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France: On The Road

Paris, the city of love and a thousand other clichés, still holds a certain mystic. But no matter how many written words this great city has commanded - however familiar this town may appear - Paris will always remain an enigma, a magnet for millions of visitors from around the world.

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Full Name French Republic
Capital City Paris

547,030 sq km
211,208 sq miles

Population 60,400,000
Time Zone GMT/UTC +1(Central European Time)
Daylight Saving Start last Sunday in March
Daylight Saving End last Sunday in October
Languages French (official)
Religion 86% Roman Catholic, 8% Muslim, 2% Protestant 1% Jewish, 3% unaffiliated
Currency Euro (Euro)
Electricity 230V 50HzHz
Country Dialing Code 33


Mexico The Honeymoon is Over

I haven't posted my column in a while. I have been working on some manuscripts?books?that are finally ready to send to publishers. So I thought and thought, "what should I write for my column" and I have come up with this:.

My honeymoon has finally ended with Mexico. Now, do not get me wrong. I do not dislike living in Mexico. My wife and I are convinced that leaving America and moving here was the right decision for us. It is just that my infatuation with Mexico has come to an end. Reality has set in.

I liken this to marriage. If ever there was a fitting metaphor, this is it. It is like when you wake up one morning and finally realize the slob (and I mean men?men = slobs) snoring like a beast next you is full of faults and you now know them all. This is what it like in a new culture It took me three years to realize that Mexico is full of faults.Are these faults deal breakers, like those in a marriage resulting in a divorce? Hardly! It is just that I have come to the point of realizing that I either cope or it is off to another culture in a new country.I am sitting here waiting for someone to deliver a DSL modem and software to my apartment.

The reason I am switching to DSL after dial-up is a story that illustrates well why my honeymoon with Mexico has ended.We were tooling along on the Internet all hunky-dory when suddenly it stopped working. I called the company only to be told that it is the phone company's fault and that they are working on it. It never got better. I called again only to be told that it is my computer's fault and that I would have to engage in a two-hour marathon (actually my wife suffered this because I swooned to the bed cussing like a crazed sailor) of setting changes on my computer.

Nothing at all improved. There was still no using the dial-up connection!.And this is how it goes in Mexico. You will be told by the left hand something the right hand has no clue about! Apparently in Mexico, the right hand NEVER knows what the left hand knows or is doing.

I live in constant fear of something complicated happening that requires someone, somewhere, who somehow knows something definitive! Because if something arises in your life, like your internet not working, no one will know the right answer. This applies to everything in this country. And I am not making this up?EVERYTHING!.Believe it or not I actually make money as a writer! When I get a royalty check and take it to my bank it is usually made out to my professional title, Doug Bower.

On my Mexican account I am, Douglas W. Bower. It takes nothing short of an act of The Almighty to get them to believe that Doug Bower and Douglas W. Bower is the same person.

I mean I show them my passport, visa, my expired Kansas driver's license, and my credit cards. And it does not a bit of good!.And speaking of banks, when I first tried depositing a royalty check from America I was told that it would take two weeks to clear. Well, as one can expect in Mexico, two weeks pass and it hasn't cleared. We talked with another bank official, in Spanish, and were told it takes three weeks.

We told him the fellow "over there" told us two weeks. He just smiles and nods his head. And this happens all the time about everything you can imagine under the sun!.I would not have the column space to tell you the different things that have happened to us that more clearly illustrate this. The fact that I am waiting for my DSL goodies to arrive fills me with fear and trembling.

A Mexican delivery guy (and they are always guys!) is just liable to leave it on the sidewalk, down the street, or throw it through the gate. I have gotten royalty checks, books from Amazon.com, and you name it left on the porch outside my house! Or, once, the landlady's dog had the mail, all bundled in a rubber band, walking around with it in his slobbery mouth!.Granted that we Americans are too anal when it comes to efficiency. We expect that when something is going to be delivered the guy will knock on the door, hand it to us, we sign for it, and off he goes.

Not on your life, ever in a million years, will this happen in Mexico!.So, what do I do? I sit, I contemplate, I moan and groan, utter vile profanities, and hope I can catch the DSL deliverer before some dog makes off with my package.

.Have you tried to learn Spanish, or any foreign language and failed. Are you like the thousands of Americans who took years of foreign language study and cannot string two words together in the target language? LEARN WHY AMERICANS ARE SO FOREIGN LANGUAGE ILLITERATE and LEARN HOW TO LEARN SPANISH or ANY FOREIGN LANGUAGE!!.

YOU CAN LEARN SPANISH No Matter Your Age or Disposition


By: Douglas Bower

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