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#61 Themis

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 07:20 PM

Lin731, on Jul 5 2005, 11:01 PM, said:

. When you get so little vacation time, you want to relax and have fun. Maybe someday when we retire, we'll actually get to go to Europe (Lord knows there are places I'd love to see).

Which may explain why so many American tourists are either recent college graduates  enjoying their graduation present OR are over 65 and retired.  I decided to do it now and pay for it later (thanks to plastic) after I observed over-65 retirees attempting to climb the steps to the Parthenon.

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#62 eloisel

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 01:37 AM

I'm curious to know how much it costs to travel in Europe.

I'm planning a trip to see the King Tut exhibit in Ft. Lauderdale in February 2006.  Tomorrow night an agent is making a presentation to our group on a travel package.  So, tonight I'm checking out how much it would cost me to go on my own so I'll know if the agent is offering a good deal.  Anyway, just the round trip airfare to Texas ranges from $324 up to $908 per person.  I did find a good hotel package for the weekend that includes the King Tut exhibit starting at $149.  Already I'm at a minimum of $473 and haven't included transportation, meals, souvenirs, or emergency money.  And that is a 3 day weekend in the same country!

#63 Beldame

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 07:16 AM

Well, I've learned a few things from this thread. I'm really surprised and shocked to find out how little holiday time Americans get.  The statutory minimum for the UK is 4 weeks, which can include public holidays, and most of us who have worked for the same organisation for some time would expect to have about five weeks plus public holidays.

How much do you travel within America? The impression I get from films and Tv is that hopping on a plane to cross the country or driving very long distances is as common as jumping on a bus here but how accurate is that? If you can take a holiday, would you usually stay within your own state or a nearby one or go further?
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#64 Themis

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:39 AM

Depends on the mind set.  Tennesseeans, who rank amongst the lowest rate in the country for high school graduates, seem to stay close to home, visit theme parks with kids, go to the beach in Florida... Most of that is drive distance.  People travel to visit family, and if that family is far enough out of state they'll get on a plane.  I have cousins in Kansas I'd never have expected it of who go to Vegas all the time, but I don't think they've ever left the country.  I tend to feel that the better educated travel more, not totally because of money but they just have more curiosity working.  There's a lot of business travel and convention travel.  The airports are always busy so people must be traveling!  You would get different answers from people in cities and in rural communities and in different parts of the country.  Everybody I knew in LA had traveled somewhere.  Here in Tennessee I know people who never left the state unless it was to drive to Kentucky for lottery tickets before Tennessee got a lottery.  

One year when I was feeling particularly broke and living in LA, I took a week of vacation and just did a different LA-area attraction every day!

This vast country is full of places and cultures to visit, and up to now, you didn't need a passport for Canada or Mexico, so there are lots of reasons most of the population wouldn't have a passport for overseas travel.  Still, those overseas flights are full too.  People definitely travel at family-time holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and 3-day weekends (maybe due to those lousy 2 weeks of vacation time).  We also have a great interstate highway system and our rural roads and local highways are better than a lot in the UK - at least not as narrow!  

With all the dvd players in those gas-guzzlling vans now, families must be packing the kids in and driving somewhere.

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#65 Hibblette

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:49 AM

^^uh yea TV. :Oo:

And when you are watching the news you'll see people stranded and all that good stuff.

But a lot of times those people are traveling to visit family.

And when we do take vacations-I'm thinking the majority of us like taking our cars or at least having a car.  We are hung up on cars in this country.  But ...actually our national transportation system sucks-oh wait there is no national transportation system. :whistle:

Within the huge cities there is public transportation-well here in Dallas they try to have something  :glare: but no not really, but for the most part cities like LA and NYC and Chicago have excellent public transit.

But across the country-in fact Amtrak is probably going under which is sad and it was still expensive-we have absolutely nothing except cars and planes.  And gas is extremely high as it is in Europe but at least in Europe (including Britain)-I do believe you guys have an enviable rail system.

And as I have always said Air Travel is great for getting directly to were you want to go which is what a lot of travelers want to do but if you are on vacation and you want to see this great country you're missing out on a lot with the Air Travel.

Edited by Hibblette, 09 July 2005 - 08:49 AM.

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#66 SparkyCola

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 09:05 AM

Quote

If you're not saying that, why did you just say that? AKA:

The word 'incidentally' implies that my main point is not about that but if you are going to bring it up then i happen to disagree.

