Anecdotal Report: Internet Governance Forum
Athens, Greece, fall, 2006

Sylvia Caras

http://info.intgovforum.org has verbatim transcripts of the plenaries and summaries of the workshops

I attended the 2003 and 2005 World Summit on the Information Society and at each there was a disability day organized by the Daisy Consortium. It was decided that the UN would convene an Internet Governance Forum, a multi-stakeholder dialogue to meet once a year, to discuss the main public policy issues related to Internet governance in order to foster the Internet`s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development.

I hoped to book a mileage award air ticket and tried just as soon as People Who was accredited in the end of August, but it was too late. Next the CMHS PAIMI project manager ruled that PAIMI dollars could not fund international travel. I decided to go anyhow, reserved a hotel across the street from the suburban Athens venue, added on a weekend of tourism, chose to return to the US via the APHA meeting in Boston, and booked air.

 

Then came the air travel restrictions on liquids and gels and for two months I devised strategies to keep myself comfortable during the 23 hours of elapsed travel time it would take to get from Santa Cruz to Vougliamemi. I printed out the TSA and Lufthansa rules and also carried a detailed physician`s letter. And I watched my level of anxiety and how travel was now not the pleasure it had been but presented challenges that were becoming more difficult than the rewards. All went reasonable smoothly, despite the smoking area right at the Frankfurt gates, including paying $4.12 for a cup of tea, and including the taxi from the airport charging just what I`d been told to expect.

At the hotel they had no reservation for me. Full for the conference. No rooms at all. I handed over the print out of the email exchanges, the manager kept saying they were full, I kept saying I `but here you wrote`, finally I said I've been traveling 23 hours, I'm an old lady, I cant go anywhere else. A delegate from Toronto overheard, invited me to have dinner with her while it got sorted out, I said no I`d better stay right here. I didn't even go and sit in the lobby. The manager went in back, was gone about 15 minutes, then the receptionist talked on the phone for quite a while and said they had given me a room. I was so relieved and grateful! And realized the good assertion skills I had used - I didn't much got angry, was insistent, we acknowledged the misunderstanding, and I had no intention of going anywhere else. Maybe I just stuck it out because there was *no* Plan B. My room reminds me of a nice college dorm room, modern blonde furniture, two single beds, desk, drawers, TV, ... And bold purple blankets under the bedspread.

And as I was looking around the lobby I saw Linda Misek-Falkoff, a colleague from the CRPD. So I felt settled and connected. I unpacked some, slept some, and have been up since 1 AM. It will take a while to adjust to the 10 hour time difference.

In addition to the beach resort hotel where the meetings will be, there is the hotel where I am staying across the street, lots of public beach and a promenade, three tavernas each with a large outdoor dining deck peopled by many smokers including cigars, and nothing else within walking distance. I'm too jet-lagged to go exploring, have been reading a mystery and used the free computer in the lobby to check email. There’s wireless access for a fee (10 EU for 24 hours).

Breakfast included definitely not non-fat yogurt, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers, plus the more familiar cereals, juice, scrambled eggs, sausage, and lots of breads.

The 2006 Athens forum theme is Internet Governance for Development - openness, security, diversity, access

Online collaboration website: http://igf2006.info

 

Official IGF site http://intgovforum.org

 

There were no submissions for workshops about disability access listed in the summary of materials submitted to the UN planners. But W3C/WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative) is presenting about web accessibility.

At the meeting site, there is smoke in all the lobbies, corridors, and public spaces. The hotel staff is surly, resents being asked questions to which they don't have answers. (What seems to me surly may be cultural; I may be misunderstanding since I am noting that behavior quite a bit.) The UN staff is not yet present. The Greek hospitality staff is welcoming and helpful. There is much confusion. I registered early - there's a webcam on the computer so there was a smooth process of finding me on the computer, verifying that I was me by looking at my passport, taking my picture, and then moving to the printer to get my plastic badge. At international meetings People Who is confused with the World Health Organization - I think I’ll stop explaining that it’s who not WHO.

