I was going to write a long post about IIFET 2014, and how great a city Brisbane is, and how cold Canberra is. But honestly, now with the MH17 crash, I feel this is just inappropriate. But neither can I not write - I can't pretend it didn't happen. So just a short note for those who were wondering where I am.
I flew to Brisbane via Singapore on 4 July 2014 for the IIFET conference. I remember looking at the map (you know how they like to show you where the air plane is) thinking: "whoa, we're above Ukraine." I just assumed it was safe - they wouldn't fly over the place if it weren't, right? Anyway, I enjoyed Brisbane, gave my presentation, met a lot of friendly and interesting people, had a great dive on Stradbroke Island, flew to Canberra, checked into an Airbnb place, set my iPhone at air plane mode so that I wouldn't be woken up by any e-mails or text messages in the Australian night, woke up again, switched off air plane mode, and immediately I got a message from a friend asking whether I was safe and sound, what with the plane crash and all.
I think all that must be said has been said in the news media and I have little to add to it. Of course I'm shocked, but anything I can say would just repeat what others have said already. It's a weird feeling that both my country of origin and the country I'm visiting are in mourning. Flags will be half mast in The Netherlands and Australia tomorrow.
My condolences to the families and friends of the victims.