14 hours in Mexico City

 

I have always had some kind of a calling to visit Mexico City. I have been always enchanted by the vibrant, lively colours

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Coyacan

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Streets of Coyocan

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Streets of Coyocan

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Streets of Coyocan

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La Cathedral

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of the terracotta, yellow mango, and the blue tiles combination in their architecture and interiors. I also think it is the music, and the warmth of the people I met, that made my yearning stronger. Finally, I had the chance 18 hours layover in Mexico City on my way to Ecuador, yay bonus.

I spent more time planning these 18 hours than my whole trip to Ecuador. The thing about spending so little time, in such a big city, is that you need to develop certain skills and have a STRATEGY.

Strategy 1:

Looking for a one day tour seemed to be the perfect solution. So I spent a lot of time looking for one day tours, reading recommendations from Lonely Planet, and Trip Advisor. I also came across other websites that recommended other types of tours. I felt like I was caught up in a loop of recommendations, opinions, and suggestions. So after reading sooooo many reviews, I knew what kind of attractions I’m interested in, and this was the first step on the way. I started contacting some of the recommended agencies that offer one day tours. I was really shocked by the prices and quotes they offered me because at the end of the day they cater for the “Gringos”.

 

Strategy 2:

I decided to surf more websites that cater for the travelling- on- a shoe-string- kind of traveller, which is me. And I found some suggestions like taking the Turibus www.turibus.com.mx —which I don’t recommend— for a city tour. The idea itself seemed great because you get to the see the whole city or the parts you are interested in— since they have different tours/routes—in the limited time you have. This seemed to me the most viable option, and this company was the most famous, however, after my experience not necessarily the best. The thing about these tours is that if you don’t hop off and you stay on board the whole tour takes approximately 3-4 hours. So If I decided to stay on board that would leave me with another 14hours. But, If I decided to hop on and hop off that maybe will give me some time to hang around in the areas we are visiting and then kill some time. Another idea popped up, which was my second best strategy.

 

Strategy 3:

The most comfortable place to hang out in somebody’s house is on the……? Yes, the Couch.  So I logged into my account on https://www.couchsurfing.com.It was a great idea. As soon as I posted that I’m visiting Mexico City, I got tons of suggestions, recommendations, and invitations, (I know that Mexicans are friendly but also I guess all this attention because I’m a female solo traveller) it is good to have some perspective ;). After some convos back and forth, a couch surfer offered to show me around, after my tour. I also told the fellow surfer what kind of sightseeing I’m interested in, which was basically, the streets, the people, the smells, the colours, and anything that will keep me outdoors for as long as possible in sunny Mexico, the sunny part was overrated, though.

 

The countdown to my 14 hours started:

Hour 1-2: I arrived at the airport at 7 a.m, and I have to blurt it out, this is one of the most annoying and obnoxious airports that I have been to in terms of uncooperative officers and customs procedures. This is a comparison based on the fact that I lived in four different continents, and have been to over 40 different countries, and almost 100 cities. Apart from having to pick your luggage at the airport, even if you are in transit, the fact that you have to lift it up on a high counter, and if it is heavy, nobody offers to give you a hand, even though they see that you are a lady, and struggling to lift your big luggage on their counter, was inhumane. Then, of course, the searching procedure where they have to rummage through all your stuff and hand you your bag with its belly open to reorganise again. So the first two hours I spent in the airport, going through customs, then delivering my luggage to the connecting belt, storing my valuables in a rented locker—recommended, if you are going to walk around in the city— then checking for an ATM. After withdrawing some money, not a lot, though, I went out to check the taxi rates to LA CATEDRAL, this is where I’m supposed to catch my Turibus tour.

Hour 3-4:

The rates for airport taxis were quite similar, so I just picked one and hopped on board. I choose to take one from the airport because I was advised by the fellow surfer that this is safer since I’m a female solo traveller, who only has survival Spanish. The streets of Mexico City were quite packed at 8.30 a.m. It took us about an hour to reach the cathedral, however, cruising the streets of Mexico, I found it quite fascinating, to say the least. The sights of the real Mexican people, as opposed to the one in Mexican soap operas, the street vendors, the food carts, and the coloured houses, even if it was tinted with poverty. From that moment onward I knew that I’m going to love Mexico City.

