As I have some plans with my domain tomasrad.cz I decided to migrate all articles to a new place. I chose tumblr.com as a new platform and would like to thank my sister Monika who helped me with this migration in very quick time. I also plan to update new blog more often and hope you enjoy it. The new address is blog.tomasrad.cz. This page will be replaced with new content in next few months.
When I returned back from Hawaii, I was really happy I realized all my plans successfully. I had seen Portland, I gone skiing, visited New York City and explored some beauties of Maui. I also had explored the significant area of San Francisco, Napa Valley and Sonoma included. What a wonderful feeling and I was sure the US environment works perfectly for me. You can work really hard, but also play in the same way. From this point of view I was quite sad when I returned back from Maui and imagined just few days were ahead.
When I came back to the office on Thursday, was very nice to see some other Czech colleagues who recently arrived, namely Jaroslav Pulchart, Stano Visnovsky and Martin Matula. A nice moment was to see also Ondrej Matustik and Jarda Gergic. I thought they had been already gone, back in the Czech Republic, but was nice to meet them in San Francisco again. When I came into office, I checked all my important projects. More or less everything was all right, I had just to read tons of email in my mailbox and prepared important steps for my last two working days in Bay Area.
While checking my emails, I realized there was already set a farewell party for me. Romeo and Cliff mentioned few weeks ago some ideas about Karaoke and the exact day I returned from Hawaii Tomas Klouda told me about that party and how everything had been prepared. The invitation was really in my box and I started thinking about how great is not to be a singer. When I was at elementary school, I didn’t like music lessons so much, but the fact was that I experienced Karaoke twice before. One of these experience was in New Zealand, where I sang Living on a prayer by John Bon Jovi with an Irish guy in a Wellington bar. The Karaoke farewell party was scheduled on Thursday evening and I was wondering all day what I would be able to sing even as a non-singer.
During the day there was also a company lunch. Not probably a surprise when I say I really enjoyed it. That was sort of lunch I liked because I could eat later, during occasional work in weekend for instance, because there were plenty of it for everyone. After the lunch Roman and some other guys from the leadership team had a very important speech. They presented the vision and potential. When I remembered the time when I started working at GoodData I think they had made a significant progress.
Around 6pm everything was prepared for the Karaoke evening. Few minutes before that time I went outside to withdraw some money from an ATM machine over there and waited for a significant group of my colleagues who were willing to join the event. It was a little bit longer waiting I would say, but that guys had been collecting themselves at the office and it took some time. I was going to check the situation on our floor, but when the elevator doors were closing, I saw there is 4th floor set on the other side and nobody, but my colleagues would be inside. I left the elevator before the doors were closed and few seconds later my theory was confirmed and was great to see Hector Hung as well as the rest of my colleagues downstairs. They were quite sad my girlfriend wasn’t going to join us, but on the other hand they were also very excited to enjoy the karaoke.
The place was close to Market Street, a very nice place where we had reserved a private room. When we were almost there, some other guys joined and was great to see Petr Cvengros and Aaron Myhre in that big group. Together we came inside the Karaoke bar. Even little bit later than at 6pm, but still we were expecting a big fun. When we arrived, we ordered some drinks as starter ones. Aaron recommended me some scotch with ice. I had also a quick conversation with Aaron and Mike Connors. I said many thanks thanks to Aaron as we had some great cooperations together as well as Mike who recommended me some activities in New York City together with Hector Hung.
When we drank some initial amount of alcohol we moved to our reserved room where everything was prepared for some of our great performance. Everyone wanted to listen to me to sing, but actually I didn’t want to be the first volunteer. I had considered two English songs, but none of them was included on the playlist. I preferred slow and deep melodies and fortunately there were some of them. When first song was playing, Ben took a microphone and started signing. Even he was the first one, after his performance that he gave I believed his gigs would be the best from the whole night.
When we were in the queue at the entrance of that bar, I told some guys I had been signing Living on a player. Some people were laughing because they thought that music comes from a different interpret than John Bon Jovi, but I explained everything in next few seconds. Actually they chose that song as the second one and there was no doubt I would come as the second singer. That was a very difficult task for me. I hadn’t drunk much alcohol and it was hard to perform anything after Ben. However, I took the microphone and started to sing. No matter I was completely out of the rhythm, the great thing was I was able to start. Another great thing was there were two microphones and after a while Hector joined that performance. The song finished after a while and I was happy it wasn’t a total fiasco. If I can summarize my performance I was also very happy that Simon Cowell didn’t work for GoodData and didn’t attend that karaoke party.
There were more songs incoming and more and more people were joining the sining. I originally expected to sing just one song, but something in that scotch caused I attempted almost each of them. Most of the time somebody else joined me, but there were also some silent moments when just my voice had been heard. It was also a big fun, because this usually happened when a funny lyrics were on. I personally preferred the slower songs, but just few of them were as I imagined. I think the most challenging situations were when somebody ran songs from Lady Gaga. Her songs were usually really dynamics and very difficult to perform. However, Ben and Aaron gave a good performance and I probably never forget their Paparazzi interpretation.
Everyone sang something as I said. The greatest thing was that at some points every single person in that room was signing at the same moment, Romeo included. There was also a piece of learning when Romeo was asking what the term peter out means. Ravi was great while some rap songs were on. It was also a big fun when somebody played songs from Backstreet boys or Britney Spears. The later on Aysha and Petr Olmer came and enjoyed the evening. Without the doubt I can say that everyone was sining and enjoying every single song, even a difficult one. For me it was more singing than drinking. I had just a glass of scotch and a bottle of beer.
When party finished still lot of people were around. Everyone with a different level of alcohol in their blood. When the party was over we went to the nearest Indian restaurant to order some food. They had some specialities, was great to talk to Stano Visnovsky and Tomas Klouda as well as Pepa and Petr Cvengros. The food was great, we waited quite long time for the bill and the moment when they actually charged us. Jarda Pulchart left that place a little bit earlier, I was sure he enjoyed that night as much as he could. When we finished our late dinner we were walking home with Tomas Klouda and Pepa Vitek. We had really great conversation while we walked and with Tomas we returned at our appartment without any problem.
The Friday was the last working day and it was quite special moment. The three months here went incredibly quickly. It was like yesterday when I arrived in San Francisco and David Plachetka opened the entrance door for me. I came at the office quite early, but some emails about working from home helped me realized that I would not have a chance to say goodbye some people personally. Fortunately most of the people were in place.
When I started to work on Friday, Eric had an idea to order some sandwiches for lunch. I agreed with that idea. I had also some important discussion with Jagjit about a project there. They were a little bit busy with an issue on a different project, but together with Daniel Zing and Tom Kolich they did a great work. When the lunch time came I tried the sandwiches ordered by Eric and I had to say there were really delicious. For ten minutes I went outside the building to buy some magazines about knitting for my parents. When I returned back on 4th floor where GoodData was headquartered. There was a guy delivered some cakes for Jagjit. By just looking at boxes they seemed very great.
For the afternoon there was scheduled a TV and photography event. Some people were going to ask Roman some questions and took some photos of the GoodData offices. They turned some places in our office to a TV atelier. When the interview finished, they stopped at my desk and enjoyed my t-shirt GoodRadek. I was a little bit nervous because there were still some problems with a project and was necessary to clarify something with a client. Jagjit helped me a lot and I hope we are really close to finish that task.
Later afternoon it was time to say goodbye to Pepa. Together with Petr Cvengros they were on the way to Hawaii to enjoy deserved surfing. My plan was to finish everything by 5pm, because there was also a planned event from Petr Olmer. It was also necessary to return my stuff and clean my table. A paper shredders was really useful for me. I didn’t know the word for that machine, but Hector was around and I asked him. It was also time to say goodbye all people in the San Francisco office I had ever cooperated with. Quite long list of people started at Sales department. Most people were still there and said some words to everyone. Only Kyle Pistor was on the call, but he came later at my desk to say goodbye. He was one of the first guy I cooperated with on a project here in San Francisco.
