Monday, June 29, 2009

Back from Brazil

It hasn't even been a month since I was in Brazil but it feels like a lifetime ago. I know this is a little late, but I just wanted to do a quick post to reflect upon the experience of being invited to speak at the 2nd Computer Arts Design Show in Sao Paulo.

Above is a photo of me and the hard working crew from Editora Europa. The guy in the middle in the blue shirt is Mario Fittipaldi. He is the editor of Computer Arts and 3d world as well. I cannot imagine the daunting task of organizing a show like this one. Mario contacted me, set the whole thing up, made all the arrangements, and was just generally a really great host. I can't thank him enough for all of the effort he made to ensure that I had an enjoyable experience while in Brazil. It was awesome!

The event itself was really cool. I was told there were almost 200 people in attendance. That's the largest crowd I've ever spoken in front of. First time working with a translator too. Below you can see a shot of the crowd and some shots of the workshop and presentation in progress. Basically, I spoke into a microphone in English, which went through the sound system. But, in addition to that; the microphone fed into a booth where a person translated everything real-time into Portuguese. Then, participants could hear the Portuguese translation by wearing headsets. The whole thing was pretty high-tech and extremely well organized.

The translation worked the other way too, so that I could put on the headphones and hear Portuguese questions in English. Then the translator would translate my English answers back into Portuguese. It was really cool and I can't thank the translator enough for her effort. Especially when I went so fast during the first presentation. If memory serves me correctly, her name was Melana, but I'm certain that I'm spelling it wrong. Sorry.

One thing that completely surprised me was the enthusiasm of the people who attended the event. There were people lining up after each presentation for pictures and autographs. A lot of people brought books and magazines for me to sign. A handful even gave me some of their own artwork as gifts, which was extremely cool. It was a shock to me that anyone in Brazil even knew who I was in the first place. I was not expecting this.

Again, I can't thank Mario and everyone at Editora Europa enough. Mario and his wife Monica took me out for dinners, shows, and on an amazing sight-seeing tour through the mountains to Santos and St.Vincent. Pictures are below. Also, it was really cool to meet Roberto, the owner of Editora Europa and have lunch with him, Mario, and the CO (who's name escapes me). Brazilian's really know about meat. I ate so much amazing food while I was there that coming home to North American cuisine has been a huge let down. And the coffee, don't get me started on the coffee...

I was really impressed by just how massive Sao Paulo is. There are some shots below from the roof of the hotel. It was just endless skyscrapers in every direction. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the Editora Europa offices but they were beautiful. We could learn a lot from them in terms of atmosphere. They had a beautiful compound of small buildings and landscaped gardens. Again, nothing like the cubicle hell of North America.

Anyway, I just want to thank Mario and everyone at Editora Europa for inviting me to participate and for making the experience so enjoyable. The realist in me knows that the participants in an event like this will want a different international guest next time around. However, the idealist in me secretly hopes that they ask me to come back next year.