The congress venue was a 40 minute bumpy scary minivan ride away. I didn't mention that the minivans were often without working seatbelts. No matter - apparently I escaped unscathed. I'm back home and all in one piece.
Here is a little map of where the venue, the Centro de Convençöes do Ceará, was located. It was pretty gigantic, with a large PT fair on the main level, the congress above on a mezzanine floor. There were large coolers of filtered water everywhere, and a stand for free coffee, so I was happy. The coffee was served in teesny tiny cups, but this was balanced by the fact that it had a lot of punch. Lunch was a large buffet service, included for free.
I did my first scheduled presentation Thursday, May 13. Here is a picture of me presenting. The woman to my right is Laura, the translator, who had lived in Toronto for a few years and spoke excellent English. She was staying at the same hotel and made herself available to go over the presentations with me beforehand.
I still can hardly believe that's me, wearing a skirt for the first time in about 20 years no less. There were about 1700 people in the room. Behind me were 5 large screens, stretched out in a line, so that everyone could see everything from wherever they were sitting.
I met many of the other presenters, listened to their presentations as best I could, not being fluent in anything but English (which was a surprise to many since I'm from a supposedly bilingual country, and finally, at this late stage of life an embarrassment to me that I never found French something my brain could wrap itself around as easily as it did Spanish).
A lot of the presentations seemed to be mostly 40 minute long advertisements for various schools of osteopathic mesodermalist thought. The Upledger institute was there, being promoted by somebody from Panama .. pictures of dolphins and babies, shots of its white-and-fluffy-haired founder. I thought about, but refrained from asking about, the therapy tragedy in the Netherlands - I had my own presentation to get through.
I was unprepared, actually, for what felt a bit like rock star treatment after I was done. Scores of beautiful young Brazilian PT students, both female and male, came up directly after and wanted their friends to take a picture of them with me, in ones, twos, small groups. It's quite the custom. The camera and I have never been close friends, more like distant acquaintances. So no picture of me ever makes me look good. Whatever. I complied.
Here is a picture of me (wearing my comfortable flat shoes, with foot scabs from a different pair of sandals that had chewed my feet up pretty good the day prior) looking very short, the little fashion schlub from Canada, beside the other women in their 4-6 inch platforms and heels and guapo men; Helder, the organizer, in his guapo suit. Sarah Mottram is second from left. Fourth from left is Marlene, who was Sarah's helper throughout, Palmiro beside her. I met the other two but don't have a working memory of who they are.