PHOTO: In Marrakech – A cafe in the heart of the medina, at the edge of the Djemaa el Fna.
If there is one small detail I have noticed in all of my travels, there are a handful of foods and beverages you can find anywhere in the world…and I do mean anywhere. These global food items include Coca Cola, M&Ms, Pringles, pizza and an up-and-comer, Mentos.
While it’s sometimes very comforting to find these things in the middle-of-nowhere, I find this really disturbing.
A lot of Morocco also looks the same way I had envisioned. But what I was not prepared for was the exquisite detail of the patterns in the tile, in the painted window shutters, the carvings in the archways. I also didn’t expect such variety of materials used to make up one structure.
This photo is from the ancient school of the Koran. I just loved the mix of patterns, textures, colors and shapes. Some is wood, some is marble, some tile, and yet it all blends together so beautifully!
School of the Koran
Built in the 14th Century, the Ben Youssef Madrasa was one of the most spectacular examples of architecture I think I’ve ever seen.
A new trade event called PURE Life Experiences was my reason for going to Marrakech. The focus was luxury experiential travel – an intriguing topic to focus on for a week and an event which lent an interesting mix of people.
One of the fun parts about trade shows is that after a full day of meetings (this show had 14 appointments scheduled per day), there are usually parties in the evening which further promote networking. Since this show’s focus was on experiences, the parties in the event were nothing short of extravagant.
The picture I’ve shared here is from the closing party, held at the private palace of the owner of the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel is not even finished yet, but has great promise for splendor beyond belief. The room in the photo was actually that red. The lighting in Morocco, it seems, is always a bit dark and exotic.
Overall, the trade show was a great success. I met some really fascinating people. I think my favorite was a gentleman who represents 8 family trusts (all 8 are related) which benefits about 108 people. His job is to plan their vacations and expeditions throughout the year. I seriously could handle THAT job! Wow!
I’ve posted a few more entries about Morocco. Read on!
Of course we all learned today that Rio de Janeiro will be the 2016 host for the Olympics. I have to say – Wooo Hooo! I was pulling for them simply for the fact that no South American country has ever hosted the Olympics. I think it’s time to boraden our horizons a bit and let Rio, host to possibly one of the biggest parties in the world, host a sports “festival.”
Go Rio! I hope to be there in 2016 to celebrate! Who’s with me?
Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I consider myself a super considerate person. Even to a fault. I always put the other person before me. I think this is why Japan suited me so well. Group mentality. The group is more important than the individual. I was raised to treat other people the way you want to be treated. And the good news for others is that I want to be treated nicely. Life is too short to be mean and nasty.
When you travel a lot, you always run into hiccups – late planes, cancelled flights, booked hotels, etc. I can only imagine that when you have just a few precious weeks to enjoy your vacation that you want things to go smoothly and perfectly and without any major catastrophes. Of course, that’s normal.
HOWEVER, being in the hospitality industry, an adventure seeker, and having traveled often, I have seen my fair share of whiny, snot-nosed travelers who bitch and moan and complain with their stupid little “problems” and insanely ridiculous requests. When did everyone get so selfish? When did we become a world full of spoiled brats? When did it become “all about me” and “what I want”???
Those who are privileged enough to have the funds to travel should be a lot more grateful for their opportunities. Instead of complaining that things “are not what I expected”, how about dropping those expectations and just being delighted with what you are given? Instead of comparing your vacation to the other people you meet along the way, how about remembering that life is not a competition. Travel is supposed to be an experience, not an item you check off your list.
I’ve been working from our hotel in Laos and I am astounded by some of the complaints guests bother to bring to the GM and front desk staff. In striking up conversations with these guests at other moments during their stay, I’m not so surprised to learn that they have complaints for everywhere they’ve been on their vacation. One woman had nothing nice to say about any part of her vacation! She found fault in every destination, in every hotel, in every experience. Depressing!
There are even people out there who have made a hobby of traveling, and using complaints as a way to get upgrades and add-ons and free hotel stays. I find this despicable. Enough already. You are grown-up people who have the means to travel. You should be gracious enough to not bring your screwed up ideas and ridiculously selfish attitude with you. Try to leave them home the next time and travel because you want to actually learn about the local people and culture. Not because you want to get a suitcase full of freebies simply for the fact you are a miserable human being.
Seriously – you would be surprised to hear the things I hear and see the things I see. I find it shameful. Yes, there are certain times when hotel/airline/tour operator/restaurant staff are out of line and behave inappropriately. Yes, there are times when what you are promised is not what you are delivered. And in those circumstances you should speak up. But you do not have to be rude about it or personally insult staff members or raise your voice and make an ass out of yourself.
A calm conversation gets you very, very far. I was upgraded any number of times during my travels last year simply because I was nice, I smiled, I asked politely and I actually didn’t expect it. The staff members were usually more accommodating because I treated them with respect, looked them in the eye and made them feel human.
So, to all the rude travelers (which I am certain are none of the people reading this blog), take a chill pill and try being nice on your next vacation. Be thankful you even get one! Jerks!
(Whew – that was a good vent – thanks for reading!)
It pays to be polite! – I try my very hardest to live by the golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. So not the case with many travelers!
After a terrific twenty-eight days, the European tour has come to and end. The tour ended in Greece, after just a few short hours in Athens. My flight schedule took me back to London, where I pondered the idea of traveling to Spain to find work. I mentioned in my previous post that I wouldn’t mind staying in Europe, particularly Greece or Spain.
Well, after greater contemplation, I realized I was unable to camp out in Spain, or anywhere in Europe. Hotels and transportation cost a pretty Euro or Pound and I simply could not afford to stay and look for work.
What that means, my dear friends, is that – SURPRISE! – I’m writing to you from San Diego! I’m back in the good old US of A. I just got back on Monday, and have spent the last couple of days recuperating from a long and delayed flight. I’m also adjusting to being back in the U.S. Reverse culture shock always seems to hit me harder than culture shock. How weird is that? I do love being immersed in foreign cultures!
I find it oddly coincidental, that I returned from my travels the same exact day I returned from Japan last year. Interesting how things fall into place that way. Even though a year has passed, I still miss Japan and often thought of my friends, students and life in Japan while I was traveling throughout the world.
My goal, while here in comfort of casa de papa y mama, is to polish up my resume, do some research, and figure out what the next step is in my life adventure. After five months living out of a backpack, I need a break, a job and routine in my life. I love, love, love traveling and exploring the world, but even “Shanna the Adventurer” has her limits! It was time to come home.
What I feel so grateful for is that I am in the unique position in my life that I can do anything and go anywhere I choose. Yes, I will look for jobs in Spain and Greece, as I said before. And I will still keep bugging Kurt in Vietnam to find a way to put me in that Sales and Marketing position in Hanoi. But I will also research opportunities a little closer to home and see what pops up. It just may be time for me to settle in the US again and plant some roots here. We’ll just have to see. Point being, I’m open and flexible.
I have posted my resume online here. And you know me well, so if you would like to forward my resume to someone you know, please feel welcome to do so. If you know someone who’s looking for a person like me, please put us in touch. Any efforts you make on my behalf are GREATLY appreciated.
Soon enough, I’ll be writing my OTBS newsletter, both an Asian version and European version, to highlight some of the experiences I’ve had during my journey. I know many of you have kept up with my travels here, but I’m hoping to tickle some of my friends and acquaintances who haven’t visited the website as frequently as you! Look for that news very soon.
If you want to reach me, you can find me on my cell. It’s the same number I had previously. I’d be delighted to hear from you and catch up in person. Thanks so much for being so supportive and I look forward to speaking with you soon!