Unlike the last time, this year we arrived a day earlier and had some time to explore the city. Having had the opportunity to roam the streets of Paris during the day as well, we got the chance to see a different city and it was quite remarkable to discover its many faces. Some familiar, some new and exciting, some however a bit unsettling. A significant difference from the previous year was the increased presence of Police forces on the streets and security measures at the main tourist sites. Even though they meant to ensure your safety, no regular person would feel completely at ease in similar circumstances.
Having visited most of the renowned landmarks, the time came to set up our stand for the show. Getting to Hall 5 meant overcoming some physical and certain linguistic obstacles and challenges. Traffic is very difficult, and the fact that most of the exhibition center’s security personnel didn’t speak either of the five languages known to our party hasn’t made our entrance easier. Once we gained access onto the premises we were lucky enough to meet a countryman of ours who was very helpful. Next step was unloading our equipment.
The day before the show can be rather chaotic, as everybody there is assembling and unpacking at the same time. This could sometimes triple the distance to your stand. What I mean is that it’s rather difficult having to carry heavy stand pieces and every turn you take the way is blocked by fellow exhibitor’s gear or someone who’s simply texting in the middle of the isle, moving only slightly to the side, not realizing how much in the way they truly are, all the while your hands and knees start to slowly give in under the weight of what you are carrying. Successfully setting everything up, with only 10 minutes to spare before the hall closed its gates, we were ready for next day’s challenge. Now all we had to do was show up, smile, look presentable and most importantly sound intelligible in front of our visitors. This would prove no difficult feat, as most of our team remained the same, down to our capable hostess.