Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Post and the Agent

The dramatic rise in  online shopping of the last few years has turned our post offices, especially the smaller ones, into somewhat crowded and frustrating places. 

The Postal Authority has been trying to improve things  in terms  of increased speed of service,  but that doesn't always work as expected. The usual joke is that the mail symbol of a running deer (appears on our stamps since 1950) should be replaced with that of a crawling frog.

On our street there's a cute tiny post office agency which is very convenient for me geographically. We get our written mail in postboxes that cover the back outside walls. The packages and parcels are inside, in the appropriate back room .The agency is run by a hard working person who loves his job.  However, one person is not enough, far from it, and delivery is sometimes delayed.

The place, located at the intersection of two streets, vis-a-vis a tiny commercial center , a synagogue, and a bus stop, is also too small considering the large population it serves; it could and should be a bit expanded, especially as there is adequate space for that. There are days when people are waiting outside as there's no room for them to join the queue inside.

Somehow,over the last years, it has become clear to everyone, that the postal agent likes it that way; He had a helper during the quieter times - before the online flood of parcels -  and got him fired. Enlarging the place could mean more workers, and that might not be his wish.

The postal agent (father of eleven!) is also a town council member, so that's probably how he has his way. People are both fearful and respectful of him, so they will think twice before signing any formal complaint.

I remember telling him once about the need for an additional worker; he ignored my remark with a silent, irritable look. So, I never again repeated it. I'm sure, however, that he hears a similar remark from other customers. I suppose supervisors from the Postal Authority are also aware of the situation... and yet, they let it go on. 

Well, as some will say, there are worse things in life than that. I believe it will somehow get solved, or... not.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

IMTM 2017

The 23rd annual international tourism fair ( the full name of IMTM - International Mediteranean Tourism Market) was held at the Tel Aviv Trade Fair and Convention Center on 7-8 February.  

The IMTM  event  is mainly for professional bodies in the field of tourism ( tour operators, tourist agencies. cruise lines, airlines companies , hotels etc...).  It consists of presentations, seminars, workshops, conferences. Around 16:00 oclock, however,  it opens for a couple of hours, for the large public to have a glimpse at the booths representing some 50 countries and get information on various touristic destinations.

visitors at the various booths

As it was a warm, nice day I went there on Tuesday, the 7th of Feb. to wander around in the large pavilion and see what was new. 

For me, the fair was a good opportunity to get some Free city and regional  quality tourist maps, and enjoy a few attractions offered at the various booths. Well, I got my maps and even more than that; at the Lithuania stand I was given a small gift of coasters and a wooden pen. At the "Israir" Group stand, I got to refreshen my suitcase identity tags with new ones, provided freely,of course. Some of the booths  (Vietnam, China ,Ruanda ...) displayed a few handcrafted items specific to the country they represented. 

Ruanda - nice handcraft items displayed on the desk

As for attractions, Romania, for example, brought a young folksinger and a saxophonist . Very good idea of attracting people's attention. I've greatly enjoyed their  musical show. As I was born and raised in that country, it naturally brought back some memories.

the folksinger and the saxophonist at Romania booth

what a team!

Panama had a couple of women dancers in extravagant dresses

Panama dancers

Panama joy

At the USA stand there was a tall guy dressed as an Indian, and at the Slovenia stand, an elderly man dressed in an historical outfit of the austro-ungarian epoch. The israeli city of Nazareth came up with some village dressed people.

the USA  "Indian"

heavy, historical outfit at Slovenia booth

villagers from Nazareth area

At some stands, the hosts were dressed in traditional costumes
or had some traditional motifs introduced in the booth decoration.

the Moldova stand

Belarus - traditional shirt and cake

At the Dominican Republic's place there were four round little tables with satin white maps featuring the printed map of the country. Lovely sight!

round table - white  map with the country's map printed on it

The israelis had, among other exhibits, some product samples at their booths: cosmetics from the Dead Sea , food from the Galilee and other regions of the country.

cheese and olives from the Galilee

 I was nicely impressed by the fact that a tiny, almost hidden country like Albania had quite a few people approach the stand and ask for information about tourism there.

Albania booth

As I said, I was mainly looking for maps, but there was a lot of other kind of interesting stuff there as well. For example, it appears that many countries are interested in wellness tourism. So, there was a multitude of pamphlets describing Spa resorts and their conditions (prices, accomodation, medical supervision).

Information on tourist possibilities was given not only in paper format but also on  CD-s.(I've got myself the discs of Istanbul and Kenya). I asked for some info on a certain area in Ukraine , and I was given  very detailed  oral explanation  in addition to the displayed written one.

 Turkey usually gets a great deal of israeli tourists, so I was not surprised to see its tourism factors fully represented at the Exhibition.

turkish airlines booth

A visit to such an event as IMTM allows one to feel  'the world in a nutshell', as they say, and it's quite an enriching experience.