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Message From Europe, The Seventh:

We arrived in Seattle at 3 in the afternoon on Thursday. We wended our long, complicated way through Customs. We got home. We had a very easy time getting through customs, for one simple reason. When the customs agent asked us "Do you have any food?" Mariann looked him levelly in the eye and said "No."

This, despite the fact that is is possible that unzipping either of our backpacks might have revealed a fucking deli in there, complete with raw milk cheese, paprika, sticks of Hungarian salami, and two kinds of fruit juice. God bless her.

It is desperately important that people in the land of the free be kept from eating unpasteurized milk products whenever possible. Our citizens are not smart enough to decide whether they can handle them or not. God bless America.

Oops. Just joking. We would never violate US Customs laws. Perish the thought. So. What have we learned from our journey?

Mariann: Europe is both awful and wonderful.

(She says awful first, Jeff feels, because the trip ended in Hungary, rather than started.)

Jeff: If you go to the beaches of Nice, you can not only see topless women sunbathers, but guys with tiny speedos and enormous boners.

(Mariann denies ever seeing any of the boners, but they were there, oh yes, they were there.)

(Apparently, one of the most popular things to do on the beaches of Nice is to make out with your sweety. The guys doing this, without fail, lie on their backs, so that everyone can see just how, um, involved they are. One of these guys blocked my sunlight.)

Europe has many museums. There are statues and paintings in them.

Europe is much older than the United States. A building that is ancient here is brand new there. Some people feel that this is a very charming characteristic of Europe. These people need to take more showers there. Newness can be a virtue.

Europe has a variety of food.

European store clerks are generally surly and rude. But then again, we ate at a diner the morning of our return, and it was clear that our waitress didn't care for us at all, so you can't really hold that against Europe.

We never noticed the French or Italians as having any particular pungent odor.

If you go on a vacation, and walk nonstop from dawn 'til dusk, your feet will begin to hurt. Really. They will not stop for a long time. Learn how to use the local public transportation as soon as possible.

Europeans resent the influx of American culture into their society. We politely suggest that they should take this issue up with the people who are fucking forcing them to go see our movies. Is some big thug with a Louisville slugger standing outside the theater forcing poor little French waifs to see Waterworld for the third time? We think not.

We heard a quote recently, we can't remember where, "There is no force on Earth great enough to keep the Germans in Germany." Even a casual observation of European tourists reveals how true this is.

American dollars are very strong. They will buy a large amount of the weird, multicolored, plasticky play money they use in Europe. If you want to open doors in Eastern Europe, we recommend that you begin with small drawings of Andrew Jackson.

And that's all. Thank you for listening. See you in real life.

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