Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wild Wild East goes West. Onward ho!

Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok, Timbuktu, Frankfurt, Bamako, John Taylor, BAT, Mali, Munich,Paris,  And away we go! From Ho Chi MinhCity to Hanoi to Bangkok to Munich to Paris and finally to Bamako,Mali - Africa! And damn near close to Timbuktu. Yes, that fabled city is actually in Mali. Or will the trip change? Just had a call that it would be better to go just from Hanoi to Frankfurt and then take the train to Munich. Whatever. Trips like this can't be planned down to the last detail, although we're certainly trying. The reasons for this itinerary are trade secrets of Infinite Wisdom. and can't be divulged but suffice to say it's a trip that combines business and pleasure and is sure to provide plenty of fodder for this writer. When I get the photograph of me standing in front of the sign that says, "Timbuktu - Population 32,000", that will be the day. Here's a snippet of what to expect: "The first European acknowledged to have reached Timbuktu was Scottish explorer Gordon Laing. He left Tripoli in 1825 and traveled for a year and a month to reach Timbuktu. On the way, he was attacked by the ruling Tuareg nomads and was shot, cut by swords, and broke his arm. He recovered from the vicious attack and made his way to Timbuktu and arrived in August 1826. He was unimpressed with Timbuktu, which had, as Leo Africanus reported, become simply a salt trading outpost filled with mud-walled homes in the middle of a barren desert. Laing remained in Timbuktu for just over one month. Two days after leaving Timbuktu, Laing was murdered." And that's just the beginning, I'm sure. Munich will be absolutely charming and our contacts in town will be charming as well I suspect - painters and curious sorts are on the docket. Paris, which I have visited before, is always charming anHo Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok, Timbuktu, Frankfurt, Bamako, John Taylor, BAT, Mali, Munich,Paris,  d the price of Le Big Mac is reported to be $4.09, more for the meal deal with fries and a Coke, of which I will certainly have more than one. It's amazing how an American's taste for fast food can sudHo Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok, Timbuktu, Frankfurt, Bamako, John Taylor, BAT, Mali, Munich,Paris,  denly reappear when he has been denied such sustenance for the past 3 1/2 years - as well as how visions of Henry Miller appear in relation to the trip and the curiosities surrounding it. Who actually plans to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi to Frankfurt to Munich to Paris and then on to Mali with a return to Vietnam, forecast for 6 months? Well, the Infinite Wisdom. team does and the real reasons why don't really matter. It's so much more like the answer to the question, "Why does a dog lick himself?" - because he can. The last few days have been filled with budget planning, minor arguments and all the anticipation one might expect with an adventure of this magnitude. WTF? Sometimes you just have to do things because it is possible. Screw the logic. That's for people who create actuary tables for insurance companies. I wonder juHo Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok, Timbuktu, Frankfurt, Bamako, John Taylor, BAT, Mali, Munich,Paris,  st exactly how much cheese I can stuff into my pie hole in three days in Paris? That's the sort of thing I care about - and whether I will be kidnapped by Al Qaeda while in Mali. That's been reported as of late. A contact on Facebook today from John Taylor, head of British American Tobacco in Russia and my old client from Korea told me that he was responsible for all of BAT's activities in Africa, so who knows, I could be selling the white man's drugs to African's soon. Whatever makes a buck. In so many ways, it's amazing what opportunities pop up once you say you're going to Europe and Africa. Doors just start opening. I found 850 people in Mali on LinkedIn and joined the Business in Mali group. Who knew? For my readers in Germany, I'm way up for a meetup when I get there. I'll be blogging and Tweeting all the way so do feel free to contact me on Facebook, Twitter or through email. I'd like to hook up with advertising and marketing folks when I'm there - and Paris too! Anybody from Paris out there? I'm still waiting for my first blog hit from Mali, too...won't be long. Wrapping up this last week, a friend of mine recommended my book, Wild Wild East, to his agent in New York, so please say a wee prayer for me - looks like I could get a two book deal out of it once Infinite Wisdom hits the trail to Europe and Africa!

For more in the WWE Goes West Series check here:

I) The Wild Wild East Goes West: Onward Ho!
II) Frankfurt
III) C'est Si Bon
IV) Bon Jour Paris!
V) Les Picassos en Paris

VI) Nothing Much Happened en Paree Today
VII) Paris Wallpaper: Sometimes The Best Prayers Have No Words
VIII) Au Revoir Paris
IX) Is Publicis Groupe a Dead Brand?
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