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Vacation Travel Plans, Suggestions, Advice

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    edited September 2010
    Guys I know who retired to Mexico take two aspirin and get on an airplane when they get sick.

    Of course, I have a couple of other friends who head that direction for medical tourism.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Interesting that you should mention the Americans who retired in Mexico, because I've been thinking about those folks recently. I don't know of any personally, but I know that a good number of U.S. citizens retired in Mexico. I wonder what the inflow versus the outflow of retirees has been in the last couple of years, in view of the increase in narco crime.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,344
    "Go Cougs"

    If they don't fumble the hand off on their first possession, you'll see a small miracle.

    Last time I was on the Hill was 05 for our 50th Class Reunion and I haven't any desire to return soon.

    Wish you a great weekend. :)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    I dunno - seems to be plenty of that in the states too, though perhaps more property crime than deadly drug wars between the gangs. I've had stuff stolen in Memphis, St. Louis and got pick-pocketed in Mexico City, and I'd go back to Mexico City tomorrow if I had the chance. I'd just stay off the subway this time. :shades:

    Not having much facility in picking up languages, I never much wanted to be an ex-pat (unless we went to Newfoundland perhaps).

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,305
    edited September 2010
    If I had a substantial independent cash flow, I think I'd move to/retire in Switzerland.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    I think about 2 million Americans now live in Mexico.

    Switzerland---well god bless you, but the Swiss, as efficient and clever as they are, would drive me crazy with their fussiness and hard-nosed pragmatism.

    When you drive from Switzerland to Italy, it's like when the color of the movie changes in the Wizard of Oz.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,305
    edited September 2010
    Hey, at least they are less OCD about pointless regulation than the Germans - I love driving in Germany due to the all around level of skill, but I can't stand the litigiousness (it's almost as bad as the US), the bleeding heart movements, and the embrace of asinine public sector style red tape. Switzerland may look bland, but it is fairly low key, very scenic, the standard of living is very high, and the Swiss still have the guts to stick up for themselves. Also, I like some of the food :shades: So, I could live in Switzerland (or Liechtenstein) and take driving vacations to Germany. Sounds good, need to start buying lottery tickets :shades:

    Italy is fun...to visit...but it'd be a lot less developed without the economic benefits gained via its northern neighbors, IMHO.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    I'd like to live in a foreign country actually, and retire there, but NOT in an ex-pat community.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,305
    edited September 2010
    Same here. Expat stuff is not really genuine, and you learn a lot less. If I wanted it to be like home, I wouldn't have moved.

    I'd love to live in a place like where a Swiss friend of mine lives. Tiny hamlet (population <100) adjacent to another village (population maybe 300) near the German border. Idyllic little place, no stores apart from a couple little restaurants. But there's a town 5 minutes away with all shopping amenities and medical care, or you can drive 10 minutes, go into Germany, and shop cheaper. A decent sized town (population ~40K) is about 20 minutes away, and Zurich is an hour away by car maybe slightly longer by transit. I could deal with living in any of those.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    Worn out today looking for the eagle's nest along the beach. Never was able to spot it. We did get a good look at the adult eagle sailing along the shoreline.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    Mass transit is a big plus for living in Europe. It's really quite shameful how decrepit our mass transit is compared to the EU. We're more like what you'd see in Uzbekistan. :P

    I'm afraid I'd need a jollier population than the Swiss.

    Denmark might be interesting. It's the least religious country in Europe, and of course has top notch social services, transport, and a very friendly and intelligent population. Small, flat, so that's not so spectacular, but they always score highest on the various "satisfaction" or "quality of life" indexes.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,305
    Infrastructure in general in the US is really faltering. Transit is just the icing on the cake. I love cars, but wouldn't mind having a car as an object of recreatoin or for heavy shopping, and using transit to commute. However, even though I live in a metro area, my work schedule would make it a gigantic pain.

    I'm pretty subdued, so I can deal with the Swiss. Denmark wouldn't be bad either, very clean and a good standard of living, good food, less social ills than even the decent surrounding areas. And I could still visit Germany for some fast driving :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    edited September 2010
    I agree that various European countries offer certain advantages over the U.S., such as the better transit that was mentioned, more social services, a less harried lifestyle, and quaintness. However, I'd still choose the U.S. as the best country in which to live and to make a living.