Much more people I cooperated with were from CS department and was happy I would say thanks to everyone who was there at that moment, even Emily who joined GoodData recently. The big thanks deserved L1 support and group Solution Architects and Consultants. I wished I could stay longer, but it was time to go. Before I actually did that I went to find Cliff, Romeo and Gautam who helped me to realized all my goals I set for this business trip. There was also Roman. He thought my skin was still covered by Lake Tahoe sun, but I told him about my Hawaiian experience. I left the office at 5pm and were walking with Hector Hung for a while. Afterwards I enjoyed walking through Fremont street. There was situated my most favorite skyscraper in San Francisco.
I also need to buy something for Petr Olmer and his wife Ludmila. I was wondering for a while and I realized the best thing would be a bottle of champaign what they can open during a special event. They are waiting twins in next few months and prepared a special party called Baby Showering. When I bough that champagne I had about 15 minutes to get Petr’s place. I took a taxi and fortunately the address I had written down was correct. I used a door bell. Petr thought I blocked it, but it seemed as something else broke there and every time somebody rang the bell, it was stuck. I walked some stairs and gave Petr my small present. They had been already some people and one of their friend looked very familiar to me.
It is always a wrong attitude to ask a girl if she had known me from somewhere. I started to talk to her and realized she was a game developer and knew her from a game developer conference in the Czech Republic. Her studio was supported by Microsoft and she herself was going to be more and more involved in Disney Mobile company in Prague. Her name was Eva and she arrived in San Francisco with her friend Silvia just recently. Mostly for fun now, but they could imagine to spend some more time here.
Especially Eva, who had some great discussion with Ravi. They talked about some places and there are always pros and cons of every place in the world. Paris for instance is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world, but I know personally three people born there who hated it. I heard that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and I think it explains a lot. They knew Pepa Vitek. On that party they were some other people, probably more Czechs than Americans. I also met two guys from Google. Stana and Honza. They started in Ireland few years ago and moved here to California. There were also some people from GoodData, Jagjit, Julia, Ravi, Aysha, Bernadette, Oliver and Ray. Oliver shared his plans to set up his own company. I wished him all the best.
They were also some recent colleagues. Dillip and Jim. Both of them I met just for a while, but both of them seemed as nice guys. I have to say I had great conversation with everyone and Petr prepared a very good party. I also met his friend who called himself as a Sponge as well as his neighbor. Most people had a partner there. I had some conversations with Aysha’s boyfriend Sean. He was a really cool guy, interested in outdoor activities for instance. We had a great conversation about the US and Europe. His ancestors came from Sicily and he was able to speak Italian a little bit.
There were some games. The first one was during whole evening. Everyone got a peg and when somebody said word baby, he lost that peg. A very simple, but very funny. Another game was about cutting a string which was a guess about the circumference of Ludmila’s belly. Jagjit and me had quite long ones, Ray warned Ludmila would be insulted, but everything was all right. Another game was a scramble. All words were related to babies and it was certain I wasn’t familiar with this kind of vocabulary.
People also thought about presents and I believe both Petr and Ludmila very enjoyed it. They are expecting twins – two girls and I wished them all the best. I was also last chance to talk to some colleagues. I left that place later evening. I said goodbye everyone and went outside to take a taxi. Streets were quite quiet. The reason was probably in a baseball game there. I was quite tired therefore I went to bed directly.
There was no strict plan for Saturday. When we woke up we wanted to experience San Francisco famous cable cars. We went to the place where a line start. We had seen how they manually changed the direction. We sat on one of these cable cars and waited. There were some girls from Germany who wanted me to take some pictures of them, but they wanted me to go outside of cable car. I hoped there was still lots of time. I returned back at my seat and after a while we bought some tickets. Our only plan was visit Nob Hill. There were some places well known from some movies. Was great to see Brocklebank Apartments there, famous from Verigo movie for instance.
After a while it was time to buy some other souvenirs. We found a great place and bought some, hopefully nice stuff. We also looked at place for a lunch. All my favorites ones were closed, but there was a Lee’s Deli on the Martket street where we mixed really great food. On our way back we had a quick stop at home, left all our souvenirs there and continued to Fisherman’s Wharf. We found a great place where was possible to buy some T-shirts. Just few steps then a new luggage. We had some discussion about it, but that was almost certain we couldn’t pack everything to current luggage.
We returned to our apartment with new stuff and came back to the Fisherman’s Wharf. I wanted to experience one more time Musée Mécanique. Together with Helca we tried some arcades and it was very great. I liked that place. We returned back to our apartment, did some checking and went to an Italian restaurant closed to our place. We were interested in lasagnas. We had experienced these before and we thought it would be the best for our last evening in San Francisco. The dinner was very good. Wine and food was great, the waiter liked our attitude.
On Sunday everything was about packing. We had just quick break with Tomas when we went to the nearest restaurant for some lunch. I also went close to the Lombard street to take some last photos of that curly street. Otherwise we packed all our stuff quite successfully, unfortunately the souvenirs took lots of space. I returned all keys and around 4.15pm we were waiting for our ordered taxi. At the airport everything seemed all right, even we had to pay for a little overweight. I didn’t want to resort all things in the luggage because it took us many hours and there was almost none potential to reallocate our stuff. There was a little delay in the flight, but we took off successfully and when you read these lines we are back in Prague.
I would like to say many thanks to everyone who helped me to make this trip happen. I learned a lot practical things and met a lot of nice people. For me this trip was about making my dreams come true and I had really enjoyed it since the beginning. I strongly believe in chance to visit the US in future and hopefully for longer time than 3 months. Hope you enjoyed my stay as well and if you like this blog, I am very appreciated.
Our return flight from New York City to San Francisco was without any problem. We returned to our apartment and I went to work following day. Everything seemed all right, the work for a customer I did few days before we left San Francisco was correct and the most important parts were done. Such an ideal situation after the first part of my vacation. However, before we return back to the Czech Republic we also planned a small trip to Maui with my girlfriend and Thursday, a week ago, seemed as a nice day to start being excited. There were some other import tasks I had to cope with, but I was sure I could handle everything on time.
A very nice moment was when Jaroslav Gergic came at my desk and when we had a quick conversation about recent activities. There was also possible to meet Zdenek Svoboda. Together with Ondrej Matustik and Jaroslav Gergic they were available for a series of leadership meetings in San Francisco office. They asked me about my Hawaiian trip and because I would be there when they were going to leave San Francisco, there was also a proposal to have a beer together. The best day for that was Thursday. I had some ideas about Indian cuisine, but I had been told, they experienced this kind of food day before. Fortunately Pepa Vitek recommended a great place with full of Asian food. Sounded like a great idea and after our work was done, we went there. Also Petr Cvengros joined us and I would say we had another great evening.
Not only because of my Vietnamese Pho order after a long time, but we also shared some interesting point of views. After our dinner we went to a very special restaurant. Uniqueness was in a long history there. Also Jack Kerouac enjoyed that place a long time ago as we did on Friday, despite the fact I was the only one in our group who had to show an ID. We ordered some beer and continued with our conversation. There were some people who spoke very loudly. The more alcohol we drank, the less we care about. Beer was good. Zdenek Svoboda had been surprised with the taste of his pilsner, but he reminded very quickly he ordered a different kind of beer. When we finished our first glasses, Zdenek and Jarda went home. We ordered some new beer for us. What a surprise was a moment when a waitress brought 5 glasses of beer instead of 3. However, we shared the rest of the beer with Pepa and Petr and everything was all right.
