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I got off to yet another late start, but it was Sunday after all! I was madly working away on my 12 pager conference paper for i-REC and I must have been about 95% through my first draft, when I got this nice e-mail from the host saying that we got another whole month’s extension for the draft submission due to a lot of requests from others in similar situation who wanted more time for polishing. It was a huge relief for me as I could now put it behind me and fully engage with this week’s conference and think about nothing else.

Dory and Claire were at the Gender Assembly of UN-HABITAT and Dory gave a presentation on her research in front of a large audience who had gathered for the conference. During the Q & A session, Dory gave a nice plug for Architecture for Humanity, when someone asked her a question about how academics and professionals can realistically work with the grassroots. It was really humbling to hear that words are getting out! It got me really amped about my research as well.

At 2pm we met up with representatives of SUD-Net, who gave us a guided tour around Rio de Janeiro. SUD-Net can be summed up as a network of networks, bringing together multiple sectors concerned about cities and sustainable development of cities. We had a couple of representatives from UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi as well as an architectural professor at the local Brazilian University. Vinnie, the professor and our tour-guide for the day, showed us four areas around Rio which represent four distinctive ‘faces’ of Rio, arguably the most culturally significant and creative city of Brazil.

The following are the stops that we made throughout the afternoon, but I will withhold the explanation until the photos are up, since a picture speaks a thousand words.

First stop: Downtown Rio

Second stop: Suburbs

Third stop: Barros

Fourth stop: Beach

The tour wrapped up about 7pm, after which the University of Auckland’s delegation scurried back to our nest to reconvene for our first communal meal together to greet and gear up for the conference. It was a great idea to begin with, but due to one miscommunication after another we ended up in about three different locations and ended up going to two different venues for dinner. Despite some frustrations, red faces, running up and down the largest shopping mall in Rio until our jandals were practically on fire, the food was great and it was a great learning experience for all of us. It’s something that always seems to happen at some stage during a trip involving 17 people (12 delegation +5 partners).

So we won’t be going anywhere from now on without at least one person in the taxi who speaks Portuguese, and knowing which room everyone is staying in the hotel to leave messages for…

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