Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oracle LA Tour Part 2

Yes, Virginia, there is a Part 2. Not quite the same way as expected, though.

Last October we toured Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica. A few of us added some extra trips - Dan Morgan (DB, RAC), Ben Prusinski (DB, Apps) and I added a day in Macchu Piccu, Peru (from where I celebrated my wife's birthday); I got a tour of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay; Francisco Alvarez (DB), Ronald Bradford (MySQL) and I scooted to Galapagos; Ronald and I had a tour of the Costa Rican country and jungle.

But, by far more important and memorable was the amazing set of presentations and people in each location. In most cities, we ended up at a University to do the presentation. Local user group members hosted and presented. In spite of the language barrier, I learned an amazing amount and was able to present on the "Basics of App Servers for DBAs", "Spatial" and "Fusion Middleware". Due to Visa timing, (Immigration, not Credit) I had to miss Brazil in October.

Francisco organized an even better tour this time, although he himself could not attend in person. Debra Lilley (Apps) has a very significant description of the tour on her blog at http://debrasoracle.blogspot.com/ for those interested in more detail than I provide here. I posted an awful lot (for me) on Facebook as well.

The tour this time went San Jose, Costa Rica; Quito, Ecuador; Cartagena, Colombia; Lima, Peru; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; Santiago, Chile.

I had a seminar to present at the beginning of July, so I missed Costa Rica, and the wonderful people there. I was sorry not to see Gerardo - who always gives us an interesting time - and people like Alejandra (my handler last time, and an absolutely charming young lady) and the rest of the ULACIT group.

So my first stop was with Paola, Christian and the ECUOUG. Debra's notes are more than decent for the area. I was a bit off-energy as I got to the hotel at 1AM before the 8AM conference on Friday. But the city and the people are exactly as friendly and welcoming as last time. Afterward, dinner with Tom Kyte and Megan, Debra Lilley, Kuassi Mensah (DB Connectivity) and Murali Vallath (DB, RAC), Ronald Bradford (MySQL) and Cindy. Tom and Megan ended their tour at Ecuador.

Saturday 3AM wakeup call came quickly since the plane to Cartagena, Colombia was fairly early. Robin and the Colombian team made us very welcome on Sunday, and I enjoyed the boat, although Debra didn't quite like it as much. On Monday, Arup Nanda (DB, RAC) joined us, as did Manuel Contreras and Pedro Andrade (Oracle MySQL) at the ASUOC sessions held at the Universidad Tecnol├│gica de Bolivar. Many thanks to all there.

We left Cartagena Tuesday afternoon to fly to Lima, Peru. Arrived at 1AM on Wednesday the morning of our presentations. Debra was keynote in the conference, held at the NM Hotel in Miraflores. This one was a 2 day conference, with the second day providing some very in depth sessions. I did enjoy Graham Wood's session - he joined us there and stayed 'till the end. I would have enjoyed Miguel's session the next day as he is a good, very knowledgeable, speaker. As it was, we parted after dinner (thanks Miguel and PEOUG) the first night, with several of us heading on to Brazil on Thursday, some coming later, and Murali heading back.

On Thursday, Kuassi, Arup and I became the advance guard to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The GUOB – Grupo de Usu├írios de Tecnologia Oracle do Brasil is an amazing user group: extremely efficient, highly tuned, and very hospitable. Due to time required to complete the visa, I could not attend the Brazil tech day in person in October (only by webcast), so I excited to see Sao Paulo in person. I was certainly not disappointed. Amazing, astonishingly large, and astoundingly clean. You can tell the locals have pride in their city. Kai Yu from Dell joined the tour at that time, so I was able to enjoy both Kai's and Kuassi's sessions. Debra and Graham, Ronald and Cindy joined arrived Friday and stayed Sunday, whereas Arup and Kuassi returned home on Sunday and Kai and I headed to Uruguay.

Almost everyone knows that I have a soft spot in my heart for Uruguay. The landscapes are similar to home. (Except that Alberta does not have the sea.) The climate feels like our spring, summer and fall - so no harsh winters. And the people are all truly friends on sight. We managed to be there when Uruguay won the semifinal of the COPA Americas cup, and a great time was had by all. Debra has captured some small sense of the time there. A small timing challenge, as our sessions were scheduled between the long weekend (Uruguay's Constitution day) and the COPA Americas games, so I am amazed that so many people showed up for the sessions at the Communications Tower. (Excellent facility, by the way.) For me, well, I can't wait to get back. To Edel, Nelson, Daniel, Bruno, Pablo, and the others, who provided such hospitality and unqualified friendship with open arms, I miss you. ;-)

Ronald and Cindy split off in Uruguay, which meant that it was up to Kai, Graham, Debra and myself to carry on to Santiago, Chile. This was the start of the OTN Tours, several years ago, when Francisco had a number of us present at the Ritz Carleton. The sessions were somewhat reduced but reasonably well attended. I found the time in Chile much more relaxed than ever before, but that may have been because we were starting to wind down. Thank you Felipe, for your efforts and your hospitality. You have seen a lot of changes in these 3 OTN Days, and have done a lot of work. Thank you.

Graham caught the flight out the evening of the sessions, Kai and I headed out on Saturday and Debra caught some tours and stayed until Sunday.

I left Santiago at 6:30 PM on an Air Canada 093, a plane that started in Buenos Aires a few hours earlier. After 12 hours in the air flying due North, I landed in Toronto, and two hours later took off on a 4 hour, west-north-west flight back to Edmonton.

Seventeen days, 94 hours in airports and airplanes, a dozen hours of formal discussions about Oracle and several dozen hours of informal Oracle team-building, much food and wine, some song, and a huge number of memories and friendships later, I got home.

Thank you to all the translators and interpreters for making my talks, and those of our colleagues, accessible to the attendees.

Thank you Francisco and the members of the the LAOUC for making it happen. I look forward to the next one.

Thank you Justin, Vikki, Lillian, the entire OTN Team, and Oracle for making it possible.

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