On Friday my plan was to finish everything important before my Maui vacation. I was also wondering when would be the best day to have a goodbye party with Pepa Vitek and Petr Cvengros. They also planned a vocational trip to Hawaii scheduled on following Friday and there was also a business trip to Boston for them on Thursday. We decided to have a party in our apartment on Friday last week. The only consideration was how to move some pots from point A to B. There was still lots of worries for Boston and a horrible pot attack from the last week. However, for the same reason their business trip was cancelled and we decided to prepare our goodbye party on following Thursday. I finished my work and before I left the office, Holly and Cindy came to my desk and wished me all the best and reminded me suncream I could not forget to use. I went home to prepare everything for the flight. It was scheduled on Sunday, at 7am from Oakland airport.
However, we had to wake up very early on Saturday. We had booked a taxi from our apartment to that airport and our things had been packed. Everything what was necessary to do was just wake up. We had also a quick breakfast before we left apartment. The taxi had been there on time. We just waited for a while for Helca. She reminded to take some pills with us. Afterwards we had a night trip through Oakland. We had seen both stadiums there and arrived at the airport after half an hour approximately. We found Alaska kiosk quite easily. Took our flight tickets and went through the security. Everything was all right. The only interesting thing was the fact that one of these security officer was a novice probably, because he didn’t know he had to take a laptop out of a luggage. Based of my recent few flights, I had everything prepared correctly and without any problem we could go at our gate to wait for a boarding and departure.
The flight was also without any problem. Cabin crew had uniform reminded us we were flight to Hawaii. It was quite long trip. There was possible to order some special drink Mai Tai, a speciality from Hawaii. I really wanted to try it, but it contained some alcohol and we planned to rent a car, so I had to be satisfied just with some water. A very nice thing was the time shift between San Francisco and Hawaii. San Francisco is about 3 hours ahead of Hawaii, so we landed and had still early morning in Maui. I put my jacket on, but a guy on plane told me there is no need to wear a jacket in Hawaii. Our first steps went to Enterprise car rental place. There was a plan to rent a car for just a day, travelled and enjoyed as much of Maui as possible before a check in our hotel. It was schedule on 4pm and we had more than 5 hours to enjoy. To rent a car was surprisingly a very easy task. They just checked my driving license, we paid some deposit and that was it. We could take our car. I was a little bit afraid of because the last time I drove a car was 2 years ago in New Zealand. Fortunately I didn’t forget everything and after some first steps everything was all right. We got a very nice car and I decided to do my best to return it without any scratch.
We had no strict plan, we just drove somewhere and coincidentally we were on the way to Maalaea. After 20 minutes of drive we were there and decided to have a quick lunch over there. We parked there and ordered some food. The car park was a little bit far from that bistro and I decided to park our car closer to that place. When we finished our lunch and return to our car and continued to a Scenic overlook near that place. Such an extraordinary view all around was waiting for us. Unfortunately it was quite late to observe whales from coastline. We kept driving and through Lahaina, Kaanapali , Kapalua, Wailuku we were returning back to Kahului where our hotel situated (a place closed to the airport). However, there was a significant part of the road which was very narrow. Just a one lane road which caused some troubles sometimes. Fortunately we coped with everything and the whole trip was amazing.
We arrived in our hotel on time. Accommodation was all right. We dropped all of our things and returned to our car to keep exploring the island. Unfortunately it started to be quite late. We just had a chance to explore Kanaha Beach Park, Baldwin Beach Park and Hookipa Beach Park. There were quite long distance among these places, but we explored everything before getting dark. Quite interesting was to observe drivers of pick up cars how they took some passengers back on the trunks. Hookipa Beach Park was a place ideal for surfers. There were lots of them and was also very interesting to observe them. Before we returned back to our hotel, we needed to do some shopping, ate a dinner and returned our car. We took all our things and returned our car. They had promised us they drop us at our hotel. We had lots of stuff with us because we counted with it. The man who took the car didn’t know anything about this promise from the morning, but he asked one of his colleague to drop us at our hotel. We were really appreciated and the first day was very successful.
The second day we decided to spend on the beach. We took our stuff and went to Kanaha Beach Park. We used a lot of suncream and also swam in the ocean. The water was quite warm, what was a great thing. We had a great time there. The beach was quite close to the airport so it was quite great chance to observe planes during their take offs as well as helicopters on their sightseeing trips. There were quite few people and we could enjoy the beach all day long. We returned to our hotel late afternoon and for the rest of the day we just relaxed. For the next day we planned to have some adventures. For this purpose it was necessary to have a car. Before we left the hotel we also booked some snorkeling for the last day. We wanted to rent a car at the Enterprise close to our hotel, but there was not possible to use a shuttle from there to the airport. As a better choice we just took a taxi and went to the exactly same place as we rented a car during the first day. The staff there remembered us and we rent a very similar model as we had the first day without any problem.
We returned to our city to have a break and not long from then we were driving to Haleakala National Park. The trip was all right. The only problem was a very curved road and we had to pay a lot of attention. However, the entrance to the park was for free of charge that day what was a great thing. We kept driving up to the overlook to the Haleakala Crater. We spent more than 1 hour there, but it was amazing. There were two places closed to each other from where was possible to observe the environment. From the higher one was possible to observe also the Big Island of Hawaii. The crater itself was very nice. A very special terrain all around confirmed us it had been a worth visit. There was also possible to see some horses as well as visit the visitor center. It closed at 3pm, but we had a stop there before we reached the summit (the higher point) and bought some stuff there. The interesting thing was the fact about Mount Everest. It is the highest mountain above the sea level, but in fact there are 3 mountains taller than Mt. Everest. The reason is the lower part is under the sea. There was quite cold all round and fortunately we had some better clothes for this occasion, better ones than just a pair of shorts. When we enjoyed walking around the park, we returned back to our car and went back to home. Our dinner was at a very special Thai restaurant recommended also by some ministers of Thailand.
The next day we had to wake up very early due to our snorkeling experience. We had some troubles with our alarms, but fortunately we woke up and were in Maalaea on time. The place was close to the one where we had our lunch during the first day. As a special thing during our check-in procedure we rent a camera suitable for diving. My first question was if we could use this camera in the water because it seemed as a normal camera. The good thing was they had already set the best quality for the water and they were ready to burn everything on a DVD when we returned back from our trip. We waited for a trip and started enjoying the atmosphere over there.
The boat floated a while before we reached Molokini, a place where we started snorkeling. I was a little bit afraid of, but a crew member explained everything and I was sure I could handle it. We also rent a neoprene to keep our bodies warm enough. On our first stop we spent at least 40 minutes, but it was great experience. I saw many fishes and the coral reef. The water was very clear and it was a very nice experience. However, there was another spot we planned to reach. We returned back to our boat and floated to a different place. During the time on the boat there was a training about various kind of fishes we could see in the water during our experience. One of these fishes had a very long name. Unfortunately I forgot it as well as the place where we had a stop. The great thing was we could see some whales there and there was also a great chance to observe some turtles. The visibility in the water during our second snorkeling was a little bit worse, but there were some great spots to see some beauties of the sea. And I also saw a turtle under the water.
On our way back we had a great lunch on our boat. There were few turtles swimming in the water, but unfortunately no more whales. We returned back around midday, returned the camera and waited for the DVD with our pictures. We also tried a great ice cream over there. I really wanted to go to Hana, unfortunately it was quite late and we decided to spend the rest of the day more southern. We drove to Makena and enjoyed some beaches as Makena Landing, Big Beach and Little Beach. Big Beach was quite interesting place. We also swam in the water there, but it was a little bit dangerous. There were quite big and strong waves. I admire all surfers who can handle their boards in these circumstances. However, I swam in the water there and it was quite fun. There was also a bigger wave which was going to smash us, me and Helca. We survived fortunately. The worst thing there was the sand which stuck on our bodies. On the other hand it was very smooth and warm sand which helped us to enjoy the area much more. There was also a walk to Little Beach area. We went there, but we recognized very quickly Little Beach was probably a nude one, because many people were naked there. After we took some photos (without people for sure ) and retuned back to Big Beach and to our car afterwards.
