During early November there is a monsters ball of an event called WTM, or the World Travelers Market. It’s a really dull affair, but it does give you a chance to meet your suppliers from different corners of the world. It’s networking heaven.
Sadly most of my suppliers I wanted to chat with never came. So I just wandered around for a while chatting to a few people I knew and meeting some new folks that I may or may not be able to buy from in the future. But contacts are contacts.
At this time of year there are always parties. But as I work for a hierarchal company where the higher caste people get the good shit, like tickets to watch Arsenal play in the Champions League that they never used but wouldn’t give them up. Grrrrrr.
I was invited to a few but declined most of them as they were from the smaller suppliers and would be really dull and awkward. But I jumped at the chance to goto the Nepalese Embassy, even though I had heard the evenings were cringingly embarrassing.
It was an odd affair, a colleague and me were the only travel agents there. Everyone else was either operators from Nepal, local Nepalese ex-pats or just friends of the Ambassador.
The speeches were pretty damn odd as well. The Ambassador was speaking through a mic for 10 minutes before someone told him to put it down as no one could hear a word he was saying. But the funniest was from the Tourism Minister who wins the prize as “The Most Boring Speech Giver of the Year”. It was really bad, he just read bullet points off a laptop. So bad. Laughable even.
But the oddest thing happened after the speeches had finished, and the prizes had been given out. Two Nepalese Tour Operators won a free tour of Nepal, more than likely handled by their own companies. Comical.
We were promised a special guest and a special guest we got. I was expecting some Nepalese actor or singer, but alas no. What we got blew my socks off.
From a side door a man came out carrying another human being. Not just any person, but the World’s Smallest Man.
Khagendra Thapa Magar from Pokhara, who had to wait till his 18th Birthday to be recognized as the smallest man on the planet. He stands a mighty 67.08cm’s or 2 foot 2.41 inches.
They sat him on a high stool so we could all see. Some people ran to the front of the room to get a good photo. I was still stunned to move, and embarrassed to take a close up photo. As you can see from my dodgy snaps. It was very surreal.
After this stunning surprise we were delighted to know that we were going to be fed as well. As we had polished the beer and wine off, I needed something to soak it up.
I was told the food came from a well known Nepalese Restaurant on Acton High Street, and from the taste of the food and by the way it screamed through my body the following morning I won’t be venturing to Acton to sample their a la carte menu anytime soon.
I left there still spinning from the biggest surprise of my life, to go to a pub nearby with some other freeloaders. I.e. travel journalist who have the best gig on the planet. Now that is something I want to get into.