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Different Countries

  1. Oct 3, 2004 #1


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    What countries have you visited (a one-day transit counts as a visit; sitting in the airport...not really, unless something happened) ? In a sentence or two, describe your impression of each country (skip countries where you've lived for years) and include how long you were there. Also mention any interesting incident that may have happened only in that country.

    I'm curious about different people's reactions to different places.
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  3. Oct 3, 2004 #2

    Chi Meson

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    Germany: they do not like to queue up. Lines at Coke machines mean nothing.

    Switzerland: the guy who sold me a bratwurst (or something like it) from a carivan had great fun giving me change entirely in 1/2 francs (they're like nickels).
    Italy (Ferrara): an old business man desperately tried to get me to loan him 50,000 lira.
    Italy (Venice): THe worst things there are the loud Americans. A bloated family had a teenage son, wearing an American football jersey; he was sitting on someone's doorstep whining loudly about how tired his feet were.

    France: guys wore tight, tight pants. Not that I looked, but jeez.
  4. Oct 3, 2004 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    Jamaica: what a beautiful place! :cool: I was surprised to learn that so many things are manufactured on the island as opposed to being imported. (Ketchup, soda pop, etc.)
    The Blue Mountain coffee is fabulous, and the rum isn't anything like we have in the U.S. It's very flavorful, like butterrum Lifesavers candy.

    London: this was years ago when I went over for the ECTS trade show. Funny story: I was waiting on my co-workers to get ready for dinner and I went down to have a drink at the hotel bar while I was waiting. I sat at the bar for 45 minutes, completely ignored by the bartender. Finally, the guys came down and the bartender came over and I got my drink. Someone explained to me later that if a young lady is sitting at the bar by herself, the staff assume she's a hooker :surprised - thus the cold shoulder from the barkeep!
    I'll also found it odd that people don't tip the wait staff in bars and restaurants. We're so used to leaving gratuities for every service here.

    Paris: just too darn expensive. My boyfriend got sick eating raw horsemeat :yuck: so one day of the trip was shot to hell. I saw two extremes of people: incredibly rude and incredibly warm and friendly.
  5. Oct 3, 2004 #4


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    I can't imagine why !! :confused: :wink:

    Most of the places I've traveled to, I visited when I was pretty young. So my recollections/impressions are kinda cloudy now.

    Singapore : very clean and organized.

    Hong Kong : I'll never forget walking through the meat market (or something like that)...the street was strewn with octopus and squid and other dead sea-life. :yuck:

    Australia : Oooh, the kangaroos were so cool. And the people were among the friendliest I've met.

    Egypt : too touristy...sailing down the Suez Canal was fun.

    Turkey : I spent a day at a quaint little Mediterranean town called Iskenderun. Nice food.

    Thailand : Spent a day in Bangkok. Streets were crowded as hell.

    Malaysia : A day in KL. I was most impressed by the airport. One of the nicest airports I've been in. Oh, and I enjoyed the chicken puffs !

    Bahamas : One day. Mostly drove through rural lands. Don't remember much.

    Germany : A couple of days in Hamburg, in the middle of winter. I remember the snow !! :biggrin:
  6. Oct 3, 2004 #5


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    Mexico - went a few times to "tourist" locations such as Cancun and Cozumel. Took a catamaran to Isla Mujeres, great snorkling, but I preferred the snorkling off of Cozumel. Nice people, but it's artificially made for tourists.

    Japan - A wonderful country, incredible people. Beautiful. Rode the Bullet train. I was surprised by the vending machines on the street corner where I could puchase a fifth of Jack Daniels as if it were a can of coca cola. I felt tall for the first time in my life. :wink:

    Thailand - I was unprepared for the poverty in a third world country that also caters to some of the world's richest. Seeing people living on street medians, their "homes" nothing but a sheet of tin leaning against the guardrail was an eye opener. They are too poor to even have fires to cook their own meals. They gather at street corners cooking their food in a communal steel drum.