We were a little bit tired therefore we drove back to Kahului. We wanted to send some postcards from Hawaii, but the post office had been already close and was quite difficult to find a place where was possible to buy any post stamp. We returned at our hotel, had a deep shower to clean our bodies from sand and went outside to find a place to eat. Quite close to the hotel was a restaurant where we ordered some very delicious food. A surprise there was a fact there were some Czech guys on an organized trip. We just listened to their conversation and enjoyed our food. During the evening there was possible to observe some lizards on walls. There were everywhere there, fortunately not in our room or inside the hotel at all. We returned to our room and went to bed quite early.
Wednesday was the last day on our trip. We woke up very early in the morning and had a breakfast in our room. We started packing our stuff afterwards. We needed to send the postcards therefore I took our car and went to the post office. This time I was successful and all postcards were sent. I also bough some souvenirs from the Walgreens with Hawaiian theme. I returned back to the hotel. Everything was prepared for a successful check-out. We did it and we also returned our car to the place close to the airport. Driver of shuttle bus there dropped us at the airport. We checked-in and took our tickets. The place was quite small and we had a lot of time. After security checking we had a quick stop at the nearest restaurant to have a snack and went at the gate where our flight was scheduled. It was a Hawaiian Airlines connection at this time. I changed my clothes and together with my girlfriend waited for boarding. Everything was all right up to the moment where we could have a take off. There were some technical complications and I hoped it would be much smoother fixing than I experienced on my return back from Portland where I decided to buy a new ticket for sure.
Fortunately the fixing was successful and we could have a great take off. There was some great food on board and they looked after us very well. Hawaiian airlines well done. With some delay we returned back to Oakland around 8.45 pm local time. We used BART and a taxi from Montgomery to our apartment. We left an elevator on Montgomery when a taxi cab stopped. I was sure the guy was waiting for us. The driver was very funny. He was from Kenya originally, but lived in San Francisco for 11 years. For the first moment I thought he was an American, but he made some mistakes in the grammar and I was curious from where he could be. He also knew Czech Republic. He drank lots of vodka from our country and experience lots of situations how people went crazy afterwards. When he dropped us at out place he recommended us to visit some night clubs and bars during the night. However it was great to be back in San Francisco.
To summarize last few days which we spent in New York City would be a quite difficult task. On the one hand we arrived in just for a while, but on the other one we wanted to get as much as possible in a short time. Even that city is quite far from San Francisco, this was a must go destination for us. In few paragraphs below I try to describe my experience from this trip.
Even we started planing our vacation quite long time ago, we bought the tickets recently. I wanted to make sure not only that my days off were going to be confirmed, but also I needed to choose everything with my girlfriend and find the things which work the best for both of us. The first thing on the list was a flight connection between San Francisco and New York City. There were lots of possibilities, but according to my experience with United airlines I wanted to be focused on a connection with a really good reputation. I had always wanted to try Virgin Airlines. I like the approach of their founder – Sir Richard Brandson and I also heard about a very good feedback for these airlines. Even we had some troubles to buy the tickets for the first time (these tickets were founded through Skyscanner, the Expedia we tried next day was all right and it was also much cheaper for both of us.
The second thing was to book an accommodation. There were also plenty of choices. To find a hotel, hostel, check the Airbnb or stay at the place of my friend Rajeev who live there. I didn’t want to complicate Rajeev’s life so much and we also wanted to be as flexible as possible, so we were mostly considering about first three possibilities. There were some nice spots in Brooklyn or New Jersey with a good subway connection to Manhattan, but the final decision was to stay at Manhattan. We found a good hostel there with a private room just for two of us. This was for a very good price and location We just wanted to sleep there and even we found some other places to stay, we decided to try that hostel.
The departure day and time from San Francisco to New York was Friday, the 12th, at 11pm. We had been prepared since Thursday and when I returned from work on Friday, we just picked up our things and went to the airport. We took a taxi, because from our apartment this is probably the best choice how to get quickly there. We had really good timing when we arrived at terminal 2 of San Francisco International Airport where Virgin Airlines were situated. We checked-in and went through the security at our gate. Everything was all right and we were on time. When we sat on plane, we really enjoyed the interior of the cabin of the plane. Nice design all around and the great thing was we could sit next to each other. The whole flight was all right. We flew through many states, Indiana included. It reminded me Matt Maudlin, one of our practice manager who lives and works there. He was probably waking up because it was early in the morning of eastern time. New York was really close.
We arrived at The Big Apple, what is a nickname of New York City, at 7.30am of the local time. The first impression was really good, we were there on time and with a good possibilities how to get to Manhattan. The JFK airport is well connected with. As the best possibility we chose the subway. You can hear many stories about this public transport system, but the fact is you can get everywhere you want. In most of the US cities you need to have a car, because the public transport services don’t cover all areas and the network is usually quite weak. There was some little mess in the NYC subway, but we were really satisfied. The only problem was the network of trains and connections was quite large and there was necessary to be very patient to orient in. On the other hand the voice from train speaker was similar as Mr. Woldfdog’s (http://www.mrwolfdog.com/) what was quite funny thing.
We found our accommodation quite easily. Another very good thing about New York City is a very simple orientation within streets. You have numbered streets and avenues and if you are able to count, you shouldn’t have any problem to walk through the city. New York is also famous for its yellow cabs and if you have some troubles for any reason you should use them. They were everywhere and we really enjoyed watching them. There was the only problem with our accommodation – we had to wait by 3pm when our room should be ready, but this was not a problem for us. We dropped our luggage there and were ready for our first walk around.
The first stop was Central Park. The entrance was really close to our apartment, so we didn’t have any problem to enter that place. We started at the North West point and kept walking down to the Southern one. We saw many nice places and really enjoyed the walk. Probably the most impressive one was the part with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The water observation with some skyscrapers in the background was absolutely amazing. The whole walking was really nice and we took some of very nice pictures with our camera. We had a chance to got the first impression with walking among skyscrapers. Such a coincident we found Carnegie Hall under reconstruction. There was also a place Time Warner Center and the Columbus Circle, a very famous part of the city. We were walking , but started to be very tired. A Starbuck coffee was close and we bought some stuff there. We had also seen hotel Wellington, the place where Borat Sagdiyev was accommodated. Afterwards we wanted to reach our hostel. Unfortunately the first day we were really tired and confused with the underground. We went to the right station, but took a wrong train. A series of funny event caused that we unexpectedly explored south part of Bronx. The only good thing there was probably the fact that Al Pacino grew up there. Instead of exploring Bronx we returned as quickly as we could to the right subway line and after a while we finally reached our hostel. We fully accommodated there and got a rest for the rest of the day.
On Sunday we had a lot of plans where we could walk. As the best place to start we chose The World Trade Center area. To get there was very easy, we just simply went to a subway station and after a while we really were there. We wanted to see the 9/11 memorial. It was for free, just some optional donation was appreciated. Unfortunately there was quite long queue. In the meantime I enjoyed watching skyscrapers. The building were really tall and modern. There was a guy on the street who tried to sell some stuff relevant to that unforgettable 9/11 event. We didn’t buy anything from him, just enjoyed his talk. We donated some money and were went through the security. After a long wait we could finally see the memorial. Such a nice remarkable place to remember both destroyed building of the World Trade Center – North and South Pole. The both constructions were covered with names of people who died. Not only during 9/11 events, but also from 1993 when also some terrorists attacks happened. The memorial place was nice, there were some waterfalls in the both objects.
