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2010-04-26 16:55:53
Sorry ru - I just realized you already told me about your background. You are a walking United Nations ;-)
2010-04-26 16:54:38
Granville Island (actually a peninsula) has some nice shops. I think I know which shop - a building that looks like a barn and is red? They now sell mostly native art. I'm not sure I understand the changing plane etc. But, I remember going for a week to Mazatlan, then a week to Puerto Vallarta. My ticket said Mazatlan - Puerto Vallarta - Mazatlan - Vancouver. I got sick there, so, on my return I wanted to go to Canada directly & avoid going through Mazatlan. Mexican Customs were really nasty and unpleasant, but they finally agreed after a very long wait. I am sure that if I had been willing to 'pay' them, they would have proceeded faster. It would be too long for me to go in detail here, quoting sections of Immigration & Customs Acts (even if I remembered it all), but once you have a ticket and are in transit, it's very difficult in most countries to change that. There are actually sections in both the Immigration and the Customs Act that forbid that (at least when I was working there many years ago). Both Acts have had some changes since then. For the last two summers in France, I hardly encountered any Canadians or Americans. The Euro is very high for us. Luckily, but sadly for Greece, the Euro is at an all time low, so I just bought some at the rate of 1.36 only (for my next trip). Last summer, I paid 1.65! The British Pound is quite a bit higher than the Euro - a wise decision for England not to go along with the Euro. The British have bought a lot of farmhouses in Britanny because of the rate of exchange. They are doing a beautiful job of renovating them. I met a lot of British there this summers - had dinner with them - lots of fun. Are you British?
2010-04-25 16:50:28
My customs problem in Vancouver was the result of my attempt to make a stopover there and change airplanes. I wanted to visit a shop on Granville Island and purchase a sculpture that I had previously seen there and I had five hours to do this in. However, by the time I got through customs I no longer had that time, so I simply had some pizza in the airport and went to my connecting flight. Canadian customs seemed to think that there was something sinister about somebody that flew in Canada, was no carrying baggage (mine was checked through) and was not going to stay overnight. This was many years ago and I haven't been in Canada since. Yes Bruge is great, this is where my husband and I currently live, but on most days he will commute into Brussels. Bruge is really a tourist place as well, but mostly English tourists from across the channel and I really feel at home among them.
2010-04-25 04:20:43
I'm very sorry you had a bad experience in Vancouver ru. Both federal departments - Immigration and Customs - were easy to deal with before 911. After that, we added more security. But the Americans complained that we were too 'loose' in our security, so we beefed it up. When US Homeland Security got a new boss, she created big problems for us. Our trucking industry and others trying to cross into the US faced incredible long delays, huge back-ups. Our government became very concerned for our economy. The border between Canada and the US was the longest undefended border in the world until recently. We now have to have a passport to enter the US, or an 'enhanced' ID. The US patrol the airspace near the border now and enter our airspace. Ottawa had to ok that...for the sake of our economy. We are like a fly living next door to an elephant ;-) But, then we were not the ones attacked. This has nothing to do with Americans (I think they are friendlier than Canadians); our concerns are with politicians in Washington. If you think that our Immigration & Customs officials were difficult in Vancouver, you should try the US..especially the Fort Worth/Dallas airport. I, and others, faced a nightmare there when we had to change planes (we don't have planes going direct from Guadalajara to Vancouver). When I was much younger, I worked as a Citizenship Officer. Years later, I worked for Immigration in Security & Investigation and later in recruiting Immigration Officers and others. So, I can safely tell you and all others that, if at any time, you feel you were mistreated or not dealt with in a professional manner, our government has avenues of recourse. First, you ask to speak to the Manager of Customs or Immigration (depending on who is causing problems for you) at the Point of Entry (border or airport). If you do not get satisfaction, you send a letter to the Minister of Parliament responsible for those departments. You only have to put on the envelope "Minister for....., Ottawa, Ontario" I can guaranteed that those 'Ministerial Inquiries' would get prompt attention. I have had to respond to a lot of MIs and I can tell you we take them very seriously. There is a huges difference at the Points of Entry in Europe. I just sail through Charles de Gaulle airport. They barely glance at my passport. We do have a lot of Asians in Vancouver (China & India mostly but also Taiwan, Vietnam etc). Statistics Canada estimates that by the year 2031, white people in Vancouver will be the minority. I have no problem with that; we (the white race) are the minority on this planet; yet we have had the majority of wealth and land for far too long - but that's just my opinion. So, you make good use of the chunnel ;-) I love Paris, but I don't see it as very French; it's a huge tourist place. Parisien waiters can be very rude. I was in Belgium in 1976; it was lovely especially Brugges (Bruge).
2010-04-24 16:30:50
Yes, I was using RU for my log in and had been writing for copyright permissions using it, but I had not registered the name. Then somebody else started using "ru" for comments. I registered ru, and replied to one of the false ru comments using ru questioner. When I replied to you yesterday, apparently my computer used it's latent memory and inserted "ru questioner" when I had intended for just "ru". Earlier comments attributed to "ru" may or may not actually be mine, but hopefully all in the future will be.
2010-04-24 09:34:34
I'm confused ...nothing new ;-) Is RU questioner and ru the same person? Once I know that you are ru, I would love to comment about your interesting travels.
2010-04-24 08:06:19
Connie, I have been to Vancouver on several visits. I regard it as a very interesting city, but my memory is tainted by a very difficult time there in Canadian customs on one visit. I was quite surprised by all of the asians in Vancouver. My rather brief residence in France was in Paris, and I rather prefer Belgium. I am a female and, for the most part, my travels around the world have followed my husband. Our children are being schooled in England, so I am currently crossing the channel (England to Belgium) rather frequently.
2010-04-23 19:03:08
Ah, a cosmopolitan person (male or female?). So, you have been exposed to a lot of different cultures. That makes for an interesting person. You would like Vancouver; it's a city of immigrants from all over the world, but more so from Asia. Can I ask where in France you have lived? Libellule is from the beautiful Loire Valley, and I have a cousin living in that area. One of my parents was born in Brittany, and I did a very emotional pilgrimage to my roots this past summer...visiting cousins...
2010-04-23 16:36:05
I was raised and schooled, including college, in the U.S., and because of this my primary language is English. However, I was born in Finland and have lived in Norway, England, Belgium, France and Singapore. I have gotten around a lot and continue to do so. I do photograph, but my personal photos are of rather poor quality.
2010-04-23 14:57:04
Most of posters (99%) on Pixdaus are not the photographers; I thought you might be one of the rare breed on Pixdaus...like Thiv. Where are you from ru...if I might ask? I'm from Canada and Picture is from Australia.
2010-04-23 14:03:56
No, I am not the photographer and 2photo.ru is not my website...............
2010-04-23 13:30:24
I assumed so, but I though it might be his website, and that he was posting his own photos...like Thiv. If so, I wanted to comment on his work.
2010-04-23 13:27:16
2photo.ru is a website, Connie...
2010-04-23 12:52:32
Sorry, that's badly written - I meant to write Is ru and 2photoru the same person - are you the photographer (a rare breed on Pixdaus)?
2010-04-23 12:49:53
Hi ru, Is ru and 2photo.ru - in other words, are you the photogerapher?
2010-04-23 12:28:13
This photo was uploaded twice yesterday, but for some reason both of these uploads seemed to fail, or at least to upload improperly. Hopefully this third attempt will be OK.