Travel To Spain – Vital Information For Tourists

If you are planning a vacation to Spain, there are several steps you’ll need to take before your plane ever leaves the ground. From visas to vaccinations, this brief guide will help you get prepared efficiently.

Visa

Citizens of countries within the European Union will not need to have a visa to enter Spain, but you will need to have your national identification document. Resident of the United States and Canadians who are planning to stay in Spain on a tourist basis for less than three months will not need to get a visa before leaving. If you plan to stay longer than that, you will need to obtain a tourist, business or student visa, depending on your situation.

Passports

You will need a valid passport to travel. You can visit http://travel.state.gov/passport for an easy guide on how to obtain your passport. If you are in a hurry, there is an option to rush your passport, but it will cost extra. You will need to have two copies of a recent photograph, and basic identification documents to apply for a passport. Your local courthouse will typically have an area set aside for passport applications. If you are not sure where you should go to apply for your passport, the site mentioned above contains information on all valid passport application offices.

Health Insurance

Anytime you plan to travel overseas, you will need to make sure that you have a valid health insurance policy that will provide you with coverage while you are overseas. Traveling to a foreign country can be demanding enough, but if you are injured and without health insurance, the complications are numerous. If your current health insurance policy does not provide international coverage, it is a good idea to purchase a short-term global health insurance plan that will allow you to travel.

Vaccinations

For children, it is recommended that they be up-to-date on all of their childhood vaccinations, such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus/Diphtheria and Influenza. Adults should also receive a Tetanus shot if it has been more than ten years since your last vaccination. In 2006, outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease and measles have been reported, underscoring the need for current vaccinations.

Medications

If you currently take prescription medications, or rely on over-the-counter medication for allergies or other conditions, you will need to make sure that you have enough on hand for the duration of your trip. Inform your doctor of your trip so that they can prescribe any necessary medications or recommend alternatives if you run out during your stay. You may also want to request medicine for motion sickness and/or other common complaints. Skin protection cannot be overlooked during your stay in Spain, and it’s a good idea to pack extra for you and your children.

Emergency Contact Information

Before you leave, create a list of your nearest friends, relatives and physicians on a card and then have it laminated. If possible, have it translated into Spanish to ensure that there won’t be any language barrier if you get into trouble. It is also a good idea to keep the address of the American Embassy in Spain, as well as other useful information with you in case you run into any problems during your trip.

The Second Life Liberation Army (SLLA)

Second Life

Its hard to argue with the popularity of Second Life. The completely immersive 3D interactive world created by Linden Labs currently has 2 million plus users, which are known in game as avatars. This is very different from just a couple of years ago, when membership was hovering somewhere around 100,000 folks.

In the game users are able to create a virtual representation of themselves: their avatar. They are then able to explore massive three dimensional virtual world. They can buy land, make new friends, and shape the world to their liking. Combining elements of roleplaying games with more traditional chat rooms, Second Life has brought online interaction to a whole new level.

One of the things that attracts so many people is its openness and its credo: that Second Life is a world “imagined, created and owned by its residents.” The tagline on their web site reads “Your world, your imagination.”

Trouble in Paradise

For many this promise of a world of their own creation is very attractive. A fun and exciting escape from the hassles of the real world. A safe haven that they can shape into their own desires.

Some, however, see this virtual Utopian dream challenged by the rise of commercial interests in Second Life. Watching as Second Life has become a powerful online phenomenon, many companies such as Reebok, American Apparel and many more have begun to create their own Second Life presence with their own Second Life headquarters and Second Life stores. Political candidates have also entered the Second Life ring, most notably Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards.

For some longtime Second Life residents such as the avatar going by the name of Marshal Cahill, such moves do not bode will for the citizens of Second Life. Instead of being a user-created virtual society, Second Life will see itself taken over by commercial interests, just as commercial interests already dominate the real world.

The Second Life Liberation Army

Such concerns prompted Cahill to create the Second Life Liberation Army (or just SLLA for short). Although membership in the organization is small it has made a name for itself in taking part in virtual terrorist activities.

