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  #11  
Old 12-05-2011
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Interesting that three people listed their prefenences and two agreed on not liking Egypt. Most impressive thing there other than the Pyramids is the traffic. Four lane road with six lanes of traffic and stop signals are officially regarded as 'advisory only' and people cross these roads anywhere and I never saw an accident. I think that the people are, in their own way, very careful drivers because the rules and systems for traffic that we have do not exist there. The other car thing that was impressive was that in Islamic Cairo (I know it is all Islamic, but that it what one old district is called), the street are lined with cars parked with no more than a foot of space between bumpers (usually less). I don't know if you buy a car and get a crane to lower it into a space where it stays forever. Never saw anyone parking or unparking but I can't imagine how it is done.
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2011
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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Interesting that three people listed their prefenences and two agreed on not liking Egypt. Most impressive thing there other than the Pyramids is the traffic. Four lane road with six lanes of traffic and stop signals are officially regarded as 'advisory only' and people cross these roads anywhere and I never saw an accident. I think that the people are, in their own way, very careful drivers because the rules and systems for traffic that we have do not exist there. The other car thing that was impressive was that in Islamic Cairo (I know it is all Islamic, but that it what one old district is called), the street are lined with cars parked with no more than a foot of space between bumpers (usually less). I don't know if you buy a car and get a crane to lower it into a space where it stays forever. Never saw anyone parking or unparking but I can't imagine how it is done.
Maybe they watch Seinfeld - the episode where Kramer's uncle or something found a great parking spot, so he quit using his car so he wouldn't lose the spot.
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Old 12-05-2011
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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
Maybe they watch Seinfeld - the episode where Kramer's uncle or something found a great parking spot, so he quit using his car so he wouldn't lose the spot.
The Seinfeld writer had been to Cairo - it really was incredible. I doubt I will ever go back there but it would be worth standing there for a few hours and seeing if anyone ever leaves - and how they do it
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2011
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Interesting comments all, and I hope we got more people participating.

I had an intriguing experience on my first visit to Europe a number of years ago. I expected to really fall in love with London. My parents were born in UK and there are so many cultural links to England and London - from street names in Toronto to all the movies we see set there. I very much liked the city (so much to see and do - cheap theatre tickets - the only cheap thing there btw) but I liked it in the same way that I like NYC ie I did not fall in love with the place.

Went to Paris and absolutely fell in love. I know it is not all that is Paris. Other than to and from the airport and coming into town on the trains I have only seen the downtown bits and I know that the suburds are pretty dreadful - but what a downtown. I even know where I want to live (can't afford it mind you, but we can dream). It just seemed such a civilized place and on a human scale for such a large city. Still trying to figure out this happened. Know cultural connection other than a few movies (the new Woody Allen shows he loves the city too) and my French is brutal (63% in grade 12 French in 1966 with no real learning since then). I even like Parisians - they were not the cold, standoffish people I had been led to believe them to be.
Yeah, Paris was a hoot the first time I went there. I remember walking along the Seine as dawn was breaking on my last day there. Beautiful. The food, wine, women, galleries, museums and monumental buildings all lived up to their promise. Should I ever return to France however, I most want a return visit to Lyon and to visit the French Basque Country.

As for London, I wonder whether my bad initial experience echoes yours in that my mother is English and at the time so I thought was my father. To be frank I was bought up to be as much an English gentleman living in the colonies as I was native born Australian. Like so many Australians of my generation I first visited the "mother" country expecting to be greeted with open arms only to be looked down on as no more than a colonial of doubtful heritage. That first visit most certainly awakened in me both my true Australianism and my republicanism. England didn't give a flying fluck about me so they could go fluck themselves. To boot my last surviving English relatives turned out to be racist, right wing, xenophobic, homophobic arseholes who I studiously avoided ever contacting again.

Since then I've returned on numerous occasions, have made a bunch of friends both inside London and out and have grown to at least tolerate London while thoroughly enjoying the beyond. One simply has to accept that unless you have very deep pockets and/or like admittedly very good Indian food you will starve, while on the other hand the museums, galleries, theatres and the like are hard to beat.

Funnily enough my last visit to Paris was bloody awful. Go figure.

What's more the Pom's initial opinion was closer to the truth than I then thought as my father turned out to be partly descended from an Irish convict shipped to Australia in the late 18th century.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2011
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I've just realised that this thread is slumming with the riff raff in Off Topic. Personally I think it is relevent enough to aspiring cruisers for it to mix in civilised society and so we are off to the green and pleasant land of General Discussion.
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Who are you calling 'riff-raff'? Oh, you mean us - that's ok then. I forgot something that I might have put in my highlights list. We rented a boat on the Canal du Midi in southern France - an amazing experience. The boat looked like a regular flying bridge power cruiser that had been left in the sun too long and melted so it was lower than expected. Also you had to really duck down under the bridges. The boats are governed to go no more than 6 mph so the pace is very leisurely.

The canal opened in 1680 so it is not a brute force/straightline thing. It follows the contours of the land, to the right around one hill and the left around the next. In some sections there are 300 year old plane trees making an arch over the entire canal. They planted something like 1.5 million of them to stabliize the banks. You can either stop at a town dock (free) or pull over anywhere and drive a couple of metal stakes into the crowd to tie to. Much of the area we passed through was vineyards (Occitan) and in some places they leave a wine barrel next to the canal with bottles on it. You stop, take what you want and leave the money. A wonderfully civilized place. Hope to go back.

