LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : It’s a wrap!

After fluking a business class flight out to Latin America, I wasn’t looking forward to a cattle-class ride home, but when I got to Sao Paulo airport I got a free upgrade to business class. :) A number of things did not go well during my outbound journey with AirFrance and I was extremely critical on my customer satisfaction survey. I can only imagine this was the reason for my upgrade on the way back, but maybe I just got lucky…

I had an aisle seat, which is a must for me. Just before we took off, the steward asked me if I would swap with a child so it could be near to it’s mother. I foolishly said yes, and ended up in a middle seat. When I am in a window or middle seat, even a business class one, I feel trapped and spend my whole time wondering how I can get out of the seat without disturbing the people around me. Normally I get out at the first opportunity and just stand up for the rest of the flight. I managed to sit down for some of the flight, but spent a long time standing, so I didn’t get any sleep. It was a bit of a waste of a business class seat really. Also, no vegetarian food again…

Sunday/Monday ended up being one very long day for me. I left for Sao Paulo airport about midday on Sunday. I flew home via Paris over night, landing at Birmingham at about 11:00 on Monday morning. I got a taxi home, scrubbed the smell of aeroplane of myself, then went in to work. A little after 17:00 I went to the gym with one of my work buddies, then went home in a daze. I still feel slightly other-worldly now, due to the jet lag… :)

Here are the blog posts I wrote during the tour:

I feel like the tour was a big success. All the organisers and attendees I spoke to seemed really pleased with how things went. I’ve also received a lot of positive comments through email and social media, which is no doubt going to make my head swell. :)

The sessions I presented during the tour were based on these articles:

The titles of the presentations don’t match the article names exactly, but the content covered is the same. I would rather point attendees at a follow-up article as my slides are quite brief because I use lots of demos.

A number of people have asked me to comment on the safety/security aspects of visiting some of the countries in Latin America, as the security warnings from Oracle Travel would have you believe you will be shot the minute you leave the plane. As with any city in the world, if you rock up dressed and acting like a tourist, you are likely to draw the wrong type of attention. Provided you take sensible precautions things are going to be fine. As some of the guys (Alex and Dana) know, I am cautious to the point of paranoia. :) Having now done both the northern and southern leg of the OTN Latin America Tour I can say that I would have no worries about revisiting any of those countries again. On the other hand, there are places in my home city I would not consider visiting. :)

I’ve done a lot of thank you messages in the individual posts, but I would just like to take this opportunity to thank some people again.

  • Thank you to the organizers of the events for inviting me and making me feel very welcome. It takes a lot of effort to organize any event, but the level of support provided for us overseas speakers is fantastic.
  • Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for actually getting me to these events. Without them I would not be able to take part in these events. I am very grateful for everything I’ve experienced over the last 7 years.
  • A big thank you to my fellow speakers who put up with me for so long. Thanks for all the advice and support. I constantly try to improve myself and a big part of that is the advice I get from fellow speakers.
  • I guess the biggest thank you must go to all those people that attended my sessions. If you ladies and gentlemen did not actually come to these events, people like me wouldn’t be able to show off and pretend we are important for a few days before returning to our regular jobs. :)

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will get a chance to return next year!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Rusty Schmidt noticed I had missed out the word “no” from the second-to-last sentence on the paragraph about safety/security, which made the sentence read like I would be worried about visiting these countries again. It was a typo. I would be happy to visit these countries again and hopefully will soon. I’ve corrected the typo. Sorry. :)