by: Ricky Tabuchi
I have always had a desire to learn more about different foods and beverages in other cultures. It is fascinating to see how other cultures consume meals throughout the day. While conducting my research, my personal focus was to consider every aspect of Spanish meals. I wanted to find out proper etiquette for eating, if restaurants were willing to accommodate to health needs, and how sustainable restaurants were.
My research was funded by the Sustainable Business Project Initiative. The research was conducted in an auto-ethnographic format. Our purpose is to determine how inclusive or exclusive travel can be for consumers traveling to another country for a mass crowd event. Often, when people travel they do not pay attention to small details throughout the airport, hotel, or neighborhood. Things like braille, nonslip stairs, handicapped accessible ramps, allergy signs, and auditory aids often go unrecognized. Our purpose for this trip is to gather all the information about this area so that every consumer can have the full experience.
Where I Went
Our main research was conducted in Madrid, Spain. The reason why we chose this location was because it did not have a Spaceport built there yet. We were curious to see if the country was accessible for consumers if they would like to hold a mass crowd even there in the future. In 1992 Barcelona held the Summer Olympics and had to overcome many obstacles to make sure that their city was accessible to everyone. We wanted to see if Madrid was capable of holding an event with such a large crowd.
We were able to observe multiple airports including Denver International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Madrid-Barajas Airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. Also, we had the opportunity to stay at a local home that we rented online. By staying in a local neighborhood our observations were more valuable and interesting. In our neighborhood we participated in a local yoga class, ate at an authentic tapas bar, visited banks, observed a car repair shop, and purchased items at a grocery store.
My biggest struggle
Each day of our trip we had restrictions of things we were not allowed to do. The entire time we were not allowed to eat any nuts and some days we could only eat certain approved foods. My biggest struggle was that I had did not know the native language. We figured that most people spoke English along with Spanish. If we found someone that spoke English it was not that advanced. This made ordering food extremely difficult unless the menu had pictures along with it. If someone had a serious allergy or food restriction it would be hard for them to eat at most local restaurants unless they spoke the language.
What I learned as a consumer
This experience has opened my eyes to how people consume products differently in different cultures. We were able to see how products were promoted and sold in a local neighborhood market verses an urban tourist area. It had made me more aware of my surroundings and has forced me to think about everything in a bigger picture. It was great for me to apply what I have learned at the University of Wyoming first hand in a real world experience. I will forever be grateful for the life lessons and the memories that this research has provided me.
Comment on the post to ask me about my trip!