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I don't want to get into a political debate on this board but I'm interested in whether politics influences people's choices of destinations. I'll share my own choices, with which I know some of you will disagree, just to get the discussion going, if there is to be a discussion.

I wish that you had not done so and I don't intend to enter into a political discussion with you (or anyone else on this board). I do think that people who are "political-centric" should follow their instincts and avoid visiting places whose politics lie outside their comfort zone. It seems to me that people who are (for want of a better term) political-centric express their views forcefully and frequently in a mileau which is not friendly to their political beliefs. I think that when one is a guest in a country (even when one is paying one's own way) it's polite to keep one's political beliefs oneself -- I would expect that of people who visit the US and I believe it's suitable for Americans who visit other countries. I am, quite frankly, embarrassed to hear an American lecturing a resident of another country/culture about what wrong with that country -- and I consider it, quite simply, arrogant.

I had France on my ****-list after Chirac stabbed us in the back after taking bribes from Saddam. Now that he's gone, I'm OK with going there again.

During the time you weren't visiting France, I was. And found it more pleasant with fewer American tourists, particularly American tourists who hold forth long and loud over what's wrong with France and the French -- that was not directed at you, but at a certain group of tourists, too numerous to be ignored. (But I didn't go to France because "you" weren't going.)

I won't spend a nickel to help the economies of Venezuela or Cuba and I'd have to do a little research on Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua before making a decision about them--I understand that most spending in places like that outside of international hotel chains benefits the local people, not the gov't.

I don't travel as a political statement. I travel to learn about other people's cultures and way of life and thereby enrich my own life -- That their religious and/or political beliefs aren't mine perhaps makes them more interesting.

Forget Syria and Russia. And I will never fly Jet Blue under its current management, since it is sponsoring a convention of the far-left hate website DailyKos. I wouldn't fly Pat Robertson Air either, but that doesn't exist.

C'es la vie.

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