Sunday, July 31, 2011

August 1, 2011 -- Paris

Yesterday was warm and sunny. It really seemed like summer in Paris. I rode the subway to the base of the hill where the Sacre Coeur or Sacred Heat church is located. The church sits on the top of a hill called Montmartre, which is I believe Paris's highest hill. There is certainly a great view of the city from up there, but there are also thousands of tourists swarming over the hill like an army of ants. You can see pictures of the church in the two photos. For some reason, half the time when I try to take a photo, the face of that ugly old man annoyingly pops up in the foreground.

 There is a funicular that travels up and down the hill, or you can climb it on foot. I did the latter in easy stages, stopping often in the shade to admire the view, despite fears of further injuring my leg.

I also called United Airlines yesterday using Skype as my telephone, seeing what would be involved it I decided to fly home earlier. It's not that easy. First, there are a limited number of seats reserved for customers using air miles, and then there are different classes of air-miles seats. The upshot is that there are no seats for the class I booked, but I could fly on certain dates with an additional fee and a downgrade in the class of service. If I were desperate to fly back, I would accept any terms, but it's not to that point. If my leg actually does get better in another week or so, I'll be mobile again and start enjoying the trip more. The bad point about the trip, now that the weather has improved, is that I feel I have to limit the amount of walking I do to protect the injured leg. The one time I didn't do that, I had a relapse.

I hate dealing with the airlines, and I suppose United Airlines is no worse than most of the others.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 31, 2011 -- Paris

The most distressing thing to me about the robbery of my money is that no one did a thing about getting the money back, even though the guy was still here. It was explained to me that in such cases the police don't send an officer out to question the guy on the spot. The case details are entered into a computer, and the case will eventually be assigned to an investigating officer. Of course, now the guy is gone, and by the time the police get around to investigating, I will be gone, too.

France is the most bureaucratic country I know. Everything is done on the basis of shuffling papers, although today it's more of a matter of shuffling electronic documents on a computer system, with multiple printouts of everything, of course.

At least explaining what happened over and over gave me quite a bit of practice in speaking French. Even getting robbed can have its upside. :)

Since yesterday morning the weather has been warmer. T-shirt temperatures begin before noon, and this morning there is not a cloud in the sky. I wouldn't call it proper summer weather, but it's certainly better than the cold, gloomy weather that has marked this trip so far. Despite having been robbed, the sunny weather yesterday lifted my spirits.

Today I'm off to see some new sights, if I can do so with a minimum of walking. The worst thing about having to baby this injured leg is the lack of exercise. Spending so much time sitting around without much physical exertion has me climbing the walls.

July 30, Paris -- ROBBED!!!

I was robbed last night, or rather early this morning, in my room at the youth hostel. Up until yesterday, I had been alone in the room, but a young man of Senegalese descent arrived yesterday morning. When I went to bed yesterday evening, he had not yet returned to the hostel. As is my custom, I put my wallet and passports in my shorts pockets and put my shorts at the head of my bed, feeling sure that no one could grab them without waking me.

At about 1:30 this morning, I awakened, and I soon noticed that my shorts were missing. I got up without turning on the light, and noticed that the other guy had been in the room, because his things had been moved around. Just then, he came in the room and started at seeing me up.

Suddenly I found my shorts, to the left of the door of the room, not at all where I had left them. I'm sure that the guy had them in his hand when he came back into the room and let them fall there.

Checking everything in my pockets, I found that at least two 50-euro bills were missing from my wallet (maybe more, I'm not sure). When I accused the guy of taking the money, he denied it, of course.

He apparently came in the room and did awaken me when he grabbed my shorts, but before I was fully awake, he had left the room with my shorts in hand in order to be able to go through the pockets out in the hall or perhaps in the men's room. I imagine he intended to replace them without awakening me. If he had managed that, when I later in the day discovered that some of the money was missing from my wallet, I wouldn't have had a clue as to where it had gone.

I reported the theft to the night clerk at the desk, and his only response was to take a few notes to leave for management's arrival in the morning and to move me to another room. After a few hours sleep, I came back to the lobby at around 5 a.m. and asked why the police hadn't been called. He said it was up to me to report the incident to the police. A phone call revealed that the police wouldn't come out and I would have to go to the police station and make a report, which I managed to do in mangled French.

