Day 1 at the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show. This thing is huge, with pretty much every country on every continent represented, along with companies that depend on the travel industry and numerous workshops covering the future of wellness to blogging in the industry to UNESCO conferences.
And yet as it turns out a trade show is still, at its core, a trade show.
- Hapless employees manning (or womanning) the booths stare back at passerby with a look of either "Please come talk to me to help me pass the endless tedium" or "Keep moving because I hate my life."
- There is here, as in life, a clear delineation of the haves and the have-nots. Abu Dhabi has a plush 2-level booth including a mysterious stairway flanked by two comely lasses (when asked what's upstairs, they respond only with a mysterious "meetings"). Eritrea, meanwhile, has two short stools and free pens.
- There are the oddball trade show vultures, who try to get their hands on anything that isn't bolted down. Gummy bears, posters, three-headed highlighters, you name it. I have no idea what they do with all this stuff - maybe there's a thriving black market for trade show flotsam.
Here are some of the sights...
No sign of the Jersey Shore crew, thankfully. There might have been a situation
Haggling over haggis?
I have no idea what the fat pirate was representing
A long day ends well