As an example of how difficult it is to figure out overseas laws, it has been pointed out that one of the examples in last month’s newsletter was incomplete. It is illegal to eat, drink or smoke during the fasting hours of Ramadan in UAE in public (that is, you can still do so in private).

Religious sensitivities and rules could be (and now is) the subject of it’s own article. My own experiences have taught me that even if you are well prepared, you also need to be flexible as you will encounter sensitivities you did not anticipate. The attendants at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem have bags that they hand out to tourists who are dressed inappropriately, these contain a poncho of sorts to cover up. I was asked to put the scarf I was carrying as a head covering around my neck when I en­tered the gardens surrounding the Holy Temple. My shirt had sleaves and did not show any cleavage, but they still wanted my shoulders and clavicle covered with the scarf. Others in my touring party were taken to a private room to be given scarfs, including a male traveller whose shorts didn’t reach his knees (they were two inches short shy, he was very tall). The attendants spoke broken English and were not in­terested in allowing anybody to accompany the two women to the private room, even though we were travelling with a man and a woman who spoke Arabic and might have helped. (The attendants probably spoke Hebrew as a first language, but would have spoken more fluent Arabic than English). This might have been an in­timidating experience for a traveller who didn’t realise things like this were going to happen.

Again, it is difficult to give any advise on which website to view or which book to purchase to obtain sufficient information about all these potential issues for all countries you might travel to. The Smart Traveller website that the government has set up provides some information but not all information. You should research widely before you leave for your holiday.