General Discussion

Impressions of countries you've personally visited.
Lonnehart at 5:38PM, Aug. 17, 2010
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Have you travelled out of your country (or to another state)? What countries did you visit? What were they like to you? No… this doesn't count airports as they tend to set themselves up in a way to make you want to visit the country they're in if you're simply on layover or something…

Loved the mainland U.S. for my Basic Training and to serve my self imposed sentence with the military. Fort Sill, Oaklahoma was great, though I wasn't that great a soldier so I ended up getting a lot of flak… Fort Bliss, Texas… ah… that was horribly misnamed. The people were great there… except for the oriental asians I met who were unfriendly to me for some odd reason…

The old country of my family called the Philippines. Very interesting place. People there are very friendly there, and there's lots of places to shop. I'd enjoy the flooding around the house I was staying in if not for the fact that there's open sewers there. I also loved the marketplace as it's where you can get fresh food as fresh as you can get… freshly killed meat, freshly picked vegetation…. and tons of shirts (including the hilarious one with several pairs of geckos paired in… um… certain positions… heh.. I loved the place and I wish I could go back soon to see the family there. Just don't buy anything from the vendors in front of any church there. You'll be swamped by people who think you'll buy from them… :)

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
seventy2 at 5:51PM, Aug. 17, 2010
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plain jane middle eastern country: Nothing much there. until you get to the city! amazing! a city as large as chicago. prolly the biggest city i've ever actually been to. (been thru plenty american cities, but not to them)
they had all these amazing tourist things to do, like shop at a mall, and visit the souqes. amazing. i've posted plenty of pictures from there on here, in the photo threads.
as far as the people go, it was obvious our group was american, with our jeans and khaki's and button up shirts. compared to their male hijabs and robes. (i only saw women inside the massive mall). oh, and the whole skin thing. also, i'm 5'8 (foot inches) and i towered over most of the locals. so most of them avoided us. unless they were shop owners. which was cool, cause it's the only place in the world i've been to that i can haggle!


Does a Caribbean island count? a dutch antille to be more specific? that was poor, and a definate tourist trap, that i would love to visit again!
facara
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:30PM
Randal at 7:00PM, Aug. 17, 2010
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If I count the state of Michigan as my homeland, then I'd call the rest of the states as “foreign lands”. Sure, they all have McDonalds and 7Eleven, but the places look different and the people, while they look the same everywhere, talk different everywhere.

Of the fifty states, I've not been to Alaska, Hawaii or Vermont, but I've been to all the others. I've also been to Baja California, Mexico (Tijuana and Ensanada), all over Ontario Canada… and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Every place has its upside and downside. I'd go more into it, but Memphis Beat just came on. <_<
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:01PM
alwinbot at 7:30PM, Aug. 17, 2010
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Yeah, Randal. I get what you mean by each state being different. I consider New York my homeland.

The part of Maryland I went to was all ocean and beach. It was sandy and really bright. Also, there were quite a bit of attractions. The food there was all seafood so that was interesting.

In Philadelphia, everyone just wore Eagles shirts.

I went to Rome once. It was pretty damn clean. The water was really clean. The people were all clean shaved and looked bright and shiny. The streets were really tight and everything looked familiar even if I had never been there before.

When I went to India. It felt very natural and rural, the part I was in. It wasn't really polluted. There weren't many cars. It didn't have the strange paranoia that we have in the states where everyone and anyone could be a pedophile or a serial killer. Everyone seemed friendly. Nobody really felt like a stranger.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 10:50AM
bravo1102 at 7:34AM, Aug. 19, 2010
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Went to The United Kingdom. Arrived in London, first day my wife has to go to the druggists for sundries she forgot to pack. She bumps into a young lady with spiked hair on the sidewalk and she stammers “Excuse me”
The punked out Brit goes “Fuck off!”
I double over in laughter.

We stayed in a super swanky hotel near the theatre district. On the way to the theatre district we pass by human feces amid a few cardboard boxes. Was a homeless person's home turned out. We saw human waste there eveyday. I've been to the seedier sides of Newark, NYC, and Philadephia and never saw that. Even the homeless in new Brunswick and Asbury Park don't do that.