 

 

Hour 4-6.5:

I hopped off the taxi and walked towards the big plaza where LA CATEDRAL stood tall and grand. The building of the cathedral was majestic, and it demands respect. The façade was very ornate with intricate details. There was some kind of a festival going on, and they were setting up tents for the event. Turibus booth was on the side of the cathedral. I approached them, and one of them spoke some English, and I paid with my foreign credit card which was accepted, then was excited to start my sightseeing tour in Mexico City. Although I was flying from Vancouver, and supposedly “well geared” for cold weather, with lots of layers. It was quite chilly in Mexico that morning, and it was really challenging for me to sit all the time on the open deck. I did for most of the time, though. With Turibus, as advertised on their website, there are many routes, I took the most popular one, that shows you most of the landmarks of Mexico City. To my disappointed, the Wi-Fi didn’t work, as advertised, nor their bilingual guide as they said. Later on, they provided me with a pair of cheap headphones, but then the Spanish audio guide was very loud and overlapped the recorded English guide so I opt out.

 

The stops that really stood out during my tour were; Reforma Rio DE La Plata, Monumento Ala Indepencia, and my favourite La Roma. It is located in a district called Cuauhtemoc. Mexico City is full of colonial architecture mostly from Spain, however, this particular neighbourhood’s architecture is from the French colonial period. La Roma is now considered THE place for hanging out. You can see a big array of restaurants, cafes, and pubs dotting every corner. Also, it is considered a hip area and quite pricey compared to other places in the city since it is the trendiest. Turibus stops in several stations where people can choose to hop off, explore the area, and then hop back on the next bus, which passes approximately every 20 minutes depending on the traffic.

 

The tour takes approximately2.5 hours then it takes you back to the cathedral.  I was supposed to meet my fellow surfer after the tour so we can start our tour in another part of the enchanting Mexico City.

 

 

Hour 7 and I stopped counting…………

I met my friend, I was so starving, and exhausted but so excited and willing to go on with only two hours of sleep on the plane the day before, given that I can recharge with a good meal. He suggested that we head straight to our destination before rush hour since it will take us almost an hour to reach this place. We took the metro, which was quite acceptable for me compared to public transportation in Cairo, or India. We also took a bus, which I found quite challenging if I wasn’t travelling with a local. The buses were cramped up with people, and you really have to keep an eye on your belongings from one side, and your ass from the other side—if you got what I meant—standing in the middle of a crowded bus. After the daunting trip, we reached magical Coyocan. This is one of the 12 boroughs of Mexico City, which lies in the south of Mexico City. Coyocan is now considered the historic centre and is famous for housing the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s museum. The minute I set foot in Coyocan, I didn’t want to leave. The colonial architecture was mesmerising. Quaint cobbled stone streets, adorned with coloured houses, from the Spanish colonial times. The energy and the vibrancy of the area were contagious and suddenly I was full of energy, without a bite of food.

We found a historic house that was turned into a restaurant. According to my friend, it was considered touristic, but for the atmosphere, I was willing to pay a bit more. The sun started to be strong, and it was like a summer day, so I started peeling off layer after layer of my Vancouverite clothes asked for the vegetarian quesadilla, and vegetable soup. Both were good. I also tried one of their local juices with a coconut flavour called horchata. My friend had a typical homemade meal of rice, cooked vegetables, and a piece of chicken. In Mexico, as most of the Latin American culture, food is love. So most of the culture revolves around going for food or gathering together to eat out. So it is very typical to find big families out together for lunch or dinner. After lunch, it was time for dessert then coffee: D. On our quest to go to the traditional ice-cream shop, I was stopping almost in front of every house, contemplating the architecture, the colours, and its special features.

 

Coyocan has a special spirit, I found myself not wanting to spend one minute indoors, I wanted to soak it all in, the smells, the colours, the architecture. That is why when we arrived at Coyocan, I wasn’t eager to go anywhere else or see anything else because walking in its streets quenched my thirst to the image of Mexico that was yearning to see. We reached the ice cream place, the traditional Mexican ice cream is water based and is called Nieve, so you will get the flavour but not the creamy texture, which is a haven for vegans. I let my friend pick the flavours since they had many that I wasn’t familiar with. They were all great, and generally, food is cheap depends on where you go, so for three scoops of ice cream, you can pay 2.5 $. We also went to a local place that is famous for its coffee, and I ordered a small Americano which was for 1.3 $.The coffee was very good. The sun was about to set and it was time to go take a look on Coyocan Market. The market was like a small labyrinth full of people, vendors, and some singers standing by the food stalls where people were eating. It is a good place to sample local food in Mexico, as my friend suggested. However, I was still full from the ice cream, so couldn’t really try anything. There were a lot of souvenir shops, and many indigenous people selling beautifully handcrafted shawls, and ponchos. The prices were high since the place is considered a touristic area. I managed to pick two souvenirs from the market after a little bit of bargaining. Then we went to catch a bus for our final destination, San Angel.

