I'm back in the Estados Unidos after a productive and enjoyable trip to Argentina.
What did I learn while I was there?
One, the sun is very powerful in South America. I spent my last afternoon there to take a quick tour on one of those turistico buses (highly recommend, especially if you're short on time).
You know, the kind with no tops on them, where the sun can shine right down on your head and forehead?
Yeah. Estupido turista.
Two, I learned that while the social media is alive and well in Latin America, I would suggest, based on my observations and discussions with our teams there, that its use is a little more tepid and cautious, particularly within business.
Personally, particularly with sites like Orkut and Twitter, there's substantial and widespread use, but the business uptake is slower than other parts of the world.
Three, the Internet communications and marketing opportunity is much more substantial in the mobile space than in the land-line Internet (that is, if you're interested in raw numbers).
By way of example, EMarketer's "Digital Atlas," which I consulted before I headed south, reveals that Internet users in Brazil last numbered around 67 million, while mobile phone users were in the range of 150 million.
Similar disparities between mobile and landline access exist in other countries in Latin America as well, including Mexico and Argentina.
Four, I reaffirmed how much it sucks to get sick while traveling abroad. But, as mentioned in this blog, I was fortunate to be able to head over to Dr. IBM right there on the site to get some medicine to stave off the nastiness.
Here I am, a week later, still illin', but I was very thankful to stave off the illness while on the ground there.
Five, I learned that it is possible to get a full night's sleep in economy class, particularly with the help of some other medicine (in my case, doctor-prescribed sleeping pills).
In fact, such sleep can make all the difference in the world (although admittedly, it's easier when you're not jumping so many time zones).
Personally, I don't mind so much the long flights, but in coach they can be quite painful if you have legs longer than 2 feet, so the ability to totally sack out can help put about 70% of the time on the plane into unconsciousness, which is the perfect way to shorten the plane ride.
(As for you people who stay awake for the duration of 10-13 hour flights, you may want to check to see if you're related to some of the characters on True Blood [vampires]. I don't know how you do it.)
Six, I can't or don't keep up with what's going on in the world very well when I'm on the road.
Despite having a BlackBerry that lives up to its promise as a "world phone" (since I got it in January, it HAS worked in every city I've been to around the globe), one simply doesn't have much free time to check in and keep up when you're bouncing from one meeting or dinner to another.
The whole point of making these trips is to meet one's colleagues on the ground and spend quality time, so that's the priority.
So, I'm still playing catchup on the news flow (email and otherwise).
Seven, I still love my Nikon CoolPix camera and my FlipVideo camera... Both allowed me to easily (and very portably) capture sights and sounds from the journey without having to lug around a lot of equipment.
Eight, I can't wait for the World Cup next summer. I really enjoyed being around a bunch of honest-to-God futbol fans, and my excursion to see the Boca Juniors play Arsenal was a highlight of my trip.
If anybody needs a blogger to cover next summer's World Cup, I'm so on that plane to Johannesburg... business, coach, or even luggage class.
And nine, regarding my iPod Touch: I don't leave the country without it.
Since I got the "touch," it has become my best friend while traveling. I now download books, games, music, podcasts, and even movies to carry with me on the road and to help pass the time, to Tweet, to read, to chill... It's one of the first things I pack just to make sure I don't forget it.
All that said, it's nice to be back in Austin in time for the Thanksgiving holiday and a whole meal of American football.