Rupinder: First impressions

Day two went by quite fast. Having missed the morning alarm (the mobile clock was set to Belgian time), I did miss out on a little adventure. There was like a false fire alarm and they had almost 15.000 people out on the street early in the morning. But from what I heard, it was back to business in about 10 minutes.
As soon as we reached the Qatar National Convention Centre, we were given id cards, that are scanned every time you enter and leave the premises. Then you have to stand in queues and go through the security check like at the airport and then, finally, you can enter the premises.

The conference center is really big, and by the end of the day, being a little geographically handicapped (I hope that is a real word), I was still asking for directions and did lose my way once. But there are a lot of volunteers to help you, as there are men and women in suits, all dressed for business. There are students and many NGO people
dressed in casuals, though some of them dressed smart for the occasion and then there are guards who stand along the passage. All corridors are filled with people moving about with purpose. But yes, I did hear about some people who did some activism work and were ‘stopped’.
There are many rooms that we don’t have access to; those are the ones, where probably the real action happens. It does make one wonder whether there should be so much secrecy around, when it comes to making a decision that concerns us all. But that’s how the process works.

It was a great day to see, observe, learn and take the atmosphere in. It was interesting to meet people from the Climate Justice Network and talk to them. It just takes a few minutes to realize that there is a
whole lot to know and understand. Also, the passion that they have for their work is infectious.
It was a few days back that I saw the Sing for the Climate video and I just loved it. So, it was great to see the guy behind it all, Nic Balthazar. We tried to help spread the word about it, in the hope that someone would be inspired to organize a Sing for the Climate in their place. So, we went to different booths where NGOs and organisations
working on the environmental issues had set up kiosks. It had people from all over the world- US, Japan, India, Netherlands. It was fun talking to them and getting to know about their work.
(I did attend a side event on sustainability issues in India, but more on that later)

Though they do keep a tight check on the security, but apparently they let in a huge spider. So huge, that they can’t force it out. Ok, I am kidding. It’s an artwork titled Maman by the late Louis Bourgeois in the café area. It is nine metres high and towers over the whole area. The café area is also nicely done up. It is green and blue. Maybe they unintentionally picked up the colours that symbolize the nature- green for land and blue for water. Or maybe, I am getting too many ideas, and it’s time to sleep.

spider

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