Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Business Trips

Posted: October 31, 2013 in travel, Uncategorized
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September through October brought me to new and interesting places.

RUSSIA

1270904_10201923013618355_1580404598_oOne thing that I loved about Moscow is its rustic feel. The city looked and felt old and I loved the architecture.

From Seoul it was a thirteen hour flight to Moscow. Our first day consisted of being taken to  a very far Korean restaurant- then a hotel check in that took five hours. It was weird to see different guards stationed at every elevator hallway. They required us to present hotel room cards before we could go into the hallway and take the elevator to the room every time.

We were there for the Dental Expo and I made it a point to enjoy every part of the trip no matter how hard our days went by. We had to travel using the Metro to and from the exhibit hall for a total of two hours everyday. To enjoy this bit, I did people-watching. It was interesting to look at Russians and their manner in the Metro. Whilst Koreans could no be bothered and busy with the phones or gadgets, Russians have newspapers or books in hand. Most of them are doing what I was doing-Looking at the group of foreigners who could be Japanese or Chinese for all they know.

Business transactions and dealings inside the exhibit were hectic. The problem of having no translator and assuming all Russians spoke English was a clear mistake on our part. There were lost deals because of that. But I still managed to snag a few contracts here and there. The fact that there was a fashion show in front of our booth everyday and had those good looking Russian dudes made my stress more manageable.

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We spent the morning of our last day in Moscow touring the sights. The weather was damp and cold and the tour was disorganized. I hated that part. We weren’t allowed to leave the group and I was ready to give the tour guide a piece of my mind when my bosses told me we were leaving. Turned out I wasn’t the only one not enjoying the whole tour experience.

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TURKEY

From Moscow, we went straight to Ankara. I (or we) have a meeting with our distributor there. They wanted to talk to us regarding support- marketing and promotion that is. The whole travel to Turkey started with a lot of hassles. First, our flight was delayed. We had a connecting flight from Istanbul to Ankara and since we were running late, I almost rushed past the immigration officer who had to check my passport. Fortunately, he found the whole thing funny and he was smiling at me whilst giving the stamp on my passport. Then there’s the lost luggage. In Ankara, we waited for our bags for almost an hour but it there was no sign of it. When I asked the lost and found counter, we had to wait for another hour just so I can make a report for lost luggage. So without our bags, we had to go to the hotel on our own as our contact has already left. We were literally the only ones left in the airport except for customs official of course.

The next day, still without our baggage, we had breakfast and started with the endless meetings. It was a Saturday and we were hoping for a short meeting then maybe some rest. Turns out the series of meetings would start and would only be interrupted by our trip to the airport to claim our bags. Although it was three straight days of meetings with our Turkish distributor, they were kind enough to lavish us with delicious food. At the end of our trip I’ve had eaten so much meat and I was proclaiming to the world that I was going to be a vegetarian.

620578_10201880847244222_1597399687_o 1265729_10201880841964090_189066555_o 1264697_10201880852764360_644979131_o 1267409_10201880851084318_33739802_o Overall, Turkey was an enjoyable trip albeit there were bumps in the beginning. The people we met were all very hospitable. The only thing that surprised me was how similar it was to some places I know in Manila. There were no (or very few) pedestrian crossing and people just cross wherever and whenever. And cars weren’t shy about those car horns. Those beeping sounds never stopped.

Ankara is an old city and I so want to stay so that I could visit the recently discovered Roman artifacts which were all very interesting. This was the best part of the trip for me.

INDIA

India was a shock for me. A good and not-so-good experience at the same time. At the airport, I was surprised at how many policemen were roaming around. It didn’t make me feel secure rather it was intimidating. Maybe it was their purpose, I can’t be sure. Then came the customs issue. We were held up there because we didn’t declare the products that we brought. Of course, we didn’t. I read their policy and decided we could just go by. The products and banners were for the exhibition. The customs official asked me to step out of the line and read the customs policy. I did. He seemed surprised that I then proceeded to reason with him. He didn’t ask us to pay for a huge penalty but I knew that I could at least handle it. So played the charm card. I asked him if it could be settled and we could pay a lower fee. That was what he was waiting. He asked for a hundred dollars, told me to go the policeman and talk to him. I instructed my boss to do it because I don’t want to be alone with any police officer any where. So it ended our customs issue.

Next I was surprised at how poor the infrastructure was. I was expecting something of a developed or at least a developing country. It was a mixture of old and new. New buildings next to a slum. The taxis were old, pay double and you’d get yourself an air conditioned one. The exhibition was successful as there were a lot of interest in our product. They were surprised to find a Korean company there where most of the competitors were Israeli implants.

Now, for the best part- the food. I love Indian food. Love the curry, love the spices. But one week of nothing but curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner wrecked havoc to my stomach. Maybe it was the spices, maybe it was too much food- I don’t know. But I’d still eat curry anytime.

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