ACED

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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…

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LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : GOUB…

The journey from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Sao Paulo, Brazil was quite straight forward. Just a 3 hour flight and I found myself in Brazil. I got one of the official taxis from the airport to the hotel, but if I told you the price you would think I had booked a private helicopter ride! Brazil is very expensive. :)

I dumped all my stuff in the hotel and took a walk around the shopping mall next door. Wow! This place is really expensive! If I lived here I would be skinny because I couldn’t afford to eat. :)

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LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : ArOUG Day 2…

I was determined to get on a bus tour of Buenos Aires this morning. The plan was to do this yesterday, then spend this morning revisiting a few parts of the city in a bit more detail. Unfortunately, my inability to follow basic directions scuppered that plan… :)

So this morning I got myself to the tour bus and rode the loop of the city, taking photos as I went. You will see lots of blurred images and lots of pictures containing parts of the bus, but I don’t care because they are still good memories. :)

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LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : ArOUG Day 1…

I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina late last night. The ferry ride from Montevideo took about 3 hours.

This morning I got a taxi to the ArOUG conference venue and did my first presentation of the conference. I was originally scheduled to do both my presentations today, then have tomorrow off, but Alex Gorbachev needs to leave earlier tomorrow, so I’ve swapped slots with him and my second presentation is now tomorrow afternoon.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to walk back from the conference venue. The directions seemed pretty straight forward, but I managed to get myself lost. I walked around for quite a while, thinking I must be close to the hotel, but not managing to find it. I eventually decided the only way to get back was to get a taxi. As I walked to find one, I noticed I was standing next to my hotel. Bonus!

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LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : UYOUG…

The trip from Lima to Montevideo took quite a long time. First I flew back to Santiago, then from there to Montevideo, Uruguay. The drive from the airport to the hotel was pretty cool. It was dark, but we were driving along the coast and the city was all lit up. We arrived quite late, so we dropped off our stuff at the hotel and went out to eat.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : CLOUG…

As you will have gathered by now, the first event of the southern leg of the LAOTN Tour was Chilean Oracle User Group (CLOUG) in Santiago, Chile.

After the initial keynote, the main room became the Michelle Malcher and Tim Hall roadshow. We both picked up extra sessions to fill the gaps left by Jonathan Lewis‘ absence, so we were like a tag team, alternating throughout the day. :)  As a result, the conference seemed to go really quickly for me.

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LAOTN Tour (Southern Leg) : Arrived in Santiago, Chile…

I’m now in the hotel in Santiago, Chile.

The flights were fine. I landed in Paris with just enough time to walk to the departure gate and board my next flight. The Air France boarding was a bit chaotic, and once again there was no vegetarian food. With many airlines, booking a special meal seems to be very hit or miss. It’s not like I’m going to starve though, so never mind. :)

For some reason, unknown to me, I got a Business Class flight out, so the 14.5 hour flight from Paris to Santiago wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I’m cattle-class for the rest of the flights, including the 11+ hour flight home from Sao Paulo.

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