Lin, i really didn't realise the economic situation in America, i have up to now been working on the assumption that the situation in America is the same as over here, in the U.K. but this thread seems to suggest otherwise! I'm sorry for making that assumption and for being so abrasive, i'm sure that Americans are just as generous as everyone else and that the stereotype that they are a little xenophobic is just that- a misguided stereotype. I mostly ignore stereotypes anyway. Sorry Lin :blush:

emsparks: I see your point, and apologise to Natolii.

Quote

My daughter Natolii, has a big heart, she would, as I have done share her last bit of food, with a needy soul.

She sounds like a fantastic person and i feel guilty now for having such a go at her :look: Sorry Natolii.

Quote

I decided to do it now and pay for it later (thanks to plastic) after I observed over-65 retirees attempting to climb the steps to the Parthenon.

:lol: Lol!!

I went to Paris recently and noticed a LOT of Americans about college age around and about actually so yeah that sounds about right. On the way back there was one really nice poor girl who thought that the Eurostar in Paris might take her to Amsterdam. Aw! She was all on her own too, i thought she's gotta be pretty brave to do that. One of our teachers helped her out and pointed her in the right direction.

I agree with Beldame on the Holiday time thing- over here we have a statutary minimum, i'm amazed that you guys don't. I've also learned that Americans aren't nearly as rich as i thought!

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#67 Cardie

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:13 AM

Americans who have both time and money travel a lot, although there is a bit of chauvinism in regards to thinking that there's plenty to do within our own continent.  But to have both time and money you need to be either a self-employed, successful professional or someone whose money comes from being the big boss and not working an hourly wage.  The US is a rich country because its businesses stress "productivity"-- which means getting the most lhours of labor out of employees for the littlest expense.

As a university teacher, I am in a slightly different situation because we only get a salary for nine months of teaching (but a pretty good salary)--so have flexible schedules for three months--and much of the research work/paper presenting we do as the other part of our job can involve travel. sometimes subsidized by grants.  I unfortunately hate flying, so I don't jet all over the world, but I do like to get in the car and drive to interesting places and I regularly take the train to the few places it goes from here.  My colleagues regularly travel all over, not only Europe and LAtin America but Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

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#68 offworlder

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:44 AM

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Now you have just proven why in most cases why reliving the debt in Africa won’t matter one bit. These countries are run by dictators and other nasty characters who would never redistribute the money they are saving to the people of the country. They’ll pocket all that money to get richer or use it to strengthen their own power base. The same thing can be applied to the humanitarian relief efforts in terms of supplies and monetary aid.

The basic problem with Africa is that the situation isn’t going to change as long as these same people remain in charge in many of these countries. What needs to be done if you really want to help some of these countries is that we need to go into these countries throw these people out of power, stand between the rival factions and keep the rival factions from fighting. Then help to setup a government that will help these people. The irony is that many of the celebrities supporting Live 8 were probably liberals who rallied against the military removal of Saddam.

Just throwing money, reliving debit, and sending them some supplies might make people feel good about themselves and it might help a few people. On a larger scale though it won’t do enough to matter until these countries get government that are interest in helping the people. Another reason exists as to why the United States is wary of getting into Africa. We tried this type of approach when it came to Somalia.
{I hate doing long quotes but this whole thing is one giant context, ;) }
So, what do those G8 guys go and do? pledge another 50 billion to Africa with no statement about getting around all that corruption to get the funds to the needy, all on top of relieving the debt partly caused by that same corruption.

My only hope is that I know the White House knows about that corruption, and hope they will actively make a plan, which they have not yet reported, to get that aid past those corruptors into the heartland, into those who are starving and need the programs. Erm, just who is going to create the programs to responsibly and craftily USE that aid in a proper way ?
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#69 Delvo

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:50 AM

SparkyCola, on Jul 9 2005, 09:05 AM, said:

I went to Paris recently and noticed a LOT of Americans about college age around and about...

over here we have a statutary minimum, i'm amazed that you guys don't. I've also learned that Americans aren't nearly as rich as i thought!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The ones you see travelling in Europe are the rich ones, especially if they're "college-age" (which means they have rich parents and won't need to pay for anything themselves). That could have something to do with how American travellers are perceived; even most Americans don't like the way rich Americans act.

The non-rich average people in the USA are probably still richer than their counterparts in other countries, but it's more likely to be spent on material goods or local services instead of travel. So you'd think Americans weren't rich by looking at travel, and you'd think they are by looking at their homes and the stuff they have in them.