 

I read about Coyocaan and San Angel before seeing them, when my fellow surfer mentioned that he grew up in Coyocan and that he would be more than happy to how me around, I couldn’t be more ecstatic. San Angel is a small historic neighbourhood close to Coyocan, however, it caters to a more posh segment of tourists and Mexicans alike. One can tell from the grandeur of the beautiful old style mansions that were converted to a fine wine and dine gourmet restaurants and bars. It was dark by the time we reached San Angel, so, unfortunately, many shops were closed, and people were only hanging out inside the restaurants, as it started to become cold. We took a walk in the unwinding streets of San Angel. My friend explained that some of these mansions are still inhabited by its owners who passed on the property a long time back to their children. It is considered a weekend house for these rich families, and I could tell from the luxury cars, and the bodyguards standing in front some of these houses, that this area is for the la crème de la crème of the Mexican society.

 

As I checked the time, I couldn’t believe that my 14-hours in Mexico City are about to end, and I have to start heading back to the airport. My friend took me to the bus station where there are special buses that go directly to the airport, and that guarantees that they can avoid some of the traffic by taking a special lane. I bade my friend farewell with a promise to come back to see the rest of the enchanting city. On the way back, I couldn’t help but think whether having that little time was to my advantage or not? Knowing that I have such limited time made me enjoy every single minute of this day.

 

 

 

Cuenca, Ecuador in Two days

Cuenca, Ecuador in Two days

Cuenca is a beautiful small, quaint city in southern Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. It was rated one of the most livable cities for expats. Downtown Cuenca is a picturesque dream come true for colonial architecture lovers. The buildings are mostly of the French and Spanish colonial heritage. Most of Downtown Cuenca is brimming with restaurants, shops, hotels, and hostels. So if you are in Downtown Cuenca, you want to find a hostel or a hotel there. The variety is huge, and the prices are competitive. The first time you set foot in Downtown Cuenca, locate where Parque Calderon is. This is the heart of downtown, and from there it is easy to walk around and come back to it.

How I did it?
I knew that I would have as little as two days and one night in Cuenca. One full day and night before my road trip, (stay tuned to read about it), and one day till I leave to the airport that night. I checked hostel ratings on hostelworld.com, then choose one, in my case Check Inn Hotel, gave them a call, you can ask a local to use their phone and give them a dollar for the call, then did a booking. This will work if your plans are last minute, or you don’t have a credit card to book online.

It was a fantastic location, but again most of the hostels are pretty much in the heart of El Centro. That day I was lucky they gave me a room with a great view on the street with gorgeous buildings and huge windows, and it wasn’t that noisy at night.

I spent that day browsing the streets of El Centro, and pinning all the places I want to see when I come back.

What is important to see?
EVERYTHING. If you are not tired of walking, WALK. The side streets are hidden The city center or El Centro, is very small, you can pretty much cover it in one day walking around. Calle Large and it translates in English as the large street, is a mesmerizing stroll, with all the colorful buildings, street cafés, and small eateries. Hungry?

Where to eat?
As anywhere else in the world, the closer to the main street, or where the tourists are likely to hang out the more expensive it gets. So I looked down the side streets first, with a target in mind, a friend in Mexico taught me to look for a paper that says Especial Hoy, posted normally outside of the restaurant, (today’s menu). Normally, that will be cheaper than ordering a la Carte and it will usually include; soup, salad, and sometimes dessert, plus, this is how the locals do it. I came across one restaurant on a side street which offered lunch for $3. Typically, what you should pay for lunch in Cuenca is between 2-3$. My lunch had soup, a plate of rice and veggies, a scanty piece of chicken, and a yogurt dessert. I found this quite fair for the price. There are an array of restaurants in the area that offer endless choices that caters for different tastes, and budgets.

Are Ecuadorians friendly?
I hate to be blunt, but no. I didn’t find them particularly friendly, in comparison to Mexicans. They were quite impatient and dismissive, especially if you are struggling with the language. That made google translate with Spanish offline my best friend on this trip. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I only cruised the touristic areas, so may be outside of these areas people will be more welcoming. But anyway, this was my experience and everybody is different.