The content notes that follow are fragmented. I typed in what caught my attention.

PreConference: Global Internet Governance (strictly) Academic Network (GigaNet)

2007 GigaNet meeting will be linked to IGF 2007 in Rio. There is a plan for an annual summer school.

There were 60 when the session started and 150, only an occasional empty seat, an hour later. The GigaNet`s focus is independent analysis within IGF; it is not a stakeholder group. Academics are not stakeholders. As the stragglers sat down and booted up, I kept hearing the Windows welcome sound punctuating (I have mine turned off!).

Opaque government is not democratic. Reasoned, rough consensus a decision-making tool for groups with undefined memberships (IGC, IETF). Problem with rough consensus is that a new good argument can sway.

Imbrication (overlapping), embeddedness. Bricolage - remix new ideas - the iris list does this.

Trend to delegate authority to private sector.

But where is the multinational source of regulatory authority.

Demise of territorial state; no longer the source of world order. (I'm musing about direct democracy, global without boundaries, power laws.)

The larger the membership, the less binding the relationship.

Governance tending to multiple forms of multi-lateral structures.

With multiple polities, which polity decides.

Exit or voice: voice requires a remedy (the remedies from the user/survivor movement are weak - S.)

Questioners: academic styles seem to me inflated , speakers used the session as their own platform, and so were several conversations I had.

Internet is about to mutate to another kind of network, Everyware. ONS (object naming system) under DNS (domain naming system). Every person and object and system linked. IP address at birth. (But aren't we already, Gaia? S.)

Deliberative democracy, rational consensus, emphasis on information formation. (But people vote from emotions, not rational. S.)

Trend towards a shift to economic, to private, to secondary procedural rules. Increasing use of technical devices to regulate. Rhetorical emphasis on human rights and fundamental liberties.

New understanding of national sovereignity in an interdependent world.

US wont allow internet architecture (DNS) to be managed by non-democratic entities, for instance held-hostage to nuclear technologies. As well as multi-stakeholder entities, there are multi-discipline issues.

China has shifted its position towards emphasizing its national interests. (Is this also what happened with CRPD and the footnote? S.)

US unilateralism has only recently come to the foreground as an internet issue, and changes in governance are moving so slowly. However, IP addresses, though important, are not the only governance concern though ICANN gets most of the attention and press.

So far there are no visible disabilities - no wheelchairs, no white canes, no signing, ... John Mathiason is here. Cakes and juice and coffee were served at the break. Lots of flies on the sweets and an annoying few in the session room.

Plenary: room holds 700, overflow hall holds 400, 2000 expected, Greek Prime Minister, dignitaries, overpasses will be issued, but not to me. I was in the right place at the right time, drew #10 for one of 20 passes available, stopped to chat and when I went to collect the pass about 10 minutes later, it had been given away! I was speechless with confusion - I’d been lucky, won, and then lost. The world was topsy-turvy. I still feel very sad. I like to know the rules, then follow them or work around them, but I don’t like not knowing them and especially I don’t like doing what I understand and having that be wrong.

Security is already in place the night before, six walk through metal detectors, electric cords inviting people to trip.

The least expensive food I have seen on a menu is a $15 Greek salad and a $10 Cheese Pie (filo dough and feta cheese). I am glad I brought some cup-of-soups and my kettle.

I really miss not having a market nearby.

I slept soundly for three hours and then was awake the rest of the night. I decided to skip the opening all together, go for a walk, check my email, find a market, and go back to sleep. But when I checked my email there was a note from Linda - she had a pass for me for the morning! And there were others on the related lists also unhappy with the costs and remoteness of the site. Then I asked about a market and this time was told, no I didn’t have to take a taxi, there was a shopping area up the street and left. I was just amazed at how swiftly my approach to the time here shifted. I went to breakfast, Linda and I visited, then we were joined by one of yesterday’s speakers and then the organizer of the pre-conference, and then I was given a pass by the man who had given mine away the day before. All just amazing. I took my two passes, returned one, was allowed through security, sat down around 9:30 for the 10 AM meeting which started at 11:15.

