Monday, March 31, 2014

Warning from other countries to their citizens about visiting America

Those of us who have traveled overseas are familiar with the State Departments cautions or warnings about visiting certain countries, things such as the drinking water, crime, even one that warned of possible Polar Bear attacks if visiting Norway. But what do they warn their citizens about when visiting the United States?


Crime: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade notes the U.S. generally has a "higher incidence of violent crime compared to Australia" but also adds that normal precautions should do the trick. On the other hand, travelers are warned of laws "that may appear harsh by Australian standards" but must be obeyed anyway and an accompanying video features an Australian consular official solemnly noting that the legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21 (it's just 18 Down Under). 

Weather and more: There is a lot of information on hurricanes and other phenomena including, "Earthquakes, fires or wildfires, floods, extreme heat, landslides and debris flow (mudslides), thunderstorms and lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes (Hawaii, Alaska and Pacific Northwest), winter storms (freezing rain, heavy snow and blizzards) and extreme cold." ---Hey, it's not that bad, really. Well, not all the time.

Medical care: Travelers are warned that while care here is good, it's not cheap: "Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel." 


Crime: Our northern neighbor also talks about the potential for violent crime in the U.S. while suggesting it is often connected to alcohol and drugs, so visitors are warned to "remain alert and discreet while in entertainment areas." In other words, don't get snockered while out on the town (which is good advice for anyone, anywhere).

Punishment: Canadians are warned to avoid committing crimes, but if they do, homesickness may not be a problem: "Canada and the U.S. have a treaty that permits a Canadian imprisoned in the U.S. to request a transfer to Canada."

England and the UK

Crime, weather, traffic: Her Majesty's government is somewhat concerned about crime, but notes such incidents rarely involve tourists. There is also interest in hurricanes (and even snowstorms) as well as U.S. highways and traffic. The Gov.UK site warns that U.S. "speed and drunk driving limits are lower than in the UK" so, watch yourself.

Drugs: One more warning. "The plant Khat (or Qat) is an illegal narcotic in the US. You will be arrested and detained with the possibility of a prison sentence if you bring Khat into the country." Consider yourself warned.


Nudity: According to Germany's Federal Foreign Office: "Nude bathing and changing clothes at the beach stirs up public agitation and can lead to unpleasantnesses."


Crime and weather: Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade actually says, "Crime remains relatively low in the US." However, the weather is another matter and there are numerous warnings about hurricanes including the fact that the season runs from June until the end of November and "can affect the whole of the southern US."

Temperatures: I suppose the extreme temperature variations in a big country like the U.S. could come as a shock to residents of this temperate isle, so they are drilled in the basics: "When it is hot, drink plenty of water and apply sun screen" and also, "When it is cold, keep warm with layers of clothes." Can't argue with that.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs features a prominent link to a site which takes you to Cal Fire. This, as you might expect, is a website devoted (mostly) to brushfires in California. Luckily, there are no signs of raging infernos at the moment but the site also features some charming Arbor Week posters by school kids which may please art-loving Italians.

Finally, to our friends overseas or across the border: Don't be afraid. Feel free to come visit if you like (through the front door). This is a great country with many great things to see and to. I promise we'll warn you about any developing hurricanes.

Today’s Reflection:
When 2 steps forward and 1 step back seems to be your life’s story –try to remember that still leaves you a step ahead
-Gary Graybill

Live Long and Prosper…

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