I thought it's about time that I update everyone on my trip to Rio.
First, business... My talk went well. I practiced, giving my talk a number of times to Yih-
Chun in Rio. I now think I have a much better handle on what to present at a conference. The actual presentation went smoothly, though there were probably only 2-3 people in the room that weren't other presenters, Yih-Chun, or the session chair. I did get people to nod though, so that made me feel good. Thanks for all your prayers for this. I know I wouldn't have been able to do it without them.
Second, fun... I did get some time to have fun in Rio, and it was a great place for it. We were about a 10 minute walk from the beach in Leblon (a district in Rio). People seemed really active there. There were regular games of volleyball and Brazilian volleyball (volleyball played with soccer rules). We took tons of pictures of people playing this game. In the picture above, the guy actually got the ball over the net, if I recall correctly.
We went to see the statue (Christo Redentor or Corcovado, above) and to a mountain called Sugarloaf Mountain, which is in the middle of the city (below). We got some great pictures. We were on top of Sugarloaf during a lightning storm with really highwinds. We were stuck for an hour before they would let us down. It was interesting being crammed into the cable-car house for an hour with a bunch of people. We met some other people from Infocom there, whom Yih-Chun knew. I got a bit of a cloud-to-cloud lightning strike in the picture below.
It was a good trip, though it would have been better if I hadn't needed to do as much work. We never really felt in danger there, but we didn't venture out after dark, except to get into a taxi immediately from wherever we were to go back to our hotel.