Thursday, December 12, 2013

We're back from New York ... sort of ... (pics)

Doubtless you've noticed the lack of updates recently. This was a combination of a significant work load, lots of work last month to get out the survey results (and I still haven't posted the last part) and a business trip to New York, the latter of which was a huge amount of fun but left me a bit wiped out. I was only there for a day and couldn't get many photos and had to apologize to friends for not being able to meet up with them (you know who you are).

The New York Stock Exchange

I can't talk about the company in question, but they put me up in a lovely hotel room. It was weird having a window next to the bathtub that could let others watch me bathe (were there others).

My Hotel Room

I walked around on Broad Street and Wall Street a bit.

Broad Street Subway Station
 And the Trump Building was missing its toupee.

The Trump Building
Note the concrete security barriers

And I actually saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, but as I was staring out a bathroom window, it was a bit odd.

The Statue of Liberty

On my way back, I saw a 240 km/h Lotus Elise that had evidently crossed paths with a redneck repairman living near Montparnasse.

Lotus Elise meets redneck repairman.
The trip itself was grueling. I got up early in the morning, took a 3-hour TGV (fast train) from La Rochelle to Gare Montparnasse in Paris. From there, I went to Orly, the airport south of Paris and found out that my flight to New York had been cancelled! Oh no!

Fortunately, they had already rebooked me on a new flight — but they hadn't emailed me about it and it left a few minutes before I got to Orly. They eventually booked me on a new flight to New York, but I had to leave Orly immediately to head to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport north of Paris. They actually tried to charge me €20 for a shuttle to CDG, but I said "no, it's not my fault. I want you to comp it." They did and found another person who needed to go and put us both in a taxi. I got to the gate about five minutes before boarding. Whew!

I made it to the hotel and basically died. The next day was six hours of meetings (!) and a lovely lunch. The "Kobe beef" burger was absolutely delicious, but piqued my curiosity. It was far too cheap to be Kobe beef and besides, who the hell would grind up Kobe beef into a burger?

I finished the day with a presentation to the business and that went over rather well. It looks like our company, All Around The World, has probably landed a new contract and it looks like it's going to be loads of fun. I love my job :)

For the technically minded, I'll probably be doing lots of Perl programming, fixing test suites, maybe work on their A/B testing framework and may even get some Ruby and Node.js thrown in to sweeten the pot. I can often actually hold a conversation in public, so you might be surprised to know that I'm actually a hard-core geek at heart.

Shortly after the final presentation I was in a car heading to the airport, got on the plane, flew back to Paris, headed to Montparnasse and took another three hour train back to La Rochelle.

I. Was. Tired.

Sadly, I'm prepping for another business trip and this one will be a bit longer. Thus, more interruptions to posting. I'll get back on track as soon as I can. On the plus side, last month was the best traffic ever for this blog, averaging well over 1,000 hits per day. That's still pretty low traffic, but helping people live and work in other countries is a pretty niche topic.