I need to be more careful to be sure I am understood. People here speak English quite well and seem to understand but it has turned out several times that we are not talking about the same things.

I spoke with Derrick, at Syracuse University, who is working on assistive technology and in particular with web sites. He’s been working with one of the DBTAC’s, is impressed with what Hiroshi organized. It will be good to stay connected with him.

Greece issued stamps for this conference and in the registration bag is a proof sheet for each registrant. And there’s a post office table here.

Subsequent IGF meetings will be 2007 Rio; 2008 India; 2009 Egypt, probably all in the late fall.

As well as headphones and translation into a half dozen languages, there is also a verbatim typed display.

In the corridor outside my hotel room are some paintings. Just past my door is one of a woman’s head boldly titled ‘CARAS’ (I now know that means faces in Spanish, but the coincidence seems neat).

The Internet Governance Caucus, civil society, met for an hour, clarified some procedures, discussed goals, and suggested ways to influence the rest of the forum, which was planned to be very interactive.

The afternoon plenary fulfilled that goal. Keith Cukier questioned a panel of 14, took audience questions and internet questions, kept each intervention to the agreed under two minutes. From the point of view of governments from developing countries, the private sector is pushing to go faster than the government can. From the point of view of least developed countries, "we are talking about ICT, but the issue is water."

The day I arrived was hot, the next day sunny and pleasant, yesterday overcast and today when I went back to my hotel is was blustery and wet. "Winter," I was told.

There’s construction next door. The first day there would be an a brief burst of engine sound, then quiet for 10 - 20 minutes, then another burst, and quiet. I wondered about work rhythms in different parts of the world. Today, the jackhammer started at 8 and kept going, so I left for the meetings.

I woke at 3 AM, better than yesterday’s 1 AM, in a better mood. I am wondering if yesterday’s unhappiness was connected to some body-clock-resetting melatonin I took. It’s raining and windy so I’m postponing my walk to the grocery store until later.

The morning plenary is on openness. I think the format is superb. There is a moderator who is a BBC journalist and he’s asking tough questions and keeping all on time and the focus on point. The 12 on the panel told their name and affiliation. Then came audience input to add themes to the audience agenda. Then the moderator asked coordinated questions to specific panelists. It moved along fast, most people’s points were included. I am not sure where to raise the disability access issue since it fits on several themes.

China is the target of concern - some are hostile and damning, some tip toeing and calming, and a Chinese diplomat stationed in Geneva insists that China has no openness problem.

About corporate policies, don’t attribute to malice and collusion that which is merely inertia.

There is a restrictive trend from governments throughout the world to require access to personal identity information that is collected in any database and also to be kept for several years.

What is the responsibility of network operators?

That Microsoft has "massive bargaining power" is an exaggeration says the panelist from Microsoft.

One speaker seemed to me crude, rude about China. He’s a foreign affairs spokesperson for his country!

Redefine the commons. Should everything at a free public library be available free on the web? London School of Economics doesn’t even make course reading lists public for free.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection goes hand in hand with all kinds of surveillance.

Access to Knowledge Treaty?

During the last ten minutes of the three hour session I could feel the tensions grow. The foreign affairs man, a human rights judge, and others insisted governments must regulate internet speech, for instance banning hate speech, child pornography. A blogger and a free commons supporter argued more for the internet regulating itself, that rankings could prevail. The government passion to control was frightening to me, yet when I later thought about it, I don’t think the technology can be regulated. The same minds that break into computers just because they are there will find a work around.

Security has made the breakout areas inaccessible by shutting off the elevators in order to pass everyone through metal detectors.

I had with me a raincoat and umbrella and walked 15 minutes along a road with not much of a sidewalk and lots of puddles and only found gas stations. So I guess there is not a market nearby!