    The only people I met were always trying to sell me something, always wanting to barter. The pollution in Bangkok was the worse I have ever encountered. Riding through the city in a tuk-tuk (a two person motorized rickshaw), I thought I was going to be asphyxiated. :yuck:

    We visited the Imperial Palace and we did something wrong I guess. Soldiers with machine guns pointed at us abruptly "escorted" us out of the palace grounds. :frown: This was a large group of people, we had been told about the customs, what to wear, not to look at or touch people, not point our feet at people, etc... I guess someone must've pointed their feet the wrong way. :surprised

    Visited Pat Pong street. :blushing: :redface: Here they describe in immense detail (posted outside the door) the sexual favors you can get within each establishment.

    Flew up to Chang Mai near the Chinese/Burmese border and visited a silk farm. Was carried away by a runaway elephant through a teak jungle (my guide thought it would be hysterical, after he told me about the danger of being shot by opium farmers out there, he got off the elephant claiming to want to "take a picture of me", then shouted what apparantly was an order to the elephant to "run". Of course it was a well trained elephant, and it eventually met back up with him. REAL FUNNY.

    France - Most of my family lives there. I really love it.

    Monaco - Did the palace tour.

    Italy - Especially Sicily. What an incredile Island. So gorgeous. The food, the candy shops, the Mediterranean, the people trying to take advantage of you, the traffic in Palermo - the most frightening in the world (seriously, it is known for the world's scariest drivers).
  7. Oct 3, 2004 #6


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    Okay, let's see.

    Poland - the people were wonderfully hospitable. I was terrified of the drivers...there didn't seem to be any actual rules to the road, so I was happy to be walking everywhere. Took the bus a few times, and was always nervous that their police carried rifles around. This was just after the fall of communism. Warsaw had a section that clearly appeared to be communist era construction...very austere buildings, all concrete and metal construction, very bleak looking. And then there was a section of town that was very historic, which was very cool. Krakow was fantastic too, a lot of children out begging for coins...they'd just start asking in a series of languages hoping to happen upon the right one for the tourist they were begging from at the moment. Just that they could beg in so many languages amazed me. In between Warsaw and Krakow, I visited Czestahowa (I probably spelled that wrong), which is the monastery where the Black Madonna is kept. I was there with a choir group and we were given the honor of singing an Ave Maria on the altar (which is usually off-limits to tourists...you only get to view it through bars), and we got to sign the Book of Kings, which is what all the world leaders and dignitaries sign when they visit. To have our choir's names in the same book as presidents and royalty was really incredible! We also visited a salt mine which was amazing! The miners had carved out a ballroom in it, complete with salt chandeliers...it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. And we visited Auschwitz. That was a very solemn stop on the trip. I had mixed feelings about the idea of visiting such a place as a tourist attraction...it felt very wrong to me.

    Puerto Rico - A very pretty island! I was amazed that in such a small island, you can go from city to rainforest to desert to beach all in a single day's drive! The weirdest was standing on the beach, walking out across a sand dune, and standing in a desert. So weird to be in a desert while only a few hundred feet from the ocean. The rainforest was amazing! I was on the hunt for the elusive coqui, but never saw one. That was also only supposed to be a short 20 min trail I took that turned into an all day hike because my friend and I missed a turn somewhere on our return to the car, then decided to just keep going because we saw something on the top of the next mountain and wanted to know what it was (it was an observation tower). We spent the next day sitting by the pool. :smile: And of course we did some partying in San Juan.

