LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : Day off in Lima, Peru

I actually got a day off from travelling and presenting yesterday. I would have loved to see Macchu Picchu, but that would take more time than I had available, so instead I went to see Pachacamac, which is about 30 minutes from the city. It is a really big site, about 10 hectares. It must have looked amazing in its heyday. One part of the site is a cemetery, where they estimate there are 40,000 mummies. What with that and the whole human sacrifice thing, it was kind-of freaky. I shall have to get some more information about it and scare my nephews with the story. :)

I took quite a lot of photos, but they don’t really do the site justice.

After the tour I took my second visit to Wong (a supermarket), to embarrass myself by trying to buy food without knowing the language. The people in Peru are really friendly, so I hope they find my cluelessness amusing, rather than annoying.

After stuffing myself with bread, fruit and Inca Kola, I spent a few minutes in the hotel gym. I think I probably burnt off about one tenth of the calories I ate. :)

IncaKola

This morning was a very early start. My alarm went off at 03:45. I was showered, packed and out of the hotel by 04:30. The trip back to the airport was not as much fun as the trip from it. The roads were very quiet, so there were no Fast & Furious moments to write about. :)

The hotel told me to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight. Although the place was really busy when I arrived, I got through check-in, security and immigration control really quickly, so as I write this, I have about 2 hours until my flight. The journey is a 3-4 hour flight back to Santiago, Chile, followed by a 2+ hour flight to Montevideo, Uruguay.

Cheers

Tim…

LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : PEOUG…

Jonathan Lewis‘ sessions (over WebEx) about “Designing Optimal SQL” and “How to Hint” were extremely popular. The room was full and the audio and slides were very clear. I would say approximately 3/4 of the audience were wearing the simultaneous-translation earphones. Everyone looked very focussed! It was a pity Jonathan couldn’t make it in person, but this was a much better alternative than cancelling his sessions!

My sessions seemed to go down well. In the second session, I nearly fell off the stage at one point, one of my slides went weird for a minute and I got a little static electric shock, but this just added to the excitement. :) I got some questions at the end of both sessions, which is always nice to hear. Listening to a question over a translation service is strange though. :)

I’ve heard Michelle speak at both events so far and I keep on thinking to myself, I really don’t know enough about security! I’m not a newbie, but there is still much more I could know. We’ve crossed paths numerous times in the past, but I’ve never had an opportunity to speak to her much before this tour. She’s a cool person. Very approachable and she knows her stuff! Another Oracle geek to add to the “good person” list. :) Sadly, this was her last event, so she’s making her way home now.

Jonathan, Michelle and myself had 2 sessions each and Ultan O’Broin had a session in English too, so that was 7 hours of English content today. Thanks to the translators and those who braved listening in their second language.

At the end of the conference we had a little celebrity moment when people wanted photos taken with us. My face hurts from smiling so much and it was hard work keeping my stomach sucked in for so long. :)

A big thank you goes out to the organisers of the PEOUG event and also to the Oracle ACE program for getting me here.

I’ve got a day in Peru tomorrow before I fly to Montevideo , Uruguay for the next event.

Cheers

Tim…

LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : Arrived in Lima, Peru…

Yesterday did not start so well. My sleep was rather erratic, so I woke up in a bad mood. The taxi ride to the airport in Chile took a long time because of the traffic, but I had allowed plenty of time, so I still got to the airport with 2 hours to spare. For some reason I was not able to use the check-in machines, so I had to wait in a very long, very slow moving queue. That in itself was annoying, but more annoying was there seemed to be lots of staff at the counters just chatting, rather than dealing with the people in the queue. Airports are annoying at the best of times, but this sort of thing makes my blood boil.

After getting checked in, it was time to go through immigration control. Once again a long queue. This time there were two people processing the queue. One seemed reasonably efficient, but the other guy looked like he was chatting to people as they went through. One family went through his desk and he stamped the passports, then chatted to them for about 10 minutes. They appeared to be laughing and joking. It was now time for my plane to board and I was practically volcanic.

I got through security and rushed to my gate. The wrong plane was there. I checked the boards and they still said my plane was meant to be there. After a bit of panic, I realised the previous plane at that gate had not taken off yet. Rather than updating the departures board to say there was a delay, they just kept the same information on them, relying on the fact you would work it out. I was now on the verge of supernova.

We finally boarded the plane and I sat down in the smallest seat known to mankind. Everyone had brought on too many pieces of hand luggage, meaning I had to leave my laptop half way down the plane from where I was sitting. Why don’t they just enforce the rules? They say one piece of hand luggage, then let everyone on with three, plus coats and handbags and a baby with a pushchair, then try to ram everything into the overhead compartments. It’s never going to work and it’s likely to break sensitive electronic goods in the process. All the mass in the universe had now compacted into an infinitesimally small space and I was at the smallest fraction of a second before the big bang took place…

Just before I had a complete temper tantrum, the staff on the plane disarmed me by being really nice. That was very lucky, or I would probably have missed this leg of the trip while cooling down in jail…

The flight was pretty uneventful, apart from the snoring of the guy sitting next to me.

I arrived in Peru, and got a taxi to the hotel. This taxi ride will probably be one of the highlights of the tour. My taxi driver was a robo-babe from beyond infinity.  She cranked up the radio in the car, playing a rock station, then proceeded to drive like she was being chased by the devil. At one point about eight lanes merged into 2 and she beat down lorry drivers and bus drivers like they were little grannies on push-bikes. Driving in Peru seems to be based totally on commitment. If you drive like you don’t want to live, you get priority. This woman was immortal, so we were bound to come out on top. After a little over an hour, we arrived at my hotel without so much as a scratch. I think I should have been scared, but I felt like a little kid saying, “Do it again!” She really should be the star of the next Fast & Furious movie!

So all in all, a very good end to an extremely frustrating day…

I slept OK, but I’ve still got some catching up to do, so I hope I don’t spend the whole day yawning. I’m just about to go down and register for today’s conference. Wish me luck!

Cheers

Tim…