Say hello to
Last year it was the rock band called The Tuskers, and while we obviously missed a lot of band members – dear ones in particular -- we certainly saw a lot more fine, fabulous, furry, fuzzy, frazzled, feathery, leathery freaky ones joining the troupe. And maybe that’s what has made putting things together rather difficult.
So let’s not even try to call it Tuskers-2.
It’s been a wild wooly ride and this time we truly missed the wise one’s ways. Nonetheless, as this summary will show you – in addition to this one seen from another perspective – we did not do so badly.
This year, we’ve seen a far stranger amalgamation of cultures, as the fine Footnerer put it when he attempted to define the ancient teen-ager called Martin Baker.
So say hello to the Medics, at least the ones unfortunate enough to have been captured by my lazy lens. Not everyone’s here, and this means I can’t make fun of everyone. But still, there’s enough, specially since much of the Medics were actually derived from the ex-future big band called The Original 25-40 Schnitzels. (Choosing their sauerkrauts in this photo)
Let’s start with Donnie and Marie Osmond, herein seen in the traditional humid wear. Notice their toothy grins and the measured pose: right arms slack and left hands on hip each with the appropriate wrist-wear.
Here is the opening flora and fauna event of Greenpeace. It's P. Bear giving the speech and showing off his ventriloquist abilities. (Smile Gavin!)
Here we have Kaisa, ethereal Finnish flower child who transforms into a Nokia filmmaker whenever she’s in COPs, a green fairy who walks as silent as a cat and is frequently a blur.
Next up is Daniel Mittler, ever intense, who is here shown on the eve of the opening of the Bali COP practicing his COP-endgame acrobatics. He remained mostly vertical throughout the event (no surprise) with maybe three or four hours per night going horizontal and sleeping the sleep of the dead. Nice legs, Daniel…
Here is Arthur and Arie, good friends from GPSEA being serenaded by the Aroma Jimbaran Troupe. I did not see much of my comms comrade this time, unfortunately. I worked with Arthur for the first time in Bali in 2003 and we had a great big nasty fight (he loathed me; I did not like him). What does not kill you makes you indeed stronger. In this case, my ties with Arthur have grown stronger ever since and now I consider him as one of my most trusted GP friends. (Awww...)
Here is Michael Moore with half the girth and triple the brain power -- aka as Wendel in Bali -- here presiding over the first Medics meeting. He was everything that people expected him to be – decent (dear God!), determined, upright, humorous, and organized. It took some doing to pull the Bali project together and Wendel did it with little fanfare. Regrettably, I enjoyed only two beers with him, on the night of his departure.
Here is a classic shot – and I really really hate it that my camera chose this particular moment to go funny. This is good buddy Sven Teske -- Mr. Energy Revolution himself -- on his tiny scooter. Can you guess who his passenger is? It’s goddamn Gandalf with a big silly grin on his face!
I want you to meet one of my two most favorite Medics, John Coequyt, ex-Tusker and full-on daddy-o. He’s the go-to-guy among the Medics, which was also his former role as a Tusker; he gets the favorite person silver medal, daddy extraordinaire to two beautiful angels who I think guided him in Bali as he tilted against the windmills even as he maintained his ties in the rarefied halls of Saruman and Sauron.
My favorite person gold medal goes to Rainbow Bright, Kirsten Macey seen here with her trademark smile (she is beside John in the previous picture, looking a little grimmer). She’s perennially sunny, and like John always ready to help and listen and explain things slowly and in detail and with tons of patience and good happy vibes. Rainbow Bright has ties actually higher than John and unlike Senyor Coequyt, when Kirsten snaps her fingers, bigwigs wake up and show up at the right moment. Her story is legendary…
Here is Srini, comrade and long-time friend. Shto! is our daily greeting. We walked toward the convention centre almost each morning and without fail we saluted the monkey playing with his balls. Here he is, pretending to listen to the delegation meeting but he is in fact just updating his Friendster account.
