Seeing the world without leaving Paris
Salon Mondial du Tourisme Paris
Porte de Versailles 6-9 Mars 2003



Living in Paris yet dream of roaming the plains of Mongolia?


Once a year in the Spring an International Tourism Fair is held in Paris and this is the perfect time to discover if dreams can come true.

Specialised travel agents and official government tourist offices offer free information about their particular country or various services.

From time to time one of the stands will offer tastings and musical programs are organised.

Thus one is able to listen to the strange far off music born on the Mongolian Steppes, watch a fashion show of the latest traditional inspired creations from different Africa countries or gaze in wonder as Tuscan flags are thrown in the air by Renaissance costumed Italians.



Being able to see parts of the world all in one place
is like visiting Disneyland in one day.

Of course it is only human to have preferences and make selections.But discoveries never seem to announce their arrival in advance. They sometimes hide behind a beautiful catalogue, a friendly smile, or worst yet a delicious smell.

As usual beautiful catalogues line the stands of Italy, with Rome, Florence and Tuscany usually coming first in terms of artistic presentation; which means that one often ends up taking a brochure not because an interest in the geographical place but because of the pictures are too beautiful to be left behind. But isnšt this the best way to get someone interested in something he knows nothing about?

This year I got trapped by a delicious smell. I usually quickly by step the United Kingdom and Ireland stands as I had studied in London and was pretty much acquainted with the geographical aspects of the two islands. A bit of English tea, or a scone? Well, Marks and Spencers had several stores in Paris for such a long time that quite a few Parisians already had a gastronomic dictionary in their minds concerning food on the other side of the channel. But what is this, a pot of roast spring Welsh lamb floating in a whiskey sauce or sea food chowder simmering with Welsh specialities, one of them being an edible seaweed thickener called Laverbread? The smells sent one out of this world and when samples were offered the public could hardly believe their luck. My mother always believed that men were trapped by their stomach so she made sure that I knew how to cook well. And as I listened to the public reaction I realised eating well might be one of the reasons why some people choose certain places to go for their vacations.Of course, there are those who travel for the adventure, the danger of the unknown. But when one is hungry, a good meal somehow always seems a perfect ending to wonderful vacation.

I often feel that knowing about the culinary traditions of any county would help one understand something about the land and its heritage.



west-east homepage | mongolia