I’m now sat writing from the Alfandega conference centre – a sprawling old building beside the Douro river. Clearly plenty of cash has been spent on this Congress – huge banners and signs are to be found at every corner.
The Delegate Bags are no exception; they come complete with a PES mousemat, pin, and fridge magnet. Oh, and masses of papers too. One report alone is around 100 pages – does anyone really expect us to read that? Perhaps its a statutory obligation that I am unaware of, but it’s the total quantity of paper we receive is a bit worrying. Furthermore, the nylon delegate bags don’t have any maker’s label inside – what is the origin of these, and have they been produced sustainably?
I also have two further first impressions of note. There’s a stall selling wine in the Congress stalls hall, and I don’t ever recall seeing one of those at any similar events previously. Second, people are smoking everywhere in the venue. Such an approach would be socially unacceptable in most countries in Northern Europe now.