When I came back from my road trip, I had one full day and a PLAN.
Crunched in time? Here is a secret tip; Take a day tour. Get a glimpse, sample the city, if you can’t have the full meal, get the flavor.
AND that what I have done. I googled free city tours Cuenca, and it turned out right on my doorstep. There is an iTur office http://www.cuencaecuador.com.ec, and it is in the main Plaza Calderon. They do a free two-hour walking tour every morning at 10 am. So my plan was browsing for a good place for breakfast, and be at their door step at 10 am.

In my search for a glorious breakfast to wash away, the horrible night sleep the night before (lousy, noisy neighbors, plus didn’t get the beautiful room as last time). And the fatigue of spending eight hours on a bus on my way back to Cuenca, I set my budget limitations aside. So I headed for the main street looking for a nice place for breakfast. I ended up sitting in Tutto Freddo, which is a famous ice cream place, and I liked how fresh their baking goods looked. I paid $3.75 for an Americano breakfast, which simply was: a small croissant, an omelet, a spoon of butter, a spoon of jam, a juice, and a coffee. Although the portions were ridiculously small, the quality was really good. So I forgave them.

The two-hour walk was very informative and interesting, I highly recommend it, and the guide spoke both English and Spanish. This walk is free, but you kind of tip the guide with whatever you want to give at the end. I spent the rest of my time in Cuenca cruising the streets that I haven’t covered during the walk, so by the time the sunset on Cuenca and me I bade her farewell with no looking back.

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The immigration mind set

Leaving your country is a tough  decision regardless of the reasons. It is even more difficult if; you were well established in your country, you are in your mid career, mid thirties, and have kids. Embarking on such a step needs a lot of mental and psychological preparation. From experience, the most important thing to keep you going and face the challanges ahead is to stay focused on the goal, keep your eye on why did you leave your country  in the first place, and what do you want to achieve by going to the other destination.

My husband and I selected destination was Calgary, Canada. I’m going to share some points on how to benefit and be beneficial in Calgary as a new comer. Before starting, I want to say that the province of Alberta offers alot of help to new comers, compared to Toronto, or that is what I heard. However, most of the help you can find in Calgary, is from the communities, NGOs, and by individual efforts, and donations. If you already benefitted from the resources, activities, and donations, you have to have the mind set of giving back, or the PAY BACK initiative, why? Because this is the only guarantee these services are going to continue and increase. Because if everybody took and didn’t give, the cycle will break.

My 101 guide to Calgary New Comers :
1- Rent a place. This is important so you can have an address to open a bank account, do your sin card, and receive your PR on.
2- Book an appointment with an Immigration Services counselor (V.imp), because they will walk you through the steps you need to do, also they most probably have people speaking your mother tongue (it is in 7th Avenue with 8th Street ).
3- If you don’t have income, and you need help with your household items, furniture, ask your counselor for a referral, most of the time they don’t offer it , you have to ask.
4- Same for food, ask for a referral to the food bank, however, for this and previous point, make a vow to donate & volunteer for such great services, when your situation is better.
5- Take a CLB test to evaluate your English.
6- Participate in all workshops that you feel you need to give yourself a kickstart in the Canadian job market.
7- Make a membership in the Calgary Library, and go to their events for networking.
8- Check the Meet Up website, and try to join the groups that share your interests.
9- Get a mentor in your career, Directions, CIWA, and Immigration Services offer this to immigrants for free.
10- If you are interested in studying, ask your counselor for information about funding.
11- Check thrift stores Calgary, the variety for clothes, household items, and furniture is huge, it will help you save until you have a steady income.
12- Download Flipp app, it will help you keep track on the weekly offers in all shop and retailers around Canada.

I hope I mentioned everything worth mentioning here regarding how to make things easier when you just landed in Calgary.
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6 Things to Help Support Our Local Communities

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A woman from Nubia, Egypt

A woman from Nubia, Egypt

One of the locals of Ayder, making a living from hosting tourists.

One of the locals of Ayder, making a living from hosting tourists.

Local women of Abyana wearing their traditional clothes.

Local women of Abyana wearing their traditional clothes.

Amira El Naqeeb
Most countries around the world have their own local communities, and the variety can range from; nomads, local tribes, Bedouins, to the indigenous people of a country. Many of these communities depend on tourism as their main income. So when there is less influx of tourist flow, their income is highly affected.

