I’m going to present couple sessions at the Australian Oracle User Group Conference in Melbourne next week. It’s the first time I’m presenting Down Under and I’m looking forward to it, although I’m still not sure if I should start from the last slide and proceed backward . . .
Since it’s more than a day of flying only one way, it wouldn’t be smart to go for only two days, so I’m taking the opportunity to spend this week with my Sydney colleagues — Paul Moen and Andrey Goryunov. I should mention that Australia is the first country I ever visited. I fell in love with this country seven years ago when I came from Russia in February. Culture shock and dramatic weather change set the tone for how I feel about Australia for the rest of my life. So hello Sydney — I’m back!
I was supposed to fly Ottawa-Vancouver-Honolulu-Sydney, my flight leaving from Ottawa at 8:00AM on Saturday. I was packing until very late and finished only by 3 AM. No surprise that, although I set my alarm clock to 6:00AM, I forgot to switch it on for the weekend days. The net result: Olga woke my up at 7:30. Anyway, Air Canada was very nice to re-route me through Toronto so that I still could make my connection in Vancouver . . . so $50 for an additional 1.5 hour sleep — not a bad trade at all!
(By the way, the last week was really unlucky for me and travel. On Thursday, I was flying to New York City for a day to visit a few clients, and at the airport checking counter, it turned out that my ticket was actually booked for Friday. Fortunately, United Airlines was able to change the ticket for me, but I paid for it with 50 minutes of my time on the phone and nearly missing the plane. But I digress . . .)
I arrived in Sidney on Monday morning at 7:30. I was saving sleep until the very last leg Honolulu-Sydney. It was the longest segment and the flight was during Sydney nighttime, so I slept most of it and that helped me switching to the local time zone. I had almost no jet lag and was up by 6AM at the first morning.
I’m staying at Travelodge Sydney Hotel, which is at Wentworth and Commonwealth. They didn’t check me in when I showed up at 8:30, so I just left my bag and without any shower–sorry Paul and Andrey–took a train to Pythian office in Gordon, NSW. It’s to the north of Sydney, between Chatswood and Hornsby, and it’s only 30-40 minutes by train. I was very glad to meet Paul and Andrey and see how they work. I should say that Paul is simply a highly-efficient-page-processing-machine — he holds on-call for all 8 teams. Andrey, who joined Pythian recently, is helping now (slacker — takes on-call for teams that hardly page), but Paul still handles most of pages. Oh — and there is a nice Swiss Deli coffee shop in the building and they make very nice Espresso and Cappuccino.
I finished before 6PM and my plan for the evening was to catch up (after the shower, of course) with Natasha Khan, working now at Amadeus in Australia. The evening was an absolute success. We had a very nice chat over a glass of good red house wine in a pub next to Centennial Plaza. This is where Amadeus is located, and it’s very convenient to reach with trains since all trains go through Central Station.
On Tuesday evening, we went for dinner in a hotel restaurant not far from Hornsby. I ordered the Roast of the Day and enjoyed a huge portion of roast pork. As my former colleague Mike Atkins said, “You can’t go wrong with pork.”
Wednesday, I decided to take it easy and left after lunch. Oh . . . I almost forgot the lunch — it was the best beef I ever tried. It simply melts in your mouth. As we say in Russia, I almost ate my tongue. The chef prepared Teppanyaki-style food right in front of us:
The place is called Fujiya Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant:
Paul lent me a nice USB modem (I think it’s UMTS), and I had reasonable internet even on the train. On the way to the city, I helped Andrey with one client that was affected by severe storage problems. Well, I took the easy part and picked up the hosts that had no database corruption, whereas Andrey had to actually fiddle with a corrupted controlfile on a Windows box. (By the way, the customer had the same problem in a few hours and our Ottawa DBAs had to restore couple databases after that.)
The day wasn’t over yet and I felt I need still to do some work. Fair enough — I recalled that I still had a draft blog post from the plane and I had to finish and publish it. Instead of going to the hotel, I had a much better idea for my working place:
Can anyone name the beach? (Locals don’t count!)
This is where I finished the previous blog post and started this one, before my batteries died. Which was good timing — I had to catch the train back to the hotel and drop my bag before meeting Stephen Roberts, my former DBA colleague from Amadeus. While waiting for Steve, I bumped into Dieter Zorn. I worked together with Dieter for Amadeus in Germany, and he was here in Sydney for few months. Dieter is a very nice chap and is great company to enjoy few beers with — even if he is a System Administrator. ;-)
It turned out that Dieter was staying in an apartment across the road from my hotel, and the pub was right on the same corner. This pub brews a beer in the basement that was very close to a good German beer I enjoyed so much back in Munich. (I don’t know how official that business was, as it was called “Schwartz Brauerei” if you know what I mean.) I ordered the Jungle Curry and it was delicious. We hadn’t even finished the dinner when the band started to play. What could be better than nice chat with old mates, good beer, tasty food, and live music?
Dieter, please pass my greetings to your teammates. If they don’t believe you met me, here is the proof (for others, from left to right: Dieter, Steve, and one slightly drunk Russian):
Uh . . . it seems like I never finish this blog post so I will be brief now and simply hint you what you can find in the next one. Nuno Souto, aka Noons, was very kind to invite me to his place for a dinner, and I can tell you it was fantastic evening. But this is a topic for the next photo-blog. Stay tuned!