Belgrade, Serbia: PL/SQL Masterclass -Day 2


Day 2 of the PL/SQL Masterclass went well. The feedback was very positive, which is always nice. As always I over ran on both days. I was about 25 minutes over on the first day and something like 40 minutes over on the second. I’ve got some more stuff I would like to include in the course, but that will mean taking something out or locking the doors and strapping people to their seats. :)

I’ve  had a really good time in Serbia. It would be good to go back again some time so I can see all it in daylight. :)



Belgrade, Serbia: PL/SQL Masterclass – Day 1


I’ve just completed day 1 of the PL/SQL Masterclass for Oracle University in Belgrade. So far so good…

Last night Ljiljana took me on an evening tour of the city. I got to see a little of New Belgrade, which is very modern with wide streets, big buildings and some shopping malls, as well as some of Old Belgrade, which has narrower streets, regular shops and mostly smaller buildings . There are few big blocks there with a “communist feel” to them (her words not mine). What was quite freaky is some of the military/government builds that were bombed during the NATO bombings in the late 90’s are still not repaired. The amount of building that has happened in the last few years leads me to believe these may be left that way for a reason… I’m not big on commenting about politics, but it is very interesting hearing stories about that time from regular folks who were living here at the time. Always two sides to every story etc.

Unfortunately the timing of my visit is such that I can only really see the city by night, so I’ve not taken any photos yet. I think I’m going to Google some and pretend I saw it all by daylight. :)

After the tour and some shopping we went out to a small traditional Serbian restaurant near Ljiljana’s parents house. Serbians are very big meat eaters, but they also have some really cool veggie dishes. I had lots of stuff I can’t spell or pronounce. Lots of cheese and a dish made out of butter beans, peppers and onions that was awesome. I’m hoping to get the recipe from Ljiljana’s mom so I can try and make it at home. It’s quite similar to the food I’ve had in Bulgaria, which suits me just fine. :)

I didn’t sleep too well last night. I think I was still a little stressed out about the luggage situation. I did manage to buy some clothes and stuff yesterday so today wasn’t too bad, but you still feel a little off center. I got back to the hotel tonight and my luggage has arrived. Now I’ve got no excuse for looking scruffy tomorrow… Doh!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings. :)



Belgrade, Serbia: Day -1


I usually wake up far too early before a trip, then spend ages waiting for a taxi. Today I was lying in the bath when the taxi came. This happened to me once before when I fell asleep in the bath. Today I didn’t fall asleep, but the time just disappeared. Maybe I was abducted by aliens for 30 minutes. I heard a knock on the door and panic ensued…

As I get older I enjoy taxi rides more and more. Taxi drivers are notorious for moaning and now when I get in a taxi I feel totally in my element. I can just moan and bitch about life, the Universe and everything. Throw in a couple of, “They’ll be first against the wall when the revolution comes”, and my morning is complete. :)

Today’s flight is via Paris, which for some reason means I go from the domestic terminal in Birmingham. I guess if nothing else it gives me a change of scenery. I’ve seen far too much of the international terminal recently. I have one hour to change in Paris and I don’t have my boarding pass for the second leg yet. I don’t think I’ve ever been through CDG before, so I’m not sure if this is a reasonable amount of time to transfer or not. Time will tell.

Update 1: I’m going through the Paris transfer now. The Air France guys are telling me to go to the boarding gate without a boarding pass. You can’t get to the terminal without a boarding pass, but I have to get to the terminal to have my boarding pass printed. Hmrgh… As much as I hate the world perception of the English, acting like an bumbling idiot (Hue Grant style) does help at times like this. If you look clueless long enough their superiority complex kicks in and they help you out of sympathy. While they are smugly congratulating themselves on how thick the English are I’m mentally putting my little finger to the corner of my mouth and saying “Muhahaha” in a DR Evil style. :)

Update 2: There was a little drama at the boarding gate. The Jat Airways people told me I needed to go back to the transfer desk and get a boarding pass. I told them what the Air France guys had said and slipped seamlessly into the stupid English man act for the second time today. Problem solved. Muhahaha… :)

Update 3: I’m now in Belgrade, but my bag isn’t. I’ve got everything I need to teach tomorrow, except clean clothes. Nothing makes a first impression like that stale aeroplane and airport smell. Nice… I’m going to see if I can pick up a couple of things tonight without hitting my credit cards too hard. I have no idea what proces are like over here.