|InfoHub supplier since May 2007!
Base of operations: USA
To add to our knowledge and broaden the experiences, renowned experts and excellent English-speaking translators and guides accompany BTSA groups. Everywhere, fellow travelers will experience fascinating encounters that are not available to the ordinary tourist. You will see knitters and weavers work their magic with yarn, meet artists as they carve golden wax float figures, visit costume embroidery workshops, or watch maskmakers solder and paint their wild new creations.
M16553 was started almost twenty years ago by Cynthia LeCount Samake as a result of her positive experiences leading groups on a dozen research trips to South America and Southeast Asia for the University of California. In the 1980s, before her association with UC, Cynthia traveled extensively by herself in Peru and Bolivia doing research for her book on Andean folk knitting. Then she continued to travel while documenting Bolivian Carnival costumes for her Master's thesis in the UC Davis Art History Department. Often during this time, friends and acquaintances begged to accompany her on her travels, so she began M16553.
1. How long has the business been operating and how did it start?
We have been taking people to our favorite destinations for the past 20 years. Cynthia taught in the Design Department of the University of California, and was the director of their research expedition program similar to Earthwatch. When the University discontinued the program, she began her own textile and festival tours.
2. What is your company's mission?
To show travelers with us the positive side of other cultures, how most people all over the world hold dear the same values of family, human warmth, trust, self-respect, self sufficiency, honesty, and so forth. Also to share the talents and creativity of artisans where we travel.
3. What does your company specialize in?
Traveling with groups of people who feel like they are with friends, going "behind-the -scenes" to meet musicians, knitters, weavers, dyers, designers, etc. Many of our customers are repeat travelers with us.
4. Who is the founder or owner of the company and briefly describe his/her past activities?
Cynthia and Barou Samake are owners and founders of Behind the Scenes. Cynthia taught in the Environmental Design program at the University of CA, Davis, and Barou is a native Malian, living in California and speaking Bambara, French and English.
5. What is your most popular travel package and why?
The trips to India and Peru are the most popular because of the many opportunities for meeting local artists and craftspeople. But we do that in all the countries we visit!
6. What is the best compliment you received from a client?
In praising a trip to Peru, Sammy Vilks said "Travel with Cynthia is my dream come true!"
Season: November - December
Season: March - April
Season: September - October
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