    England - Visited Bristol. Brilliant, everything was just brilliant! And polite...even the elevator was polite when it spoke, "Please mind the door, doors closing, please mind the door." After a few days of that, I started taking the stairs more :biggrin: I got lost in the neighborhoods where the students live. Very nice part of town. The downtown area was pretty much set up like this: pub, Indian restaurant, pub, Indian restaurant, pub, ATM, Indian restaurant, pub. :rofl: It was very obvious it was a university town. It was actually pretty nice, and once I figured out that the street signs were WAY UP there on the tops of the buildings on the corners, I found my way around a bit better. And once I figured out that you have to go up to the bar to order your food in a pub, I was all set. I found that I have quite a fondness for British pub food...it was like comfort food for me...loved those mushy peas (which aren't mushy at all, by the way). And learned to steer clear of the crisps (potato chips) in strange flavors. :yuck: Got one bag of crisps that tasted somewhat like dog treats smell to me...you know that fake bacon smell? :yuck: It's definitely an acquired taste...best acquired after a few pints of a good bitter.

    Canada - I always like Canada, every part I've visited so far. And most Canadians just seem so friendly. I've been to Niagara Falls, but only as a kid. Pretty, but far too touristy (that's a given though, right?). I've also been to London, Toronto, Ottawa (one of my favorite places in Canada so far...it had an old country charm to it with farmer's markets and French bakeries and the Parliament building), a quick drive through Montreal (drove from Michigan to Ottawa, then through Montreal to New York...got a quick lesson in French when the signs stopped having English subtitles...thankfully I figured out that "pont" (or was it "ponte"...can't remember now) is "bridge" and followed the right signs (traveling is no fun if you take maps along...well, actually, I did have a map, but it wasn't detailed enough to help much). I had planned to stop in Montreal on that trip, but needed to make up some time to meet someone in NY, so had to just settle for stopping for gas and continuing on. London is just a college town, not much more. Toronto was a fun city, even though I inadvertently wound up staying in the red light district (booked the hotel room online and didn't know it was in an area I was supposed to avoid...it explained the affordable room rates though)...there were certainly some interesting people on the streets. :biggrin: And I've already gushed about Vancouver in that places to see in Vancouver thread.

    That's it. I hope to add many more to the list in time. I have a number of collaborators in France, so am working on a good excuse to visit them. :biggrin:
  8. Oct 3, 2004 #7


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    i am sicilian :approve: maybe that's why my driving in my youth was so scary??? :eek:
  9. Oct 4, 2004 #8


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    Northern Italy: Dolomites.
    Beautiful scenary, hospitable people, pushy guys, the BEST icecream(!!), stinky Venice but beautiful little streets bridges and stairs. I was staying in (lago di) Molveno, a lake-filled valley with a village up the slope of the mountain. The campground was directly ON the beach of the lake, almost no tourists to be found when I was there :approve:

    Sardinia, Italy:
    Got send there to attend a conference. The trip was.. lenghty.. it started out good when I came to the airport and they told me I did not have a reservation, while I had a confirmed ticket in my hand, turned out I was booked for the next day (they messed up).

    So there I was standing, had to catch a plane from Detroit to Amsterdam to Rome, to Sardenia and then an organized bus to the village.. without a reservation and the plane was booked full. After a lot of hassle they were able to get me on, I had to catch a plane earlier in Rome, so I had 30 minutes between one plane landing and the other taking off. The stewards were very annoyed with me for checking in late. The airplane to Sardenia was a small charter type one, everybody thought we were about to crash in the sea when we touched ground only 1 meter after the land started, turned out the runway was very short, then was a high-speed sharp right turn at the end of the runway: I thought we were about to fall over, but the stewards looked like nothing special had happened, oh well :bugeye: I went to pick up my luggage, which wasn't there.. I had to wait for plane after plane to arrive, everyone picking up their luggage, and mine not being there :cry: about 2 hours later or so did mine finally arrive and could I get on the bus. I had brought anti-naucea medicine, since I knew from my previous trip that having an Italian drive you through the mountains ain't a pleasure. Well, I couldn't find them.. So about 15 minutes into the ride everyone got extremely quiet, 2 extrutiating long hours later we arrived at the village, we spent 30 minutes driving around looking for the resort (driving past the same intersection 5 times), we finally got there..

