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..At the tender age of 45 I'm finally going to be visiting the US for the first time in the autumn.

May I ask where you'll be visiting? What state(s) or area(s)?

We'll be going for about ten days, and I've got a deal where we can fly into Boston, Washington or Atlanta. I'd like to see New England, but as a lifelong music fan I'm inclined to go for Atlanta and drive down to New Orleans, possibly via Nashville and Memphis (I haven't got a map in front of me so I'm not sure if that totally out of the way). Any suggestions gratefuly recieved.
I do hope you enjoy your stay in the US. As someone said, the people here are friendly. While there ... hear your English accent (presuming you have one), you will probably be treated like royalty, or like a long-lost friend.

Well, that's nice, and I look forward to it. I wish the same was always true here; a few weeks ago I watched a young PhD student from New York doing a presentation. He was given a very hard time by a colleague of mine simply because of her opinion of US foreign policy - she didn't actually give him the opportunity to say where he stood politically, but that wasn't the point; her attitude was churlish and irrelevent. I suppose when you travel some people see you as representing your country right or wrong - I found this when I was working in Athens during the Falklands War. Anyway, that was really an exception; Americans are generally made very welcome, and are held in great affection by my parents' generation who rememeber D-day.
DC
scrub that 'is'
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"roundabout" aka "traffic circle" - damfool foreign contraption somebodysaw in ... hundredsof miles out of their way to avoid using one..r

Rubbish. So long as you know the rules, roundabouts are brilliant. They have to be designed right, though - sometimes increased traffic loading can cause them to gridlock, as people get impatient and start trying to "filter in" slowly.
What was* odd though, was the old continental (well, French, anyway) rule that traffic *on the roundabout was supposed to give way to traffic entering it - this, I believe has now been reversed to follow the British practice, but plenty of French drivers still seem to follow the old method!

Mike M
I don't understand what all the bellyaching is about. A ... Once they understand that, they will quit complaining. I think.

They're very dangerous for pedestrians and kids on bikes trying to get across them. Few of them in the Melbourne ... where I live, where two major roads meet, has a shocking fatality rate all pedestrians and kids on bikes.

The way round this is to have pedestrian crossings on all the exit roads - it does slow down the traffic, but that's no bad thing.

Mike M
Actually it was the other way round. The earliest example, Columbus Circle, was constructed in New York; the first European traffic circles were built in Paris, where they had the bright idea of trying to constrain traffic to one direction. Letchworth Garden City saw the first British roundabout, and it took ten years for the Letchworthians to realise that unidirectionality was best.
Rubbish. So long as you know the rules, roundabouts are brilliant. They have to be designed right, though - sometimes ... now been reversed to follow the British practice, but plenty of French drivers still seem to follow the old method!

The "British practice" you describe only became so in November 1966, in fact. Not a lot of people know that.
Matti
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saw in of miles Rubbish. So long as you know the rules, roundabouts are brilliant. They have to be designed ... now been reversed to follow the British practice, but plenty of French drivers still seem to follow the old method!

Rather than there having once been a specific rule for roundabouts that was reversed, I think that mess came from the old default rule on French (and some other European) roads that you always had to give way to traffic coming from your right. Spanish roundabouts suffer from much the same confusion for that reason.

Ross Howard
Sorry, that just adds modesty to the list of your virtues.

No need to apologise for drawing attention to my virtues. (In our family, a common put-down is "Mind your halo doesn't slip and choke you." Another favourite is "Your generosity exceeds your beauty.")

(What a dumb spat, you blokes!) Devastating to discover that I didn't invent the second of your two family expressions; but still a useful reminder of the fallibilty of human testimony. My form, by the way, is "Your generosity is exceeded only by your beauty", and always uttered after some pretty questionably big-hearted action, such as a child boasting of waiting two minutes till six o'clock before 'phoning, or, much more frequently, offering me an item of cast-off clothing.

Mike.
No need to apologise for drawing attention to my virtues. ... choke you." Another favourite is "Your generosity exceeds your beauty.")

(What a dumb spat, you blokes!)

I think that should have carried a cross-thread alert, baby.

Devastating to discover that I didn't
invent the second of your two family expressions; but still a useful reminder of the fallibilty of human testimony. ... of waiting two minutes till six o'clock before 'phoning, or, much more frequently, offering me an item of cast-off clothing.

We are clearly related (is a tendency to sarccasm genetic, I wonder?) Or we are just very sensitive to stinginess.

Laura
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My wife has an irritating habit of asking questions when she should know that I don't have answers. A relative of hers who is visiting in this area called.

This area called what, Coop?
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