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Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 19, 2014 10:33 pm

But despite these things, Dan Brown's novel is still a novel which should be taken with no more than a grain of salt and a free ticket to the Louvre in Paris. You will see there the Mona Lisa, perhaps the Last Supper, if you can navigate through the crowds. And you will find that even a free ticket will not be so free if the pickpockets there help themselves to your wallet, as happened to my husband. Pullman's trilogy, directed at children was an even worse worry to me since it was confusing, distorted, took potshots at the Church, accusing it of warping people's judgement, and seemed to insist that there was no usefully good Supreme Being who would assist people in trouble.


waggawerewolf(from another friend but my reply suits this thread more). I went to the louvre with my sister(I don't have a huge interest in art). I saw the mona lisa(to me it was just a painting but to others no). There was a huge crowd around it and hardly anyone looking at the other paintings(many of which were much more interesting imo).

The amount of scammers in paris is just annoying. One man gave me a and my sister a rose and made dad pay for it and wouldn't let us return them. He basically throw the rose at me. Another women dropped a ring on the ground pretended she had found it and gave it to my sister and said she could keep it. Than she asked for money. We couldn't sit down without some scammer coming up to us. My anger management was tested.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 20, 2014 2:31 am

IlF wrote:waggawerewolf(from another friend but my reply suits this thread more). I went to the louvre with my sister(I don't have a huge interest in art). I saw the mona lisa(to me it was just a painting but to others no). There was a huge crowd around it and hardly anyone looking at the other paintings(many of which were much more interesting imo).


Yes, you are right. People are so obsessed with the Mona Lisa they fail to see what the other pictures are all about. And Art isn't all you see there, anyway. The Louvre is about so much more than paintings, and I'm not sorry I went, only that the visit turned out to be a bit of a disaster. You need at least 3 days there to see everything, and the Mona Lisa is just one of a crowd of statues, ancient artifacts, furnishings, and much else.

What happened on our expedition was that we went for a guided tour, but, despite all the signs around warning against pickpockets, halfway along my husband found out his wallet was missing from his hip pocket, in the room where you see Venus De Milo and the statue of Nike. Our beautiful eldest daughter got on the mobile phone straightaway and cancelled all his credit cards in Australia, and we also went to security within the Louvre. We were told to go to the Gendarmerie, which we did. And by that time we'd completely lost track of the guide and our group, anyway.

But the Louvre management did say we could come back and so the journey wasn't completely wasted after all. We did get to see a few other things we wanted to see, which included Hammurabi's codex, and also the Moab stele, a must for the Christians on this site. I could have seen a few other archaeological exhibits, that I've seen mentioned, if I'd been less upset and more prepared. We did get to see some interesting exhibits, but not much to do with the French Crown Jewels, which we wanted to see, and thought might be on display there. But these crown jewels are scattered around France, including Rheims, unlike the British situation, where we saw heaps, not only in the Tower of London, but also in Buckingham Palace, where they had a Diamond Jubilee display of some of the Queen's tiaras we see her wearing on our Aussie coinage.

We did get the wallet back, including all credit cards, over a week later. The cleaners at the Louvre found the wallet, missing only the 200 Euros I'd allotted to my husband when we arrived in Paris, for his spending money, and the Louvre management rang us just as we were about to depart to Charles de Gaulle Airport to go to Scotland. At my request, they sent the wallet, complete with the credit cards we had cancelled, his Medicare card, Driver's Licence etc, plus a nice letter in French, to our home address in Australia, where our other two daughters collected it in the mail the following week. I wasn't surprised, a year later, that the staff at the Louvre had gone on strike because of the way pickpockets made their life a misery.

Yes I agree about the beggars and hawkers around Paris. Some hawkers of giant Eiffel towers chased me at Versailles, determined to make a sale. But I certainly didn't want to buy something like that which would have taken far too much room in our suitcases. And in the cemetary at Pere LaChaise, my husband & daughter had to fend off someone who wanted to show them, around but wanted paying anyway for his volunteered "services".

There were also a lot of beggars, some of whom were really heart-wrenching, especially when they were accompanied by children, even their pet animals. Others were intrusive and frightening. None of them looked like they were starving.

We do get people like that in Sydney occasionally, but never so aggressive or frightening. I only ever saw one beggar in UK in all three times I've been there, and she was wearing a bit of cloth over her face, which wouldn't be allowed in France. When a couple of weeks later, we went around Eastern Europe we saw plenty of street theatre, which we enjoyed, but not many beggars and hawkers as in Paris, and I am wondering if this Paris situation happens elsewhere to that extent.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby King_Erlian » Feb 20, 2014 6:25 am

I had a similar experience the last time I went to Paris about three years ago. My friend whom I was travelling with was targeted by pickpockets at the Gare du Nord. I think Paris has a particular problem that you don't often find anywhere else.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shantih » Feb 20, 2014 1:41 pm

I've never been pickpocket-ed in any of the months I've spent in Paris over the years (or anywhere else come to think of it), I don't know if this is because of growing up in and around London so I'm always very aware of where my purse/camera is and keeping my bag in a position where it isn't vulnerable. Paris does have a lot of the 'scammers' that ILoveFauns mentioned, London has them too but no where near as many.

