I've arrived in Brazil for 2.5 days of Rio de Janeiro before heading to Recife and Porto de Galinhas for BOSSA 2009.
Rio actually was a much more pleasant experience than anticipated, and as far as I can tell after that short of a visit, I seem to like the city - at least much more than Sao Paulo which I felt was a big disappointment while visiting it last year for a similarly short period of time.
Being in Brazil always fills me with some kind of strange sentimentality. I've spent most of the year 2001 in this country, it was my first long-term experience in a foreign country. It was a great work environment at Conectiva, and times without a lot of the sorrows and worries that I am having today, working with hardware companies who often still not have noticed even remotely what was happening in the Linux world eight to ten years ago.
And I'm always surprised how well I can manage with those few bits of Portuguese that I learned during my 2001 stay. It's actually more than just barely managing, but being able to grasp at least the key aspects of most conversations, etc. And this despite not having had the slightest bit of practice between 2002 and 2007.
If only I could ever get my Mandarin to that level. Well, this is also the reason why I've brought my Chinese language books with me and I'm planning to study quite a bit in them during the two weeks of holidays following after BOSSA. With some luck I can also find some time in May or June to take up my language classes in Taipei again.