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Old 10-26-2010, 01:02 PM   #1
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Default A few random thoughts...

A: Delta just earned back a little bit of my respect. When flying from ATL to CDG, wine is free. In coach. Let me say that again: unlimited free wine. Not particularly good wine, mind you, but free. And this in an era when most airlines charge you $5 for a set of $0.50 headphones so you can watch a stupid movie on a projector that hasn't been calibrated since Regan was shot.

B: The public toilets in France are a bit odd. There's not a separate plastic seat, just the ceramic bowl. I knew that some toilets in Spain were like this, but I didn't expect to see it in France.

C: For being in France, and having been designed and built by the French, De Gaulle airport is surprisingly easy to navigate. It's also beautiful, and not just airport-beautiful, but beautiful in general. Of course, that goes without saying. But man, their security folks put the TSA to shame. They are the Soup ***** of airport security.

C1: It is moderately annoying that if you arrive into Paris on a flight from the US and are connecting to a flight within the EU, you must exit security, then go through passport control, and then re-enter security again, particularly if it's a tight connection. (Fortunately, the security folks are awesome, so it doesn't take long. See C above.)

D: The Autobahn is nothing special. Good pavement quality, but it's not like there's a choir of angels as soon as you pull on, just some dude in a Carerra 4 who wants to pass you at 225 kph. On the other hand, they do seem to have rest stops every 20km or so, and they're quite nice. Actually, so are the gas stations. I had lunch at a gas station somewhere near Schümersmühle, and it was not only delicious, but also cheap. For reference, so long as you go into it with no pre-conceived expectations, orange-favored cola is surprisingly good.

E: We are truly living in the future when some guy who has never been to Europe can get off a plane in Düsseldorf, rent a car, hop in, and drive 250km to a city he's never been to on roads he's never seen without so much as consulting a map.

F: Euros are weird. They're all different sizes. IOW, the physical size of the note increases with its value. Ok, not so much weird as unfamiliar. These folks probably think it's weird that a Benjamin is the same size as a Washington.

G: As Jules said to Vince, "It's the little things."

H: Northern Germany looks exactly like southern Ohio / eastern Indiana. Exactly. Down to the corn. Well, not the towns, obviously, but the parts that you see from the Autobahn- you'd think you were on I-71, except that traffic isn't moving at 5 mph.

I: I have only seen ONE SUV so far. And zero pickup trucks. And the SUV was a Kia. I like it here.

J: Europeans, in general, put even the most eco-crazy US liberals to shame. Hell, the toilets have two separate flush buttons- one is just a light flush to deal with #1, the other is what Americans would consider a "normal" flush, to deal with the heavy stuff. And we're not just talking about the toilets in a fancy hotel, but the ones in the shipyard, too.

K: Imagine a cruise ship. Now imagine three cruise ships next to one another. Now imagine that they are all inside a building. The word "Big" does not even begin to suffice.

L: I've been up since 3:00 am Monday (pacific time) and it's starting to show. It's now 6pm Tuesday here, and I finally brushed my teeth for the first time since I left home. When you've been deprived of that simple pleasure for sufficiently long, it's amazing how good it feels.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:17 PM   #2
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Joe. I saw a picture that reminded me of you. I forgot to post it, now i must find it.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:17 PM   #3
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I found it:

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Old 10-26-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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I forgot you were headed over here. Glad you're enjoying yourself thus far. The next UFC is going to be in Hamburg up by you if you're still here then and into that kinda thing tickets are still available. If you make your way back down towards southern Germany and have a minute to spare I'd love to buy you a beer, you helped me out a lot hen I was building one of my Miatas a while back, whether you knew it or not.

Not sure how much of France you actually saw, but out of curiosity, how bad is it there right now? You see what you see on the news but how much of that is actually going on? I'm thinking about checking Paris out this weekend.
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:09 PM   #5
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A: even sham-erican gives you free blankey, pillow, and headphones on international flights.

B: weird, we saw only plastic-seated ones when we were there.

C1: Flying back sucks too. We had a layover at JFK and had to uncheck ourselves and recheck and go through security again. you'd think 2 hours was enough but not when flight 1 is late.

D: driving on european roads makes me hate american drivers even more. Not even the BAD drivers there cruise in left laneS. they move right and cruise there until they have to pass. Then they pass and get back in the lane unless there is more traffic ahead. Then they cruise in the second-to-the-right lane. The left lane is usually always open or at the very worst, has a passing car in it. There is no flashing or honking for this to occur.

Also we had awesome rest stop food in France. Seafood paella!

