Saturday 10th November
Doyle’s tent ended up being too hot for him last night, so he ended up in our bed again.
The “tourist” day ended up almost a complete failure. Being Saturday, banks, currency exchange and tourist information centres were closed. So the majority of the day was spent in our apartment rather than getting to know Rio. I tried to find some tours online instead, but given the short notice and lack of ability to use a phone, we couldn’t really book anything. Looks like we’ll have to come back to Rio sometime in the future to do the sightseeing side of things.
At around 5pm, we at least headed down to the beach for a little while and found an interesting looking McDonalds (the photo will or should be on our gallery when Jeremy puts it up), and an awesome sandcastle that someone built of Rio, including the statue of Jesus! We also found churros, which Jeremy had been desperate to find again ever since he went to Disneyland ten years ago. And tasted an interesting mint and banana flavoured drink.
Other than other boring things like grocery shopping and washing clothes, that’s pretty much all we did today. I wish I’d realised before I booked our flights how little time we’d have to do sightseeing here.
Sunday 11th November
Yay! Doyle slept in his tent all night again! We all got up at 6am this morning, because that’s what Doyle decided, and got ready for the day ahead. We hadn’t heard back from the tour operator I emailed about a Rio city tour yesterday, which meant it was off to the Windsor Barra for pre-IGF presentations. One of the sessions was on Open Standards, and the other was GigaNet, which includes presentations from academics.
The highlights of the day included:
a) Doyle becoming the youngest registered delegate of the IGF with his own ID and everything.
b) Getting a free bag and t-shirt just for registering and attending the IGF
c) All the free food and drinks
d) Doyle saying “goodbye, goodbye” (his first words?) in the middle of one of the sessions after he’d had some yummy milk.
e) A guy from Microsoft standing up during the last session we went to saying “We like standards” and then a guy later saying that you shouldn’t say stupid things and represent your company when saying them at an event like this. I don’t know if he was necessarily suggesting that Mr Microsoft said stupid things, but it amused me all the same.
Doyle is probably the most popular person at the IGF. He’s had several people complimenting him, talking to him, everything. I was so sure someone would be upset at me bringing a baby into some things, but so far everything has gone really well. Even if I haven’t been able to pay too much attention to some things due to looking after him. I wasn’t that interested in what was happening today anyway.
At least the first time I had to take Doyle out of the conference room, we got to watch the UN Security people doing their thing and setting up the UN flag. It was a little funny because we watched from the side, and when they were done, they walked back around toward another room, but the doors were closed and so they had to just stop and stand there, pretending they’d gone in. The head female security lady at least seemed to have a sense of humour, since she laughed about it.
The lowlights of today was probably the number of pooey nappies Doyle had, and having to pay R$35 each way from Copacabana to Barra by taxi because the free shuttle doesn’t start operating until tomorrow. The taxis didn’t even have working seatbelts in the back seat.
Monday 12th November
Today was the official starting day of the IGF. Our alarm got us up at 6am because it would take us 25 minutes to walk to the nearest hotel that the free shuttle service leaves from. We made it in time, but it rained while we were walking, which meant I had to get my umbrella out. And, unfortunately, I accidentally left my umbrella on the bus. I’m still not sure whether I’ll be able to get it back.
You can read Jeremy’s thoughts about the sessions we attended at http://igfwatch.org as I don’t really have anything more to add than what he’s already said. My comments would have been along the same lines, though probably limited to the Google and ICANN statements. I loved what Mr Google had to say about Google, particularly when someone had said they didn’t think Google should be the one making all these particular decisions, and he said if you don’t like what Google is doing, just use another search engine.
Doyle was mostly well behaved today, and I only had to leave the rooms a few times due to his behaviour. He was very popular, and had several people take pictures of him, including some official photographers. One guy even made an oragami kangaroo for Doyle, and Doyle proceeded to bite off its head.
We got more free food and drinks today – morning tea and a cocktail dinner. I love free food! We also got another free t-shirt for completing an online survey.
Edit: I forgot to mention that upon getting back to our apartment and checking my e-mail, I was informed that my Grandmother passed away just two and a half weeks before we were due to arrive in Laramie to see her. It’s not going to affect any of our plans, however, as I still have plenty of family there to visit.