Jun 17 2010
Yesterday was spent in one of my new favorite cities in the entire world: Geneva – or Genève – Switzerland. Situated where the Rhone River exits Lake Geneva, traveling around the city is like spending the day stuck inside a malfunctioning time machine – the historic buildings of old Geneva stand in stark contrast to the international hubs of the WHO, UN, and Palais de Nations. It’s humbling.
We all scrambled on to a 7:45 train from Lausanne to Geneva. Because our tickets were purchased in bulk, we were entitled to riding in the train car named especially for us:
Arriving in Geneva at 8:20, we were able to make it to the World Health Organization in time for our 9 o’clock meeting. One of our first, perhaps most important, lesson is that when referring to the World Health Organization, it is never deemed “the WHO,” only “the W-H-O.” We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have three key speakers from the Essential Medicines department speak about their respective projects. Each had their own unique perspective and role, and it was fascinating to see the sheer impact of their work on the international community. We were even lucky enough to have our own room, assigned to the law students of “Wiedienr University.”
Even with the spelling error, it was a moving experience. Being able to learn from such figureheads in the Health Law field and actually become a part of the WHO, even if for a day, is a once in a lifetime experience. I’m certainly looking forward to my research project with WHO following this trip.
After our visit , our initial plans for a boat ride were abandoned in favor of watching the Switzerland and Spain football game; as you can tell, this seems to be a common theme throughout our trip. Much to our surprise, Switzerland pulled out a 1-0 victory over the heavily favored Spanish team. Even without watching the game, seconds after stoppage stop it became patently obvious that the Swiss team won – car horns, air horns, screams, and yells could be heard from miles away. This is the same method of how I found out the Brazilian team won their match a few days earlier.
We ended our Geneva trip by indulging in some fondue. This has been one of our pivotal goals during our visit to Switzerland and after dinner, it was clearly obvious that it was worth the anticipation. First course included a traditional pot of cheese, complete with crusty french bread, cornichons (mini pickles), and pearl onions. Sighs of delight could be heard up and down the table. Our main courses diverged from steak tartare, spaghetti, salad, and traditional Swiss dishes. I may need to hire a big, burly ex-military type with a great resume and long brutal history of physical activity to whip me back into shape after this meal.
Anyways, I’m finally back in Lausanne. Tomorrow, we head to Paris and once again t play he role of American tourists. I’m looking forward to experiencing new sights, but I can’t help but feel as though I’ll be missing my little home in Lausanne.