The vacation time situation is somewhat exaggerated in this thread; most professional jobs start with 2 weeks and are up to 3 or 4 weeks within a few years and still get higher after that. The catches are that that's still less than in Europe, and that it starts over if you change jobs, which Americans are doing more often now than before. It's one of the reasons why the economy here is more productive per person, but there is a growing movement to trade in material wealth and economic output for some more free time and less stress, so it will probably change. It's already better than it was a century ago. Some laws that might now sound like they are meant to favor businesses at the expense of workers were actually intended, in the context of the time, to protect workers from abuse by businesses. The 40-hour work week, for example, was to reduce that number, because people were working more than 40 before, whereas now that same standard is often the only thing keeping it up that high when it would, and many say should, be lower.

#70 Beldame

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 10:52 AM

Also, foreign travel has only been cheap and popular in the UK since the 1970s. Before that only the well-off went abroad for their holidays and students went straight to university instead of having gap years abroad. I lived for a few years in a little country village where there were older people who almost never left the village and thought the weekly bus to the local market town was a big day out. We were regarded as rather strange and exotic because we travelled round the Uk and had visitors to stay.
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

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#71 Themis

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 01:22 PM

Delvo, on Jul 9 2005, 03:50 PM, said:

The vacation time situation is somewhat exaggerated in this thread; most professional jobs start with 2 weeks and are up to 3 or 4 weeks within a few years and still get higher after that.

Depends where you are.  I'm in a professional job - I work in a legal office.  Two weeks until I've been there 10 years.... 7 days of sick leave that never becomes more.  Of course I'm in Tennessee, a very employER, as opposed to employEE, friendly state.  Things were definitely better in that respect in California.  On the other hand, I was with a company here that had 3 weeks after 3 years.  Unfortunately they went under before I could take advantage.  I don't think those facts are related...  And my current company also doesn't pay as much as other legal offices (and is generally cheap), but all legal offices here pay more than jobs here I'd rather be doing...  I new of some folk who went to 4 weeks after maybe 20 years and a 5th week every so many years after maybe 30  years.  Not that many people work for the same company 20-30 years any more.  If you move companies, you're back to one or two weeks...

There's also the medical situation here, which should affect anyone's perception of our financial status.  Without good employer-paid health insurance, too many Americans have none.  If you're dirt poor, there's some welfare involved.  If you're middle class, you're on your own.  As I mentioned somewhere, a large proportion of bankruptcies are because of medical bills.  Paying for health care for the kids takes priority over travel.

I don't think young American kids in Europe are usually rich.  A lot of them do the Eurail/backpack/hostel thing and manage it quite cheaply other than the air fare, which can be fairly reasonable bought way in advance and might be a big graduation present.  I'm way past the age where I'd backpack and carry too much luggage/camera equipment for trains, though I could attempt that.  

But indeed, trains are a viable option in Europe and aren't in most places in the US.    The east coast has decent inter-city rail in and out of NYC, DC, Philly, maybe Boston.  I think you can get north and south from LA by rail.   They're the exceptions.  Nashville only has freight trains.  Inter-city bus?  Yeah, possible.  Younger folk tolerate it better than others.  It doesn't always, shall we say, attract the best element?  I investigated that to go from Nashville to Atlanta but the schedules were useless for my purpose, so I drove.  

My own tolerance for driving is about 4 1/2 hrs...especially on an interstate/freeway with no stopping or interesting things to see beside the road.  

From my own experience, the disliked American tourist is the one who is pushy and arrogant and is upset because things aren't like they are in the all-wonderful US, making one wonder why they bothered to leave US shores...  Nothing to do with financial status.

I'd argue with Hiblette on the transportation system in LA, but things have improved a bit since I lived there!  Atlanta and San Francisco apparently aren't bad.

And some of us who are far from rich but do travel just have great credit and the ability to make decent payments on the plastic!

I'll add that perceptions gained from most of our tv shows also make people think most of us live in cities with great homes or apartments.  Hah!  The apartments shown in tv shows could not be afforded by the types of people who are supposed to be living in them.  And there's the vast wasteland in between LA/San Francisco and the Chicago-east coast cities which is rarely portrayed on mainstream tv.  