This is Arieta, my new friend whom I feel I’ve known for ages. Arieta’s from Fiji, and she is one fine singer and determined activist. I worked with her closely on vulnerable country issues, particularly the cause of Pacific island states. She is widely known and widely loved, and the mum of wonderful kids whom I hope to meet one day… What say you Arieta? There’s just so many things to share…
I think I felt more drained – absolutely drained – by Bali compared to the COP in Nairobi. Perhaps it’s because I’m a year older, or maybe because things were just led differently in Indonesia. But there are always constant things. For instance, when his Hareness, Capt. Jean Luc Picard, or Bill for short -- when Bill opens his mouth, everyone shuts their trap and everyone listens. In this pic Bill can be seen speaking quietly; he nursed a bad cold throughout the last week of Bali but remained sharp throughout. Towering beside him is the stouthearted Tobias Meunchmeyer, followed by Mr Inventor and Herr Rattenbury. From the other side is Daniel again, and seated right in front of Bill is Gustavo of Greenpeace Mexico, Stephen of Greenpeace Australia, Magda of Greenpeace Poland (next year she’ll be the host…) and Senyor Coequyt again.
In this photo we can see the intense Jim Footner railing against the acronyms, while Stephen appears to be lost and big boss Gerd looks on while between him and Jim with the movie star far-away gaze is One Volume Claire (she’s destined for Ripley’s, I am so sure of it; if not for her encyclopedic memory, then the fact that she produces the same decibel level whether she whispers or shouts or screams…). Just before Jim is the wonderful Jo Kuper, who remained balanced, good-natured and steady throughout the COP.
In this pic, it is Stephen’s turn to look absolutely tuned in, and taking up his lost expression is the ex-Tusker and great coal nemesis, Gabriela who looks absolutely befuddled. Notice the signboard behind Gerd -- it's like a surreal detergent advertisement...
Here we can see Martin Baker at the far left behind his Macbook, as usual trying to appear small and unnoticed. Beside him is Stephen who looks like he either has four eyes or a fine screensaver forehead that’s pretending to listen to the discussion; then it’s Tobias, Magda and then Roman Czebiniak (a Hatton fan who rued his loss to Mayweather) and then it’s Srini, then it’s the boisterous Amadou from Greenpeace Africa and Christoph Thies (behind him is Jo) then Paulo from the Amazon (all you can see is his curly hair…) and Gerd.
Here in this pic again is Daniel (how come you’re always in the lens?). From the left is ex-roommate Ben Pearson, Pascal from France and Cindy from NZ and then Kaisa the green…
Third to the last we can see seated with his back to the camera Bernhard, always generous with his time and ideas and ever the upright Austrian. Standing in the middle is the svelte-looking Ailun and seated beside her is Li Yan. At the far end in blue is mojito fiend and gentleman Chris Miller, who has a very deceptive, seemingly detached demeanor. (Scratch the surface -- he has a wicked sense of humor; he also has tons of stories he has yet to tell about his stint at Ben and Jerry’s and – yes – as a member of staff of the much-admired US senator Bernie Sanders.)
Second to the last is a simple pic with the up and coming Jasper Inventor, who managed to make it to the second week of the COP, when all the action started to pick up and when the glorious work of the US wrecking crew became increasingly evident. This was his first COP and I am thoroughly convinced it will not and should not be his last. This is our finger tribute to the American, Canadian, Japanese and yes, despite their last minute grudging turn-around, the Australian delegations…
Last but never the least, the picture I love most – myself in Indonesian wear and Ateng wearing her familiar smile and our common good friend Wenggay from UN Security, in one of the rare moments when we had an hour to ourselves. We had dinner, we had fun and for a very short period it felt like the respite would go on for a whole year.
This probably where one should end things, because I’m already rambling and my mind’s still soaked in ether. (Thanks for dropping by…) #
This is how crazy Bali was -- I can't believe I don't have a pic of Agnes and Naomi and Clem and Marcelo and Shai ... and as luck would have it, the only time I had to visit the ship with our development organization friends -- my mobile phone just had to run out of juice -- and so no pic of Capt Mike, the crew, Mark and Von. Nyek. More stuff on things that happened outside of the Bali circus, click here...