    At this point I had been traveling for 24 hours :rolleyes: so I checked in, was extremely tired and hungry (only had had time to eat airplane food, there was no catering on the sardenia airport), but the resort restaurant had just closed for lunch and I had to wait 5 hours for diner. So I went to sleep in my cabinet, ate licorice and chocolate I had bought in Amsterdam and woke up the next day to finally eat :devil:

    Many fun things happened after that, they had accidentally put me and someone I was supposed to room with, who flew over from S.Africa, in different cabins, so I had the house all for myself :biggrin: the resort was like a village with little houses scattered throughout the hilly and palm tree/cactus occupied sea side. There were only retirees there, we lived right on the beautiful white/blue beach, which were deserted all the time. Lectures were only until noon, it was perfect :tongue: I stayed 10 days.

    We went on a trainride, where there was a restaurant in the middle of the forest where they were preparing a pig on a pit especially for us, the restaurant owner took us for a 'walk' through the forest.. which turned out a hiking trip, having to climb a mountain on my open slippery sandals and with a huge shoulder bag :grumpy:

    We also went on a jeep safari, the jeep was at the end of its life and we barely could make it up the mountain in that diesel.. at some point I thought we all had to get out and start pushing that thing up :bugeye:

    Other places I visited are the US, I expected to see desert/planes in Michigan, got disappointed since the scenary was ordane. Got to see lots of fast food places, drive throughs, big people, multicultures, workdrive.

    Then there is England, Germany, Belgium, France, Switserland.. but no stories on those. Except that I stayed with a hosting family in London.. there was hairy gum stuck on the wall :surprised it is where I watched the pilot episode of the X-files and was taken by Mulders' looks :blushing: and got to taste vinegar-flavored chips :yuck: Oh, and add Canada: Niagara falls, very touristy as Moonbear said but fun.

    Next on the list of countries to visit are India and Japan :)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2004
  10. Oct 4, 2004 #9
    :redface: I am from Srilanka, my mom took me to Canada long ago, when I was 8 years old. I love Canada because of it is beautiful. I love 4 seasons in Canada 2.
  11. Oct 4, 2004 #10
    Heh, you never been to Japan,
    I been to Japan 2.
    In Tokyo, people are as crowded as crows in the morning, they try to get a place to stand from Inokashira line to Shibuya like long sardin packages. People not nice. I then move to the North, people the North better, nicer, friendlier, very kind to foreigners, much more than people in the South.

    I advise you move to the North with me, I am kind, and nice 2, you will love me one day and that day you will die.
    I also want you to find a job in the North of Japan, don't stay in Tokyo's Shinjuku. Tokyo guys bad ass. Everything expensive and you will have to work hard to earn little money to pay much.
    In the Norht if you don't have much money, there will be people help you, For example, me, very nice person, nicest you ever met :redface:

    I wanted to go more byt I dont have money. :blushing:
  12. Oct 4, 2004 #11
    Canada- Been to Niagara Falls(touristy of course). and of course all throughout windsor Ontario as a teen(gotta love that lower drinking age). I don't know how to guage canadians-I grew up in Detroit, so I know a lot of canadians who come across the river to work. HUGE hockey fans.

    Japan- haven't been there yet, but my good friend's wife is japanese, so I've had a bit of cultural immersion on it. Definitely want to go sometime soon, but hear it's extremely expensive.

    Philippines-Visiting a 3rd world country is an experience and gives you perspective. Pollution is really high in the cities. Traffic sucks. Roads are only a rough guideline it seems, and you're taking your life into your own hands if you take a cab. They also have motorcycles with attached cabs to accomodate 3-4 people called pedicabs. Poverty is rampant, and you see a lot of young children selling food to survive. People there are extremely polite and accomodating. Great place to go for scuba diving or just relaxing on a tropical island. Of course stay away from the southern islands if you're american (abbu sayyef)
  13. Oct 4, 2004 #12
    (West) Congo(lived there 2 years of my life, from 9-10), Afrika. Huge waves, supersitious people that's either friendly or dangerous. Like to sing and dance. Untouched nature.

    South-Afrika: Crazy people in cars. Black people who drives taxi very fast with no licence. They were trying to make the citizen slower by putting up electronic speed test near Cape Town, where the speed limit was 90 kmh. People drove on an average of 110 or so. Average.

    Italy: South Italy is very beautiful. Especially when you look down from italian coast-towns, and you see all the forest, town and sea in one, classic italian splendour.

    Swedes: They like to play ping-pong.

    Germany: Very social, in the buddy-like kind of way.

    England: Was absolutely astounished with my first meeting, which was with the flight attendants. They were over my head- polite. London seem to be a sorta mix between Europe and New York.

    (Eastern) Holland: Extremely friendly, social and happy people. Also not shy of taking a piss 2 meters of the road. But that country always makes me happy for each visit.

    I want to especiall travel to Asia and USA now.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2004
  14. Oct 4, 2004 #13


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    My former collegue is Japanese and lives in Hiroshima, the Japanese are very hospitable so I'll have a place to stay :biggrin: But yes, Tokyo would be the most expensive city to live in.. one month for a two-bedroom apartment: $4,501 :bugeye: http://money.cnn.com/2004/06/11/pf/costofliving/
  15. Oct 4, 2004 #14
    Hey! It certainly is much more! Sooo many bars and hot girls and… oh wait, yeah ok, you’re right. :tongue2: London has the largest community college in Canada and a pretty big (35,000 students on a 1.6 km sq. campus) and beautiful university. Wooo! Go Western! LoL :biggrin: Anyway, here’s my list:

    United States of America – Well, unfortunately I’m not too impressed with the people I met. Not that most of them were rude or anything, I just didn’t get that friendly ‘vibe’ from them. Anyway, here are some select cities I’ve been to:
    New York City – Probably the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my life. Spend two days walking around Manhattan, IMO the only way to see it.
    Washington D.C. – Great museums! It’s also neat to see so many famous landmarks so close together.
    Detroit, Michigan – Dirty. Wasn’t impressed.
    I’ve also been out west but that was when I was like 4 years old so don’t remember much.

    Poland – I have family there. My parents and sister’s emigrated from there before I was born. Very nice country and friendly people. Lot’s of interesting historic places to visit. Castle ruins are a must see. The salt mine that Moonbear mentioned is remarkable.

    Germany – Autobahn’s are scary as hell, but fun! LoL. The people are nice and the landscape in Southern Germany is beautiful.

    Austria – Very friendly people, nice scenery. I’d recommend a walking tour of Vienna.

    Czech Republic – It was dark, so I don’t know. Might be nice.

    Slovakia – See Czech Republic.

    UK (Scotland) – The airport tarmac in Glasgow looked pretty well maintained.

    Dominican Republic – I can only tell you what I saw at the resort, but it was the best week of my life. My sister decided to have her wedding there so the family plus lots of friends went. Lot’s of drinking and chillin’ at the beach. The resort workers were really friendly… The locals were friendly enough.

    So that’s my list. :biggrin:
  16. Oct 4, 2004 #15

    jimmy p

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    Wales - The less said the better.
    Germany - Nice place, too many sausages.
    France - See Wales.
    Cyprus - Very hot.
    Greece - Very hot, great scenery.
    Spain - Great apart from the people.
    Gibraltar - Nice apart from the family :rofl:
    Turkey - Wonderful place, nice locals.
    America (Florida) - Friendly place, lots of fun rides.
    Tenerife - Nice apart from the caged monkeys and emphasis on clubbing holidays.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2004
  17. Oct 4, 2004 #16


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    All of my travels date back to the early '70s during my enlistment in the US Navy.