Diplo gave a half-day seminar on negotiation skills for people from the developing world. I sat in for 30 minutes as John Hemery, Negotiation Specialist, Oxford, explained how to chair I meeting. He noted that a successful chair exercises leadership and authority, understands the substance, and understands the procedures. A chair must demonstrate professional competence and moral integrity. I felt very good, since I instinctively have understood and used the skills he said where important when I chaired the UN meetings.

There is no statue of limitation on vengeance.

A strategy to ensure compliance with international unenforceable treaties is ‘naming and shaming’.

George Chouliaras, www.e-gov.gr , gave a clear and thoughtful presentation about where we are going next. There was a comment about differing models and methods from different cultures. I didn’t get the chance to add that over-arching is new tools need new skills. We are amidst a learning curve. For instance, writing a letter to an elected that will be read, or a letter to a newspaper that gets published, or getting elected to office - these are learned skills. Writing an email or designing a personal web site that others will like are also learned skills. As is courteous electronic behavior.

At the security plenary, there was a comment that there should not be rigid standards but instead principles, Norway requires ISP’s to provide security tools, spam volume prohibits access when ISP and phone costs are high.

Metal detectors screen the central area and again the largest meeting area and separately, at the foot of a staircase, the breakout rooms. The only exit is back through the metal detector entrance, they are beeping all the time. I wonder if they are as unnoticed as car alarms.

It’s Halloween. I wore a witch earring, got a few second looks but no knowing nods. CNN reports the average American spends $60 on Halloween.

In the morning, I used the lobby computer to check email, had what I thought was a brilliant insight about rules, jotted some notes, and now not only can’t find the paper, and can’t remember what I read on the net that directed my thinking.

"Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy."

Nicholas Negroponte

At-large community for input to ICANN’s decisions - www.icannalac.org

 

After breakfast I took a taxi to the supermarket, asked him to wait, and taxied back. Total time 30 minutes, $26. Taxi twice as much as the food - I bought olives, cashews, green peppers, bananas, and a long narrow cucumber - $13. The market is in the nearest town, Glyfada, a large commercial center. I was able to decipher the street sign that pointed to "Glyfada - Kentro" and was pleased to have sounded out the Greek alphabet letters. It might have felt less constrained to have stayed in Glyfada and taxied or bussed back and forth.

The recap of the security sessions underscored the cost of spam, how the cost of even deleting unwanted messages prohibits any access of all. I’ve had a taste of that when I am traveling - often lines are slow, loading takes a long time, and it can take 20 minutes just to delete the spam before I can even see my mail. I certainly would be discouraged if that were a regular experience.

Several of the panelists did mention disability but that doesn’t feel like enough. Vint Cerf urged oral internet for those who aren’t literate and for those who are blind. There was mention of signing with cell phones in Sweden. The concern here is languages and scripts, technical. What I said in the one minute I was given:

"I’m the ICT link for the International Disability Alliance, eight global organizations.

I appreciate the panelists who have mentioned disability but some 17% of people have a disability and I’ve only seen here one man with a wheelchair and one woman with a cane.

 

The Deaf have a culture, signing is a language, most web sites are inaccessible to text readers used by those with reading-related disabilities, people with learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, people who are blind.

Disability cross cuts the themes of this forum but many people with disabilities aren’t part of the information society. How can people with disabilities become included stakeholders in this development process?"

Two women came up to me afterwards appreciating what I had said.

Question of multiple spellings was raised. For countries with non-Latin alphabets, could they agree on a consistent spelling, as China has. For countries with Latin alphabets, spelling should be as it is spelled in the original country.

The Diversity plenary moved more slowly, there was a pause as speakers were named and the microphones were brought, neither the panelists nor the audience were succinct.

I’m at a session about asserting an Internet Bill of Rights. I’m wondering about a bill of rights for using a tool, about how we are elevating "the internet" to a larger-than-object status. Do you think there was a Hammer Bill of Rights or a Printing Press Bill of Rights?

There’s a man sitting next to me jiggling his left foot. I can feel the waves of tension rolling off him, wondering if I should move or poke him or try to quiet myself. I’m staring/glaring at the foot, trying to still it and uncomfortable.