To tell the truth the time I spent in Mississippi and Idaho was more alien than London. Most Brits hear my last name and greet me like the prodigal son returned which I guess I am in a way. After all my family sided with the Crown in the American War for Independence. lol!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
ImaginaryGirl at 11:37AM, Aug. 19, 2010
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Spain- Lots of fun. Lots of partying. Mind you, discotecas aren't really my thing, but when you and your host sister are in high school…ya kinda go with the flow. I'd love to get back there. There's so much more to see. The people were, by and large, very friendly, and once they understood we were students they would be sure to speak Spanish rather than english, but do so at a slightly slower pace so we could understand.

Chile- Also great. A strange mix of affluence and poverty. Chile is doing very well as a country. I only got to see the northern part, which was mostly dessert. It was kind of nice not being somewhere that catered to only tourists. On the downside, people definitely had certain… expectations… about us as Americans. Not just Americans, but a blond woman. Too many American advertisements and movies, I suspect. And the lengths that some of the restaurants went to to get our business was a little bit… creepy? Almost servile. There were these two restaurants that shared the same space and so fought to get us to choose their establishment over the other guy's. By pleading en masse. And when someone in our group happened to glance at the tv in the background, the staff lunged for it to turn the volume up, knocking over a pile of CDs in the process. Made me feel rather embarrassed. Definately not right. But by and large the country was great. Though man, working in the desert was trippy. No moisture at all…your sweat evaporated off your skin before you could feel it.

Switzerland- The world has this stereotype of the Swiss as being uptight and OCD. I have to say that there is a large dollop of truth to this. XD But still, it's a great place to visit with fantastic scenery. We were primarily in the French speaking part, and the Alps were amazing.

England- My memories of England are a bit hazy as it was a brief trip and I was awefully young. I remember not caring for the food much…too much grease (sounds strange considering our fast food, I know) and too much of it was boiled. And cabbage. But what can I say? I was five or six at the time. Great sights, though. Got to see the Roman ruins at Bath, Stonehenge, and bummed around London. This was before they dug the tunnel under the channel, so we took a ferry over…that was pretty damn fun, too.

Venice- DEFINATELY worth going to. I love glasswork, and Venice is tops when it comes to that. Plus you get to take all kinds of tours and see how the glass is made. Actually, I would love to go during Carnival…I'm a huge costume buff.

France- Don't remember much of France, sadly, other than some of the old town waterways.

Peru- I only spent a little time in Peru, but the contrast between Peru and Chile was pretty stark. Lima is in far worse shape than what I saw of Chile. Both countries have abject poverty, but in Lima it was much more stark. A great many buildings and roads were crumbling, there was barbed wire everywhere, and the foul smell of the polluted river hung over everything. Tall hills of trash were piled in that river, with people wading around in it trying to scavenge what they could to bring back to the sprawling, shaky shanty towns. And yet here and there there were suddeny splashes of affluence. LIke the airport in Tacna…very clean, very new, with bilingual signs. My god, it was so much better than the Bush International Airport we landed in in Texas. Hell, at Bush they didn't even put any Spanish signs out for a flight coming in from south america.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:57PM
skoolmunkee at 3:32PM, Aug. 19, 2010
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UK - the one I have the most experience with and can probably comment the least about. I don't really have an ‘impression’ of it any more, it's just where I live and work. Some general observations, class is still fairly important here, and if you want to insult someone you'd say they're ‘common.’ Towns and cities seem busy, but that is mainly because the roads are all a bit too small, and there's a lot of walkers everywhere. People aren't exactly friendly, but they are generally polite. No one understands ‘walking lanes’ which makes busy sidewalks something to avoid.

Spain - I was in a really rural area with locals, during a holiday week, so my experience was very laid-back and casual. No one cared that I was a tourist (in fact they tended to ignore me more), and everything was very leisurely. Get up late, late lunch, go out in the evening, eat and be out til late, get home around 3, stay up another hour watching TV/drinking/snacking, bed, up late…. Friendly people, everyone just wanted to be enjoying their days.

