Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’


Just in case you were wondering were I has been for the last couple of weeks: I have been to Alaska. Yep, 49 states down, 1 to go (Louisiana for those keeping track). We also hit the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, both Canadian Provinces I have not previously visited.

I hope to discuss my trip more and post some of the 1000 photos I took (along with a couple of hours of video) somewhere at a later date. I was really disconnected on this vacation with rare cell coverage and spotty Internet access. A real vacation. In fact, I rarely turned on the computer. It felt good to disconnect. Fortunately all emergencies and urgent problems got handled in a timely manner.

Thanks to all who were concerned when they heard a tour plane went down and killed four folks from a Princess cruise ship. Some folks did not get a response from me, or see me online for the two weeks and were a little worried at first. I never saw the report until the cruise line left a notice in our room. I actually took one of those plane rides around Mt. McKinley (different location from the one that did crash), and was on a Princess Cruise ship, but a different one. We actually ported with the ship suffering from the loss of passengers during their excursion. We feel sad for the families involved knowing how much we anticipated this trip and all the planning involved, just to have it end the way it did.

So more later after I catch up on the 27 items still remaining on my to-do list for the next couple of days.

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There was no possible way I was not taking a couple of days off to see the beautiful sites of Sydney Australia while I am halfway around the world from our humble home in Michigan.

The flights from Detroit to LA and from LA to Sydney were pretty uneventful. Minor turbulence over the Pacific did wake me up a few times. I got about 4 hours of sleep on the leg to Sydney interrupted each time someone used the bathroom and locked the door. The good news is this was 4 hours more sleep than I expected. I watched a couple of movies and a couple of episodes of Quantum Leap (Season 1) I bought for the trip. It is one of my all-time favorite TV shows.

Sydney is gorgeous. Craig Bailey was a fantastic host on day one of our tour. He kindly picked us up at the airport. The city reminds me of Seattle because it is near a large harbor, close to the Pacific Ocean, has ferries, a bustling downtown, numerous tall buildings, mass transportation, people of all nationalities, and lots of coffee shops and restaurants.

As Doug mentioned in his post we got a sweet tour from Craig on Thursday after our arrival. We talked about the life down-under, VFP, conferences, VFP, running software businesses, the future of VFP, and our busy lives. A major highlight was the view from the Sydney Tower. We could see for miles as the weather was clear. I have always enjoyed going up the towers like the Seattle Space Needle, the Empire State Building in NYC, and CN Tower in Toronto. I am not sure I have seen a more spectacular view of a city. The end of the day was topped off by a fantastic dinner, and watching the Queen Elizabeth II leaving port just outside the restaurant.

Tuesday we let Craig get back to work on the conference and headed out on our own. The Taronga Zoo was fabulous. I have not been to many zoos, but the number of animals and the native Australian animals like wallaby (see Doug’s picture how close one came up to me), kangaroos, and koalas made my day. My pictures are still in my camera and I forgot the cable needed to bring them to my laptop. I’ll try to post them later including the one of the wallaby I caught up close when I return home.

Doug and I headed from the Zoo to the Olympic Park. In between we almost lost our lives when our ferry boat almost was taken out by a couple of sailboats that were tacking against a very strong wind. I have some great shots of these boats too (not the ones that almost rammed us). I am a big fan of the Olympics and really enjoyed the Sydney games in particular. We walked all over the complex and even went into the Aquatics Center where the swimming and diving events were held. The pools were filled with lots of people learning to swim. It is nice to know the venues are still in use today. We must have walked 10 miles on Friday and spent a lot of time in the sun. I was hoping this would help with the jet lag, but in my case it did not as I barely slept that night.

Saturday we were off to the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves. Doug does a great job describing the trip. He mentioned the “somewhat white-knuckle road”, but did not mention the tunnel we went through where there is barely a foot in each side of the bus and the walls of the tunnel, and it winds around a bend. Nice driving by our driver Steve. The Lucas Cave. It reminded me of the time my family went to the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Lots of cool formations, lots of cool history, and a fantastic sound in the “Cathedral”. The cave is host to concerts and weddings in this dome that goes up to 168 feet from the floor. Coincidentally, back in Michigan my wife was at a Josh Groben concert with her sister taking my place. The music played in the cave was similar to Josh’s so the moment was a bit chilling for me. Fortunately, I grabbed a nap on the way back to Sydney.

Sunday I got up early after a decent 6 hour sleep. I wanted to rehearse my part of the keynote and my first couple of sessions. I have been waking up between 4:00am and 5:00am every day, regardless if I want to or not. Doug and I got together to fine tune the keynote and got ready for the conference to start.

I have had a little struggle with email and Internet connectivity here at the Vibe Hotel. The people have been great and helpful. The good news is the conference has wireless available and it appears to be working well.

I have met some developers I know from blogs and even a couple of customers of my developer tools. The Fox developers here are as friendly as the Aussies we met on our tour of Sydney. This should be a great conference. The trip certainly has started out with some unforgettable memories.

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