Back to Switzerland Part II

Warning: The pics in this post aren’t necessarily in date order, they’re sort of randomized.

The closing ceremonies of the Model UN Conference at the Palais de Nations were a joke, really late starting and about as boring and self-adulating as an awards ceremony could be. But we made our own fun in the seats.

Lysandra shows her Japanese half.

Juan definitely had his pants open in the middle of the General Assembly Hall, but I guess security didn’t notice.

We had 2 days after the conference before heading home, so we headed east on a train to Bern, the capital, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Bern is very different from Geneva, but not much has changed since I first visited in April 2003.

Fancy clockwork

Bern gets its name from the bear, and there has been a bear pit in Bern for ages, though there are currently plans to move them to a better location.

The crest of the Canton of Bern is visible all over the place. In Switzerland, unlike Canada, the symbols and flags of the various cantons are seen all over the place.

This bunny statue thing was a bit taller than me, and is the main display in the centre of the chocolates and Easter egg section of a grocery store. I have no clue how this would entice people to buy more chocolate.

This is European architecture at its best

The view to which I awoke in the hostel in Bern

We had a visit to the International Labor Organisation in Geneva, where we watched the ending of the 298th session. This is the long, old-school hallway leading in. The building used to house the World Trade Organisation headquarters.

The Broken Chair, a commemoration of victims of landmines. From this angle, the broken leg isn’t really visible, and if you look for a bit you may notice the 3D optical illusion thus created.

Earpieces are a must for true diplomats, though many of them malfunction and the volume is always a hassle.

All week we had great sunny, warm weather and then a wee bit of rain, but when we left the closing ceremonies there was a raging blizzard outside! I’ve never seen such huge snowflakes in my life! Too bad they’re hard to photograph, but Juan proves that cold precipitation did indeed fall on us that afternoon.

Back to Switzerland

From March 23rd to April 2nd I was out of the country (Canada) on a trip to Switzerland with 11 other UBC students for the Harvard World Model United Nations conference in Geneva. While the conference itself was poorly run and couldn’t compare to the level of the UBC Model UN in January, the trip was still very much worthwhile and a terrific experience. As usual, I took a lot of photos.

Our private plane to Seattle:

Sara made friends with tiny children on every flight

Sara also thought she lost stuff a million times, and in this case actually DID leave her iPod behind on the plane when we landed in Copenhagen (she got it back)

Once we arrived in Geneva, time to take the train into town

I got a Rolex for $10 in Thailand… works fine.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency headquarters

International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, founded in Geneva

Just outside the Red Cross Museum, which of these things is not like the others?

Drew, Kat, and I chose to eat a cheap lunch by shopping for groceries and eating in our hotel room, and it was DELICIOUS! We’re good sandwich-makers.

We got a private visit with the International Organisation for Migration. This is the stylish waiting room.

Juan with the IOM flag. The IOM is not a UN Agency, but works with UN agencies and other humanitarian agencies. The visit was really educational and I’m seriously considering doing an internship with them during my Master’s degree, as I was really impressed by the staff members who put a lot of effort into their presentations for us.

Devon, Sara and Juan taking a break in my room.

We had a rather lacklustre visit to the dreary campus of Webster University, and the highlight of that excursion was this brochure. If you don’t understand why I think it’s funny, please ask and I will explain to you.

Sara, acting as Mom during the trip, tucks Cam into bed.

Juan and I visited a really neat museum of art and history, and this piece of armour is just his size!

The description for this one says that it is supposed to be bovine, so those horns aren’t demon-horns but cow horns, and those are little cow ears too.

The section of the museum with all the guns was really nifty. These are a couple of old school grenade launchers.

This is both a pistol AND a battle axe!

This Flemish painting from 1613 (I think) shows people clearly playing hockey. Crazy.

On our visit to the UNHCR, Juan got to try on their field staff safety gear, a bulletproof kevlar vest and helmet in UN colours. The vest weighs 11 kilos.