Monday, February 26, 2007

Final Thoughts on Trip Around World

After five weeks on the road we got back on Friday night to home and I leave again this afternoon to start doing talks on Boomtown and also Entrepreneurism as the Paradigm Shift in Economic Development. I’ll have some observations from this trip that I’ll be able to use for those talks.

The trip started out as our 25th Anniversary and we billed it as our honeymoon trip since we didn’t take one 25 years ago. Betinha suggested that we change the name to B’s World Tour with me as the entourage, which I reluctantly did. I’m now calling it the Hot Flash Honeymoon.

We might have also called it Eating Our Way Around the World as we had some wonderful and sometimes interesting meals. Eating the fish eye had to be a highlight. We noticed that all of our clothes shrunk during the trip so the food seemed to sit well with us and we were never sick. We also observed that with few exceptions, we were always the first to eat at the restaurants at night. Most eat much later than what we were accustomed to.

I was disappointed to bring back my fake billfold, which I had loaded with expired credit cards and driver’s license. I had hoped to have it pick-pocketed from me but not once did we feel threatened or in any danger even when we were watching the Greek students protest the governments wish to privatize education.

People all over the world were incredibly friendly. You could see where serious training of first line workers could be so positive. The contrast between Dubai (good) and Doha, Qatar (bad) was particularly striking. One very nasty cab driver in Lisbon made a lasting impression. Several people, especially in New Zealand and one in Doha went above and beyond and made great impressions.

Road signs were remarkably good with New Zealand’s the best and Greece’s the worst. New Zealand had wonderful directional signs in all of their towns that pointed out the downtown area and also major spots in town (YMCA, Post Office, etc.) which were very helpful. Greece’s signs were way too small and hard to find.

We loved the hot hand towels at the registration desk in several hotels and wonder why we don’t do that in the USA. We also enjoyed the many international channels and didn’t find Al-Jazera to be as radical as it is portrayed in the American media.

Entrepreneurism is alive and well in all 12 countries we visited. Hong Kong, New Zealand and Dubai were particularly impressive. The marvelously diversified ag economy in New Zealand, led by an entrepreneurial bent was to die for. And, done without any ag subsidies!

Countries we visited were (in order): Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Greece, Qatar, Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. We hope to return to visit Spain, Greece (island cruise), Dubai, Hong Kong (always), Vietnam, Australia (separate trip) and New Zealand (south island). But probably not on one trip and not for soon.

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