When the Huffington Post asked me, a 37-year-old married father of two, if I wanted to enter a cooking competition to win a trip to Hong Kong with a 25-year-old girl I'd never met, it was a real no-brainer. I'm confident that in no way would my wife go ballistic if I jogged off to the other side of the world leaving her with two pre-school kids to look after, so I signed up on the spot.
Everybody knows that China represents a huge opportunity from a business perspective and the events industry is no exception. In a rapidly expanding economy, product launches, corporate hospitality, conferences, presentations, publicity stunts and so on, all play their (increasingly significant) part in the up-surge of high profile and lucrative 'live' activity.
In China, we are Foreign Tourists, with a capital FT. There is no way to disguise it, to pretend we belong here, to go unnoticed in a crowd. Still, we are surprised by how rare the sight of a non-Asian tourist is on the streets of Beijing. So much so, that after a few days, we start to do as the Chinese do, and gape openly at any white people we see.
Every year in Venice, the Chinese invade the film festival with their massive army of delegates to launch a movie they hope might permeate through to make it big in the West. It's always a massive gamble, and often they don't succeed. But this year, with Tai Chi 0 I think they're finally onto a winner
From the back I could quite easily be taken as Chinese. I have dark hair and a medium build, but some of my peers, whom are particularly tall or who have blond hair, are seen as celebrities. In tourist spots we are asked to have pictures taken with young children or families who will remain complete strangers.