Guest Author: Robert Frisch
My Peace Corps Location: Matagalpa, Nicaragua
As a former Peace Corps volunteer, it is not a rare occasion that I come across an eager undergraduate looking for some guidance on the decision of whether or not to join the organization. I also receive many requests for tips on how to make the most out of the two-year volunteer program. Over the years, I’ve narrowed down my responses to three main categories: Continue reading
Many major hotel firms with an international presence put a heavy emphasis on global standards of service, operations, amenities and rooms. Combined with product branding, what often results is a relatively indistinguishable hotel experience, instigating a sort of déjà vu effect in anyone who has seen enough of them. Globe-trotting business people find themselves waking up in a hotel room in London that is identical to last week’s hotel room in New York and eerily similar to last month’s hotel room in Buenos Aires. For those with enough experience in these big-box hotels, they all start to blend together, and even the feng shui starts to flow in the same rhombic way. My tone here might sound like one of aversion to this homogeneity, but it’s only out of preference for a different approach. The emphasis on standards is of course reasonable and has its benefits: guests are not thrown by inconsistencies; their comforts and preferences are reliably tended to; hospitality organizations can streamline project development and design. But an alternative approach, favored by travelers who seek to connect authentically with their destinations, is a tip of the hat to the immediate surroundings; a fusion of the salient hospitality experience with the more ethereal cultural and environmental elements of the host locale. Continue reading
Over the past few weeks it’s been great getting to know some of the extremely friendly, open, and welcoming members of Cardamom County working with them on a daily basis. One such member is Jijo, who I’ve had the pleasure of spending a few night auditing duties with and even going down to the local gym together with a bright red sign and a muscular fellow plastered to it aptly entitled “Masterpiece”.
Jijo actually started out at Cardamom County just short of a year ago, which means this August will be his first year anniversary as a part of the team. Before this, however, Jijo talked to me about his two years at Club Mahindra’s Tusker Trail, which was an enjoyable stay where he acquired the majority of the English skills he holds today through persistence and practice with guests and colleagues. However, because it was more of an exclusive club atmosphere, there were many regular visitors who were mainly originated only from India. Thus, Jijo came to Cardamom County because he wanted to meet many different kinds of people from all over the world including people of different cultures, religions, ideas, and languages to learn new things every day, which also encompasses what is his favourite part about the hospitality industry.
But Jijo’s real passion was triple jumping, and long jump on the side. The sport as he described it requires extreme physical fitness in conjunction with a high level of technicality and a precise balance and coordination of arms and legs to achieve the longest distance possible. Continue reading