What I have to show for my efforts is three sheets of paper, a printout of the police report. The officer who took my information said that it would eventually be investigated. To my inquiries as to why an officer couldn't be dispatched to question the guy I'm accusing of robbery, he said that things just didn't work that way.

I haven't taken the time to read the police report yet, but I did glance at it, and it seems to be thrown together without a lot of attention to detail. For example it says that my nationality is Irish and that I arrived at the hostel last evening, neither of which is true.

So as of this morning, the guy was still in the hostel; the hostel personnel knew that I had been robbed; the police had been informed; and nothing had been done about it. Police work seems to be done here the way it is in Mexico, by filling out and shuffling papers (electronically now, of course) and not by sending anyone out to actually talk to the accused and try to get my money back.

At least the sun is shining, and it promises to be a nice day.-- Jack Quinn

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 29, 2011 -- Paris

 I feel refreshed this morning after a good night's sleep and a cold shower. (The hot water facet runs cold in this youth hostel.)

The weather is about to turn very hot in Paris. How do I know? No, not the weather forecast. It continues to predict lousy, chilly weather. However, I finally got tired of shivering in the July Paris temperatures and bought a sweatshirt today. I'm sure that now that I am prepared for the cold, it will turn warm and the only result of my purchase will be that I'll have one more item to lug around in my backpack.

The clothing strategy also worked on the rain today. I took along my rain poncho when I went out, and of course it was not only dry, the sun occasionally peeked through the clouds, and the temperature climbed to almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, as soon as I returned to the hostel in the afternoon, the rain started again, although it remained warm enough outside that one could comfortably be outside in a short-sleeved shirt.

As shown in the picture, on one of the pedestrian bridges across part of the Seine River, couples have locked padlocks with their names engraved or written in indelible ink on them and thrown away the keys or combinations. I believe they are to symbolize that the couple will be locked in a faithful relationship all of their lives. There must be hundreds of thousands of these padlocks on the fencing below the handrails on both sides of the bridge. I think that there should be a law requiring them to return with bolt cutters when they separate or get divorced and cut off the lock. I also wonder if Dominique Strauss Kahn and his current wife or any of his exes have a lock there.

I managed to take it easier on my leg yesterday, but it doesn't feel any better. It was doing a lot better before I stupidly reinjured it! I spent part of yesterday sitting on a bench on the footbridge in the picture reading and admiring the padlocks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 28, 2011 -- Paris

I didn't stick with my resolve not to walk yesterday and to rest my injured leg. It's had to be in Paris and not . However, I did stop often to sit on a bench and read on my Kindle.

The day started overcast but not overly cold, perhaps in the mid-60s. However, as the morning wore on, the sky became more and more threatening, as can be seen in the picture, and the temperature dropped. In the afternoon, it started to rain. I ducked into a Metro (subway) station and made my way back to the hostel, where I spend the rest of the afternoon reading.

I see that two of my fellow hostelers have just packed up their pannier bags and mounted them on their touring bicycles and are about to ride off. Although it is still very wet outside and looks as if it could rain again, I envy them. The next time I come over here, I've got to figure out a way to bring a touring bike.

Thanks to those of you who have E-mailed. I do enjoy getting messages from back home, and I do answer. I can be reached at the usual E-mail addresses, which I won't publish here to avoid getting my address on all of the spam lists.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paris July 27, 2011

My big project yesterday was getting me and my backpack from one youth hostel to another. I am now at the Cité des Sciences hostel, so named because it's close to a science park. Getting here did more damage to my leg injury, I'm afraid. I had to take three subway lines, and the walks through tunnels and up and down flights of stairs when one transfers from one subway line to another can be quite long. Carrying the heavy backpack put quite a strain on my leg, and I could not walk without a severe limp when I got here. After a good night's sleep, the leg is somewhat better although far from well. I just have to force myself to walk as little as possible until it's healed.

The weather turned warmer yesterday. I didn't check the temperature, but it felt as if it were in the 70s Fahrenheit. The sky is still overcast and gray, however.

The good night's sleep is due to the fact that I am the only one in my room, although there are four bunks in it. No one rolled in at two or three a.m. and turned on the lights in the room to awaken me as happened in the old hostel.