Bloggers are participating in the forum and their questions are also being taken. And, responsively, when it was pointed out yesterday that many only access the internet through their cell phones, two cell phone numbers were provided, to accept text messages.

Linda intervened: bills of rights are for individuals; how can an Internet Bill of Rights pull ahead of governments; against what will infractions be measured? Panelist: instead of looking to enforcement, instead build up a supranational set of principles which could lead to global acceptance and then enforcement might follow. Globalization not through market but through rights - a new paradigm. No longer libertarian. Integrate the original values of freedom with an emphasis of rights. Reinterpretation of some traditional rights, for instance property rights.

Property rights protect creativity in the developing world, entrepreneurs just entering markets.

What’s the right balance for a digital age? What kind of intellectual copyright laws are appropriate? The current ones relate to an industrial age.

China hosted a workshop afternoon, and knotted a friendship bracelet on the arm of persons attending as they entered the room - red silk cord and a green jade charm. The Chinese have an orderly world view, emphasize self-discipline for spam control, believe in law and regulations to shape social order:

Qiheng Hu: "Without good law and regulations the human society knows no safety and will become a disaster and a nightmare. The law and regulations restraining human behaviors to protect the benefits and safety of all people. To define good policies, which in great extent expressed in the law and regulations is the mission of governors. Without the basic recognition of commonly adopted ethical norms among the citizens to achieve a good order will be very difficult. Without good training for citizens in the ideal about self-discipline and self-control, the society will not be highly effective and secure. An ethical norm of the online behavior which is recognized worldwide is of essential importance for a safe and trusted Cyberspace."

Access was the theme of the afternoon plenary.

There’s a tension between market efficiency and distributional equity.

Twice men have actually held cell phone conversations in the room during the session. They did speak softly.

I was recognized and said

"I’m the ICT link for the International Disability Alliance, eight global organizations.

What I’ve found is that access issues for most left out groups are similar - insufficient resources for participation on an equal basis.

An instance: despite the leadership of the web accessibility initiative, W3C, for those with reading-related disabilities, screen-reading software is apt to be legacy (most of us are low income), rendering only text and doc files, and browsers aren’t even installed.

Inclusion of people with disabilities cross-cuts the forum themes, yet there are few of us here. How can we better reach out to welcome people with disabilities to the information society?"

One of the panelists welcomed the question, urged open source as a solution, and I connected with the president of the Swiss internet user group which has taken disability internet access as its project.

I realized why I’m asked so often if I am a teacher - I correct what is said to me all the time! I thought I was enhancing, balancing, adding content, clarifying but I was told it felt like I was correcting what the other person said and that it felt negative. I paid attention to the input and watched myself ‘correct’ *all* the time and that was what was perceived as ‘teacher’ style. I appreciate that lesson!

At breakfast a woman thanked me for speaking about disability and gave me a contact at NPR where they are developing an audio plus text program. I’m concerned that voice is being seen as the solution and hope that we don’t move from excluding those with reading-related disabilities to excluding those with hearing-related disabilities and that we will provide a menu of accommodations.

I had time for a walk and enjoyed the sound of the waves lapping but turned back when the promenade was claimed by two frisky dogs.

About privacy, is anonymity as important today as it was to prior generations?

Language: out: working group; in: dynamic coalition

The photographer lusted after my laptop; it’s small and light - Panasonic R4.

There’s a dinner tonight organized by the Swiss Users Group to form a work group for web access for pwd. An NGO rep from Tunisia noted that, among others missing, there weren’t pwd on the panels.

The town hall format of this meeting has the flavor of direct democracy. Some are suggesting that since the internet is the information society backbone that the processes and principles that are agreed on here could pave the way to government and institutional reform.

Technology moves at a pace that is difficult for policy to match.

How maintain a balance between openness and copyright; between freedom or expression and protection? ( It is assumed that a balance is desirable. This is different from the anarchic original value. I think about what has happened in the US as liberal policies have become centrist. Maybe everything will get reduced to the mean. S.)

