Virtual reality glasses and books on investing in Mongolia among the things you can get for free at the Expo

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Looking to buy some Expo 2020 Dubai souvenirs on a tight budget?

If that is the case, The National Has you covered as the event is a veritable treasure trove of random trinkets that are freely available to visitors.

I spent a few hours checking out which lodges were offering free visitors on Thursday afternoon.

Now as I type these words I am the proud owner of a pair of VR glasses from Botswana, a book on investing in Mongolia, a coaster from the Dominican Republic, another book on coconuts in the Seychelles and a luggage tag from Antigua. and Barbuda.

My trinket hunt didn’t start off auspiciously with a visit to the Montenegro Pavilion.

“If visitors want something, they have to pay for it, it’s the same for everyone, said the assistant, oblivious to my attempts to influence her.

My mission to fill my backpack with as many free things as possible was greeted with more sympathy at the Lesotho pavilion, where I was told that there would be plenty of freebies for visitors – they were not everything just haven’t arrived yet.

It was at the neighboring Suriname pavilion where I was told a similar story. It was then that I began to doubt the wisdom of taking on this task, especially under the scorching midday sun.

Fortunately, my faith was restored at the Seychelles pavilion where I received as a gift a hardback book on a type of coconut native to the country.

Then the Swedish pavilion where I was able to get a free box of water, most welcome under the desert sun, to say the least.

I was informed that it was not just any water, the cartons were displayed on a table which was made of similar cartons which had been recycled.

I quickly thanked and walked over to the booth in neighboring Azerbaijan.

The welcome could not be warmer and I was told that there will be plenty of gifts for visitors, from bags to stickers, in a few weeks.

The next stop was the Kuwait pavilion where I was informed that they cannot give me trinkets but each visitor can get free ice cream and coffee.

As refreshing as it was, I was starting to lose hope that I could proudly display a table full of collectibles at the end of the day.

If ever there was an aptly named section of the Expo, well that is the district of opportunities.

My first stop was in Botswana and I couldn’t believe my luck.

“We offer visitors interactive virtual reality headsets as well as brochures on Botswana,” said the assistant.

In terms of free swag, it doesn’t get much better than VR headsets.

Mongolia was the next stop where I continued my streak by getting a free postcard and a book offering advice on how to invest in the country.

I now have no excuse for not understanding the nuances of investment laws in Mongolia.

A trip to the Antigua and Barbuda lodge also paid off when it came to getting random gifts.

“Yes, we have baggage tags that we hand out to visitors. Of course you can have one, ”said helpful Francine.

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, there were other goodies waiting to slip into my loot bag for free.

I was given a free coaster here which would have come in handy earlier with my free coffee at the Kuwait pavilion.

I finally checked in at the Jordanian pavilion, where I was told they don’t give anything away for free, but souk style they assured me they could get a good deal if I bought multiple products in the gift shop.

As my mission drew to a close, I felt that overall it had been a success.

Visitors can be assured that they will find plenty of hidden gems available at the Expo, and not everyone will have to search for their wallet.

Updated: October 15, 2021, 02:07

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