This is a smaller hostel, which also means that there are no busloads of kids here yelling, screaming, and running around in the morning. On the downside, breakfast was typically French, corn flakes with milk, coffee, bread, butter and jam. Nothing substantial to get one through the morning.

Some of the desk clerks here don't speak very good English, which means that I have more of an opportunity to practice my French with them. I have not yet gotten into any conversations with any of the other hostel guests, however.

Before I left the other hostel yesterday, I had breakfast (a much better breakfast) with the Scottish guy and a newly arrived Japanese guy from my room. It was a bit of a strained conversation, because the Japanese guy spoke very little English and not a word of any other European language.

My plans for today are to take the subway into Central Paris, search for a quiet bench along the Seine River, enjoy the view and read. I'm about to use the Calibre program to download the news from several newspaper Websites and then load it onto my Kindle for later reading. I also have two books in progress on the Kindle.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, Paris

First, thanks to those who have E-mailed or posted comments on the blog. It's nice to hear from people back home. In response to Doug's comment to yesterday's post: Yes, with this sciatic nerve problem, I do have occasional jolts of pain below the knee. The problem is not nearly as bad as it was the first few days, but I still feel as if I don't have complete control of my leg when going up and down stairs. I am able to walk miles, however, and I try to do so when it's not raining. The pain is minimal.

The rain took a pause yesterday morning, and I took advantage of the pause to walk into Central Paris again. The rain started up again about 1 p.m., so I ducked into the nearest subway station and rode back to the youth hostel, arriving in plenty of time to see the start of the Tour de France time trial in Grenoble on TV. Grenoble is the city where I once spent two semesters as a university exchange student.

Who says a time trial can't be exciting? There was a group of French-speaking teenagers gathered around the TV set with me, and they were screaming at the TV every time the time splits between Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck were flashed on the screen. Their favorite was Andy, of course. I can't imagine American teenagers going nuts over a time trial.

Today I am headed for the Champs Elysees to see the final circuits of the final stage in person. According to the forecast, it's not supposed to rain, and the afternoon temperatures are expected to climb way up into the upper 60s!

By the way, the guy in the bunk above me who annoyingly came to life after midnight every day is gone. There was only one other guy in the dorm last night, who came back to the hostel after I was already in bed, so I haven't met him yet.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23, Paris

This blog is not going to get any more interesting. I envisioned it as a means of documenting my pilgrimage to Santiago de Campostela and a possible source of information to others who might undertake the hike, but I now have to resign myself to the fact that the pilgrimage is not going to happen. In the first week, my sciatic nerve problem seemed to improve rapidly, and I talked myself into believing that I soon would be shipshape, but I've reached a plateau in my recovery, and things are not going to improve quickly from here on. I still walk with a slight limp.

I'll continue the blog as a personal journal of the trip, but to anyone looking for anything interesting to read, I suggest looking elsewhere.

The weather in Paris is cold and wet today, and there are more rain showers in the forecast. For tomorrow we are promised partially cloudy skies for the grand finale of the Tour de France with temperatures up into the 60s. By the end of next week, the temperature is supposed to reach the upper 70s.

I generally go to bed early and am awakened several time during the night by my roommates dragging in after midnight. Last night the guy above me not only came in late, but after an hour of lying quietly, he turned on the light above his bunk and began moving around, opening and closing zippers, and shaking the bed as if he were rearranging everything in his pack. Finally, I asked him to be quiet so we could sleep, and he settled down to watching a video on his laptop computer. I believe I mentioned that he sleeps with his computer in his bunk and turned on.

I finally met one of my other roommates,  a Swiss guy. He also speaks multiple languages, so we chatted first in French, then switched to German then to English before switching to Spanish and back to English. He must be very gifted at languages, because he said he learned Spanish living with families in Cuba for several months. His Spanish is not great, but it's certainly much better than I would expect from someone who learned it casually in such a short period of time. I have never had a chance to talk to this guy before, because he is one of those who drags in during the wee hours of the morning when I am in bed and gets up sometime in the late morning when I am out exploring the streets of Paris.