New initiatives - dynamic coalition on privacy, Giganet, cyber-development corps under the IT World Congress, 2008, framework convention, internet bill of rights, dynamic coalition of gender advocates

Both Lithuanian and Azerbaijan offered to host 2010.

There will be no product since there is no fixed membership; the Secretariat will provide summaries and verbatim transcripts.

Expect more attendance in Rio.

Discrepancy in international connectivity charges. It can cost less to route from one African country to another via London or New York than from state to state directly.

Closing panel looking to the future, younger people. I was concerned that two of the young panelists answered questions as if by rote - about e-commerce, of course we need protections, and yes, the internet must be free but there must be some security

Before the internet, intellectual property law managed knowledge. Now it is code and digital rights management.

Teens are major internet users. Their should be sought, and youth should be on country delegations.

Governments are trying to impose borders on a borderless region.

There is at the same time a rise of nationalism and an individual diminishing of national identity.

‘Handle’ is the name for a proposed system for describing digital objects and establishing a digital object architecture.

The power of partnerships in changing and shaping the thinking of public policy makers, abolishing regressive ICT policies, could result in a greater diffusion of health resources.

It’s reassuring to read others writing about a lot that I believe - EveryWare, geographic borderless, ...

"The main premise of the ‘cyber’ approach is that the Internet de-linked our social and political reality from the world of sovereign states (p 16). The more the Internet is anchored in geography, the less unique its governance will be (p 18). Modern society may end up being regulated by software code instead of laws (p 22). Growing pressure to change current networking architecture is expected. Some solutions aimed towards higher security and increased bandwidth cannot be achieved without fundamental changes to the Internet Protocol (p 40)."

Kurbalija and Gelbstein, Internet Governance: Issues, Actors and Divides, 2005. Diplo Foundation

"While much lip service is  paid to the importance of modern communications systems, seldom does the rhetoric match the reality. ... In the United States, where nary a politician exists who does not commend the value, virtue, and promise of expanded access to new communications and information capabilities, only taxes on tobacco and alcohol - so-called sin taxes - exsceed those imposed on transactions involving communications services."

"Internet Governance for Development," Global Information Infrastructure Commission

The Scientology movement has distributed a software package, Scienositter, to members, limiting access to websites critical of Scientology.

I took a taxi to Athens and a train to Kalambaka and then a taxi through the rocks at Meteora to view the monasteries cut into the sides of the formations. Views down into the valley. I was entertained while waiting for the train by a toddler discovering how the door to the waiting room opened.  He tried speaking to it, pounding on it, clapping, didn't quite associate moving towards and away from it, but did get the door to open and shut.  In Kalambaka, there are cats and kittens everywhere, and still some tourists, though the season is over, and a big storm is due tomorrow. The weather changes so far have been abrupt and frequent. I’m staying at a B&B with a few guests from Japan in the other wing and a woman from Canada in mine. They were doing repairs and painting when I arrived; I asked them to stop until I leave tomorrow and they did but the ladders and paint cans were all gathered outside when I returned and I again had to ask that they be removed. The owner gave me his wireless key but the network keeps dropping me!

I had the monastery taxi drop me in town on the way back, walked up and down the main street, bought baklava and had that be my supper.

The cold water faucet is turned off very tight. There I was in the shower, struggling to turn it on. Finally, with both hands, I succeeded, but couldn’t turn it off. I told the owner in the morning, to him there was no problem. My grip strength has become very weak, another accommodation needed.

The towels are line dried, rough, and the bed sheets are heavy, the kind that snap audibly when they are shaken out to fold.

I walked into town and back a different way and then took a taxi to the train. During the walk I followed eye-catching signs to the Tourist Office, Tourist Office, Tourist Office. When I rounded the last corner, pasted on the door "The Tourist Office is NOT HERE!" I laughed and laughed.