    I was assigned to the US Navy base in Guantanamo Cuba for 1 year. I was surprised to find that for the most part it is arid. There was some tropical vegetation surrounding the Bay, but most of the base is well above the water. The coast line consists of what appeared to be 30' -50' (10m-20m) high Coral cliffs. There were only 5 or 6 "beaches" where you could actually get to the water. Vegetation consisted of thorn bushes and cactus. Lots of bugs (BIG moths) land craps and iguanas. While there I learned to SCUBA dive and spend considerable amount of time in the water. Absolutely beautiful, visibility was consistently 50 - 100', so warm that no wet suit was necessary, lots of fish, Coral reefs, sponges and other sea life.

    I took a weekend of liberty and flew on a C47 to San Juan Peuto Rico, did not really see much other then the beach and some seedy bars.

    In Aug of '71 I was assigned to the air craft carrier USS John F Kennedy, in Dec '71 we deployed to the Medeterranean Sea. The following are ports we stopped at some frequently some once.

    During our first transit of the Straights of Gibraltar, I remember going out on the port (right side) cat walk and seeing brown hills, I was pretty disappointed in the scenery. Then I realized that if I was on the right side of the ship and we were heading east, I must be looking SOUTH! I was looking at North Africa! NOT Gibraltar. I then went up to the flight deck and there floating like a ghost was the startling white Rock of Gibraltar, it is incredibly beautiful as seen from that unique angle.

    Barcelona, Beautiful city, The Rambulus, a wide sidewalk with 2 narrow streets on each side, I would love to visit again.

    Palma de Majorca,
    Wonderful city, beautiful island. I was fascinated by the huge cathedral dating from the 13th century. We spend a lot of time here. One 2 week stay was forced when we lost an anchor and 140 fathoms of chain on the bottom of the bay.

    Tormolenos/ Malaga Spain, we drove from here to Gibraltar very interesting time. Not many firm memory's (to much hash?)

    Naples, stinky bay, dirty city. We bought lots of stereo equipment at the NATO exchange, I am still using the speakers.

    Genoa, more Italian grime, I just passed through the city to catch a train to Munich. That ride was magnificent, we passed though Milan, Verona, and the Brenner Pass. I was enthralled with the magnificent views. A highway followed the railroad for quite a distance, there were bridges what seemed to go for miles over and above the steep forested canyons.

    While in Munich we got drunk! Two of us stopped in a tiny bar, we were not allowed to pay for a single beer, then a patron took us in his car for a tour of the city. We stopped at the newly constructed tower at the Olympic stadium. This was April 1972, just a few months before terrorist would cement the Munich Olympics spot in the history books. Then the Hofbrau Hus, seems to me the first liter was good, can't recall much about the rest! OH.... My head hurt the next day!

    We also stopped at Sardinia but were not allowed off the ship. Same for Crete.

    In Greece we stopped in Athens most frequently, but also once Thessaloníki and Corfu. Everyone should be REQUIRED to walk the steps up the Acropolis to the Parthenon, the place is just oozing history.

    Rhodes was one of my favorite ports, lots of history, good food and pleasant weather.

    Last but not least was Izmir Turkey, While Athens and Greece show eastern influences, this was truly an middle eastern city, way different from any others we visited.
  18. Oct 5, 2004 #17
    Oh yeah, and Praha. The most beautiful ozing city in the world. Great castles around too!
  19. Oct 5, 2004 #18


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    :rofl: Las Ramblas, Palma de Mallorca, and Torremolinos. I'm very happy you enjoyed your staying here. Come when you want again!.
  20. Oct 5, 2004 #19
    Praha, the nicest city in the world.
    Paris, the worst place i had ever been.
    London, a nice place to see horibel weather.
    Greec, got robed, met a friendly East Germen (DDR) polition.
  21. Oct 5, 2004 #20
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2004
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