I watched the final mountain stage of the Tour de France on TV yesterday, and it was again very exciting with an unexpected stage winner and with Contador finally proving himself very powerful in the mountains, although not powerful enough to overcome his accumulated  time disadvantage. It will be interesting to see if Andy Scheck rides a good enough time trial in Grenoble today to hold onto the yellow jersey. I'm betting my money on Cadel Evans, who is probably a much better time trialist than Andy Schleck and is not that far behind Andy on general classification. I see no way that Contador can make up his time deficit. -- Jack Quinn

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 22 -- Paris

I went out yesterday morning despite the cold and rain, but I soon got discouraged and took the metro back to the youth hostel in order to spend the afternoon watching the Tour de France on TV. I'm glad I did. What an exciting stage! I can't wait to see who finishes today, the last mountain stage, in the yellow jersey. I'm betting on Fränk Schleck. It was a pleasure to see France's Thomas Voekler still in yellow at the end of today's stage. I'm sure he never felt he would wear the yellow jersey after a hard Alpine stage.

The guy in the bunk above me seems to spend his days in his bunk with the curtains pulled shut watching DVDs on his laptop computer. He has his computer up there in bed with him and even slept with it last night.

This morning, it's not just chilly. It's downright cold!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 21, Paris

It's a cold and rainy morning in Paris. It's incredible that the weather could be so cold in late July, but it is. It's certainly going to be miserable for the cyclists on the Tour de France today if this weather system extends to where they are riding.

Yesterday was an exhausting day, even if it did involve mostly sitting. I spent from mid-morning to mid-afternoon mainly reading at the train station at Perpignan, as I had my heavy backpack with me and didn't feel like lugging it around. I had splurged on a first-class train ticket to Paris (an extra 11 euros or about $15.50 in US funds), so I had plenty of space on the train. From the train station I took two subway trains to get to within about two blocks of the hostel.

I'm in a four-person room. Being tired, I hit the hay early, around 10 p.m., and then was awakened repeatedly by the others coming in and out of the room and turning on the bright overhead light each time they entered.

I've only met one of my roommates, a young black man who pointed to himself when I entered the room and said "Me French". He doesn't seem to quite accept the fact that he can talk to me in French and insists on using phrases of broken English, even though I speak to him in his language.

For someone who has never been to Paris, speaks no French, and doesn’t have a plan of the subway system, trying to get to one's destination when one arrives must be daunting. The trains are always very crowded, and in the stations it's easy to get caught up in the rush of people hurrying to their next train. Most trips involve changing trains a time or two, and getting from one train to another within a subway system involves going down long corridors and up and down long flights of stairs. Only sometimes is their an escalator.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 20 -- Leaving Perpignan, France, heading back to Paris

I don't have much to write. There isn't much to see in Perpignan, so I spent my last day in town walking around and stopping from time to time to read some of the news articles and books that I've uploaded to my Kindle.

The Kindle is a great device for travelers who love reading, by the way. I use a program called Calibre on my laptop to download the entire contents of the Websites of several newspapers every morning that I have Internet access, and I then upload them to my Kindle to peruse at my leisure throughout the day.

I will have lots of time to read today, because my train to Paris doesn't leave until 1:30 p.m., and I will then have five hours aboard the train to kill.  -- Jack Quinn

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 19, Perpignan, France

Today is my last day in Perpignan, which is fortunate, because there is not much to do here.  Unfortunately, after I check out of the hostel no later than 10 a.m. tomorrow, I will have to lug my backpack around until my train leaves after 3 p.m.

My sciatic nerve problem is much better. The left leg is almost back to normal.

There were seven people in my room at the hostel last night, and American (me), two Frenchmen, a Belgian, a Russian, an Englishman, and an Uruguayan. The mixture of English, French, and Spanish was interesting.

The weather was beautiful yesterday morning and turned overcast in the afternoon. Today periodic rainstorms are threatened. -- Jack Quinn

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 18, Perpignan, France

I uploaded some pictures to earlier entries of the blog yesterday. Two of them I finally managed to transfer from my cellphone to the computer (I had to download a driver from Microsoft), and the third one was sent to me by E-mail by an Englishman who took it with his iPad in Orisson. The two earlier pictures were taken when I was staying in Strasbourg.

