Welcome. It’s good to see you again!
As you may know from my ‘about me’ I am chairman of the Executive Committee of the IEEE International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology. In 2013 the conference is to be in Medellín (pronounced meh-deh-Jean, with the accent on the ‘Jean’) which is the second city of Colombia.
I went to Medellín last week to see our conference facilities and meet the people involved. Professor Francisco Vargas and Professor Claudia Isaza, both of the University of Antioquia, are the main organisers. I cannot resist telling you that I was completely overwhelmed by this beautiful city and the wonderful people I met, including all those who will be helping with our conference. Everyone is so enthusiastic not only about having the conference there but also about their work, their city and their country. I am now in love with Colombia, Medellín and these glorious people!
It felt like coming to another planet! So much is so different from anywhere I have been before. The city of Medellín is unique. Surrounded by soaring mountains, from any viewpoint, it looks as if the city itself is trying to climb up the sides of them and compete with the mountains for mastery of the sky; the food is dazzlingly varied with arepas, a kind of corn bread, chicharrones, which are far nicer than pork scratchings, and patacones, squashed and deep fried plantain slices, all of which tickled my palate to crazy! I saw types of flowers, birds and trees I’d never set eyes on anywhere before. The variety of orchids alone is staggering. The variety of their colours and shades is mesmerising. And there is so much to see and do in the city. I was entranced by those Botero sculptures. Entry to the welcoming museums and a spectacular planetarium is free and the children can play any choice of musical instrument, also for free. The one we heard boomed out on a mighty tuba!
The key thing about visiting a city is how safe you feel and are. I walked around the area of the conference hotel (the Sheraton Four Points) and a number of the parks and many other public places scattered around Medellín. I felt completely safe both at day and at night, wherever I went.
Visit Medellín! Come to our conference in 2013! I trust Colombia!