After living in Oxford I've been astounded at how a lot of tourists will stroll around with expensive cameras in full view when they aren't being used, or that will leave belongings unattended while browsing in a shop and then are bewildered when they get stolen. I guess people don't view somewhere like Oxford as having much crime but generally tourists = pickpockets where ever you go. Last week I had to persuade a tourist not to count his £50 notes in the middle of a cafe, people are far too trusting!

(This has turned into an anti-theft ramble. CONSTANT. VIGILANCE.)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 21, 2014 8:01 pm

Yes, you are right, Shantih. Oxford, the site of the famous university, would have a lot to see. The Great Hall of the Harry Potter books in the accompanying films, was modelled on the refectory at Christchurch College, I believe. A pub with a pinkish cement rendered exterior - The King's Arms, I think - was a feature in a police drama series my husband liked to watch, and there are a couple of mementos of Alice in Wonderland to see, including the White Rabbit in a stained glass window in one of the colleges.

There is one college but I don't know which one it is, which has a row of heads of what looks like Roman Emperors along its front fence. Would you by any chance know which one it is? And didn't C.S.Lewis, who studied there, teach at one or two of the colleges?

I can quite understand and applaud anyone ranting about pickpockets & the need for Constant.Vigilance. :D I've even been warned not to wear my wedding & engagement ring because of the pickpockets. Though to steal them, it could end up with my having to part with a finger as well.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 21, 2014 10:19 pm

wagga. I believe Lewis taught at Oxford, and later at Cambridge.
As for pickpockets. I have never had the displeasure. Though I have never been overseas, yet. My older brother was in Europe several years ago though, and related a rather amusing run in with one. I think it was in a train station in Hungary. Not another soul around as my brother walked across the station when this teenager lumbers by, and "accidently bumps" him. My brother didn't know whether to be angry, or laugh at how absurd it was.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Feb 22, 2014 5:35 am

Sounds like the thief was new at his "job". :p
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 22, 2014 9:02 pm

Warrior 4 Jesus wrote:Sounds like the thief was new at his "job". :p


Very possibly that thief was new at the "job". When we were at the Louvre I did spot a group of beefy looking teenaged boys, all dressed in scarlet red T-shirts and blackish pants. One particular broth of a boy had the wildest black hair I've seen anyone wear. The group looked like they were on a school excursion, except that mid-August is still school holidays for many in France and England, I believe. And except that the day we went there happened to coincide with a public holiday in Paris. We were told by management and the police that they had seen groups of "Gypsies" in the Louvre that day. However, we didn't see many of these people outside of Paris, apart from at Versailles, outside the gate, on the way back to where the buses were parked.

King_Erlian wrote:I had a similar experience the last time I went to Paris about three years ago. My friend whom I was travelling with was targeted by pickpockets at the Gare du Nord. I think Paris has a particular problem that you don't often find anywhere else.


You could be right, but the Gare du Nord is the station from where the Eurostar departs back to England. This would be a good place to access for anyone trying to get to England illegally.

Going to the police station in Paris was an interesting experience, since their one English-speaker staffer was at lunch or something. So it was fortunate that we had enough French between us to make ourselves understood and to make a statement. But then the Police couldn't understand my writing, so the final copy of the statement was interesting, to say the least. They confused '7's and '1's, o's and a's and much else. :(
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 22, 2014 11:47 pm

My brother was nearly attacked in paris. He was just sitting on a chair waiting for me and dad and some guy came up and tried to punch him. Though this has happened to my brother in Australia to. He must be a target for such people.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Jun 02, 2014 5:53 am

Question for you Australians on here. I love your licorice. No, strike that...I adore your licorice. My Maternal Unit also loves your licorice and between she and I and my sister Liz we'll sit at the kitchen table eating Australian licorice until are tongues are ready to fall off. The vast majority of folks here in the US don't care for licorice at all, although those of us that do make up for it in the increased volume we consume per annum. ;)) Do you guys eat licorice by the plateful or something? I can't imagine living with licorice that good and not having some almost everyday if I could help it. :@) We really only have access to Darrell Lea brand and that only at a few select places that only sometimes have it. Are there other brands over there that you guys might enjoy more? And what are your thoughts on Licorice Allsorts?

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I love Allsorts. :D And now to the true purpose of my post. Is there any way I can get any of the Aussies on here to send me bulk licorice, perhaps in a giant crate or 55 gallon drum, overseas to me so I never have to look for it again? I will name my next child after you if you do and erect a giant statue in your honor in front of my home. ;))
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Jun 02, 2014 6:59 am

I am not a huge fan of the stuff myself but if you are serious about the posting think pm me(though that would mean calling your child Danyelle, Daniel or Danny...ha). My uncle is a huge fan of allsorts, and my dad/mum happily ate the black jelly beans when I was a kid. I think this like for liquorice has skipped my generation(none of my cousins or siblings like it).
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Jun 22, 2014 11:06 pm

Bringing the conversation about tipping back over here.

