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When I took a trip to Europe several years ago, I didn't have many problems with my being American. I always spoke to the locals in their language first, at least making an attempt. I didn't have problems with Spanish in Barcelona....mine's passable, and was able to speak to most there. And in Paris, my only ammunition then was the French phrase I had memorized for the situation. After which I had to ask them whether they spoke English. Most did. I think if you make the attempt to speak their language, most are very nice.

I had a very interesting conversation with a taxi driver in Barcelona. Spoke in Spanish. We actually spoke about George Bush, and of course, he didn't like him; however, he made the distinction b/w the gov't and people. What was really interesting is that we somehow got into the conversation about guns. Of course, in America, we have more freedom with guns than they do. I didn't follow all his Spanish, but I got the gist of what he was saying. He mentioned how very closely authorities would keep track of his gun and even record and track the bullets he had used....and they'd get questioned on how many bullets had been fired and for what reason. I guess they get regular visits if you own a gun?? I think he mentioned he lived in a more rural area.
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