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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 

Re: Happy to travel? by Amaia on 20 June 2009 8:59pm
Wow, pandab, what a story...! I can't say I'm exprimenting the same now, because I'm just bored, actually! But what you lived seem to have been pretty traumatic. (Or at least, would have been to me) I had no idea that Spain once was that dangerous.

Places I wouldn't travel... Well, indeed, countries at war are not my priority.
There are many countries I wouldn't choose to go to, but I'm lucky enough to have friends all around the world (thanks to my studies), so they are in countries I never thought of, or wasn't even atracted to, but now I know my friends re there, I might actually take the opportunity to get into a plane!

Some of those countries being Russia, Palestine, Azerbdjain, Indonesia... I will be paid peanuts for my future job, but at least, I'll have traveling facilities! :)
Re: Happy to travel? by tucsonmike on 20 June 2009 9:33pm
Karen, you do have a point. Think of it like going to the bookstore and determining which book do I want to buy?

I have to work out where i want to spend my hard earned money. I also admit, my feelings about traveling to Russia are not necessarily rational.
Re: Happy to travel? by Amaia on 21 June 2009 9:31am
Mike, they don't have to be rational. If you don't want to go, then don't.
For me, a good traveler is not someone who has traveled the four corners of the world, but someone who has seen what he wanted to see, and who's open for more discovery. I don't know if I'm being clear on that...!
I mean that you won't enjoy a trip to a country you don't particularly fancy (look at me!), so pick wisely. ;)

And I admit, it is very difficult to enter a bookshop/library and choose a random book. But it is possible! :)
Re: Happy to travel? by bIG bLOGGER on 21 June 2009 2:33pm
I wouldn't agree that Spain is any more 'dangerous' than any other country.
Of course I am a man,and I am not American,I am British (or rather English),but that doesn't by itself mean I (or my rented property) would be immune from all attacks.

pandabear,I understand,is a young girl called Donna from Virginia,USA,who was evidently stationed at the US naval base in Rota,which I once visited (for one day) and is on the sandy south-west coast of Andalusia just near to Jerez De la Frontera.

I spent 10 years hitch-hiking and travelling by coach,bus,trains in Spain,and was never once molested,mugged or assailed. I camped a lot and did have my tent stolen once,but that was the only occasion. Other times I stayed in hostals,pensiones,fondas which in Spain are relatively cheap. I still dream about owning a property in Spain but I keep debating which town I should live in. I have always felt very welcome in Spain and I speak to the locals in their Castilian language (except they have local dialects which are difficult like Catalan or Valenciano),but although there are definitely a small proportion of thieves and criminals in Spain,I wouldn't say one has to take extra special precautions when travelling there.

At the same time I do sympathise with pandabear's nasty experiences while living in Rota,but I can't help feeling that it was simply stirred up by anti-american feeling and the sheer incongruity of Spain having an American naval base in a region where there is more-than-average poverty,large families and quite a lot of families of gitanos(gipsies).
Re: Happy to travel? by Amaia on 21 June 2009 3:26pm
Well, bB, catalan is actually not hard at all. If you know Castellano and have notions of French (or the contrary), it's actually quite easy to understand and talk a bit. After three months here, I am able to understand basic catalan and to say a bit more than a few words...

let's try: spanish/french/català
gracias/merci/merci or moltes gracies
buenos dias/bonjour/bon dia
por favor/ s'il vous plait/ si us plau


Of course, not everything is that easy, but i'm guessing Norwegian will be more difficult to learn. :)

And I didn't say that Spain was more dangerous than any other country, I was just surprised that such things should have happened in Spain. But I also have to admit that you wouldn't be safe everywhere in France, even now.
Re: Happy to travel? by bIG bLOGGER on 21 June 2009 3:38pm
You're doing well,Amaia.

I'm not planning on learning Norwegian,but I am reasonably familiar with spoken and written French and Spanish. I think if (like you are doing)I lived in Catalunya for a period of months,then I would quickly start to pick up the catalan dialect. Bon Dia!
The only places I stayed up there were on the coast,in Llansa,near the border,a small fishing village and only for one week.
Re: Happy to travel? by pandab on 23 June 2009 4:35am
Big Blogger - Oh, I wouldn't say I'm young. Not anymore! :+)

Of course, at the time, I was.

Spain itself is no more violent than anywhere else, and the country as a whole wasn't any more violent when I was there than anywhere else either. As far as I could tell, it was just the area in and around Rota.

Like you said, Rota was a Naval base. That makes a difference, especially when the fleet was in. Even the Americans stationed there avoided town when the fleet was in!

There was a great deal of resentment toward us at the time, both because of our perceived wealth and because the Spanish really didn't want us there. I lost track of what happened after I left, but I understand our treaty with the Spanish finally expired. The air squadron I was stationed with ended up moving to Portugal, I believe.

Then, too, ETA was active in the Rota area while I was there, and they stirred things up as well.

Once you got out of Rota, though, things got better.

My only regret about living in Spain was that I didn't have the money to do any real traveling. I couldn't afford a car, so I had to walk or use public transport. I was so poor I couldn't afford a bus ticket half the time. I walked from Rota to Jerez and back one day. All day. :+)

At least, with all that walking, I was in great shape!

Re: Happy to travel? by peripatetically on 23 June 2009 2:21pm
It bugs me, too, that people automatically think Americans are rich. We are rich in many many things but not necessarily money. HAHAHAHA
Re: Happy to travel? by bIG bLOGGER on 23 June 2009 3:08pm
Interesting post,pandab.Nice to hear from you.

I understand that Rota is still a US naval base under the Spanish flag today and has been since 1953. I visited it in the mid-1970's.
There is also an important Spanish-US Air base/staging post 75 miles north-east of Rota at Moron De La Frontera,which liaises with Ramstein US base in Germany. This is one of 3 US Air bases in Spain:the other 2 are at Zaragoza and Torrejon (Madrid).

There is a wealth of detail about the history and workings of 'Rota Base Naval' on this website:

Naval Station Rota
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