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Interesting country facts and figures

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CB27
971584.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:36 am Reply with quote

And I still maintain that the name Brazil originally came from irish folklore :)

 
AlmondFacialBar
971587.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:43 am Reply with quote

More about the public transport amenities of Basel - one door of Basel Central opens onto Swiss territory and one into France. Basel Airport is actually on French territory and the border runs along the perimeter road. Again, one exit door from the baggage claim opens towards France and one towards Switzerland. And... Extra little sweetie here from my Basel friend - Geneva airport is also binational, but to an even bigger extent in that, for instance, the car hire company we both used to work for has two Geneva airport locations, one on the Swiss side and one of the French side.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
suze
971636.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:55 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
Other divided cities... Frankfurt/ Oder and Słubice, which used to be the suburb of Dammtor?


Absolutely. There are plenty of other similar examples on the German / Polish border. Another such which we've mentioned before is Görlitz / Zgorzelec, notable as being Michael Ballack's home town.

Now, we've mentioned railway stations which are deemed to be in two countries even though the true border is a little distance away. But how about Bayerisch Eisenstein / Železná Ruda, on the German / Czech border. There, the border really does run through the railway station.

In this photograph, the modern train in the foreground is a German one. The older train in the distance is a Czech one, and the foot crossing marks the border. (You'll note that it's a recent addition, and the platforms of what used to be separate stations have been joined together. Until 1991, there was a brick wall across the border.)

 
AlmondFacialBar
971643.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:08 pm Reply with quote

And I bet that brickwall was built in the mid to late 1940s. All those borders are...
Complicated... (Immediate association - the ghost stops on the pre-unification Berlin Underground)

Btw, the Czech train is a dead ringer for the rolling stock of my late teens. Does Czech Rail buy second hand from Deutsche Bahn?

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Last edited by AlmondFacialBar on Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:38 am; edited 2 times in total

 
PDR
971651.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:38 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Until 1991, there was a brick wall across the border.)


That's strange - surely it would be more useful if it ran *along* the border?

:-)

In my early 20s I was dating a girl who lived in Geneva (long story - too boring) in a house in Jussy in Thonez, just outside Geneva. Her back garden fence was the French border, and there was a border post at the end of her road*. Of course the locals prefered to shop in France because things were a lot cheaper, but the customs chappies would search cars with local plates.

Whenever I visited (in my Mini) we'd pop over the border and do a load of shopping because my British plates didn't attract such attention. One day a customs chappie asked for pasports for some reason (this was unusual) and my window stuck, so I had to open the door to hand them over. So the customs chappie then leaned an elbow on the open door and, looking at the passports, asked I we had anything to declare. We naturally said no, but were sweating a bit as the door pannier under his armpit was stuffed (like the boot and the other pannier) with the best part of half a side of beef. Fortunately he never actually looked into the car...

PDR

* That's just triggered another memory - her road was called "Impasse de Mon Idee", which at the time I read as "we ran out of ideas for a road name"...

 
suze
971654.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:41 pm Reply with quote

AFB wrote:
Does Czech Rail buy second hand from Deutsche Bahn?


There were British trains that looked a lot like that as well, although they've been retired by now.

But husband tells me that the answer to your question is "Yes". The main lines in the Czech Republic are electrified (to the Hungarian specification in the south of the country and to the Polish specification in the north), but most of the rural lines use diesel trains.

The electric lines have all had shiny new trains over the last decade, most of them built in Italy. But some of the diesel trains were ancient; as of 2000, they were still using some diesel trains built in the 30s.

České Dráhy (Czech Rail) decided that those trains really ought to be retired, and so they bought a load of second hand diesel trains from Austria, Germany, and Poland. (Furthermore, part of the Czech network is actually operated by Deutsche Bahn, using the same name - Arriva - that it uses for its bus operations in Britain. Unsurprisingly, those services use German rolling stock too.)

 
Peregrine Arkwright
971676.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:22 pm Reply with quote

.

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
More about the public transport amenities of Basel - one door of Basel Central opens onto Swiss territory and one into France. :-)
AlmondFacialBar
Well if that's anywhere near the truth then Google maps has got it seriously wrong, and by a considerable distance. It's a fair old hop from any part of Basel railway station to French territory. And I don't believe Google maps has got it wrong because the international demarcation indicated by Google precisely coincides with the switch in street names from French to German. It also coincides with the visible frontier posts. The map does also show the road to the airport is, all on its own, a thin strip of Swiss territory in France - as I remember it from years ago it had high fences on either side.

