- Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 15:42
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Edgar is from Mexico, Ming is from Singapore and Zina is from Russia, their common bond a pride in their adopted city which they now share with the world.
The trio are Brisbane Greeters, a cross section of the enthusiastic band of volunteers who have joined the recently launched initiative to reveal locals and visitors the heart and soul of the River City.
Edgar Navarro and his wife came to Brisbane because the weather was like Mexico and it was a big city but not crowded. He volunteers as a Greeter when not working as a city hotel concierge. After working in hospitality from age 18, Edgar studied a Bachelor of Tourism whilst working in a hotel reception from age 21, when his career soon flew into the hands of Volaris Mexican Airline for three years and then Continental Airlines.
He loved his time travelling the globe but he and his wife soon decided it was time to live their dream of moving to another country. Alongside his wife, who was then a successful insurance manager for a car retailer, he sold everything, packed up and moved to Brisbane. They chose Australia because of the economy and the opportunity to study. The two wanted to move to a city which was smaller than Sydney, but still central, so they chose Brisbane. Edgar says he loves the city because it is close to the beach, has great job opportunities and has a river running through it.
As the two came to Australia with Mexican finances, of which 14.5 Mexican pesos is equal to approximately $1AUD, Edgar says 'he has to have a plan to keep the boat afloat'. His wife studies while he works. Edgar started work at a restaurant in Southbank before becoming a concierge at Holiday Inn and delving into the world of a Brisbane Greeter.
Launched by the lord mayor Graham Quirk in February this year, the free service is modeled on the Global Greeters Program which began in New York City in 1992 and gives visitors and locals the opportunity to meet a Brisbane resident who enjoys sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge by leading small group tours.
The tours run from two to four hours with a maximum of six guests with itineraries supplied by Brisbane Marketing.
There are 16 tours in all and Itineraries include Churches Shrines and Sculpture, Contemporary Design, Historic Pubs, Wartime Brisbane, Government Heritage, A River Runs Through, The Great Outdoors, Family Fresh Food and a Feast of Public Art.
Conducted on foot and using public transport, tours encapsulate much of what gives the city its character and heritage.
Visitors pay only for any public transport that is utilised during the tours, food and beverage consumed and any applicable admission fees.