E: I wish I were as lucky. We did the same but without a GPS either. Quite an adventure. Good thing the Virgin Megastore had maps.

F: The 50 Euro notes are a little TOO big. I felt conspicuous with them hanging out of my US-sized wallet.

H: Do they play only american pop music on their radio in Germany too? France was all about Katy Perry.

I: diesel micro cars FTW.

J: Europe has had the twin flush system for a long time. It was univeral when we were there 5 years ago. I also learned that the "HEAVY FLUSH" is not a fixed length. Hold it down when you need to remove tenacious skids!

L: The extra long day when you arrive sucks. The getting up 9 hours early when you return is interesting. You will not be late to work!
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:11 PM   #6
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A: The toilets I saw in France had the one flush button on top of the tank. Like y8s said, you have to hold it for extra crispy stuff.

B: I saw one Hummer H2 in Paris. It took two lanes of traffic.

C: The scooters with the double front wheels were cool. No need to put your foot down at stops.

D: The combo airport/train station at Charles De Gaulle was always flooded with people.

E: Everybody smokes.

F: There are lots of slender women with nice legs.

G: Salmon crepes taste awesome.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:15 PM   #7
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C: The scooters with the double front wheels were cool. No need to put your foot down at stops.
i keep seeing those douchey things here.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:07 PM   #8
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You sound like my GF everytime she comes back from Europe lol. She has told me about the lack over large POS cars and how nice it is.

Was your Delta flight a KLM partner flight? That might explain the unlimited booze. KLM does ice cream as well.
Remember that when you're in ATL that you can go to concourse A for some Chic-Fil-A....why they don't have it in any other is beyond me considering CFA is a quintessential part of Atlanta in general, though the food selection in E beats the rest of ATL handsdown.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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I disagree about the 'bahns being "nothing special".

Try driving it in the rain and you will realize there are NO PUDDLES. So you can still do >100 MPH with good tires, without fear of hydroplaning.

That the drivers drive and merge quickly, and KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT WHEN PASSING is driver's heaven on earth, compared to here. In addition, when I drove in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, I drove in a manner that felt NORMAL, and NEVER feared a traffic ticket.

In contrast, over here I am always checking my speedometer and always checking for cops all around me. i can't drive "normally" without getting a ticket. The USA is a POLICE STATE on the freeways, and in contrast, Germany is the LAND of the FREE. How's that for irony.

In America, the often touted phase "Land of the Free" rings hollow. Most have no idea what freedom means. They think it simply means "I can talk smack about the President and not go to jail for it".

</rant>

Caveat: I used to drive a lot for work in Europe in the 90s, things may be worse now.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:26 PM   #10
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As for airlines -

The reason Delta served you wine en route to CDG is because they are competing with the international airlines.

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific are some of the best. In comparison to the US airlines, the flight attendants are almost willing to suck your dick after a meal.

BTW one of the worst flights I had was Alitalia - the seat cushions were made of boards, and the pasta was made of cotton.

As for CDG - it must have been renovated because when I was there last, it was the ARMPIT of European airports. Not only was it ugly, and had you have to go through security when changing flights, you got herded into the waiting area of your next flight, with no access to the shops without going through security AGAIN.

Agreed they take security seriously, non of the BS fake security show they put on here, and more efficiently . Even pre 911 you'd have pairs of beret'd policemen with Uzis and their finger 1 inch from the trigger, walking around the Euro airports.

The best airports for waiting in, are Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore. They have showers, massages, and very varied shopping and food, and are open from very early to very late. LAX for example, sucks ***** in comparison.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
I found it:
Haha. I take it's that's from my Chicago trip a few months ago.



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Originally Posted by KPLAFIN View Post
If you make your way back down towards southern Germany and have a minute to spare I'd love to buy you a beer,
Well, I've no idea what my schedule looks like yet. The yard is actually a couple of days behind schedule on getting power and data (and flooring) into the rooms that we need to work in, so that's gonna hurt. Plus we're losing Saturday, as that's the day that they're moving the ship out of drydock along with much pomp & circumstance.


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Not sure how much of France you actually saw, but out of curiosity, how bad is it there right now? You see what you see on the news but how much of that is actually going on? I'm thinking about checking Paris out this weekend.
I didn't get out of the airport (and didn't spend much time in it) however so far as airport operations are concerned, you'd never know anything happened, just smooth sailing and business as usual. I will say one thing for the French- if they say they're going to strike on a certain week, they hold to that schedule, and afterwards get right back to business.


