Saturday, April 28, 2007

Starting in Exporting

Last year (August 29, 2006, see the blog archive) I posted information on this blog on how to start in International Trade from a UK point of view. I mean the site it based in UK but information they give is pretty generic and quite useful.

Here is a great US site of the similar nature: Though some specifics are US and food industry related they are just a few, most of the information is applicable to any industry. For instance, there is a checklist you need to go through to evaluate if your company is ready for exporting or guidelines on export pricing applicable no matter what product you are planning to export.

Each page on the site gives you numerous useful links on that topic too, for example:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I borrowed some of these photos from some excellent sites where you can see even more pictures of Morocco, such as:,
PS: photos above represent several of the places of interest I mentioned in my story about Morocco:
Pic 1: Yves Saint Laurant Garden
Pic 2: Marrakesh
Pic 3: Atlas mountains
Pic 4: Marrakesh, main market squareDjemaa el-Fina

Monday, April 16, 2007


To continue the theme started in my recent posts - here is another story about the Muslim World. This one is about Morocco. I also decided to write this story now because recently I saw a new movie, “Babel”, a part of which takes place in Morocco and I can definitely say that the movie doesn’t give this country justice. And don’t get me wrong, the movie is great (actually it is in itself a great international experience since the action unfolds in 4 locations: USA, Mexico, Morocco and Japan) but they way it portrays Morocco is horrible it doesn’t show any of the beauty and charm of this African jewel so I decided to restore the country’s reputation in this abstract.

If Dubai has the “future” look of the Muslim World, Morocco has the past (in the good sense of this word). Naturally, your hotel will be as modern as anywhere else but outside its walls there is a totally different world. The only truly modern city you will find in Morocco is Agadir, the resort city on the Atlantic coast, but it is modern only because a terrible earthquake entirely destroyed the old city in the middle of the 20th century. It is funny how, in fact, Dubai, is trying to imitate Moroccan heritage: one of the most famous hotels in Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, is built in the old Moroccan style.

Morocco made a major impression on me in three ways:

1. UNUSUAL SIGHTS: I always had a misconception, as many of you, my readers, probably do too, that Africa is hot and there is no snow there except for the top of the famous Kilimanjaro. Imagine my astonishment to see snow covered mounts on the background of Moroccan sun burnt landscape in May, which turned to be the Atlas mountains. They look magnificent!

Another amazing sight, which I have never seen before – goats on the top branches on trees! (I don’t remember the name of the tree but goats love its fruit (or leaves) and they climb all the way up to get some!)

The most remarkable sight though is the main market square (the square in front of the souq) in Marrakech: fruit and sweets traders, acrobats, magicians, snake charmers and other performers – the picture out of a fairy tale indeed…

2. SMELLS: the amount of various extraordinary smells embracing you on your trip: eucalyptus forest (camel ride through which is a hilarious experience), cooked lamb, freshly baked bread, spices, Agadir seafood market and the famous Moroccan mint tea everywhere…

3. COLORS: the amount and brightness of various colors like in Morocco I have never seen before: the colors of the souq (everything from carpets to silk scarfs of all colors of the rainbow, really), the colors of the Majorelle Botanic Gardens (which not so long ago was taken over and restored by a famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge – it combines pink and red flowers, bright blue buildings, green foliage and red-brown paved walkways), mosaics in the mosques, palaces and restaurants, etc.

My story-telling ability is not too good to be able to describe in words all the richness of this country. If you are intrigued you can read more in Paolo Cohelo’s book “The Alchemist”, but better still go there and experience it by yourself – trust me there is nothing in the world like Morocco.
I will be posting some photos of Morocco later this week: they won’t be able to reproduce the smells but I will do my best at the sights!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Legal Alien's Guide

One of my biggest and most important International experiences was relocating to live in USA. It is very hard for a newcomer to rebuild one's life in a new place so I decided to write a book based on my own experience which, I hope, will make the life of everyone relocating to US and even within US to Chicago much easier.

The book is called "Legal Aliens Guide. Chicago. IL. USA". It's a comprehensive guide to various organizations, associations, clubs, etc. that help you to find a job, start/develop your own business or just find friends. The book is also full of useful Internet resources from cheap international telephony services to free daily networking calendars of events.

The guide is designed to be a help for everyone who is new to the networking scene and though I give Chicago as an example most of the organizations I talk about are active nationwide.

The book is in publishing now and it is coming out end of spring - beginning of summer 2007.

For more information you can visit the book's blog It not only provides information about the book but it is a living addition to the book because new organizations appear every day, interesting one-time events are being held which are not mentioned in the Guide but they will be posted on the blog as soon as the information about them comes to my attention.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

I would like to continue this year's introduction of holidays around the globe. Today is a rare occasion when both Catholic and Orthodox Easters coinside (they usually don't because since 16th centuray Catholics adopted Gregorian Calendar and Orthodox kept the Julian one). I send all my warm wishes to everyone who celebrate this Great Holiday today. Here are 2 postcards representing how the two communities celebrate this holiday: the "chocolate" one for my Catholic friends and the egg and "kulich" (specially cooked cake) for my Orthodox friends.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Truly International Experience - RIVERDANCE

I just came back from Riverdance performance in Chicago (they are touring USA at the moment and the other company is touring Europe, as I understand they do these tours every year) and I could not fail to mention it. It's an eccentric and exciting fusion of Celtic folk dance, Irish history and other folk traditions: Flamenco, Russian folk dances, jazz, etc. It is a truely international fest of dance, music, light and colour.

If the Company is coming to your city I strongly recommend going - I bet you have not seen anything like this before. To learn more information about the performances, locations and dates, visit their site: (the photo is from the site)

"In Paris, Language Sparks Culture War"

The title of this post is the title of an interesting article published in New York Times on March 31, 2007. The article is a great find especially for those interested in France and the French language. It describes how such processes as globalization can dramatically influence a country, a culture, its language and literature.

Here is the link: