Croatia Wins!

Greetings from Opatija, Croatia. I realize that many of you may not know exactly where Croatia is, so here's a map to help orient you to my present location:

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I am attending a conference meeting of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology, which occurs every three years. It's really not that different from any other conference that I attend, except that there are many more smokers. I can't remember the last time I was at a coffee break with a bunch of academics and had cigarette smoke blow into my face, as happens every morning and afternoon here. Croatians themselves like to smoke, and the restaurants I have visited don't have separate smoking sections. Perhaps you would like a little Camel smoke with your cheese strudel? This is your place!

Opatija is an old seaside town, with many small hotels overlooking a beautiful harbor. My guidebook says that it is a popular holiday destination for people from all over Europe. Someone told me that tourists from the Czech Republic like to bring along all their own food on vacation, and therefore don't contribute much to the local restaurant business. Thus, a controversial proposal is being floated to ban the bringing of food into the country by visitors, which the Czechs very much resent. I suppose another group of tourists unhappy with the Croatians today are the Germans, who were thrashed last night in the Euro 2008 soccer tournament. My room overlooks the main street through Opatija, so I got to watch (and hear) crowds of red and white checkered Croatians celebrate underneath my window well past midnight. There were even a few sirens now and then, so perhaps things got a little too wild.Tomorrow I am skipping the conference to take a day trip to Venice. We're only a couple of hours away, so how could I resist my third visit to that spectacular place? It's been nine years since I was last there, but I imagine things haven't changed very much. More later...