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A: even sham-erican gives you free blankey, pillow, and headphones on international flights.
So did Delta on this one. Plus a hot dinner, plus a hot breakfast. Seems they're really pulling out all the stops to coddle folks on the trans-Atlantic routes.

Quote:
B: weird, we saw only plastic-seated ones when we were there.
Well, in fairness I am generalizing about an entire country based on one bathroom in terminal 2D of CDG. But I did take a picture:




One other interesting thing I've noted, and this applies to all the restrooms I've been in in both France and Germany. In a typical American public toilet, the partitions around the stall end about a foot short of the floor, and extend upward only to just about eye level. Here, they run from floor to ceiling on both sides and the front, including the door. Seems odd, given the stereotypical notion of Europeans as being quite liberated in terms of body image and sexuality.


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H: Do they play only american pop music on their radio in Germany too? France was all about Katy Perry.
Funny that you mention that. Yeah, pretty much every station is 80's pop music. In fact, on the drive over, I heard the theme from Ghost Busters my Ray Parker Jr. And in the little cafe where we had dinner tonight, it was all classical jazz covers of American & Canadian hair bands. Weird, to say the least.

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I: diesel micro cars FTW.
Haven't seen many of 'em, to be honest. A couple of Fiats, a Smart ForFour, some old Astra, etc., but the majority seem to be BMW / Merc / Audi / VW Saloons & Estates.

The articulated lorries are interesting, too. In particular, I've noted that the standard for coupling the electrical & pneumatic lines between truck & trailer seem much more robust & well thought out than what you see in the US.


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Was your Delta flight a KLM partner flight?
It was an Air France codeshare (as are many Delta flights) however AF wasn't the operating carrier. Just a straight-up Delta flight on a Delta-branded 767 carrying an Atlanta-based crew. We'll see if I get the same treatment flying back to ATL from DUS.

The CDG-DUS leg was an Air France flight, and I gotta say, even though it was just a quick 55 minute hop on a 319, they really made it quite enjoyable. Good Café, a nice basket of fresh baked goods (not packaged ****, but actual fresh-from-the-oven pastries and Croissants)


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Remember that when you're in ATL that you can go to concourse A for some Chic-Fil-A....
Hell, we've got a Chick-Fil-A in San Marcos, CA now. I prefer the Krystal which is over by A28. This time however I just grabbed a quick wrap at the health food place in the middle of Concourse E, since I knew they'd be serving a proper dinner on the flight.

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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
That the drivers drive and merge quickly, and KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT WHEN PASSING is driver's heaven on earth, compared to here. In addition, when I drove in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, I drove in a manner that felt NORMAL, and NEVER feared a traffic ticket.
Well, that's true, Driver conduct is excellent. Folks do in fact keep right except to pass, and even though a couple of Mercs and Porsches tore past us doing god-only-knows what speed, they weren't right on our tail even though a couple came up while we were passing at a slower but still faster-than-US-legal speed. They just waited politely and once we moved over, took off like a rocketship.

What I meant to convey was that the road itself, as a physical object, wasn't particularly special. I-75 in Florida is actually wider and straighter. But since it's a capitol offence to drive 75 MPH on I-75, you'd expect the Autobahn to be littered with mangled corpses and charred wreckage. And it just isn't It all works smoothly. Even when there's roadwork, they simply slow you down to 100 km/hr for a very short distance where the actual work itself is, then let you right back out again. No tailbacks, no gawkers blocks, nothing.

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In contrast, over here I am always checking my speedometer and always checking for cops all around me. i can't drive "normally" without getting a ticket. The USA is a POLICE STATE on the freeways, and in contrast, Germany is the LAND of the FREE. How's that for irony.
Well, some of the US is. I grew up in the Southeast, and I can tell you that the stereotypes are true.

By comparison, the freeways in CA are pretty lax. The limit in I5 is technically 65, but you can be doing 80 and get passed by a cop. (If there even is a cop- they mostly stay off the freeways during peak periods.)


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As for CDG - it must have been renovated because when I was there last, it was the ARMPIT of European airports. Not only was it ugly, and had you have to go through security when changing flights, you got herded into the waiting area of your next flight, with no access to the shops without going through security AGAIN.
I only saw T2, and it did look to have been built (not remodeled, but newly constructed) within the past 10-20 years or so. Very clean, very well organized, really just a great joy to pass through. I really wish I'd had a much longer layover. I could have easily spent a whole day just exploring the airport.