It was cloudy, windy, and cold in Perpignan yesterday and it even rained a bit. I thought Southern France was supposed to be hot in summer! I could have used a jacket.

I walked around a lot to try to exercise my leg. When I have sciatica, it seems to help if I walk a lot. I ducked into the railroad station each time it rained.

There are some interesting people in my room here in the youth hostel. One is a guy just two years younger than I who fled the dictatorship in Uruguay many years ago and has been living in France ever since. He and I speak more Spanish with one another than French.

There is also a young Englishman in the room who is reading a novel by Margaret Atwood that his sister recommended. It's niece to see that there are still young people who read. I had to explain to him, however, that Ms Atwood is Canadian, not American.

Well, first a morning hot shower and shave and then out into the cold. -- Jack Quinn

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 17 -- Perpignan, France

I'm seated at a table in the youth hostel drinking my third cup of coffee after having eaten breakfast. I had to spend two nights in an inexpensive (by French standards) hotel before a bed became free in the youth hostel. There is a large group of teenage girls in the hostel, who are taking up most of the rooms. However, I believe they are leaving today.

I no sooner arrived in the room yesterday than a retired Frenchman named Jean-Claude apologized to me in advance for the fact that he was going to snore loudly during the night. His statement proved to be true, and I did not get a very good night's sleep. I have seldom heard such load snoring. Fortunately, he also left this morning after having given me his E-mail address so that we can stay in touch. I just spoke with one of my other roommates, and he told me he slept in the lobby, because the snoring was so loud that he couldn't stand it in the room. He broke into a big smile when I told him that Jean-Claude had just departed.

Perpignan is a small city in the French part of Cataluña in Southeast France. In the Spanish part of Cataluña, everyone speaks Catalan in addition to Spanish. However, I have heard no Catalan here in Perpignan, and I have only seen one sign in Catalan. Almost everything is in French.

No one in the hostel seems to speak any more than rudimentary high school English, which has the benefit of forcing me to speak French. I badly need the practice. When two French people speak to each other rapidly in their language, I understand almost nothing, although I can communicate OK if they slow down and speak directly to me. Perhaps the fact that I am here in France instead of marching across Northern Spain as planned has its advantage. I already speak Spanish well and speak it almost every day in Phoenix, so the practice in French is welcome.

There is one WiFi connection here at or near the hostel. I have no idea to whom it belongs, but I am now going to take advantage of it to upload this post so that I can lock my computer in my locker at the hostel and don't have to lug it into town with me today.  -- Jack Quinn

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 16, Perpignan, France

Things are looking better this morning. My leg isn't hurting as much, and I managed to get a good night's sleep. The night before, every time I would move my leg in my sleep, a jolt of pain would awaken me. 

I think the thing to do is just take it easy and see if this sciatic nerve problem clears up. I  plan to remain here in Perpignan the next four nights and then go to Paris on the 20th. I should be in Paris on the Champs Elysees to see the finish of the Tour de France, so that is a consolation prize at least.

July 15, Perpignan, France

I'm sitting in an overstuffed chair in the lobby of the Hotel Paris Barcelone in Perpignan feeling refreshed after a restless night's sleep. I intended to stay in the youth hostel here, but I was unable to book online yesterday morning due to the short notice, and when I arrived, the place was full. I had forgotten that yesterday was Bastille Day, the equivalent of our Fourth of July, and that the hostels would be full of traveling youth groups taking advantage of the holiday.

I'm staying in Perpignan until July 20, one more night in the hotel and then four nights in the youth hostel, in an attempt to give my leg a chance to rest and perhaps heal. On July 20, I'll return to Paris. By then I should know if I should stay in France or if my leg still hurts so much that it would be better to return to Phoenix early. In the past, a pinched sciatic nerve has taken at least several weeks to heal.

I don't plan to do much sightseeing here. I'll probably spend the afternoon lying in bed watching the Tour de France on TV.

I had to take two trains to Perpignan. The first was from Bayonne to Toulouse. In Toulouse, I had 21 minutes according to the schedule to find the train to Perpignan, but the train from Bayonne left late. When the conductor (conductress?) came to punch my ticket, I asked if I would have time to make the connection, and she assured me that we would be in Toulouse on time. We kept arriving at the intermediate stations late, so I was doubtful, but sure enough, when we arrived in Toulouse only one minute late, and I easily made the connection.

