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"Safe Travel before the Election"

Old Oct 21st, 2004, 07:40 AM
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"Safe Travel before the Election"

Re: this now-closed post:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34536109

We spent 8 days in France (ret'd last night) and NO ONE CARED that we were American. NO ONE ASKED any questions about Bush/Kerry, politics, war, Iraq or anything. We ate out, stayed in hotels, rented a car, traveled by train, visited chateaux, walked about, and never felt the least bit unwelcome. We were served with a smile, given 'reductions' in a couple of places, even had the run of the chateau in Montresor all to ourselves (the keeper unlocked the door and told us to have a nice visit). The only reference to being American was after I paid our Paris hotel bill, and was rolling my bag toward the door, the desk clerk called out "Bon President!" and smiled broadly. I interpreted that to mean "have a good election" or something to that effect.

I am sure Europeans are interested in our politics and the outcome of the election, but this was never made an issue on a personal level as we traveled.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 07:49 AM
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Good to hear!
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Ha ha! I just re-read the original post with my head in my hands - and am STILL stunned that anyone thought that anyone would give a toss - or that the election would be the hot topic of conversation in the cafes of Paris!

The world doesn't revolve around the States, you know?! (And that's from someone who adores the States, so I'm not being anti-American...)

Travelnut: I'm delighted that you had a good time and that nobody bored you with political talk.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Hi Tallulah
>..stunned that anyone thought that anyone would give a toss - or that the election would be the hot topic of conversation in the cafes of Paris!<

This morning CNN did a report on The Guardian (UK) urging its readers to send emls to people in a small town in Ohio urging them to vote for a particular candidate.

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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:20 AM
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That's because the Guardian is a left-wing newspaper. The average person on the street (or in the restaurant or working in the shop etc etc) is NOT going to stop you because they hear an American accent and either demand to know your political stance or harangue you for having an idiot as President! Really, Ira, they're just not.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Do American's really stand out so much that this is even an issue? I don't think most Europeans can even detect an American "accent". I have been asked if I was Austalian, British, or Canadian many times while traveling in Europe. Maybe I just don't look like an American, but what does an American look like? Okay, I have a mental picture of the stereotype, but do we actually look like that when we are outside, say, Disneyland?

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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:24 AM
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Actually, Tallulah, when I traveled this summer in Europe I was surprised at the level to which the election WAS a hot topic of conversation. The newspapers were filled with it, news shows on TV as well, to the extent that I figured Europeans are probably more knowledgeable about the election than most people here in the U.S. Certainly our cab driver out to Stansted Airport was very interested and became emotional and distracted enough while discussing it that the ride was quite physically harrowing.

I only wish there was as much general interest in the U.S. about world affairs and politics.

All the more reason to travel. Stimulating conversation with interested people with many perspectives.

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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:31 AM
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Hi Tallulah

Only idiots would say that about our great President. I expect the smart people in Europe know we have a strong, determined leader who will start to look even better and better after he is re-elected in Nov.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:32 AM
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Talullah, interestingly enough, on our recent trip to Paris and Andalucia, the French and Spanish never mentioned the election. It was the British expatriots in Spain that continually raised the issue. They were rabid on the subject!
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Americans tend to - after they cut their meat - switch forks from their left hands to their right hands. Europeans convey the cut meat with their left hands.

There are many overt and hidden indications of where you are from.

The conversational distance - i.e., the distance at which one feels comfortable conducting a face to face conversation - is different for Americans vs. Europeans.

People in other countries are preoccupied with their own issues; what goes on in the US is a sideshow to them. Americans - particularly those who travel - should try to understand what local issues are. Adds to global understanding and friendship.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:35 AM
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My Italian/Irish/English/French friends & I have been discussing the upcoming election. We have been for the last four years......When I arrive in Venice in two weeks I'm sure the discussions will continue. But we will be discussing the RESULTS of the election.
What the US government does....does effect other nations!!!
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:40 AM
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hansikday: You funny, funny person! I can barely type for laughing!

Ooh, get me! I'm discussing American politics and the election...

Perhaps I was a bit too sweeping in my assessment that NOBODY cares, perhaps I should have said that the majority of people aren't going to start talking politics just because you're American. Of course the media is going to cover it, given the mess that the world is in thanks to Mr GWB and daddy's cronies...

I'm personally more concerned that you're having a nice holiday in London (since that's where I live) and that you aren't being ripped off by the exorbitant prices and that you're going to go away with happy memories. I'm not going to grill you on your political prediliction.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:41 AM
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I was recently in the Swiss/French Alps, and only once was I approached about politics. I was having a conversation with a very nice French lady. We talked about many things, and then she asked my opinion of who would win the election and how I felt about the situation. I could tell by the way she presented the question that she would respect my opinion, regardless of what it was. We then went on to talk about our dogs, life in our respective countries, etc. It was not a major issue to her, just something that came up in polite conversation.

I agree with Tallulah that the world doesn't revolve around the US, but I have observed that Europeans know a lot more about US politics than most Americans know about European politics. I admire the fact that Europeans are so well-informed.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 09:30 AM
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You notice how everyone except Tallulah was able to play nice and not be insulting?
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 09:45 AM
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< I'm personally more concerned that you're having a nice holiday in London (since that's where I live) and that you aren't being ripped off by the exorbitant prices and that you're going to go away with happy memories.>

Sounds pretty nice to me...
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 10:00 AM
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"...I don't think most Europeans can even detect an American "accent"..."

Interestingly enough, one of the receptionists at Hotel Diderot (Chinon) asked me where we were from. She seemed a little surprised when I said "Florida" and she commented that my husband sounded 'different', perhaps a Texas accent. She was delighted to learn that we both grew up in Texas then moved to Florida, thus vindicating her 'ear'.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 10:06 AM
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While I have not experienced any outright hostility towards me or my wife personally, I have been asked direct questions about Bush and why he is such a "war monger" etc. I have tried to avoid getting into any discussions but the questions still get asked. I found that the country that seemed to be the most anti-Bush was Ireland. I am firmly anti-Bush but I find it expedient to never get into those kinds of discussions when traveling. A low profile so to speak.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 10:07 AM
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I would suspect most people take a moderate interest, even if they refuse to admit it, in who will be the next president of the US.

But - the BBC (British Brodcasting Co) will be sending some 300 staff to report on the Elections - so that made me think we are going to get it rammed down a throats like it or not, until I found out that they sent 150 staff to report on the British open Golf tournament.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Tallulah was not playing nice? Hmmm, maybe I just more thick-skinned than most.
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