This is most applicable to countries where their local communities live far out, or away from the main cities, or in the cities close to their countries’ borders. Most of these communities are neglected by their governments, and they are hardly close to any decent living standard, striving to make ends meet.

Here are the most easiest ways to help them survive:
1- Visit them more often.
2- Buy their products; handcrafts, local food.
3- If they offer accommodation at their houses, stay there.
4- Talk to their elders, most of the time they have great stories to tell.
5- Record, take a note, or take as many photos, this is a way of preserving your heritage, and legacy.
6- If you are an investor in the tourism industry, build hotels, or lodges in a geo touristic manner, i.e. preserve the architectural heritage.

Kish Island: Paradise Lost

Pristine beaches, Tiffany blue sea, pearly sandy beaches, and rich marine life that is a short description for Kish Island. Located in one of the most controversial countries in the world; Iran.
The island lies South of Iran on the Persian Gulf, and is approximately 90 km square meters, and except for its beaches, it is a concrete jungle. It is a popular shopping destination amongst Iranians, and hardly a crowded one, because of its hot weather most of the year. The island is not promoted by the government as a tourist destination, even for the local market; however, it is mostly promoted for business, since it is a free trade zone city.
The best time to visit Kish would be in autumn, where the weather is warm, but not so hot, and humidity is not at its peak. Women, if they want to swim in some public beaches they have to use an all covering suit, which is similar to a diving suit. This rule in Iran is a very whimsical one, and depends on the police patrol and whether they would approach people to get out of the water or let them be. Simply put, there is no written rule that says if women are “properly covered” they shouldn’t be able to swim in public beaches, however, it all depends on the police officer to allow you or not. I was lucky enough to escape the whims of the police twice, and enjoyed swimming with my husband, and also as soon as they know you are a foreigner they are more relaxed, and some rules can be bent. If one wants to avoid the hassle, women can go to the ladies beach.
The ladies beach in Kish is like nothing that I ever imagined. The first time I was there I thought maybe I am in Monaco or somewhere in Costa del Sol. You cannot imagine the amount of thongs, Brazilian cuts, and topless women there. The interesting thing was how comfortable women felt as they were strolling on the beach flaunting their bodies, and boobs whether fake or real. I didn’t expect to see the latest fashion in swimwear, accessories, designers’ sandals, and even tanning lotions. Also there were a lot of young girls with tattoos, nose jobs amongst other jobs, if you know what I mean. I didn’t only think that I’m outside of Iran, but also felt under dressed in my normal bikini that I got on sale from H &M, as if I crashed a Dolce & Gabbana party in my pajamas. Suddenly it all came back to me, all these pictures that I have seen on Instagram from this controversial account #therichkidsoftehran, it is sort of real. There is a niche in the society which is all rich, powerful, and definitely living in their own bubble. But eventually, aren’t we all?
Although In Kish is not promoted as a beach resort as I mentioned earlier, there are some water sports and activities that can be done to help people pass time. For instance, people can rent a bike or a scooter, watch a dolphin show, do Para sailing, diving, and also there is a cable ski. Kish houses some nice and decent restaurants as well as a couple of fancy malls. The most impressive thing about Kish is its tranquil beaches, and definitely it is worth visiting, although the island is nowhere close to achieving its full potential yet.

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#KishIsland #Iran #offthebeatenpath #travel #exoticdestinations

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The Sunken Greek Ship off the shores of Kish Island.

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Pristine #beaches

Why I’m not Turkish?

This is my first and foremost close encounter with obsession, and this question is actually addressed to my God. Yes, I admit I’m obsessed. Not with a man, or a kind of food, but with a city: Istanbul. I don’t know how or why, it just happened. Did I live there? Yes. Is it long enough to make me fall madly, deeply, beyond any rational in love with this city? No. But I did. No matter where I go, my heart is there. Every place, building, corner in any other country, that draws a deep smile on my face, when I delve deep, it is only for the mere fact that it reminded me of a place in Istanbul.I started loving sea gulls but only recently, because I used to see them every morning squeaking out of my window, as I lived near the Iskele; the port.I love these pale, washed out, wooden houses wherever I see them, but now I love them even more, because they remind me of some houses in Kanaliada, a beautiful Island in Istanbul, which also is the center for Armenians living in Istanbul. I even pass by certain places or areas, wherever I travel, just because they revoke my memories of Istanbul.

