(E) Trivia for the American travelers in Orange County Register
This is an excerpt from the travel section of the Orange County Register of Aug. 8. by reporter John Flinn, (San Francisco Chronicle) giving advise to American travelers how to best endear themselves to the locals:
"Learning about history and political situation of the places you visit can endear you to the locals.
Here is a bit of trivia I bet you did not know: When the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain - 228 years ago today - the very first foreign entity to formally recognize us as a nation was Dubrovnik, at the time an independent city-state.
Here is another one: the White House was built of stone from the very same quarry (on the Croatian island of Brac) as the stone used in Dubrovnik.
I thought I'd have a little fun revealing these obscure factoids to Croatians during my recent visit there. But I was able to surprise no one. Every single Croat I met knew these things by heart, and several of them seemed stunned - and a little hurt - that every American did not know them as well. I could not bear to tell them most Americans would be stumped if asked to guess which country Dubrovnik is in, much less locate Croatia on the map.
It was a reminder of something Americans need to keep constantly in mind as we venture out into the wider world: People in other countries obsess about us, every day, even as we ignore them. ....Your new friends will go home impressed that Americans - one, anyway, pay at least a little attention to their country. ( I was looking for just such a conversation-starter when I ferreted out what I thought were obscure facts about Dubrovnik).....