Subject: Re: Mixing with the locals?
Hello Eric and other world travelers,

You are absolutely right. By pursuing activities and interests on the road that we also enjoy at home we encounter locals with something in common. The best example is my wife's necesiity to continue her swimming while we're on the road. This means we research local pools and times they are open for lap swimming. A bonus is if the facility also operates a Masters Swimming program. Through this interest we have mixed with the locals in the beautiful recreation facilities in western Canada, virtually swum across southern Australia, and hung out at the Olympic facility in Barcelona. While she's swimming laps I'm either playing water basketball with the local teenagers (in Nelson, British Columbia) or chatting up the cute llifeguards (in Auckland, New Zealand).

For my part my skiing finds me mixing with locals on the slopes. In Red Mountain, British Columbia a local took half the day to show us the ins and outs of the mountain. In Ordino, Andorra I spent half the day urging some young Spanish snowboarders to go off piste with me and catch the excellent powder that had accumulated after three days of storms. And the second half of the day I skiied with a French couple who had brought their huge Bouvier des Flandres (dog) up on the slopes for some exercise. Despite their not speaking English and my second tongue being Spanish I was still able to convey to them that dogs aren't allowed on the slopes in the U.S. and what a treat it was for me to ski alongside their frolicking canine.

And meanwhile my wife was at the local recreational facility swimming laps and comparing notes with her new Catalan- speaking friends.

John in San Diego, CA , USA