BTW, I thought Aussies who could proof descent from the convicts are the aristocracy of the country? In Canada it used to be the United Empire Loyalists - what the Americans called Tories. People who left the US during the Revolution or right after because they wanted to live in a British land. Fifty years ago it was a big deal and such people put the letters UEL after their names like a degree. Now, no one cares, nor should they.
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Old 12-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
[*]Start with HP's question, what place (not country) on earth would you most like to visit before you die - that you have not visited previously? the Arctic - from Ellesmere to the North Pole[*]What are the three places (in order) that you have ever visited that you liked most (could be for whatever reason you choose - history, scenery, activity, or ?) Newfoundland - great scenery, great people crappy food; Italy - great food, beautiful people, fantastic history, did I mention the food?; British Columbia - great scenery, best diving, very diverse[*]What country (ies) have you visited that you liked a lot more than you expected? France - people were nowhere near as snotty as expected (in fact they were very pleasant); some of the food was brilliant (foie gras, cheeses) some not so much, but I love the feel of the place. I was especially pleasantly surprised by Paris. I've been there three times and would love to go with my wife. Also Hong Kong - not at all what I thought it would be. I had the chance to see the hoity toity parts and the less posh side of things. Both had something to offer.[*]What country (ies) have you visited that you did not like as much as you thought you would? Switzerland - the scenery is breathtaking (it looks like all the pictures you see with the mountains and the cows with bells etc. Some of the people there ruined it for me - very 'Swiss'![*]How many countries have you visited in your life? (Count colonies and territories as separate countries here - so Martinique and France would count as two even though Martinique is part of France) 16[*]How many countries have you visited by sailboat? just Canada[*]What country that you have not visited would you really like to go to?[/LIST]South Africa, Australia, India, Thailand, Vietnam etc. etc. etc.

If anyone thinks of another good question, we can add it to the list. I will post my answers once I work them out.
*
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Old 12-05-2011
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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Who are you calling 'riff-raff'? Oh, you mean us - that's ok then. I forgot something that I might have put in my highlights list. We rented a boat on the Canal du Midi in southern France - an amazing experience. The boat looked like a regular flying bridge power cruiser that had been left in the sun too long and melted so it was lower than expected. Also you had to really duck down under the bridges. The boats are governed to go no more than 6 mph so the pace is very leisurely.

The canal opened in 1680 so it is not a brute force/straightline thing. It follows the contours of the land, to the right around one hill and the left around the next. In some sections there are 300 year old plane trees making an arch over the entire canal. They planted something like 1.5 million of them to stabliize the banks. You can either stop at a town dock (free) or pull over anywhere and drive a couple of metal stakes into the crowd to tie to. Much of the area we passed through was vineyards (Occitan) and in some places they leave a wine barrel next to the canal with bottles on it. You stop, take what you want and leave the money. A wonderfully civilized place. Hope to go back.

BTW, I thought Aussies who could proof descent from the convicts are the aristocracy of the country? In Canada it used to be the United Empire Loyalists - what the Americans called Tories. People who left the US during the Revolution or right after because they wanted to live in a British land. Fifty years ago it was a big deal and such people put the letters UEL after their names like a degree. Now, no one cares, nor should they.
English restauranteur Rick Stein made a series taking a canal boat down the Canal du Midi a couple of years back. Great stuff. Certainly made me want to do it though I fear I'd need to spend a couple of hours a day cycling to keep my waistline vaguely intact.



You know there was an American couple by the name of Johnson (Irving and Electa). The people the Sail Training ships are named after. Their story in itself is a fascinating one but of interest here, the last Yankee was a 65' steel schooner with tabernacle stepped masts and twin lifting centreboards so she could "cross oceans and climb mountains". Intriguing concept.

Fascinating man Johnson. Mid west farm boy who ran away to sea. Apparently had lifelong ambition to do so and to train for it he climbed telegraph posts and did head stands on the top. He and Exy did seven circuits in three Yankees each time with different crews of sail trainees.



Sorry, drfited a bit there.
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2011
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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
In Canada it used to be the United Empire Loyalists - what the Americans called Tories. People who left the US during the Revolution or right after because they wanted to live in a British land. Fifty years ago it was a big deal and such people put the letters UEL after their names like a degree. Now, no one cares, nor should they.
That must have been an East coast thing - I was born here and never heard of it.
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As for London, I wonder whether my bad initial experience echoes yours in that my mother is English and at the time so I thought was my father. To be frank I was bought up to be as much an English gentleman living in the colonies as I was native born Australian. Like so many Australians of my generation I first visited the "mother" country expecting to be greeted with open arms only to be looked down on as no more than a colonial of doubtful heritage. That first visit most certainly awakened in me both my true Australianism and my republicanism. England didn't give a flying fluck about me so they could go fluck themselves. To boot my last surviving English relatives turned out to be racist, right wing, xenophobic, homophobic arseholes who I studiously avoided ever contacting again.
That sounds a lot like the English when I lived there as a kid in the early 60's. I had my introduction to racism there - I think the victims in my little town were Indian or Pakistani but they might have been Caribbean (memory has aged a bit since then!). The boys were always being jumped by groups of white boys. I remember being puzzled by it. I later heard the venerable Britishism "The Wogs begin at Calais" which I feel best describes their racist xenophobia.

And by the way, your heritage wasn't "doubtful" to them, it was downright unacceptable. You might as well have jumped ship from the prison hulk. Funnily enough, the Royals spend more time in Oz than they do in Canada.

You have to credit them one thing though - NO-ONE can do snotty condescension like a Brit with a good accent. The longer it's been since anyone in their family did anything useful, the snottier they are.

Outside of London though you don't run into nearly so much of it, but they can sure be a frustrating people to deal with in nearly every other way - they STILL haven't come to terms with the end of Empire. They do still have what Churchill described as "This green and pleasant island" though.
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