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What follows are actual letters that have recently shown up in my e-mail box. The writers’ names have been changed to cartoon characters to protect their identities.

Dear Ms. Feet,

My girlfriend and I have really enjoyed your web site and its links, it helped us plan our all too short time down there. We especially appreciated your web page's hints for using wet sand to build sand castles.
We intend to send off soon for your book so that we can learn more and keep in practice for the next time we get to come down your way. NOW, you may ask yourself, how are they going to do this in Dallas, with nothing but that black gumbo mud they have around there? Well I'll tell you, between the two of us, we smuggled over 20 pounds of prime SPI sandcastle building sand back up here through the airport. My back is still bothering me! (I only hope that my girlfriend can keep her sand hidden from her cats, I shudder to think what they would like to do to it.)
-Snuffy Smith

Well I - and I am sure certain members of the local constabulary - would be very interested (for different reasons) in finding out exactly how you managed to smuggle that large a quantity of sand past the eagle-eyed sand smuggling police. Plastic bags suspended under loose-fitting clothing? False-bottomed suitcases? Stashed inside Mexican pottery?
However you did it, congrats on getting away with it, (though this should by no means be construed as condoning this highly illegal activity), and I hope you have lots of fun with it. However, as one who has both a backyard sandbox and cats, I must warn you that there s simply no way to keep the two separated.

Dear sandy,

I am making my spring break plans and have a question for you: Will I be needing a passport to get to South Padre? I am a United States citizen, and I would think that I wouldn't but I am not sure.

- Charlie Brown

Okay, now that we have the smirking, chortling, and snide comments about “what ever happened to geography as a school subject?” out of the way, I think we need to look a bit more closely at this question and its implications.
The state of Texas has - for the past few years - been advertising itself as “a whole other country” or something like that. Perhaps this ad campaign has been a bit TOO effective, yes? And I think that many of us who live here on the Island may at some time have let drop a comment to the effect of, “No, can’t build a sand castle (go fishing, down a cold one, have any fun) today - I have to go to Texas” -- usually delivered with a heavy sigh. I may be guilty of it myself....
No wonder the tourists are confused.
I recently returned from MacWorld Expo and some sightseeing in Northern California. The beaches there are beautiful - very rocky and dramatic, if a little on the chilly side. But while I was there, at least half a dozen people who peered at my media badge or studied my plane ticket felt compelled to say something like, “I’ve heard of this place! Is it as wonderful as everyone says it is? I really want to get down there and check it out someday.”
Thinking back about these Californians - looking sharp in their Italian loafers, white socks and silk ties - it occurs to me that requiring a passport or some other form of stamped documentation from them might not be a half bad idea --

And you never know - it could help us crack down on that sand smuggling problem as well.

Feet's Totally Non-Scientific Just For Fun Net Poll Results: In an effort to give the hardest working bartenders on the Island the recognition they so richly deserve, my most recent on-line poll asked who your favorite local drink-pourer might be. At deadline, 30 site visitors have cast votes, giving Tony at Black Marlin a commanding lead -- followed by Kelly Casey and Coconuts’ Howie in second and third places respectively.

Sandy Asks: It’s not too late to affect this poll’s outcome and give your favorite bartender bragging rights as I am extending this poll for another month. Vote today and vote often at http://spionline.com/polls.html.

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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