The country side in the Midi-Pyrenees region between Bayonne and Toulouse was mostly flat, although we did skirt some mountains. It reminded me of Eastern Pennsylvania, because there were lots of milk cows on small farms. Most of them were brown cows (jerseys and/or guernsys, I suppose?), but I also saw some holsteins. Everything was green with lush vegetation, and there were fields of corn and sunflowers. I have never seen whole fields of sunflowers before.

As we rolled eastward, the sky became clearer, and it was obvious that the weather was warmer, because most of the people I saw from the train window were dressed in shorts. It's sunny here in Perpignan and the temperature is pleasant.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011 -- Bayonne, France

I'm sitting in a train station killing time. My train to Perpignan departs in four hours, but with nowhere to leave my backpack in safety, I'm pretty much confined to the waiting room of the train station unless I want to risk stressing my injured leg lugging the backpack around.

I have a much more positive outlook today. It's amazing what six large cans of beer and a bag of potato chips can do for one's mental state. I realize that I am restricted to being fairly sedentary until and unless this leg heals up, but I'm reluctant to give up the journey. I think a beach or seaside resort in Spain may be just the ticket for someone who is forced to sit around.

Perpignan is one the Mediterranean coast of France and right on the Spanish border. I'm considering spending two nights there and then perhaps continuing to Gerona in the Cataluña region of Spain. -- Jack

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011 -- Waiting for a Train

Sitting in the garden at the pilgrim's hostel in Orisson, France.
Can you tell that I have been drinking wine?

I'm sitting in the one-room passenger rail station in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port looking through the windows at the rain pouring down outside and waiting for a train to Bayonne. That means of course, that I have given up the pilgrimage after only one day on the trail. Last night, my left leg (sciatic nerve) was hurting less, and I felt pretty confident about continuing today. However, this morning a combination of events -- the sciatic nerve problem, the heavy pack, and the miserable weather -- made me realize that the smartest thing to do was to turn back and perhaps attempt the hike another time with a lighter pack and a healthy body. However, after seeing loads of pilgrims zipping by on their bikes, I think the way for a cyclist to do this journey is on a mountain bike. I think even one of my touring bikes with wide tires would work. British Airways flies bikes for free. I will be back!

But back to the narrative.  I left the hostel after breakfast  this morning in the drizzling rain. More accurately, the clouds had descended around us, and the water was condensing right out of the air onto all object including me. As I started down the hill, I heard a voice calling "Jack!" It was a German woman whom I had met on the train coming to Saint-Jean and then run into again last night. She had also decided to turn back and wanted to walk with me. However, I was limping along at a slow pace, and I convinced her to go ahead. Besides, at that moment, I really wanted to be alone and not have a chatty person disturb my self pity.

During the 8-kilometer (5-mile) hike back down the mountain to Saint-Jean, it drizzled off and on, and the pain in my leg rose and fell, varying from feeling almost normal at times to a jolting pain with each step at others.

Now what? If my leg heals in the next several weeks and I can find a place to leave some stuff, I can see trying the hike again. After all, I still have 2-1/2 months left before my flight back to Phoenix. Today, my only goal is to get to Bayonne, get an inexpensive hotel room, get a hot shower, wash some clothes, and think about where I want to go tomorrow. I'm thinking Spain, but I'd rather be on the Mediterranean side, where the weather is drier. I'm not used to cold, drizzling rain in mid-July.

Oh, I had a strange experience with an Italian gentleman last evening. I went into the dining room of the Pilgrim's hostel at Orisson looking for a quiet place to read. A middle-aged gentleman with missing lower front teeth was sitting at a table, and he signaled for me to join him. He turned out to be the only European I have met on the whole trip so far who fit the stereotype of the anti-American European. He claimed that Americans are "second class" and "inferior to Europeans."

Naturally, when someone is that prejudiced, there is no reasoning with the person. I ended up at another table. That evening at supper, were everyone at the table was European but me, several people apologized to me for the man's behavior saying that they hoped I didn't believe all Europeans are like that. Of course, I already knew that the narrow-minded prejudiced people are a minority and that those people exist everywhere. -- Jack