Before we reached some other places it was time to have a great lunch. We were walking through the Financial District and we couldn’t find any good place for us. Everything changed when we found Battery park. There was a really small shop with a really good restaurant inside. We ordered some food and chilled out. After a while we went outside to observe the Statue of the Liberty. We wanted to go there as close as possible, but there was an island and at that moment no relevant trip was available, just a sightseeing tour around what we weren’t interested in. We had to have a overlook just from the quay, but it was also all right. Our next steps followed on the Broadway street where we watched the famous bull there. Probably as a symbol of Wall Street which was located near of it. There were plenty of people who wanted to take some pictures, especially from Japan. One of them was very enthusiastic and took lots of photos with the bull and other people in various positions.
Walking through the Wall Street was also a very nice moment. There were lots of banks and lots of security restrictions. The most interesting building from my point of view was New York Stock exchange. There is usually a national flag on some of its columns. I wanted to take a picture of that, but that day the flag was down. There was also a place where George Washington became the first US president. We continued with our walk and saw the Brooklyn Bridge. We sat down on a bench and had another break. Quite interesting was observing the landing helicopters there. It was probably a very popular attraction to flight Manhattan in a helicopter, because these helicopters were everywhere. We observed the Brooklyn Bridge and decided to walk through. It was a good decision, because we could observe the downtown from the other side. Brooklyn bridge is shorter than the Golden Gate one for instance, so we were at the Brooklyn side very quickly. We had a quick snack at the nearest place. Such a coincident it was a Starbuck again. Before we returned back to the Manhattan, we had a quick stop at small park where was possible to observe whole Manhattan quite easily. It was also very nice.
On our way back we saw some city halls. There were few of them. Quite interesting was to see the New York courthouse. A huge building with a well known shape best known from some movies. We were also interested in seeing New York Chinatown. The big surprise was the area was much smaller than the same neighborhood in San Francisco. Just few streets and that was it. We went there for a dinner. Found a Chinese place there. The shop assistant was surprised with my enthusiasms in food ordering and he did his best to make sure we sit down properly at a table. We ordered some noodles and enjoyed the evening. Chinatown was the last place planned for Sunday and when we finished the dinner, we bought some postcards and went back to our place with a subway. Our orientation there was much better and we enjoyed that system much better.
Before we reached our place we did a quick stop at Times Square to see that place during late evening. I heard this place is considered as the center of the Manhattan. It was probably true, because during late evening there were really plenty of people. However, the first impression from Times Square was amazing, even this is mostly an tourists attraction, there is also a really unique atmosphere. We returned to our hostel quite late, wrote our postcards afterwards and went directly to bed.
For the Monday our plan was to explore the rest of the most famous areas. First of all we went directly to Times Square again. I found problem with my memory card there. Even I did some cleaning, for any reason there was still no space there. Fortunately we were on Times Square and close to a Wallgreens there. They have open their store 24/7 and we had a great chance to buy not only a new memory card, but also some souvenirs. We will probably bring more souvenirs from New York City than San Francisco. We found some great things, but for keeping our lives better we decided to buy these souvenirs during Monday evening. We just bought that memory card and returned back to Times Square where we took some photos. Our next plan was to go close to Chrysler Skyscraper.
Before we went there we had a quick stop at a really good restaurant. It was called HB Burger and I probably never forget how good it was. Since we came in, we were simply amazed. A really good atmosphere there and lots of great food. For the first time of my life I tried a Bison burger. It was absolutely and amazingly extraordinary. Not a surprise the rest of our order was great as well. I ordered some Cider and as the final dessert we chose a shake from Belgian chocolate. Without a doubt it was the best desert we had ever had and we very both very satisfied.
The Chrysler building was quite close. We did some looked and went inside the main Railway station in the city, well known from movies. There were lots of shops and small halls. Another very nice place. Our next stop was the Empire State Building. That place was also very close. On our way there we met some guys on street who tried to sell some tickets. They were the certified sellers, but we weren’t interested in their deals so much. We just wanted to observe the city from above. Before we went up to overlook the city, we found a Post office where we drop our postcards.
We were really bit afraid of long queues there, but fortunately not many people were around. We bought a ticket and after some security controls we reach the 86th floor of the building quite easily. We went on a main overlook balcony and enjoyed the breathtaking views there. It was also extremely amazing. However, Jiri Tobolka’s question if they have nice balconies in New York City, hadn’t really been answered. I expect to check everything from above, but we were too high to see any relevant balcony at all. Just a beautiful city with an unique atmosphere.
We went down to the street and decided to see the Rockefeller center. However, we wanted to buy some things to remember this place and we wanted to buy on the 5th Avenue. The clothes seemed as the best choice. We went to the first shop, but the prices there were out of our salaries. However, the second one Quicksilver was much better choice and we bought our first t-shirts with New York theme from the 5th Avenue. Helca wanted to see Saint Patrick church close to the Rockefeller center. Unfortunately facade was under the reconstruction and the inside was restricted. There was not possible to take the photos for the most beautiful part.
There was also some security checking and I decided to stay in front of them while Helca was fully enjoying the walking there. Rockefeller center was really close and also a very nice experience. There was a square with flags of every single US state. We found the Californian one, had a quick rest and continued back to Times Square where we bought the souvenirs founded in the morning. We had also seen some of the Broadway theaters. We had a dinner and we decided to have another great experience by watching the downtown during the late evening. We used the subway and because we had already known the best connection how to get there, we had another great time.
Our last day was dedicated for shopping. We wanted to buy some new clothes and as an ideal place seemed Century 21 closed to the World Trade Center. We used subway and were there very quickly. The shopping was really good. Even we spent many hours there, we bought some good stuff there. There was also a great opportunity to eat out. We mixed a really good lunch for us. There was a man who started talked to me. He was from Greece and mentioned some troubles in his country. Troubles are everywhere man, I replied. When we finished our shopping, it was quite late. We returned back to our hostel. We were little bit in rush, because I had meeting with my friend on Times Square at 5.30 pm. I was there on time.
However, there were some technical problems on the Rajeev’s subway line and after some calling and some waiting, he was there with a small two hours delay. He apologized me for that, but I think it was all right. Sometimes things like that happen. It was worth to wait for him. I met him in Ostrava for the first time, few years ago and when I was in New Zealand, he moved to New York City. I had enjoyed Time Square before he came in. There were some bad things happened in Boston and as a result there were lots of police officers all around. With Rajeev we went to a restaurant close to the Time Square. We drank some beer and had a great conversation. His words were full of wisdom and it was really great to see him after a long time.
As an way of apologize we went to a shop near that restaurant and he bought some souvenirs for me and my girlfriend. I returned back to our hostel and together with Helca we prepared everything for the leaving. That happened on Wednesday. We ate our breakfast and I said goodbye to my old jacket which I left at that hostel. We took the subway and went to the airport. Even the more police officers were around, everything was all right and we got the plane on schedule. At 2.10pm of San Francisco time we reached the SFO airport and went to our apartment.
In a nutshell I have to say, New York city was a really great place where I wished I could stay longer. The diversity was extraordinary and I hope I will return there again. New York is aggressive, cold and definitively not relaxed as California, but on the other hand you still have a lot of opportunities to have a great time. Even San Francisco is a very great place and I also enjoy my stay here, for me New York City was the best place I had ever visited.