Italy - The cities were very busy and it seemed like everyone had something to do and somewhere to be, except in the tourist areas, which were packed with polite tourists. Italians LOVE their food apparently, because cheap delicious restaurants were everywhere, and when you ate you were supposed to get at least two courses (each course more or less the size of a full meal). Very simple food though, so there was a nice comfort food feel to it. The rural area we went to was very quaint and disallowed cars, more laid back, but still had that feeling of busy people. Not particularly friendly people. TERRIBLE DRIVERS

Netherlands - Super, super friendly people. Everyone here was so willing to answer questions and help and give directions and whatever. It felt very ‘homey’ here, comfortable, with enough quaintness to make it feel a bit exotic. Amsterdam itself was much too busy for my taste, although it also seemed that people here enjoyed being outside and doing ‘community’ type things, there are lots of flea markets, book markets, sidewalk cafes, etc.

Egypt - I really dunno what to say about this place. It was pretty overwhelming at first and took several days to figure out. We were in the super touristy areas, which meant people were falling all over us and following us around and harrassing us for money constantly, which was very offputting, though the monuments and things went a long way to making it more bearable. My impression was that most of the country was very poor, and that if you were a tourist people would do anything you asked (or even didn't ask) because it's expected tourists give tips. I would have felt ok about that, except I knew that prices for tourists are inflated hugely, everyone is trying to figure out how to get some of your money, people will flatout lie (or even extort) and so every interaction you have with someone there puts you immediately on the defensive (if you aren't confident about bargaining or value of goods/services) or on the aggressive. There were only a few times/places there I was actually comfortable, much of the time I felt a bit like prey and once or twice even unsafe. When the tourist policeman with his machine gun comes up and tries to wheedle 5 bucks out of you for ‘showing’ you some heiroglyphs 10 feet away like he's done somethng special for you, you get mixed feelings. That said, they DID want to do a service for the money, they wouldn't just flatout ask for cash- but a lot of people would try to do something worthless, or intimidate you, or make up ‘fees’ for things that fees weren't actually required for. So not all those services were legit. And I did feel like if you ask someone ‘where is the bank’ they should be happy to point down the street without expecting money in return. The best part of the trip was the evening we walked around Cairo in the non-touristy areas and were ignored completely, mixed in with all the people and passing by all the food stalls, etc.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a country. Hm. Maybe not.

Ah right. Scotland: Friendly and laid back, though you kind of feel like you're bothering them in their home somehow. Ireland: SUPER friendly and laid back, and everyone really helpful. Ireland also had a strange thing where as soon as you were outside of Dublin, things got exremely rural.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
Faliat at 3:47AM, Aug. 20, 2010
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I've been to two different islands in Greece, the most recent being in ‘04, but I guess nine and six years ago wasn’t that different. You just get wifi and better access to the internet. Back in Corfu we had to walk around for hours trying to find an internet cafe so I could check up on the forums I'd only joined months previously and was afraid I'd lose my threads if I didn't keep replying.
I'll save that for another post, though or I'll be here all day.

Kos - Greece: was my first trip outside of the UK. First time on a plane, too.
It seemed very touristy. In the restraunts we went to nearer Kos city almost everybody spoke fluent English because it's the one language everybody in Europe seems to speak as a second or third language. I'd learned some Greek phrases for use while I was there but I didn't need them, and when I did I was often disappointed to find out that I'd said thank you in Greek to a German woman and she didn't know what I was saying.

It's a good thing my family likes to go off the beaten track and so we found ourselves in a few places with more locals but they all spoke English, too.
We didn't really have a choice of not going there, anyway. I got an infection that required a visit to a local ear specialist.

Regardless of where they came from everyone I met in Kos was friendly… Except for the beggars… The beggars freaked me out big style. Some of them had drugged babies draped over their knees.
They weren't local, though. It was very obvious that they were from Turkey, which was so close you could see it across the water.
Some other Turks started chatting up my little sister… Who was 10…
Regardless of these incidents and being shut in for a few days because of the ear infection, I still had an awesome time and I'd definitely go back. Although I guess It's probably way different now.

