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Volume 68, Isssue 106, Friday, February 28, 2003


Students travel to good times 

By Christian Schmidt
The Daily Cougar

From Padre Island to Paris, France, many UH students are heading out of town for Spring Break, a week of vacation, partying, sightseeing, and any and all activities not related to their schoolwork.

More than a few students are likely heading for sunnier and warmer climes, particularly given the winter weather the Houston area has experienced over the past few days.

Besides the usual spring break vacation destinations (Padre Island, Miami Beach, Cancun) some UH students have different plans in mind.

French Quarter style

Rebecca and Clayton Ginsburg are going to visit some family also, but they have an ulterior motive for their trip. The brother and sister duo will make the six-hour drive (though not together) to New Orleans, where a certain festival is going on Mardi Gras.

The Ginsburgs regularly head out to Louisiana, where they have family in Shreveport and New Orleans. But this time, they have more than family on their mind.

"Itis my last chance to go to Mardi Gras on spring break," Rebecca Ginsburg said. "Iim taking a friend whois never been to New Orleans and I thought it would be a good way to introduce her to the city and Mardi Gras."

For those who donit know, Mardi Gras is a festival that has been celebrated in New Orleans for centuries. The festival features parades, partying in the streets of the French Quarter, and not a little drinking. The festival culminates on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lent season for followers of the Catholic faith.

Mardi Gras is a final party before Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and penitence leading up to Easter Sunday, one of the holiest days in the Catholic calendar.

French (real French) style

Sean Frye doesnit mess around when it comes to taking trips. The senior English major has been to Europe three times on university-sponsored trips for class credit. This time, heis heading to France with a friend just for fun and to see the sights around Paris, not with any classwork in mind.

"Iive been to the rest of Europe, it seemed like it was time to hit France," Frye said. "Iim ready for some vacation without any structure. This time, I can do whatever I want."

Frye paid about $850 for round-trip airfare and six nights of hotel stay as part of a spring break package he bought at STA Travel, the travel agency located on campus in the UC Underground.

Frye has been to Italy, Spain, Portugal and Scotland during his time at the University, all as part of study abroad programs affiliated with either the Honors College or the department of Modern and Classical Languages. He has also been to Washington D.C. as part of an Honors College trip.

Be careful

Wherever you go, be careful and take some time to plan before you head out. Spring break is a time for fun, but it can also be dangerous. Increased travel and increased alcohol consumption can put students in danger.

Students engaging in plane travel will have be subject to increased airport security. The Transportation Security Administration has tips on what to wear and what to bring if you are flying on their web site. 

Those not flying face danger as well. Studies have shown that alcohol-related driving fatalities occur during spring break at a much higher rate than usual, when alcohol consumption among college students dramatically increases.

Staying home
For those students who have to remain in town, the weather ought to improve a bit. Though rain is likely through the middle of next week, temperatures will creep up just a little, with highs in the mid to upper 60s expected for the next few days.

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