I checked our prices against yours. It isn't easy because we use metric and not imperial. A gallon is 3.78541178 litres. USD $2.50 for a gallon of milk is therefore cheap besides our AUD $2.00 for a 2 litre container of milk. This is a cheap rate from Coles. Other providers might charge more. We'd be spending $4.00 AUD or more for the same gallon of milk you get charged $2.50.

Petrol is also expensive. Thanks to the latest Iraq situation, it has gone up to $1.69 per litre of petrol. Multiply that by 3.785 and you get $6.39775 AUD per gallon. It is worse outside the big cities as in the countryside the chain of supply has to factor in the price of petrol or diesel that is needed to transport goods to some places. I don't know how you calculate your income tax, because tips down here can go through the cash register, along with the payments, and therefore the true picture is reflected in the night's takings, when they are compared with the cash register receipts.

There is a further difficulty in comparisons. An Australian dollar is currently 0.938 of 1 USD.

Like IlF I can see what you mean by the need for tipping. But wages as low as $2.13 an hour would still be considered slave labour here. I've earned more doing letter box drops years ago. And with that there is a chance to bundle up your deliveries to increase the money earned. Do "waitresses" earn the same as "waiters"? Because both men and women are called waiters here. You see, I wondered if the bad attitudes displayed by churchgoers at Sunday dinner were due to sexism. Would they treat a man the same way?

I agree with ILF that wages here can be as low as $16 or $17 per hour, but less is taken out for a casual or part-time worker, such as provisions for sick leave and annual leave. Many university students depend on such casual or part-time labour to pay their way through university, so at the rate of pay you mention they probably would look elsewhere for work. If the Sunday diners can't afford tipping for weekend service, why don't they go home & cook their own Sunday dinner?


Australia is one of the fairest countries in the world. In all honestly as much as some of us complain it is one of the best countries. Our minimum wage is decent compared to most countries. Though our system is not free of loop holes. I am not classified as independent because I didn't earn enough money during my gap year, but yet I have not borrowed any money from anywhere, paied for everything myself, but yet my youth allowance is still based on my parents wages. It is a complicated system. Anyway I am searching for a part-time job because my savings will not last forever and the little I get a fortnight won't cover everything forever.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Jun 23, 2014 12:46 am

And back to liquorice. I enjoy it in small doses. I think I prefer liquorice Allsorts to regular liquorice. I only found out about raspberry and mango versions several years ago. They're not true liquorice, but I enjoy them.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Jun 24, 2014 11:29 pm

I honestly find the gun culture in the USA very frightening. On the gruen transfer(an Australian television series about advertising) I saw an advertisement about guns for young children. Often when I see these debates about gun ownership the person for it often has a very flawed shallow argument(honestly these people make piers Morgan look decent). I know that some Americans don't think that other countries should have an opinion about there countries laws.

Anyway I do not understand the whole gun culture thing in america. Honestly us Australians, and I would say the British get on better without them. So we don't start discussing politics I should get to the point of my post. I find the gun culture strange about America. So what do you guys find strange about other countries? culture-wise?
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Jun 25, 2014 3:29 am

I will say that firearms have been an integral piece of American culture since before we were even our own nation. The vast majority of people either collect firearms, hunt with them, or use them for self defense, although their nature is such that you'll find them unfortunately used for bad things like crime as well. The right to own a firearm is one that's guaranteed in our nation's Constitution and that for a variety of reasons I won't go into here, suffice it to say that hunting is not the sole purpose of gun ownership. I purchased my first rifle last month, an old Mosin-Nagant 91/30 WW2 Soviet battle rifle. My goal is to eventually get at least one of each firearm used in that war by each nation (and a few WW1 weapons too, and if I can swing it I'd love a Kentucky long rifle as well), but most collectors never achieve that level and end up with a dozen at the most ;)). The vast majority of gun owners here are law abiding citizens who follow the rules and regulations for gun ownership, but as is the case with almost any people group you'll find a few bad apples tends to give the whole bunch an image problem. More than this I cannot say without the conversation steering into political waters, but if you wish to discuss it further I'm always willing to talk about it via PM. B-)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Ithilwen » Jun 25, 2014 1:06 pm

IloveFauns wrote:I honestly find the gun culture in the USA very frightening. On the gruen transfer(an Australian television series about advertising) I saw an advertisement about guns for young children... Anyway I do not understand the whole gun culture thing in america. Honestly us Australians, and I would say the British get on better without them.

Shadowlander wrote:I will say that firearms have been an integral piece of American culture since before we were even our own nation. The vast majority of people either collect firearms, hunt with them, or use them for self defense

When it comes to the US, gun culture varies a good deal. I've never been to the South or the East, but I've heard that guns are much more popular there.

Here in the West, they are not popular. I don't know anyone here who likes or owns guns. In fact, I don't think I've ever even seen a gun in my life. If I did, it would have been in a museum display or something.

I've been to the Midwest multiple times and know a lot of people there. I haven't seen any guns when I've been there, but I do know of one person who owns one that he uses for hunting.
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