A few months later 9/11 happened… Sad in retrospect since the night before we went to the airport my sister and I were shouting to each other about weird terrorist attempts to destroy the plane… None involving towers but I came up with a weird one about someone with an elephant and a giant catapult… And I think another one about a flaming jeep rode by Eivel Kinievel.

We were going to Glasgow airport.

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Terminal at 10:03AM, Aug. 20, 2010
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I'd summarize my trip across the Pan-American highway, from Albuquerque, Texas to Valparaiso, Chile in six simple words: OMG I AM GOING TO DIE.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:13PM
same at 10:09AM, Aug. 20, 2010
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Spain - Great… But far too warm.
Scotland - The hotel was huge although it was a school trip so there wasnt much to do.
Ireland- Nice, friendly people. Drink too much tea though.
Northern Ireland - A dump. Enough said.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:21PM
ImaginaryGirl at 1:24PM, Aug. 20, 2010
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Terminal
I'd summarize my trip across the Pan-American highway, from Albuquerque, Texas to Valparaiso, Chile in six simple words: OMG I AM GOING TO DIE.

Ha ha! And I bet you had all those lovely canyons to go through, too!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:57PM
Randal at 12:00PM, Aug. 22, 2010
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Terminal
I'd summarize my trip across the Pan-American highway, from Albuquerque, Texas to Valparaiso, Chile in six simple words: OMG I AM GOING TO DIE.

Technically that's eight words, isn't it? Because OMG is still said ‘oh my god’ or ‘oh em gee’(unless you say ‘ohmahgah’ all fast like that… ) Sorry, I'm arguing semantics… which I get on my kids for doing. I guess I know where they get it from. >_>
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:01PM
kyupol at 9:21PM, Aug. 23, 2010
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I visited the New York back in 2008. And man… its like a total police state.

There were literally cops on every street corner with submachineguns. Its as if there's a class-A-highly-trained-super-duper-uber-1337-dangerous-ninja-terrorist-assassin on the loose.

But that's the way it is… in police state New York.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
alwinbot at 11:29AM, Aug. 24, 2010
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kyupol
I visited the New York back in 2008. And man… its like a total police state.

There were literally cops on every street corner with submachineguns. Its as if there's a class-A-highly-trained-super-duper-uber-1337-dangerous-ninja-terrorist-assassin on the loose.

But that's the way it is… in police state New York.


Stalin is our government.
Read this comic. It is the greatest journal comic ever written and drawn. Trust me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:50AM
Walrus at 1:54PM, Aug. 24, 2010
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I visited Canada about seven years ago. It was only for the afternoon, but I enjoyed it. I live in Indiana, so I loved all the waterfalls (I might have been in Quebec) and mountains. The weather there was a bit colder in the summer. All in all I liked what I saw, but I thought everything was overpriced.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:45PM
Genejoke at 3:22PM, Aug. 24, 2010
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Turkey.

The place I went to was a total tourist trap, luckily we had a pretty good hotel with some great staff which made it more bearable but the town… you couldn't take two steps without having to fight off ten people trying to sell you something, like the worst market ever. With the pushiest sales people too, it was genuinely stressful leaving the hotel.

I had a guy offer to polish my shoes, I laughed and pointed out I was wearing sandals, set about trying to polish them, then got angry when I said they didn't need polishing.

And right in front of me a turk comes up and says to my wife, “why don't you ditch the fat guy and come back to mine? you can do so much better.”

And on a booked and paid for day trip to see a number of tourist attractions the tour guide informs everyone that we would not be doing the whole tour because they would instead take us to his brothers leather factory where we would all buy leather jackets before we went home early. needless to say that kicked up a shit storm and eventually we got round everywhere and had a tour guide with an attitude all day.

I can't say I would go again, the country was lovely except the people. That may sound nasty but the amount of people I know who have said the same is worrying.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
skoolmunkee at 3:48PM, Aug. 24, 2010
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Sounds like Egypt with the people. When we did have guides they kept trying to detour us to ‘the government shop’ (for curios. government, right.), the rug factories, pottery places, etc. We came to egypt with two backpacks, we were not leaving with a rug.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM

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