Quote:
Agreed they take security seriously, non of the BS fake security show they put on here, and more efficiently . Even pre 911 you'd have pairs of beret'd policemen with Uzis and their finger 1 inch from the trigger, walking around the Euro airports.
Oh, I don't mean the UZIs. I mean the folks doing the actual screening are fast & efficient. They actually herd people through the process, whereas in every US airport I've ever flown though, they just let folks dawdle.

And I have a confession to make. For the first time EVER I was "that guy."

Now, I pride myself in being a professional air traveler. By the time I'm in line at TSA I've already got my belt, watch, and keys in my bag, the laptop out of the bag and under my arm, boarding pass and ID in my front shirt pocket, and shoelaces undone ready to whip 'em off. I do not carry liquids, gels or aerosols. I carry on only a small backpack, not some huge roll-a-board that barely fits through the scanner. I am the freaking man when it comes to passing efficiently through security.

Except you remember that wrap I bought for lunch at ATL? They gave me a bottle of water. And after taking a few sips, I stuck it in my bag and forgot about it. And thus, I committed the cardinal sin- I held up the line. I grant you, it was only for a moment- they opened the bag, pulled out the water, and sent me on my way. But it hurt. A lot. My ten year streak has ended.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:56 PM   #12
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What I meant to convey was that the road itself, as a physical object, wasn't particularly special. I-75 in Florida is actually wider and straighter.
Which makes the differences in driver skills and courtesy all the more stark. Germans are capable of safely sharing the road between trucks and fast Mercs/Porsches/BMWs, despite having narrower and fewer lanes than many US Freeways. Most of the 'bahn I drove on was only 2 lanes in each direction.

P.S. The Japanese have had small/big toilet flush buttons even back in the late 80s. I want one if I ever change my toilets. It's a simple little thing that makes sense, saves money on water.

P.P.S. I added a bidet to my toilet. Cleaner, quicker, and saves on TP.

Last edited by JasonC SBB; 10-26-2010 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:41 PM   #13
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this is bringing back flash backs when i lived in germany. I'd say europe is fun to visit, but living there would drive me nuts. like you said, the liberals here in the states have nothing on them over in europe.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:24 PM   #14
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The best airports for waiting in, are Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore. They have showers, massages, and very varied shopping and food, and are open from very early to very late. LAX for example, sucks ***** in comparison.
I haven't been to Hong Kong for 30 years but Singapore is an amazing airport. You could literally live there, and live in comfort.

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P.P.S. I added a bidet to my toilet. Cleaner, quicker, and saves on TP.
Oh how I want a bidet. More sanitary, better for your bunghole, and less wiping *** with wood. Sigh.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:34 PM   #15
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do they make air dryers for your *** to follow the bidet?
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:44 PM   #16
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The Germans are big on traffic cameras in the speed zones where there are speed limits. The Swiss are terrible about them. Cameras are everywhere.

There is a certain discipline associated with driving in Germany. No one eats or drinks anything while driving. Driving is an activity and eating is an activity and you don't do both at the same time. They don't have cup holders in their cars (or didn't used to).
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:02 AM   #17
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do they make air dryers for your *** to follow the bidet?
The Japanese make 'em, but I just shimmy my booty.

The bidet I bought is a $50 add-on.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:08 AM   #18
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It was an Air France codeshare (as are many Delta flights) however AF wasn't the operating carrier. Just a straight-up Delta flight on a Delta-branded 767 carrying an Atlanta-based crew. We'll see if I get the same treatment flying back to ATL from DUS.

The CDG-DUS leg was an Air France flight, and I gotta say, even though it was just a quick 55 minute hop on a 319, they really made it quite enjoyable. Good Café, a nice basket of fresh baked goods (not packaged ****, but actual fresh-from-the-oven pastries and Croissants)


Hell, we've got a Chick-Fil-A in San Marcos, CA now. I prefer the Krystal which is over by A28. This time however I just grabbed a quick wrap at the health food place in the middle of Concourse E, since I knew they'd be serving a proper dinner on the flight.
OMG that place is sooooooo good. Luckily most of the flights I've taken out have been from E and we ALWAYS get food from that place. The pesto pasta and chicken pitas are perfect. We've gone out of our way to hit that place up when time permits. I need to get my passport though..my GF regularly travels to somewhere in Europe (France, London, Slovenia, Helsenki, Greece, Geneva and whatnot) and many of the times I have the opportunity to go for nearly free.... (I know what you're thinking...I know, I know). Hell, she's about to hit 50k flown miles for the year...




Quote:
And I have a confession to make. For the first time EVER I was "that guy."

