As Rick and I landed at first Iceland, and then Denmark, that sensation really enveloped me. You know what I’m talking about. Everything’s new; different, but the same; same, but different. Everyone at the airport speaks English but then there’s Danish and Icelandic. Hi is ‘hae’ in Icelandic (pronounced the same way). And there are ‘Hopenhagen’ signs plastered everywhere in Copenhagen.
Though I landed near noon (Danish time), I really didn’t have much time to do anything except pay for some expensive internet, eat at Burger King (I was forced, and it cost $15,70 (77 Kroner)!!!! for a whopper and chicken sandwich and a medium coke), and then go off to Mamlo to my hostel. What I should have done was go to Bella Center to register for the Conference in the first place. Now, the Conference is closed tomorrow (technically today) so I’m looking at a Monday early morning wake up call.
Imagine my cackle as I finally saw an Ikea IN Sweden.
Enough tomfoolery. Where I did go was super-fun, too. I spent at least 2.5 hours commuting on both the Metro and train to get back to Bella Center (only to find that registration had been ended one hour earlier) before heading to Vega, one of (if not THE) largest club in Copenhagen. Denmark has such high tax rates that most people actually go to house parties, according to my good source Ben (whom I met on my way back from said party).
I also met one of the sweetest grad students, Jasper Schilling (pronounced “YAH – sp(schwa)r”). He originally hails from the Netherlands, thinks the Danes are crazy for not using their bikes enough, and calls himself flexitarian (y’know, doesn’t really commit to eating only meat or only vegetables). We had a fun night. We even did some polka (in heels!). He told me about the protests today–protests in favor of acknowledging climate change and taking action. Unfortunately, the protestors never really got far to Bella Center; most were stuck in downtown.
I also met a group of enthusiastic students from South Asia, many of them IIT grads, so you know they’re something. One had even started his own company and was considering hiring a CEO. They gave me their cards. I have it somewhere.
Throughout the day, I met a Mexican oil man, Ben—who had been living in Copenhagen for the past four months all to prepare for this two-week conference—and so many people my age, all who felt they were doing something important, or at least helping others do something important.
“I’m surprised how open it is,” Ben said. He said most plenary meetings have been open to the public. But as celebrity dignitaries such as Barack Obama and more fly in near the end of this week, these meetings won’t be as inclusive.
For now, people will continue to hope, think, and have some merry fun along the way. Happy finals, Yale.