Monday, July 09, 2007

United Nations Building, Geneva, Switzerland

What with all this globe-trotting we've been doing, we are feeling pretty international by now, so it seemed a visit to the United Nations was in order.They have one of these "dancing fountain" plazas out front, but I couldn't get Case positioned quite right to get splashed.
In addition to the fountain out front, we noticed this memorial to the victims of landmines and the campaign to outlaw them. It's quite symbolic, isn't it?...
The UN grounds enjoy a lovely view southward over Lake Geneva to the Alps. Numerous nations have donated artwork and monuments to be displayed on the property and in the buildings. On the left, you can just glimpse the titanium spire donated by the Soviet Union as a memorial to their conquest of space.
The grounds and the main building (a family mansion that was remodeled with conference rooms and offices) were donated to the League of Nations after WWI and served as its headquarters. After WWII, they passed to the United Nations along with all of the League assets -- including the 10 proud peacocks who wander the grounds.
You might recognize the room in the photo below from TV, or maybe the movies...

One of the participants on our tour asked if any events had occurred in this room that we might remember. Our guide replied vaguely that said she'd heard some politician or other had once gotten so heated that he banged on a desk with his shoe. (I don't think the guide was old enough to remember Kruschev or Cold War.)
Interestingly, I (Case) was looking for a photo to put in this blog showing Kruschev pounding his shoe on the desk, but I couldn't find one. I was sure I had seen it, but further research suggests such a photo might not even exist. In fact, there is some question whether he really did bang on the podium with his shoe at all! And I thought that was an established fact seen by any number of witnesses! (If interested in further detail, click here. ) On the other hand, I did find this advertisement:

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