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#72 eloisel

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 02:59 PM

I am fortunate to have 3 weeks vacation plus 3 weeks sick time that carry over from year to year, plus I get all the legal holidays.   One week I spend on a group retreat every year.  Then another week gets split up for two conferences I go to.  The third week gets used for days here and there I need to tackle things I can't get done on a weekend or I just need a day off.  I try to keep 6 weeks sick time stored up so if I need it again I have it.  Some sick time I donate to others in the organization that have used up their sick time and disablity pay but are out with a catastrophic illness.

I think next year (6th with this employer) I will accrue 4 weeks each vacation and sick time each year.  I think at 10 years I get 5 of each yearly.  I'm hoping to be retired before then.  Working cuts into my yard time, movie going, book reading, and in general doing nothing time.  I'm a pro at finding non-productive things to do with my time and never get bored doing it!

#73 Hibblette

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 04:11 PM

Themis said:

Quote

I'd argue with Hiblette on the transportation system in LA, but things have improved a bit since I lived there! Atlanta and San Francisco apparently aren't bad.

Oh I won't argue.  I'm just going by what I've seen on the news and I know it's not as good as NYC, but it's probably better then Dallas'
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#74 Shoshana

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 01:42 PM

Beldame, on Jul 9 2005, 06:16 AM, said:

<snip>

How much do you travel within America? The impression I get from films and Tv is that hopping on a plane to cross the country or driving very long distances is as common as jumping on a bus here but how accurate is that? If you can take a holiday, would you usually stay within your own state or a nearby one or go further?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Depends on where you live I think. And what you think of as long distances! Here in Austin, it can take 4-5 hours to drive out of state going east, south or north. 8 or more hours to go west or northwest.

That said, we drive alot. Most everyone I know would drive to Dallas/ Ft Worth (3 hours) or Houston (same 3 hours) rather than fly or ride the bus. Why? It's still cheaper to drive, and most of the time faster. My car's efficient even with the higher gas prices so gas will still cost less than the round trip $52US for the bus to Dallas or $68US roundtrip (advanced purchase, on sale) it would cost to fly. And it's 45 min to the airport, an hour at least that you have to be there before the flight, 50 min flight (to Dallas, Houston's about 30 min) and then the collecting of baggage and the trip to wherever you're staying. And then you're car-less, unless you rent one.

On top of that, I've been known to drive to either Dallas or Houston and come back the same day. I know many people who've done that.

My personal maxium car trip - if I'm driving - is currently 500 miles or so, about a 7-8 hour trip. I've been on longer trips - roundtrip to Lousiville in a weekend - 16+ hours each way, (not recommended!) and ski trips to Colorado, but  that was because we had a ton of ski equipment and two dogs.

Flying so far is for really far places like Florida, NY and California. And overseas of course! Or South America. Actually, I'd rather fly into Mexico rather than drive, but I'm kinda chicken that way. I know alot of people who drive down all the time.

'shana

#75 eloisel

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 02:00 PM

I lived in Denver, CO back in the late 70's; Glendale, CA and Mesa, AZ back in the mid to late 80's.  All three had excellent bus systems.  Of course, I live in the largest city in the US without a bus system.  Our current option is to support the T with a couple of stops at the far north end of town to catch a ride in to Dallas.  Woo hoo.  By the time I drive out there, up Hwy. 360 which is always a jammed up mess, park my car, get to Dallas, then catch a bus somewhere, it is just easier for me to drive to Dallas even if I have to pay for parking.

Amtrak doesn't have a station here or near anywhere I want to go.

DFW airport is fairly close and Love Field is close enough.  

My daughter has taken a Greyhound Bus to California and Idaho from here.  She prefers bus travel to airplanes.

Me, I want to take a cruise!

#76 Hibblette

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 03:55 PM

^Yep that is how things are in DFW.

Gawd how it would help if they had a bus system in the towns that lie between Dallas and Ft Worth, and with good schedules.

I'm always amazed that store owners and these Mall people don't realize just how much more business they would get if there were buses that went around the metroplex.

Further proof that you don't have to be a huge thinker to be a business person :hehe: .

Edited by Hibblette, 10 July 2005 - 03:56 PM.

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#77 Nialla

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 07:29 PM

Most of the jobs I've had included one week of vacation for the first year, then two weeks after that time. Each have varied on when it increased to three weeks -- some were five years, others ten. I had my fifth anniversary at my current job, but I'm still at two weeks. I also get nine paid holidays -- two days for Thanksgiving and two at Christmas, the rest are one day each.

