Sgtravelcafe Mar 2010: Iraqi Kurdistan & Peru

On 12 March, Marymount View played host to another session of sgtravelcafe.  We had over 60 attendees this time. 
We kicked off with Tristan telling us about his adventures in Iraqi Kurdistan and the intricacies of how to get an entry permit into the only safe part of Iraq.  Firstly, you need to have a business card - the Kurds want business people to visit their homeland - and that it's okay for a "businessman" to come by with a backpack(!).  Then, you need to have a local contact they can ring up... yes, you can try to find one on couchsurfing!  The bottomline is you need to have a good story.  Tristan got on so well with the immigration guy that the latter asked Tristan for his facebook contact, and this chap even chatted with him on facebook from time to time.
Patricia told us about how her, a trekking novice at the start of her trip, had a great time doing major treks in the towering peaks of the Peruvian Andes.  Don't be intimidated by the mountains.  It's determination and perserverence that will carry you through.  We were also thoroughly impressed by Patricia's fascinating tales of endurance but also treated to her amazing photography of the spectacular Andes.  She ended her presentation by educating the group about how to be a responsible traveller...not to throw rubbish, not to drive too hard and unfair a bargain with the poor locals.
Yet another fantastic evening learning new things, catching up with old friends and making new friends!