I wish they can give the nationality of a country based on love. I have no interest in politics or what is going on at the moment of conflicts or disputes with the Turkish government. For me they are just politicians, tools, puppets, they come and go. I just feel immense, and deep, unprecedented attachment to this land. I feel this way and I’m so proud that I know Istanbul like the palm of my hands. I know where to go if I have money, and where to go if I have no money. I know where to go when I’m happy, and where to walk when I’m sad. I know which bar has the best romantic ambiance, and which bar has the cheapest beer. I know what locals don’t know. And may be some will never understand why I fell in love with their country. As much I sometimes didn’t understand how some people fell in love with mine: Egypt. But it happened.

In my neurotic attempt to always analyze things—I’m a Gemini, and it comes with the astrological package — I wanted to seek an answer from a therapist, or a healer, somebody who can take me back to my past life —I believe in this—and tell me something. May be I was living in Istanbul in another life, so that will explain, why I always want to go back.
Somebody would ask then why don’t you just move there? And I have a list of practical answers and personal reasons that I can say, but it doesn’t calm down my longing, or give me any solace. All I wish for, is that someday, I will go back and live there, without the fear of how can I SUPPORT MY SELF, or what will I do when my money runs out, or whether my partner will agree with my decision or not.
Barlar Sokak

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An old style Turkish house

An old style Turkish house

China International Travel Mart: Around the world in five halls

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Myself & some Koreans in their Ethnic dress.

Myself & some Koreans in their Ethnic dress.

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The CITM took place on the 14th of November in the bustling city of Shanghai. I was there as a journalist, observer, and as a Tourism Consultant, for a client. I have to admit, that I was highly disappointed by the level of organization, or shall I say disorganization. I heard that it was organized by the ITB of Berlin, or may be the same people; however, my mind refuses to believe it. I was there with my client one day before the exhibition started, to organize and decorate the booth, set our stuff, and decide on the branding. It was shocking how you can’t get any help from the organizers in terms of handy people, workers, or if you need to rent any tools. No body from the organizers, pass to check if you need any help, or they can’t even be seen anywhere except, where the registration disc is. All you have is a bunch of hustlers coming around, passing by every five minutes, offering to rent you a lamp, or a TV, where you have to bargain your heart out, as if you were in a flea market.
On the opening day, there were unbelievable queues packed and squeezed against one another in front of the entrance gate. People have to go around in something like a labyrinth of steel barricades, to get in the security check. After one hour we finally got in. There was a heavy presence from Europe, can’t say the same about Africa though. All eyes now are on the Chinese market, and the Chinese client. Compared to London’s WTM, there was no Wow element, especially from the Brazilian booth, which always managed to lure, and attract people to their stall. However, I have to say, that Korea, managed to steal the spotlight this year with a fantastic creative brand “the United Nations of Imagination” They were really vibrant, creative, and they had fun performances almost all day, although a bit noisy. It was inevitable not to notice them, when you here people screaming from across the hall, and when I approached, it turned out they were playing a match of Taekwondo, or Kung Fu in the BOOTH. With their brand you actually get a passport that has the United Nations of Imagination written on it, where you have to go around and stamp it from three different places. Inside you get to see the tourist attractions of South Korea, highlighted with the names of its different regions.

New Zealand was also another interesting booth, with some of their people dressed like natives with their faces painted, and a catchy slogan; “100 Pure”, as the title of their promotional campaign. The nice thing about New Zealanders (Kiwis) in the campaign that they managed to get audience involved in their singing and dancing, which was so engaging. An interesting thing was that almost all the countries hired Chinese personal in their booth, so they can communicate with the visitors, and most booths had no one who spoke English. Also, all flyers, brochures, and booklets, were in Chinese. Personally, I understand that this is geared towards the Chinese market, but did it occur to some people, that also other tour operators from other countries might be present, interested, and a potential client, and if they had some English brochures, that would be hunting two or more markets with one stone.

Few other countries, had some action going on like; Japan, Namibia, and Madagascar. However, the pinnacle of creativity when it comes to booths’ decorations, were the Chinese themselves. They represented, their Islands, their different regions, with some astounding pictures, colours, and scenic backgrounds, that when you see them it wouldn’t cross your mind that you these places are in China. The thing is I didn’t expect China to have all this diverse landscape, and variety of touristic products. I lingered in each stall, trying to absorb the amount the diversity that this country encompasses, but still didn’t manage to absorb all the wonders this land has to offer.