April would be a month full of surprise, especially the first day when everyone tries to prepare some jokes. Roman wasn’t an exception and he prepared a special speech with some of these ones. It was quite big fun to listen to him. Fortunately not everything was an april joke and after some ridiculously funny stories we could also hear some new trendy concepts for our wonderful future. I also presented to Jagjit a solution I had wondered during weekend and he seemed he liked it. On Monday, two weeks ago, Tomas Klouda was finally on the way to San Francisco. His arrival was scheduled early in the afternoon, therefore I asked my girlfriend for giving him a hand. She waited at our apartment and when he arrived, she gave him the keys and security card for the GoodData office. He is from the operations department and a replacement for Juraj who returned back to the Czech Republic at the end of March. When I returned from work we had some conversations with Tomas. He seemed as a very nice guy and he had been also skilled in vines, what was such a great news for Jose Bibat. He had also already knew my blog. With my girlfriend we finally booked the tickets for our New York City trip. We had some troubles on Sunday, but our next try was completely successful and surprisingly much cheaper than we expected.
There was also a big fun next day. In a mailing conversation I read an advice from Andrew Lee saying: “If the client wants to download the CSV and assume it’s running over a deflator class from the Java lib over the network, be careful when you configure the compression ratio to BEST, usually there’s some incompatibility and depending on the zlib they are using.” ended by a updated picture from South Park created by Aaron Myhre. Did you understand any single world Andrew used, I asked Aaron and was enjoying the South Park picture. I asked for a permission to publish this picture on my blog as well as share this quote there. Both Aaron and Andrew agreed, even Andrew wasn’t sure about fun aspect of his words.
We had also a great lunch conversation with Aaron Myhre and Ting Tseng. We talked about the Czech Republic and I wished Aaron could visit our beautiful country. Please, approve Aaron to go I said to Ting, but she wasn’t the right one who could make this decision, she replied. However, it would be great if Aaron Myhre would visit our Czech offices. We also wondered how could be possible to have some troubles with parsing CSV files. A situation, when a simple task took one of our customer more than 3 months, is weird. However, this would be caused by a combination of non-technical person skills and a japanese locale set on customer’s personal environment.
Petr Cvengros and Pepa Vitek also organized a really extraordinary evening with a guy who worked in NASA. His name was Pavel Machalek and I really enjoyed the night, even I didn’t talk too much. It was just interesting to listen to the other guys. It was also a first time when Pepa, Tomas, Petr Cvengros and his flatmate Petr Mikota met my girlfriend. We talked about many various topics, it was interesting to hear that my blog is well spread among some Czech people in Sillicon Valley. I also heard the word Hipsters for the first time and they recommended me to google some examples. For the rest of the evening we had some other choices, either go home or go drinking some rum. Such a great coincident that Pepa had a bootle of rum at his apartment. Pavel had already left us in that restaurant, but the rest of our group visited Pepa’s place without any hesitation. We had some great conversations there, I heard how many people are interested in living in the USA and how easily the work permit quota is exceeded for instance. At the end of the evening we went to Pepa’s terrace and observed not only the beautiful view all around, but also watching Tomas how he ran to the nearest BART station to catch the last train to Oakland. We returned to our apartment quite late, but it was another great night.
Next morning I heard Romeo how he talked to Emily, our new member. He offered to her my working desk which she can use when I leave. It is also interesting to hear people calling me Tomas instead of Radek. I had also an interesting conversation with Aaron, he also wished I could stay longer. However the time here goes really fast.
Another very funny day was also Thursday. Pepa told Jagjit about my comparison between him and a 70 year old taxi driver who took my girlfriend and me from the airport when Helca arrived. He couldn’t believe his ears and probably eyes, but the fact was I didn’t mean it in an offensive way. The taxi driver spread his sense of humor all around and sometimes he reminded me Jagjit who pretended he didn’t want to talk to me, but on the other hand we had quite interesting conversation during our lunch. Ayesha asked me if everybody from here is on my blog. Romeo mentioned at some point there is everybody and reminded us my another comparison from past when I compared Romeo with Arnold Schwarzenegger. They were also surprised with some of my additional knowledge and the conversation turned into a discussion about all knowing ambitions. Aaron Myhre had a special stress ball what was another great tool to have. I have to say the lunch was really great. There was a Jamaica cuisine served with very nice guys. There were probably from Jamaica. I wanted to ask them about that, but I didn’t have a proper chance due to significant crowds of people all around.
Another great moment was to see Martin Hapl in San Francisco. He reminded me my sunburn and he told me what he heard about. With my girlfriend we went to observe some sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf during the evening. I was simply impressed even these guys were sleeping.
On Friday we had a knowledge sharing meeting. We weren’t sure what we exactly would present, but Andrew Lee saved the meeting. He shared his knowledge about ODBC/JDBC. It was quite interesting, but very technical from my point of view. When the question time came I asked Andrew for explanation his words about zlib library which ended by a South Park picture. Don’t put on my blog, Jagjit mentioned, but he didn’t know I had a permission from Andrew and Aaron Myhre. However, Hector Hung showed the blog to our new colleague Emily. During the lunch time we saw a smoke from the garages where some people from GoodData parked their cars. Hopefully everything was all right, because it was probably fire which needed a deeper care from San Francisco Fire Department.
The rest of the day was pretty interesting. We had a great conversation about typical American and Czech cuisines and how typical is the name John in sales department. There was also the second part of the training provided by Petr Cvengros about Rest API. Eric was injured and his appearance was just on the phone. We came through some very interesting materials and got some first feedbacks for our homework.
For the weekend we had very cool plans to visit Alcatraz Island and see some well known company buildings in Silicon Valley. However, the weather on Saturday was not the best one, there was some rain and we had some doubt if we could enjoy our trip in the weather like this. We did a walk to a ferry building and stood in a queue. A guy who checked the tickets asked us about our origin and when we told him about Prague, he looked very excited. It was one of two most beautiful cities in the world for him. When we boated we took a chair and enjoyed the instruction video. They mentioned the Alcatraz Island is not just a former federal prison, but also a great piece of nature within a small area, ideal for some special kind of birds. There is a National park all around, but the fact is, the Rock prison is a dominant attraction there.
We left the boat quite early and started wondering what to do. The good thing was we could return any time we wanted. We went inside a building to watch a video and joined a guided tour inside the prison. We had special headsets helped us to navigate us through the halls inside. The main one was called Broadway. There were cells all around. Quite interesting fact was that each prisoner had his own cell. We walked through Broadway and saw an area called D-Block. If you break the rule, you go to prison, if you break a prison rule, you go to Alcatraz. I think the motto for that section would be, if you break Alcatraz rules, you go to D-section. Alcatraz was a special kind of federal prison with very specific system and every prisoner had to follow set of strict rules. If they were nice, they would use some benefits as walking on Recreation Yard. The troublemakers were sent to D-block and to special isolation cells in the worse cases.
There was nothing, but dark in the isolation ones. As a part of the attraction we went inside to these ones and the police officer closed door. Prisoners had to spend many days there and I am sure in these cases the thinking about an escape would be a great idea. In fact, there were some attempts of escape. Officially nobody was successful. There were some pure madness attempts known as Battle of Alcatraz where some navy members had to help the correction officers and involved prisoners who survived were executed. However, I liked the story about an escape attempt from 1962 when three guys left the cell in a very creative way, climbed up to roof and moved to water where they unpacked their boat. Even a very simple one, they probably were able to get Angel Island. There is no evidence about their destiny, nobody knows whether their survive or not, but the whole thing is very interesting. The Rock was closed relative soon since this incident happened and “opened” for some new challenges like native americans occupation. Nowadays, it is a great place for tourism.
