April 25th is World Malaria Day. Doesn’t really sound like something to celebrate does it? Fortunately, people in many parts of the world can sleep well at night knowing they don’t have to worry about contracting malaria, but there is a sizable percentage of the population to whom malaria still poses a risk, and that risk can be lethal. Malaria, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, kills about 650,000 people a year, although the number could be higher as under reporting remains an issue in many parts of the developing world. The key thing to note is that malaria is preventable and it is curable, and increased prevention and control measures have reduced the affect of malaria in many places. Obviously though, the fight is far from over.
At some point, anyone with a bit of wanderlust has thought about the big trip; the trip around the world. Whether you decide to quit that 9 to 5 job that rewards all of your hard work and dedication with only two weeks of vacation time a year or you managed to talk your way into being granted a sabbatical or extended leave of absence, you’ve taken a major step towards making that around the world trip a reality. Then comes the logistics. Booking a plane ticket isn’t something many people look forward to, even for a short domestic return trips, so now that you’re facing the prospect of booking multiple point to point flights, where do you start and what’s the best option?
As a follow up to the post a few days ago about Transparency International and their annual Corruption Perception Index, today we will discuss the issue of corruption in a little bit more detail, focusing specifically on one of the most visible byproducts of corruption: bribes. Bribes can come into play just about anywhere and can range from petty shakedown attempts for a few extra bucks to graft in the thousands of dollars. Depending on where you travel in the world and what mode of transportation you are taking, bribes may come in different shapes and forms and be initiated by different types of people. In the case of The World by Road, bribes usually came from street and traffic cops, and anyone who has driven their own vehicle through a foreign country, especially in a developing county, has almost certainly been flagged over and been accused of some falsified infraction that is easily forgotten or overlooked for a price.
As a backpacker, vacationer or tourist, travels are often not as affected when it comes to corruption. Without your own personal transportation, in many cases the wheels are already greased by the bus company, tour operator, or tout that is helping to get you through the craziness of less developed countries.