Hi TEDxUHasselt enthusiasts! At the moment Rutger Bevers and me (Niels Peetermans) are in Doha, Qatar for TEDxSummit. Even though we only just arrived, it already has been a crazy experience and we are really looking forward to the upcoming week. We will try to keep you posted on our adventures here at Doha. The goal is to write a blog post every day (actually we will write it at night because the day program always is very, very busy). Also, we will try to add some pictures we (mostly) took ourselves to give this blog a little more authenticity. But first things first, what is TEDxSummit?
TEDxSummit takes place from 16 until 20 april 2012 in Doha, Qatar. The event is organised by TED and hosted by the Doha Film institute. The idea is to bring together as much TEDx organizers from all around the globe as possible in a conference which contains TED sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and much more. TEDxUHasselt is represented by 2 of their organizers.
The trip to Doha (sunday 15 april 2012)
To get at the TEDxSummit, some traveling had to be done. I got up rather early (7h00), drove to Brussels Airport (zaventem) and waited for Rutger at the Etihad check-in.
After the check-in we went through customs and ran into Christophe Cop (Organizer TEDxFlanders). A few minutes later, Tim Govaert (Organizer TEDxGhent) arrived. As it turned out, we all had the same flight which was a pleasant surprise.
We boarded our plane and took off at 11h20. It would be a flight of almost 7 hours to Abu Dhabi, where we would get on a plane to Doha. Luckily for us the plane was equipped with a rather advanced entertainment system.
We played some Pong (in which Rutger wasn’t a real champion) and poker over the LAN of the system. Also, you could always watch the live camera on the bottom of the airplane.
During the flight we got some refreshments and a very nice tray of food (I think it was chicken with couscous and some steamed vegetables). Airplane food always has a special taste, but Rutger and I could appreciate it.
We arrived at Abu Dhabi airport around 20h00 (local time, which is two hours later then in Belgium). Here we quickly got a sandwich and I took a picture of Rutger who was very pleased with the free wifi access at the airport.
We got on our next flight to Doha at 21h50 (local time) and arrived in Doha at 21h50 (local time). This is kinda funny because it was a one hour flight with a 1 hour time difference, so it felt like we teleported our way into Qatar. I know it’s geeky, but still . Oh yeah, on this flight there also was an entertainment system, but less sophisticated than the previous one. But hey, if you get stuff like this on a one hour flight you can’t complain about it. Rutger and me really like Etihad, just sayin’.
Once arrived at Doha airport, we were surprised by the long waiting line for the passport and visa check. After a few minutes we discovered that almost half of the people waiting in line were fellow TEDx organisers from all around the world.
We all picked up our luggage and upon leaving the airport we stumbled upon a hallway full of TEDxSummit posters. A great opportunity to make someone take a picture of Rutger and me in front of one!
At the exit of the airport we found a TEDx booth. Here we got some instructions and outside the airport we waited for the bus, which would take us to our hotel, to arrive. Here we met a lot of other TEDx organizers, all extremely motived people with their set of interest. A great vibe!
The bus took us to the Kempinski hotel, where we would be staying for the week. Apparently this is the highest building in Doha (260 meters tall). It also wasn’t a surprise to discover that the building has 62 floors.
At the entrance of the hotel we found a human size red ‘X’. I am going to try to make someone make a picture of Rutger and me next to it, so you will probably see another picture of that in a few days.
At the hotel check-in we got our rooms. Rutger is staying at the 17th floor with Tim Govaert from TEDxGhent and I am staying on on the 34th floor with Jared Chung, organizer at TEDxCambridge (yes, that’s where MIT and Harvard are located).
After our check-in we first went to get our ‘Introduction bags’ (not to be mistaken for the goodie bags, which we will get tomorrow). I will give a quick overview of what it contains:
- A plan of the Katara area, where most workshops and sessions will be hosted;
- Some TEDx stickers;
- A map of Doha;
- A program booklet;
- 2 buttons: one says ‘TEDx’ and the other one ‘Western Europe’;
- A TEDxSummit badge which we have to keep on ALL the time (it does has its benefits, some people can’t understand our names and others have such difficult names you still would have no idea how to pronounce/write it after three times asking again for their name).
- A TEDxSummit water bottle (provided by Dopper). TED wants to keep control of the waste production on the summit. You can hardly find plastic bottles around here!
- Two TEDx cards.
Now some information about the most astonishing part of our trip so far: the hotel rooms. As I mentioned before, we are staying with 2 persons per hotel ‘room’ (if you can call it a room). It has a shared kitchen, dining room, living room and 2 bedrooms with each it’s own bathroom. It really looks (and probably is) very expensive. But seriously, I don’t mind
After checking out our room Rutger and me quickly grabbed something to drink in the bar downstairs.
You’ll hear more from me tomorrow, I hope i can keep this blogging up!
I hope you like my writing style, it’s the first time I write a blog. Also sorry for the quality of the pictures sometimes, I am using my smartphone for it! The pictures are sent to Bob and he posts them online because otherwise it would take to much hassle.