The only exception I've ever had to this rule was at my previous job. I had already made plans to go to the UK and France before losing the job before that, and my new employers were desperate enough for me that they gave me two weeks in my first year.  I got my passport in 1999, but doubt I'll ever have a chance to use it before it expires in 2009.

I live in north Texas, and it's about two hours just to get to the airport. If I can drive somewhere in less than a day, it's easier doing that than dealing with the airlines. It's also good to have your own local transport, since there's not much in the way of public transport in the US. It can also help with food costs, since you can take along a cooler to keep snacks.

It would take me a whole day's drive to get to Mexico.  It would probably take about three to drive to Canada. I'm trying to get enough money together to fly to a con in San Fransisco later this year, and I'm not sure I'll be able to make it.

I've actually got two weeks of vacation to burn before October 1st (my employer changed the vacation schedule to the fiscal year instead of the calendar year). I have no money to go anywhere, especially if I do want to make it to San Fran, which is in November.

I'd love to go back to Europe, especially since I have a friend who lives north of Paris. It really helps to have someone show you the local color, instead of going to tourist traps.

My friend has been to the US twice, and visited me as part of her trips. The first trip, she also went through the Southwest, the second, she and her boyfriend at the time visited some of his family in California and New York, and they went to Quebec. Even though she's been here, she still has trouble grasping how hard it is to travel just within Texas. You can drive for a solid day and not even leave the state.

I remember one of my library patrons telling me about her time in England, where she was going to university. Some friends from the States were visiting, and they decided to do a day trip to the Stonehenge area, which was about two hours driving each way.  The locals were just appalled at this, while she explained that where she was from (West Texas), people were used to driving two hours to get a taco.  :p
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#78 eloisel

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 07:49 PM

Hibblette, on Jul 10 2005, 08:55 PM, said:

^Yep that is how things are in DFW.

Gawd how it would help if they had a bus system in the towns that lie between Dallas and Ft Worth, and with good schedules.

I'm always amazed that store owners and these Mall people don't realize just how much more business they would get if there were buses that went around the metroplex.

Further proof that you don't have to be a huge thinker to be a business person :hehe: .

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Unfortunately, it is up to the voters to even have a bus system.  We've had it on the ballot but the voters won't vote it in.

Back in the mid to late 70s I worked in Dallas and caught the Greyhound daily commuter bus into Dallas and back.  Granted it only got me downtown but I worked just a few blocks from the Greyhound Bus Station downtown so it wasn't a problem.  Even in the early 80s we had another commuter bus that picked up at the Stadium parking lot and took us into Downtown Dallas to a number of stops.  Bad thing was I had to transfer to an inner city bus to get to work and then back to the commuter bus stop.  The last commuter bus left for Arlington at 5:30 and if you weren't there you were stranded.

One of these days I'm going to retire and move to a city with a bus and rail and 80 degrees is hot and 40 degrees is cold with the occasional hot or cold spell.  I'll also have a maid, a cook, a gardener, and a chauffeur and the dogs will never need a bath.  I can dream.

#79 Lin731

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 08:19 PM

Quote

SparkyCola
Lin, i really didn't realise the economic situation in America, i have up to now been working on the assumption that the situation in America is the same as over here, in the U.K. but this thread seems to suggest otherwise! I'm sorry for making that assumption and for being so abrasive, i'm sure that Americans are just as generous as everyone else and that the stereotype that they are a little xenophobic is just that- a misguided stereotype. I mostly ignore stereotypes anyway. Sorry Lin

I'm sorry too SC,  :blush:  This country's had a rocky financial ride these past 5 years or so and living in a state that lives and dies by manufacturing, we've had it rougher than most. It's a shame that what we know about each other is often based on what we see on the news. So many misconceptions about each other would be dispelled if we got to interact in each others countries, get a real feel for what it is to be from the UK or America, Australia, Italy etc...but I think we've learned some things about each other here and now you have alot clear picture of American life than many do. :)  I hope to one day visit the UK and Venice, Greece etc... You have a beautiful, interesting slice of the world there, I envy you!
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#80 Hibblette

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 09:45 PM

Hey Eloisel-it can be found.

But not in our precious south or Texas.

I do love us.
"There are many ways of going forward, but there is only one way of standing still."  FDR explaining why Liberals are so often divided and Conservatives are so often united.

"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."  Will Rogers



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