcome a lot of barriers but speeding by at 40mph in a glass/steel box is a tough one.
- Read local/national bloggers. Try globalvoicesonline.org or, obviously, the goog.
- Browse book stores and news stands to see what people are selling/reading.
- When you visit small farms - ask what they are planting, what they are eating, where do they get their seeds, and who owns the land.
- Visit a clinic or hospital and talk to a nurse - doctor's are helpful but they probably fall into Tyler's #10
- Notice when and why the inevitably long lines form at the banks.

I've subsequently thought of:
- Stay as long as you can.

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