Sunday, November 04, 2007


TechEd Day 0 - flying out to Barcelona

So I'm off to Barcelona for TechEd for Developers in Barcelona. Back in August I hadn't even though of going but one of my colleagues in the US who's big in MSMQ said it would be good to meet up at TechEd. I thought he meant TechEd in the US and suggested that this would be unlikely. After being corrected, I started looking for a back door in as Microsoft wouldn't pay the 2,000 Euros to send me as a delegate - they would pay for my travel and hotel, though, so I volunteered to help out as a BizTalk "expert" in the Ask The Expert area. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on if you were planning to ask a BizTalk question or not, I've moved to the Vista desk as they couldn't get any volunteers there. For me this is a slight improvement as my BizTalk knowledge is probably less than that for Vista so from Monday I'll be here with a bunch of other non-Vista people handling questions.

The trip was pretty uneventful. The RailAir bus left on time with my tearful family waving me off. Sat in front of a pair of well-off old biddies who were trading stories from their lives and travels. I was amused by the fact that one of the ladies had to regularly phone her local pub to pay up because her husband and friends would frequently enjoy themselves so much that they would forget the bill and go home. The pub didn't seem at all annoyed as they knew she would phone eventually.

Having already checked in, it took about 15 minutes to clear through to departures. Had to resist laughing when the woman in front of me in the Bag Drop queue told her travelling companion that she had left her passport at home. [[I was mean enough to sneak a picture though I did later accidentally delete it while trying to free up space on the phone for email.]]

She was having an interesting chat with the Bag Drop man although he seemed to be shaking his head a lot which couldn't have been good :-)

Security wasn't too long a wait so I had an hour to kill in The Tin Goose before the gates were open for my flight. As I was off for Spain, a couple of pints of San Miguel seemed in order.

The plane was only a little late taking off because a member of the flight crew decided to go off sick at the last minute and a replacement had to be brought over from some storage area that they keep them in.

In-flight entertainment was playing X-Men 3 on my laptop. The playback isn't great for DVDs - a bit juddery at times and the sound sometimes gets ahead of the action but I managed. Hopefully my next laptop - which is designed for Vista unlike the faithful machine I'm currently using - will do a better job.

Once in Barcelona Airport (which I remembered from my trip with Samantha to Andorra) we had to walk the entire length of the airport to get from baggage area A (where we exited the plane) to baggage B (where our luggage went). I think this is just a ploy to make you walk past every opportunity to spend money at the concessions.

The conference had laid on a shuttle so I decided to take that to the CCIB instead of queuing outside and dealing with a taxi driver when I had no money and precious little useful Spanish left in my head. Very lazy, although it did mean a 1500m walk from the conference centre to my hotel on the beach.

I had checked out Google Earth for the location of my hotel and saw there was a building site next to hotel. I had hoped the image was not up to date but when I opened the hotel window I found I was wrong.

Reading the book that comes with your room, I was pleased to see that there was a wireless network. But there wasn't, unless you count the access point running on someone else's machine. So I talked to reception and they gave me a network cable. I now had an IP address! But still no Internet. Time to leave it until tomorrow.

Caught some Spanish news as I was browsing the channels. "Hmmm, that looks like Gibraltar" and so it was - the raising of sunken treasure from a British warship is big news in Spain and Gibraltar (Spain's version of Las Malvinas) was used to fly out the loot. Although I couldn't really understand what they were saying, they definitely didn't have happy faces.

Spent a long, slow hour in the hotel's restaurant watching some local youths drawing on a seat in the park outside the window. Must pop by tomorrow and see what they were up to - I've found the graffiti in Barcelona to be top notch :-)
Note to self - if the restaurant shuts at 11pm, don't expect great service at 10:20pm.

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