 
PDR
971680.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:33 pm Reply with quote

I was just reviewing the wiki oage on Basel station, and came across this gem:

About 1,000 trains depart from the station daily – and nearly as many trains arrive there.

Now that's a damned clever trick - do they manufacture trains in Basel?

PDR

 
Peregrine Arkwright
971730.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:11 pm Reply with quote

.

CB27 wrote:
At the time I was there you had two main groups of people, the bedouins (not necessarily nomadic) and the Egyptians who came to work in the towns. From what I understand, since the Sinai was given back to Egypt, there has been a bit of a migration of bedouins to the north, with many Egyptians coming in and taking over the tourist towns in the south.
That makes sense. We do tend to generalise excessively about folk beyond Folkestone.
A friend from Alexandria highlighted a powerful Egyptian demarcation. Alexandrines consider they inhabit a sophisticated Mediterranean city, whereas Cairo they regard as a hick African joint somewhere down south.

 
CB27
971739.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:36 pm Reply with quote

Ha, I have an uncle who was born and lived in Alexandria for a few years back in the day, the guy is the worst snob I know :)

 
nitwit02
971771.  Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:13 pm Reply with quote

Understanding the Netherlands?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE_IUPInEuc

 
CharliesDragon
994849.  Wed May 08, 2013 3:01 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Awitt wrote:
Chicago

Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.


It depends how you count, but probably true. The 2005 American Community Survey revealed 963,875 people in what we may loosely call "Greater Chicago" who self identified as being of Polish ancestry.



I'm somehow annoyed by Americans tendency of calling themselves Polish or of any other nationality when they obviously mean they're of Polish ancestry. What more is that some people will call themselves Polish even if they're just 1/4 Polish and the rest is other nationalities. I would wager to say the Polish in Warsawa are "more" Polish as they've grown up in Poland with Polish culture, as have their parents and grandparents, etc. (Maybe not all, but the majority I would think are "full-blood" Polish in that regard, whereas far from all the "Polish" Chicago-dwellers were even born in Poland or have ever seen the country.)
Maybe I'm being cynical and it got complicated as a result of WW2 and stuff, but in general my experience is that Americans claiming to be of X nationality doesn't fit X nationality in my books, unless they're simply claiming to be American. (As in they've lived all their lives in the US. Let's not split hairs about Native Americans vs European settlers.)

 
cornixt
994859.  Wed May 08, 2013 3:35 pm Reply with quote

If you've lived in the US for an amount of time, you realise how little history they have, so it makes sense that they cling to what they can, however tenuous. I was surprised at the size of the Slovak festival in Seattle since there isn't a huge huge of them here.

I remember a story of a newly arrived Polish immigrant in the 80s getting overjoyed that they sold Polish sausage here, only to find that it was only a slightly different type of hot dog.

 
suze
994884.  Wed May 08, 2013 5:03 pm Reply with quote

Speaking as a person who identifies as a Polish Canadian, I think I have to defend Hyphen-communities such as mine!

CharliesDragon is quite right of course - a person whose great great grandparents emigrated from Poland 150 years ago, who has never been to Poland and who speaks not a word of Polish is not really very Polish. Sure, he (especially if it is he) may have a Polish surname - but that may be as far as it goes.

But in fact, most Hyphen-Americans and Hyphen-Canadians are a bit closer to their Hyphen-root than that. My paternal grandparents, for instance, left Europe in the 30s. (Technically they were German rather than Polish citizens at the time, but it would have been a brave person indeed who had said so to them.)

Now OK, although I did learn some Polish from my grandmother as a small child, I didn't study the language seriously until my 30s - my father could speak Polish reasonably well, but preferred not to. (My mother spoke not a word, what with being Scottish.)

But I did grow up eating amounts of cabbage and sausage that only a Pole or a German would ever admit to. As a young adult, my hard beverage of choice was wódka, and my church of choice is the one based in Rome. So I'm keeping my Hyphen, thank you very much!

Even though I'm a British citizen ...

 
CharliesDragon
994909.  Wed May 08, 2013 7:00 pm Reply with quote

I'll admit a lot of my annoyance is simply because I don't understand the mindset. I myself wouldn't claim to be from the next town over, much less from another country, so I guess it just boggles my mind. There also seems to be a fair bit of teenagers saying they are of that and that nationality because that is an important part of their parents' or grandparents' identity, but they haven't themselves grown up enough to be interested in learning about the country. I guess it's a bit like how kids and teenagers will say they're of the same religion as their parents' because that's the one they were raised in even before making up their mind if that is a religion that suits them or not.

 

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