South America trip   Martin  May 30, 1999

Just a short update on my trip last week to South America. I flew (11 hours) in to Buenos Aires, took a cab to a
hotel to change, and went straight to my meeting for a few hours. The meeting was partly in Portuguese, partly in
Spanish but the slides were all in English. I was mainly there to meet the people. That evening I flew to Sao Paulo.
This is a gigantic city with 20 million people with a road system to accommodate only a fraction of that. The
infrastructure and living conditions appeared better then I expected but obviously not up to the North American or
European standards.  I will pass over the business portion just by saying that the local IT (Information technology)
staff and managers were very friendly toward me but also clearly saw Latin America as running their own
environment for a number of reasons, many of them quite valid. It will certainly be a challenge to create an Americas
IT structure. On Saturday three of us (two people who work in my area) flew to Iguazu Falls, which is right on the
boarder of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.  First our driver and guide insisted on taking us to their dam/power plant.
This is the largest hydro electric plant in the world and they are proud of it, but it is rather dull.  Then we went on a
short jeep/walking trip through the jungle to a boat ride fighting its way up the rapids to the falls area. These are the
largest (width wise) falls in the world. There are 275 major (enormous) falls up to about 300 feet plunging from miles
of cliffs through the jungle onto the river and rocks below.  It is spectacular beyond belief and surpasses its build up
of being the most impressive series of waterfalls in the word. To me anyway it was certainly more imposing then
Niagara, Victoria or the Yosemite falls.  On Sunday we crossed to the Argentine side and hiked the various very
well maintained walkways they have going up and down the falls area. There were a lot of local Sunday tourists
including many elderly people in canes trudging up and down the paths. I took what I felt would be my all time best
photo of one of the boats driving into the base of the most spectacular falls framed by the brightest complete rainbow
I have ever seen (from the mist created by the falls). But as these things happen this also turn out to be the only roll
of film I have ever lost in my life. On Sunday we left for Rio De Janeiro. Walked along the Copacabana beach at
night, went to a Samba show, and the next morning went up the mountain with the giant statue of Christ over looking
the city.  The city location along the coast with gorgeous beaches and nestled into the pinnacle spires is unique and
breath-taking. We ended the trip by taking the two tramways to get us up the Sugerloaf. This is the famous rock
pinnacle that sits on the edge of Rio. On top of this spire I noticed that some lady seemed to be running around to
the tourists calling what might be my name. It turn out their was some global network problem and they needed the
assistance of one of my traveling companions. Roche had called the people in Buenos Aires who contacted the
people in Sao Paulo. They figured out what tour group we were with and the tour group guessed where we would
be. They got a spare tour guide to take the two tramways up the mountain to try to find us. So my partner ended up
calling in from the one telephone they have on top of this peak trying to diagnose and fix this problem making his
voice hear above the wind.
It looks like I will be traveling a lot between now and the beginning of September.  I have planned (so far) two trips
to Switzerland, two to Argentina, one to Mexico City, one to Canada and one to California. (not to mention our
summer vacation to Spain and Morocco).