Conferences like TED Global are only a couple of days long, but I find I can get surprisingly used to them – wake up, absorb a mass of new and provocative ideas, have a few dozen conversations, stagger back to the hotel, rinse and repeat. And then, all of a sudden, they’re over. It was almost humorous how quickly TED ended – Minister Okonjo-Iweala left the stage at 1pm, and half an hour later, many of the participants were on buses heading to basecamp to climb Kilimnanjaro or towards tent safaris somewhere in the beautiful Tanzanian bush.
I took a few hours to wander Arusha, realizing that I’ve never seen a city that does such a good job of preserving greenspace in its center – walking the half-kilometer from my hotel to the central post office involves a bridge over a whitewater streem in a lush, green valley, and at least two urban farms. I had an absurdly good Japanese meal in a building that sells auto parts in one half, yakitori and fried udon noodles in the other side. I slept a bit and found myself in a TED reunion at the Arusha airport as a couple dozen of us took Air Tanzania’s hop-skip-and a jump service to South Africa (Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam and Jo’burg, over the course of six hours, covering an amazing range of mountain, coastal and savannah landscapes in the process.)
And now I’m enroute to Cape Town, wondering what we’ve learned, what might come out of this gathering. I started writing my impressions and realized that I’m not ready yet to give the sort of analysis this meeting deserves. So instead, I’ll give you a link to the few photos I took, a link to a richer collection on Flickr, and my sincere thanks to everyone who made TED possible, both the organizers and sponsors, and the speakers and attendees who brought it to life.