While not as destructive as terrorist activities in the real world, the actions of the SLLA can take their toll on users. Attacks have including gunning down consumers in front of the virtual Second Life Reebok store (avatars gunned down are not actually killed, but find themselves unable to access their accounts for a time) to “nuke” attacks, DoS (Denial of Service) attacks which shut down service to specific areas of the virtual world for a time.

The Goals of the SLLA

So just what is it that the Second Life Liberation Army is after? Its a pretty simple message, and one that Cahill believes cuts to the core of belief in freedom anywhere, be it in real life or in Second Life: a voice for the people. To put it another way, they seek “Avatar Rights.”

The official web site of the SLLA makes their proposal loud and clear: they want Linden Labs to offer up public shares. They would sell a single share to each avatar at a pre-set price. This would give every user of Second Life an equal say in the future development of Second Life: a true virtual democracy.

It is also made clear on their homepage that the Second Life Liberation Army does not seek to create undo damage to the normal operations of the Second Life world. Their targets are the big boys: the Reeboks, the American Apparels, the companies who are trying to turn Second Life from a computerized utopia where everyone has the opportunity to build the virtual life of their dreams into nothing more than a virtual duplicate of the real world where capitalism and the lust for money dictate the lives of its citizens.

Success of the SLLA

As of now, little movement has been made to meet the SLLA’s demands. Linden Labs has made clear that they have little interest in the plans set forward by the Second Life Liberation Army. Even the group’s terrorist activities made little impact on Linden Labs or even the majority of avatars in Second Life until the groups actions began making national headlines in the mainstream press, starting with the Los Angeles Times.

Now papers around the world are starting to pick up on the activities of the Second Life Liberation Army. Videos made of some of the attacks can be found on YouTube, the popular video sharing site. But as knowledge increases, one still has to wonder just how successful Cahill and his SLLA will be in their quest for “avatar rights.”

The Best Pediatric Dentists In The St. Louis Area

St. Louis, Missouri is truly blessed when it comes to the variety and quality of physicians and other medical resources that make their home here. Pediatric Dentists are no exception to this either. When I began looking for some of the most noteworthy pediatric dentists in the St. Louis area, my first instinct was to begin at St. Louis Children’s Hospital which ranks in at number 5 on a list of Best Pediatric Hospitals in Parents Magazine.

It’s at St. Louis Children’s Hospital where you will find:

Dr. Donald V. Heubener

Dr. Heubener’s office is located inside the hospital on the first floor at 1 Children’s Place in St. Louis, just off of Kingshighway. The office offers routine dental care and also has dentists who specialize in cleft lip and palate issues.

Quite honestly, you won’t find a more kid friendly environment at this office. With all of the bright colors, quirky gadgets and such, you nearly forget you’re in the hospital. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Heubener, call 1-314 454 KIDS.

West County Pediatric Dentistry is where you will find the office of:

Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed’s office is located at 956 Kehrs Mill Road in Ballwin, MO, just west of St. Louis. The office is open from 8AM – 6 PM, Monday and Tuesday, 9AM – 5PM on Wednesday and 8:30AM – 2PM on Thursday. You can call 636.527.2779 to reach her office.

Dr. Ahmed has obviously spared little, if any expense to make her office NOT look like a dentist’s office. You are see pictures of her office at http://kiddiedentist.com/office.html

If you live in the North County area, you might want to check out the next dentist in our list:

Dr. Candace Wakefield

Dr. Wakefield’s office is located at 13410 New Halls Ferry Rd. in Florrisant. You can find her website at: http://www.thechildrensdentalzone.com/services.html

Dr. Wakefield specializes in bonding, cosmetic dentistry, crowns, and pulpal therapy.

The office is open from 9AM – 5PM, Monday and Wednesday, 9AM – 6PM on Tuesday and Thursday and 7AM-Noon on Friday. Some appointments are available on Saturdays as well. You can reach the office at 314-830-9663.

I’ve saved probably the best dentist for last. He’s not exclusively a pediatric dentist but do NOT stop reading here. I am simply not able to locate another dentist within a 50 mile radius who seems to have the reputation and the level of expertise as this dentist does.

After researching and speaking with his staff, I’m confident that the trip to south St. Louis city to see Dr. Duane Keller will be one worth making. I could go on and on about Dr. Keller. However, I won’t.