We returned back to mainland of San Francisco in the afternoon, after few hours of expedition of Alcatraz Island. Our next steps went to Fisherman’s Wharf where we were wondering about a great lunch. Helca and I wanted to try some sea food, but there were long queues all around, so we kept walking until we stopped at a relatively small bufet. We ordered some fish and chips and some fish chowder in bread. Sat outside and enjoyed our food. We had also another chance to observe sea lions, but they looked very calm again. On our way back to our apartment we stopped at a post office and Helca sent some postcards. After a short break we continued up to Coit Tower. There was a little bit different atmosphere during the day than I had experienced during my first visit. However, overlook was still great. The only thing we were a little bit disappointed was we couldn’t locate Pepa Vitek’s terrace from above. We found some potential places, but weren’t sure which one is the one.
For the dinner we returned back to Fisherman’s Wharf and at Pier 39 we found a great place to order some crêpes. When we did that, we went outside of that restaurant and I tried to find a place to sit, but everything was occupied. However, there was a family who were finishing their dinner and told us we looked liked a nice couple. They left for us that place and we could sit down and enjoyed our dinner. We did another walk to observe sea lions and returned back to our apartment. We started thinking about our second part of our vacation. We knew it would be Hawaii, but we hadn’t been decided which Island yet. During Sunday we didn’t book anything, but after a long discussion we started focusing on Maui. We also decided we could go to Berkeley instead of Silicon Valley on the next day.
On Sunday we woke up quite early, but left our apartment quite late. However, the weather seemed nice. We bought some tickets for BART and found our connection. There was not direct one on Sunday, so we had a transfer there. We reached Berkeley downtown quite soon as a first stop we went to a restaurant with very nice atmosphere. We wanted to take some photos there, but we realized we forgot batteries at out apartment. I hoped we could find a place were we would buy some and I was right. After a short walk back to the BART station was a Walgreens. They required ID during payment with credit card, but fortunately our passports were still with us.
Life with camera was much easier and we started taking some photos. On our way to the University campus we had a quick stop at a park covered by squirrels. They were really friendly and we took some of great photos. We could feed them with some nuts. Walking through the campus was another great experience. A very nice areal with an extraordinary atmosphere. We saw many faculties and a lots of students chilling around. I was wondering whether some incoming cars were just visitors or a part of any cool prototyping. Quite interesting was to observe a Quidditch match between two student teams. We walked within campus for a while and our trip continued with walking through the city. On our way back to San Francisco we went to exactly same restaurant as we did in the morning. Lots of people played scrabble there and it seemed as an official place for scrabble tournaments.
We returned back to the San Francisco downtown and decided to visit Mission Dolores one more time. Unfortunately it was quite late and the building had been closed. Our next steps followed to the Civic Center. We saw many impressive building within relative small area that evening. The dominant one was definitively the City Hall. Before we went home, we did a quick walk to the Japanese Town with a small dominant – a small tower covered by some circles. The town was nice, but we were happy we could take a taxi back to our apartment. Tomas Klouda had been already there and before we went to bed, we watch the Escape from Alcatraz movie together with my girlfriend and Tomas. We were able to recognize plenty of locations there due to our experience from the Alcatraz tour.
Last few days were a little bit hectic. In fact this was my last full working week here. I had planned some vacation and I would visit GoodData offices just 4 more times before I leave the USA. For the rest of the time I will have a great time in New York City and Maui Hawaiian Island where we go together with my girlfriend. We booked a ticket on Tuesday. I would like to thank Karel Novak who gave me some great advice and recommendations for the Maui trip. I also try to keep my word as much as possible. I invited Jose Bibat to a great lunch on Tuesday. We went together for some crêpes at my favorite place – Galette 88. We had lack of time, but I really hoped Jose would enjoy the lunch. He did and it was really great for me to return him his great hospitality he shared with us during our Napa trip. The funny thing was the situation when I asked a waiter if we could leave our plates on table where we sat. After some hesitation he recommended me to ask a cook. After a while we were sure we could left the plates there.
I have also improved my English vocabulary. There was a thing I didn’t know how to call it. I took it to my hands and started to doing some funny things and asked people about the correct name. Cindy and Holly explained that thing was a stepler and I hoped I remembered it properly. I was also happy I delivered my second homework here on time. A little bit embarrassing for me was a moment when I asked Ravi how long he had been in the USA. I recognized his English skills had been great so far, but I really thought he came in here recently. What a surprise was when he told me about he had been his whole life in this country. I would like to apologize him in this way. Very cool were few recent conversations with Cliff. He asked me about my plans about the vacations and I told him about the city of my dreams aka New York City. Even I had never been there, I was sure it would be an extraordinary experience, especially if I love big cities. I am sure Maui will be also amazing, especially the beaches and water full of friendly sharks down there, but actually I am very excited to see New York City the most.
We had also a team meeting on Thursday. There were two surprises at the beginning. I got a gift from Romeo, some sunspray lotion. The first point at Cliff’s presentation was me. He showed a photo of me to all people on this meeting and also reminded my sunburn experience. However, that was a very nice speech and I was really happy to hear these very nice words from him. Without the doubt this US experience had been one of the best in my life and I am really proud of being a part of this company.
There were some other funny things in our office. We had seen a double of our colleague from past, Jaromir Salamon. Eric had a day off and returned with hands fully covered by a sunburn. These situations happen sometimes and I fully understand it. On Friday I had some great conversations with Hector Hung and Mike Connors. Hector asked me about the weather. The weather would be great, according to the forecast the rain is scheduled on Wednesday, I replied. They sent me some great advice about New York City and what to do there. Tomas Svarovsky was also preparing himself for a trip. He was going to go to the Czech Republic to evangelism some of newest cool solutions. Gautam did a quick checking of Tomas’s luggage and he was surprised the bag was quite light. We had also an extraordinary lunch with Petr Olmer, Martin Hapl and Petr Cvengros. We tried some great sandwiches, probably one of the best I had ever eaten. I finished all my work on time, shared important information about my projects with particular colleagues and went home to prepare everything for our vacation. When you read this article we successfully landed in New York City at JFK airport and accommodated in Manhattan successfully.
The end of the quarter was probably the main phrase I was hearing from everybody during the last week. We had great times in Lake Tahoe the weekend ago and were relaxed enough to finish the end of March successfully. On Monday I started to concentrate on my goals. I had some bigger tasks and really wanted to finish them on time. With Jagjit we had an interesting conversation during the lunch. We were talking about Lance Armstrong and his doping problems. He was his hero Jagjit said and before we changed the topic I added it is a time to find another one.
Anthony Lin introduced us a new colleague, a sales engineer from Texas. His name was Lane Williams and he looked like Ralph Fiennes, a famous actor. I hadn’t talked to him much, but he seemed very nice. For the evening we planned a dinner with Guilherme Pereira in an India restaurant. There were a few people who joined this event, Juraj included. With Petr Cvengros we were a little bit late, because we had to return our rented ski gear. However, our late arrival was caused with a traffic jam on streets. The traffic was completely stuck at some points and there were really lot of cars all around, even San Francisco has only 700 000 residents. A simple explanation was there are particular amount of residents on the one hand, but on the other one quite lots of people live close to the city and use a car as the best way to get to the work in downtown.
When we came to that India restaurant, we found Guilherme quite easily as well as the rest of the group. I had seen some great food on the table and I was wondering about the best choice. Tomas Svarovsky’s chicken vindaloo looked great, I decided to ordered a lamb one. There was also Petr Cvengros’ flatmate. He came a little bit late and was without the dinner. Our food was served quite quickly. There was insufficient amount of rice, but was not problem to order as much as possible. We had a great conversation. When we finished our food we went outside and decided to go to another bar quite close to that restaurant.