Even though I was early for the train, I was allowed to board a new and comfortable train divided into compartments of six. I only got to ride it for an hour, than changed trains to one more tacky, already full, and noisy. The first train was fifteen minutes late but the second train was from the same platform, different track, and it too was late. Someone is playing a radio that no one is minding, and the woman across from me has a shrill voice and is talking non-stop. The man in front is yelling into his cell phone.

I chose second class to have a reserved seat; I wonder if first might have been quiet (and I don’t know the price difference). Though I asked for an aisle, my assigned seat is the window, there was a man sitting there, I made a gesture to encourage him to stay not switch, and he has now left so I have an empty seat beside me, enough overhead storage but not nearby and my plan to nap and enjoy the scenery is not going to work out. A woman has boarded, reviewed the numbers, and has decided the window is hers. I’m happy on the aisle; she has curled up against the wall and is sleeping.

Another plan that didn’t work out was this morning’s walk. I had seen a souvenir in a shop window, the shop was closed, the innkeeper said the stores would be open in the morning, but it wasn’t. Then he offered to drive me down on the way to the noon train, but he wasn’t around when the time came. So far I have spent lots of money on taxis and bought one postcard, two cups of tea, and some groceries. 

The taxis from the train were shared, the driver couldn't find the address for the second passenger, much phone, going back and forth, I asked him to reset the meter for my last leg.  We still got to back to my hotel earlier than I anticipated, but my plans to sleep some before getting up at 1 AM didn't work out.   The hotel hosted a wedding and the music was LOUD throughout.  I was ready early, called the taxi I ordered for 3 AM, woke the driver who said he thought the appointment was for noon, had no trouble getting another cab in 5 minutes, and was early to the airport, early checking in, early through security.  Lots of people sprawled asleep at the airport outside and within the security areas.  Some everywhere.   I overhead that Athens had the most smokers of any city..  Despite strict posted limits, my carry-on wasn't weighed and my additions to the one hand luggage limit (computer, reading, ...) weren't a problem..  In Athens there was no 1 quart plastic bag requirement but I did have to take my computer out.  There were jet bridges instead of stairs at Athens and Frankfurt which was much easier for me.  Security at Frankfurt was onerous.  First a long non-EU line for passport control (many Americans didn't know what EU meant.  The German security person kept repeating the same thing and was abrupt and dismissive when asked  what to do.  Next came two lines, one for those without any toiletries and one for those with.  I was in the later, my plastic bag passed inspection, security was handing out bags with an orange ziploc for those who needed them.  I'm now wishing I had taken one for a souvenir.  Next came person and belongings security.  This time they let the computer go through in its case, but I had to take off my slippers, empty pockets, and, along with everyone, was patted down, thoroughly - thighs, arms, legs, breasts actually touched.  The possessions went through ray; I guess the pat downs were instead of people walking through metal detectors.  I did have time for a cup of tea, have an empty seat next to me and at the window a German woman also going to the APHA meeting (see next trip report).   I've slept a little and look worn out..

There's free wireless on the plane, to Lufthansa's material, but $26 to connect to the internet.  The taxi from the airport dropped me unceromoniously in the middle of the block near the unprenetious hotel where I am staying.  He refused to help me get the bags into the lobby and refused to get a bellman, just drove away.  I was so sorry I had tipped him!  I guess the lesson there is not to pay from the back seat before getting out of the cab, but wait until the full service is performed.   I'm still shocked that he'd leave me in the middle of a block with so much luggage when turning my back could get everything stolen!  A large group had just checked out, there were no rooms ready, I walked over to Starbucks for tea and then waited in the lobby.  The rooms are clean, the location convenient, there's free WiFi, but there is a continual bathroom fan and a heat/cool system making noise and I'd never stay here again but am not up to changing hotels.

I have finished reading all the materials I took from the meetings, have the polarities clearer in my head, and feel satisfied that intervening on behalf of pwd wouldn't have happened in as successful a way if I hadn't been there.  I hope in Rio we will again have the stronger presence Hiroshi organized in Geneva and Tunis.