ALBANIA ******* Albanians have it rough. Even the beaches are swept by searchlights. Also, how can you trust a country whose only celebrity lives somewhere else? Albania's sole luminary, Mother Theresa, had to go into Third world charity work to get out of the place. National Pastime :- They wouldn't know what to do with one if they had it. AUSTRIA ******* Austrians are given to running across hillsides of waving grass while singing. A difficult trick considering that their diet consists largely of boiled beef, or beer and dumplings, or very rich pastries. At least the bells on their lederhosen mean you can hear them coming. National Pastime :- Psychiatry BELGIUM ******* The Belgians like to think that they are exactly the same as the French. The French don't agree, and as a result the Belgians have developed a sizeable pomme frite on their collective epaule. Being the home of the European government has done little to improve this. National Pastime :- Crawling to the French. DENMARK ******* Don't let the fact that they don't wear big pointy metal hats anymore fool you. All Danes are warmongering Vikings from the roots of their blonde hair to the tips of their sheep-leather shoes. But at least they almost speak English. National Pastime :- Cultivating an American accent. EASTERN BLOC ************ The population of the Eastern bloc divides equally into three broad demographic groups - seven-year-old athletes on steroids (often to be found hiding inside your suitcase when you get home);sixteen stone man-mountains of muscle and blubber built on a diet of potatoes and dumplings (often to be found discussing the best make of tractor); and out of work Communist prime ministers and secret policemen (often to be found in South America these days). If you want to get on with an Eastern bloc resident, take hime some prize Western capitalist goods. One window suction Garfield, for instance, will get you a sizeable chunk of the Berlin wall. Offer two and you might get elected prime minister. National Pastime :- Queueing. FRANCE ****** In France, men are intellectual and look like Jean-Paul Belmondo; women are beautiful and big-nosed and don't shave under their arms (unlike German women who shave everything apart from their legs). Anything is a pretext for either having dinner or making love. The sound of a Frenchman speaking suggests that what little soap he uses is lodged somewhere down his throat. National Pastime :- Staying in bed and rutting like a wild thing. GERMANY ******* If you don't recognize Germans by their sledgehammer subtlety or their belief that the world speaks 10 decibels too quitely, you can always spot them by their dancing. A headless chicken looks pretty by comparison. Young Germans take themselves very seriously and will spend much of the time worrying about the enviroment or the state of their bowels! They grow wispy little moustaches or beards (not just the men). Most of them would rather be American. National Pastime:- Thinking too much. GREECE ****** There are basically two types of Greek: porking great millionaires like George Michael and Ari Onassis; or shepherds. Your average Greek can expect a life time of herding goats, drinking goat milk and eating goat milk yoghurt. National Pastimes :- Owning a fleet of oil tankers or delivering baby goats. IRELAND ******* Don't open your mouth unless you're intending to fill it with Guiness. The Irish are quick to take offence at anything you might say. Verbose to the extreme, they manage to fool everyone into thinking that they can write English literature better than the English. National Pastime :- Drinking. Italy ***** Italians love football, their mothers, children, fast cars, expensive design and eating. In that order. When you meet Italians, the first thing they notice about you is the value of your clothing. Then they offer you something to eat. Italian women look like Sophia Loren and get angry easily; Italian mean cry at the drop of a hat and like to pinch foreign women's bottoms. National Pastime:- Making a lot of noise. LUXEMBOURG ********** An unimaginative lot. They couldn't even think of a different name for their capital. National Pastime:- Counting their money. NETHERLANDS *********** A country lost in the sixties, as their hideously designed bank notes testify. Their sole moment of glory came when Alistair Maclean set one of his thrillers in Amsterdam. It's been down hill ever since. After all, who else would dream of decriminalizing marijuana? National Pastime:- Speaking English. NORWAY ****** Adult Norwegians spend their time sitting around in wooden huts steaming themselves till they look like lobsters before running naked into the sea to cool down. Meanwhile the younger generations travel abroad in order to mill around British suburban towncentres and spray-dye their homemade 'punk' hairstyles green and pink. National Pastime:- Watching snow melt. PORTUGAL ******** As Belgians are to the French, so are the Portuguese to the Spanish. But for some reason the Portuguese appear to speak Spanish the wrong way round, and end up sounding like they've got half a bottle of port stuck in their windpipe. National Pastime:- Playing golf. SPAIN ***** Why would anyone want to actually encourage ugly people to come to their country, take off all their clothes, drink vast amounts of alcohol and vomit in the streets? They Spanish are a funny lot, with an odd taste in architecture (gaudy Gaudi), and a city named after an English television station - Granada. National Pastime :- Regretting Tourism. SWEDEN ****** The Swedes have no interesting features. Yes, they eat smorgasbord and herring, drive Volvos and are industrially clean. All this makes them impervious to abuse and no fun at all. National Pastime:- Being dull. SWITZERLAND *********** A pharmaceutical heaven: home to most of the worlds drug companies. Orson Welles got it slightly wrong when he said, "Two thousand years of civilization and what does Switzerland produce? The cuckoo clock". He forgot Vallium, the symbol of Switzerland in more ways than one. National Pastime :- Staying out of trouble. U.K. *** While most countries fight each other, the British - bullies by nature- prefer to fight among themselves. There are so many classes and regions to pick on. All British people hate other British people (but not as much as they hate foreigners or themselves), but put up with them in order to avoid embarrassment. British men look like Ronnie Corbett, but with spots; British women look like Hilda Ogden, but not so pretty. The British argue all the time, think that bottoms and winkles are funny, and like being told what to do by Mrs Thatcher. No wonder everyone else hates them too. National Pastime:- Pretending they still own the world. YUGOSLAVIA ********** Since the best holidays in Yugoslavia are sailing excursions, you never get to meet the Yugoslavs unless they're cooking some abonimable approximation of French food or trying to sell you a boulder which Clint Eastwood sat on when they were filming the spaghetti westerns there. National Pastime :- Watching re-runs of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.