    One advantage that many Europeans are impressed with is the efficiency and friendliness of our service sector employees. Service sector employees in the U.S are generally trained to be more customer oriented than in most countries, and our compensation system tends to encourage and support this. Just compare the service we enjoy in our stores and restaurants with that in most countries. Also, the merchandise return policies of our retail businesses are virtually unparalleled. They're catching on in many countries, but we still lead, in my opinion.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    The "better transit" has come to a stop today in Europe as it is 1 of their planned strike days. I read a few comments from people who live there, and they're quite fed-up with the numerous strikes, as their societies are pushed into using public transportation.
    Remember that it is preferable to do something yourself many times rather than rely on the motivation and skill of some public servant.

    We can say that the models, drawings, and other ideals of the European transportation, medical, and retirement systems are better. But then a Snickers bar costs $2.50, and a BigMac is $7.00 in France.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    There's no question that there's a price for those perqs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    There's really no difference between a European transit system on strike and a California mass transit system that's running that day. :P

    Yes, the USA is more consumer-oriented, to which I say, "oh, yippee...."

    I'd rather have the civic life, medical benefits, mass transit, love of art and science, high educational standards, and other amenities and suffer the rude waiters and surly postal employees.

    I mean, you have to admit, the Swiss are pretty clever---they are a financial global powerhouse and you'd be hard pressed to even find their army.

    On the negative side, if you are an American living in Europe and you aren't plugged into some sort of support network, you'll forever be an outsider.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,305
    edited September 2010
    There's a strike in France and in London, not in all of Europe. France has strikes like clockwork (yet retains admirable productivity stats), no news there.

    The US has a transportation and transit system, even in many cities, which is second world at best. Something needs to change as the population continues to grow. The US does not have the highest standard of living or the best quality of life - and it certainly has the ability to make improvements as the intellectual capital surely exists.

    Where in France is a chocolate bar $2.50 and a hamburger $7? The last food court at CDG or at a touristy amusement park?

    I don't really fall for the superior customer service angle. The British and Germans I know openly mock the canned American style "how are you? have a nice day!" retail interactions. It's a facade...people in low paying service sector jobs are no happier in the US than anywhere else, they are just forced to smile. My interactions primarily in German speaking Europe - where people are famously cold and severe - are mixed: some people were nice and chatty, others surly and distant. But I didn't feel like someone was putting on a show to impress micromanagers.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,967
    Americans are generally very friendly people on the surface but basically impenetrable. Europeans are more formal on the surface, but ultimately more accessible IMO.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,305
    edited September 2010
    I have noticed that too...a tough nut to crack, but if you make an effort, you can do it. And the key is at least attempting the language. If you burst out in English and don't even try, you will be treated coldly. But if you put forth an effort - they will open up a lot easier. You don't have to be close to perfect, but if you try, generally they have respect.

    Maybe the coldness also doesn't put me off because people in my region (pacific northwest) are famously aloof and distant - see the "Seattle chill". I'm used to it. People from the south or midwest might not see it the same.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    edited September 2010
    We're still on the road, having traveled from MI through OH and KY to stay with family in Chattanooga this week. Last night we camped at a primitive campground in a national forest in southern-ish Kentucky and as the campfire was dying out, I saw an odd little reflection a few feet from the picnic table. Grabbed the flashlight and saw a little bitty worm-like thing. No glow, thought maybe I was seeing firelight reflecting off his eye like you do with a spider's eye (there's a flashlight trick for that).

    Then it glowed again and my wife was able to spot it. Then we spotted four or five more.

    Apparently fireflys (and other glowing bugs) will glow in the larva stage. And that's the first time I've ever seen a glow worm glow.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,120
    Now.. y'all know what we all know..

    Kentucky is special.. ;)

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,344
    Where in KY do you Alpine ski? Mountain Climb? (not hills, mountains)???
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,120
    Actually, you can ski in Lawrenceburg, IN.. which is just 5 miles from the KY border...

    We climb down our mountains, not up (see Mammoth Cave).. ;)

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    It was fun seeing the signs for the Big South Fork, the Obed system and other Class IV boating streams I used to canoe "back in the day".

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,120
    The Big South Fork area is pretty cool... Some great roads down there, as well..

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    From TN we went to my sister's near Winchester Virginia for a few days. Today we went back to Port Huron via WV, PA, MD and some of the Amish country of Ohio. Saw quite a few buggies on the 4 lane we were on (not an Interstate). Lots of pretty hill country on that route - Wheeling seemed to be an especially nice spot.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    If you watch the HG network, you've likely seen some ads for this park in South Dakota. We spent a couple of days there recently and it's really nice. Great scenic drives, including views of Rushmore as you leave the park area heading north, and the hoodoos on the Needles drive and around Sylvan Lake will make you think you're in Yosemite. Similar granite that you'll see in parts of the Sierra. Lots of critters too, including buffalo.

    We were there after Sturgis and after the schools reopened. I could imagine it getting a bit busy in high season.

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