Now, I pride myself in being a professional air traveler. By the time I'm in line at TSA I've already got my belt, watch, and keys in my bag, the laptop out of the bag and under my arm, boarding pass and ID in my front shirt pocket, and shoelaces undone ready to whip 'em off. I do not carry liquids, gels or aerosols. I carry on only a small backpack, not some huge roll-a-board that barely fits through the scanner. I am the freaking man when it comes to passing efficiently through security.

Except you remember that wrap I bought for lunch at ATL? They gave me a bottle of water. And after taking a few sips, I stuck it in my bag and forgot about it. And thus, I committed the cardinal sin- I held up the line. I grant you, it was only for a moment- they opened the bag, pulled out the water, and sent me on my way. But it hurt. A lot. My ten year streak has ended.

I'm pretty efficent when it comes to the security lines- slip-on shoes, belt buckle removed (a neat time-saving trick) and all **** out of my pockets. Only once was I pulled aside so my shoes could be "sniffed" for bomb materials...I was glad to be wearing my stinky shoes that day...I'm not very fond of the lazy ghetto TSA folk at ATL. But on my last trip (Houston) I packed up my bathroom essentials in the hotel and stuck them in my suitcase...instead of the one that was to be checked-in. So after getting through security at IAH, I realized that my 6oz hair product and 5.5oz deodorant was in my carry-on.....oops. It makes me wonder, do TSA see this stuff and profile who tha bag belongs to...or do they really not see it?
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:16 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Which makes the differences in driver skills and courtesy all the more stark. Germans are capable of safely sharing the road between trucks and fast Mercs/Porsches/BMWs, despite having narrower and fewer lanes than many US Freeways. Most of the 'bahn I drove on was only 2 lanes in each direction.
That about sums it up, really. I don't think we ever saw anything wider than two lanes / direction, and while there were a fair number of lorries and little Fiats / Astras / whatnot, I don't think we ever came to a point where slow(er) traffic was taking up both lanes rendering us unable to pass.

Awareness. That's the word I've been groping for. The folks here seem to pay attention to what's going on around them.


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P.P.S. I added a bidet to my toilet. Cleaner, quicker, and saves on TP.
Haven't seen a bidet here yet, though I haven't been invited into anyone's home yet. That was one thing I miss from my childhood- at the family homes in Puerto Rico, it went without saying that every WC was equipped with a bidet. Wonderful invention, that.



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this is bringing back flash backs when i lived in germany. I'd say europe is fun to visit, but living there would drive me nuts. like you said, the liberals here in the states have nothing on them over in europe.
Honestly, I haven't yet encountered any fascist liberalism, or even anti-American sentiment which I'd expected and been prepared for. We've been to one place for far (OBI, which is almost exactly like Home Depot right down to the particular shade of orange) where the lady at the checkout didn't speak English, and even that transaction we managed to muddle through without too much trouble.



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do they make air dryers for your *** to follow the bidet?
I've heard that the Japanese do, however I've never seen them in the west.


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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
The Germans are big on traffic cameras in the speed zones where there are speed limits. The Swiss are terrible about them. Cameras are everywhere.
Interesting. I haven't noticed any yet. Not saying they aren't there, but I know that in the UK the cameras are conspicuous and well-signed, whereas I haven't seen anything to indicate that I'm being remotely monitored on the road. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen a single police car.


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OMG that place is sooooooo good.
There must be some special term for people who excitedly compare airport facilities with the fervor of two sports fans discussing the big game.

I really miss the pedestrian tunnel that ran between A and B. If you had a long layover and wanted someplace quiet to sit and read, there was a room at each end of that tunnel right next to the service elevator and mechanical room where you could sit and read in absolute peace and quiet. Access to the tunnel seemed to disappear when they remodeled concourse B.

Although I found a much better secret place at CLT recently. Above the central atrium area where all the concourses come together in the middle there's a level where the airport offices, USO, etc are located. You can freely roam that corridor, and they have a few quiet and secluded spots, plus one very nice public restroom. (It's meant for the airport manager's office I think, but there's nothing to keep the public out.)
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:31 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Interesting. I haven't noticed any yet. Not saying they aren't there, but I know that in the UK the cameras are conspicuous and well-signed, whereas I haven't seen anything to indicate that I'm being remotely monitored on the road. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen a single police car.
You won't see them in Germany most likely. They're usually very inconspicuous and not marked like I hear they are in the UK (painted bright yellow supposedly?) You also won't see many polizei either, especially on the autobahns, I have seen one on occasion near border crossings snagging random people to question about coming back from the Netherlands with drugs, but I've never seen them running hand radar or anything of that nature, all of that is controlled by cameras.
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