Sights and Sounds (ok, no sound, but words)


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...

Moments before this, the child sitting here was whisked away by Madonna

Part of Colombia's section. Really not sure what to make of this

I guess "Colombia: Way Less Shootings Than Before" was too subtle

A lonely booth

Please write your own caption in the comments area. Winner gets a Berlin U-Bahn map (slightly used)

In the middle of the exhibition, exhibitionists.

This was a packed room. Clearly, blogging is the new black

Somehow Chuck Norris is omnipresent

Moroccan artist working with coloured powders - click on the picture to see his work more closely

Only slightly more popular than the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Cool painting

Estonia's slick display area - a photographic forest

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

Ich Bin Ein Trade Show Attendee


Greetings from Berlin!

Actually from a Berlin hotel room, as I ponder how to best attack this massive, 10,000 exhibitor-plus Travel Trade Show. I am here covering it as a writer and seeking out opportunities for additional work. As I've never been here before, it also seemed like a great excuse to escape the confines of the Amsterdam apartment.

World's Most Perilous Urinal
(Amersfoort train station, Netherlands, March 10)

The same excuse will also bring me to Malaga at the end of March. Let's just say an Amsterdam winter (and to be fair, all of Europe this year) starts to play tricks on one's mind.

When you're sequestered in your apartment by sideways-blowing rain or just straight showering-with-your-clothes-on rain for what seems like the 100th time, your mind starts to go.

...Hmm, I wonder what shapes my balsamic vinegar will make when it hits the olive oil on my plate? Let's try and make a happy face.

Balsamic Still Life, March 2010

...What's Carlton from the Fresh Prince up to these days? I hope he's well.

...Maybe I should get a tattoo. (This might still happen)

...How about getting vajazzled? (This is less likely to happen)

So you can clearly see that it was time to get out for a bit.

With that, I am off to explore this city for the next 3 days. Auf Wiedersehen.