I don’t remember the name of the place, I only know for sure the bartender was very enthusiastic and our beer was served in a really funny way. Our great conversation continued. Juraj seemed very experienced in many fields and shared his knowledge about cryptography for instance. I left the place quite early because I wanted to finish my previous article, but when Juraj returned back to our apartment he told me their conversation turned to quantum physics. I didn’t understand many of things he was confident with, but I believe he would do some security architecture and enterprise software design very easily.
Not like me who has to survive among some customer requirements every day. It is a little bit difficult because some customer are not technical at all, but I enjoy these time very well. On Tuesday I was really proud of myself. Even I spent many hours in the office till late I designed and implemented a solution which was hardly possible to do on our infrastructure before. I was thinking about good design and I am sure I will have to share this one among others, because it saves lots of time for people who also need implement customer solutions in future. I expected to be there alone in the office, but there was a guest. Andy Lee from Sales department went to the office in late hours with his son and did a guided tour over there. It was very nice, much better than a fire test which took ten minutes and the alarm was very loudly. I was so happy when I implemented my solution and wanted to celebrated the success with a basketball game. There is a net and a ball. Ravi and others are great in basketball, I had always troubles and I failed all the time and didn’t get any point. I will probably stay in software development area.
On Tuesday we had also a meeting with Mathew. He had some questions about my utilization and my time. He was wondering about my night shifts which I don’t track any where. I will probably talk to him about this in more details, we clarified some important things via phone. In a nutshell the most of the time I spend after working hours is dedicated to learning. Sometimes I implement something for customer when I am completely stuck, but most of the time everything is dedicated to be better and faster in future. I want to do everything in a proper way and want to be very proficient in things I do, which takes a lots of time. Fortunately I have great people all around me which keep my motivation set in a positive way. If I have another talk to Matt about this, I am sure he will understand all my motivation.
I returned very late on Tuesday and went to a supermarket to buy some stuff. I finally received my club card for some better place. Of course, it was possible to get this card earlier, but in shopping area I am not the most active person. I returned home and little bit tide some things in our apartment because for the next day I expected my girlfriend arrival. Wednesday was cool. Even I had some unexpected tasks I did my best to prepare everything by evening when a sort of deadline happened. When I finished my work I went to BART to catch a train to the San Francisco International airport. That was a big day for me because my girlfriend was on the way to my place. The BART trip was quite long. The train was a little bit delayed due to some technical troubles. There were lots of people and I wished to be at the airport on time. Due to some issues many people left the train and did a great thing to stay because everything was all right in next few minutes and the air much better.
At the airport I found the place for arrival in the international part. The flight was a little bit delayed, so I sat down and waited. Some people were really exciting and for the incoming people. There was a lady from the Philippines who really can’t wait to see her family member and in very loud way spread some her opinions all around. I was waiting quite long time before my girlfriend left the federal zone, but it was definitively a very amazing moment to see her after two months here. Unfortunately she had some troubles with her luggage which was delayed. The expected delivery was set to next day and the clarks wanted to have an US cell phone. I hadn’t needed any before, because I didn’t call anywhere here in the USA from my cell phone and I have been here just temporary, but for that moment would be great to have any. Fortunately she was all right. I had to do some work later on, so we decided to use taxi to get to our apartment.
The trip there was very interesting. There was a really funny Japanese guy. He was seventy, but very alive. He was like Jagjit in a Japanese edition. I asked him something and he used lots of jokes in his answer. He expected we saw San Francisco for the first time, both of us. However, the big fun was when we met a guy in the middle of the road. The driver was really surprise, he thought the man on the road was going to kill us he said and America is crazy he added afterwards. I wanted to share the great atmosphere with my girlfriend, but she was a little bit nervous about the luggage.
We reached our apartment quite early. I finished some work and showed my girlfriend everything important. On Thursday Pepa Vitek celebrated an important anniversary. The second most important thing was a deployment of a project which Pepa made. I gave him a hand without any hesitation and Pepa prepared a very comprehensive manual and all steps were very straightforward for me. I was very satisfied that I could help Pepa and I think he had also great times. For his birthday he went surfing and saw some whales what is usually a great thing. Another cool thing was when I read string of emails with words of success. A project I took part in was a great success. In a short time Aaron and me implemented a very interesting prototype and I believed in great results almost all the time, because as I said many times, Aaron leadership was amazing. It was a big pleasure to work with him on this project. I also recognized that Cyber Duck is a very good tool which had helped me a lot to deliver a great value.
Petr Cvengros prepared a very good training about RestAPI. He share with us some important information about useful tools and techniques. We worked with Techcrunch API. Even the query was simple, was amazing to construct it and the Kissinger question how many articles Roman Stanek had on techcrunch had been answered. I returned from work quite early. With my girlfriend we decided to wait for her luggage. We were a little bit nervous and unfortunately it wasn’t delivered during Thursday therefore on Friday morning I called to that messenger company and asked for explanation. Fortunately they had her luggage, but had some troubles to deliver it. He confirmed he would deliver during the day again.
I took a cellphone with an American sim card and pushed some credit there. I had some troubles, but Pepa helped me recognized the sim card was from a virtual operator here and I visited their page and finally my task was solved. I wanted to push some credit, because they would charge you not just for outcoming calls, but also for the incoming ones and I wanted to make sure I have enough money for the luggage task. I was keeping my eye on that cell phone almost whole day and I was successful. A messenger called me the language is ready. Helca had been already there and everything was all right. Helca was also surprised how some things in the USA are very simple. The messenger didn’t required her ID or any flight document. He just asked her if she waited for the luggage and gave her this one without any problem.
The rest of the day was dedicated for the celebration of the quarter. Tomas Svarovsky had a special wine for this event. Before the final celebration happened, David Howard came to me and asked a question if I was able to terminate someone’s access rights. Unfortunately some people didn’t pass through the quarter and had to leave company. Our HR specialist sent an email. For the first moment I though it is a bad message for me, but it was just about some technical problems with the facility. The final celebration was short, but great. We drank some beer and talked to each other. There was lots of beer in our kitchen. Bernadette also said that San Francisco is most romantic city in the world. The rest of the people there thought it was Paris, but probably San Francisco had some hidden gems. I left the office quite early and went to our apartment to be with my girlfriend.
We had quite big plans for the weekend. On Saturday we woke up quite early, relaxed and went out to catch a taxi. It was quite easy and our first stop was a Golden Gate Park. The driver was from India. A very nice guy who told us a lot of interesting information about his country. Helca had got a special card from British Airways as an apologize for the luggage delay. It was a debit card with $50 cash. We stopped at California Sciences Academy. We bought a ticket and went inside. Our goal was to explore this place as deep as possible. Our first stop was the aquarium. I recommended that place and we really enjoyed the atmosphere there. After a lunch in a local restaurant we went to the earthquake house. A really long queue turned into a nice experience. I have experienced earth quake few times, the most significantly in New Zealand. The simulations in California Sciences Academy were the ones from 1989 and 1906.
We also saw a Living roof and a special botanic garden with lots of butterflies all over the place. We had also a quick snack. We sat outside and the atmosphere was amazing. The sun was shining and we were thinking about people in the Czech Republic and the cold weather there. We had just to use some suncream. When we finished our tour in the California Science Academy, we went outside to have a great walk. Our plan was to rent bikes there and explore the whole park. After some hesitations we really did it and realized our plan. We used a particular bike paths next to the road. We were really careful due to bigger amount of cars. Our goal was to go to the coastline, close to the Cliff house and back to the bike rental place. We had seen many beautiful areas. I liked the windmills the most. Last time when we were at Cliff House, I asked Pavel Kolesnikov about these buildings and I really wanted to go there.
The coastline itself was fantastic. We rode our bikes along and were at Cliff House. We were wondering how easy would be to get to Golden Gate Bridge, but due to worse weather we decided to returned. And it was a bright decision, because on our way back it started raining heavily. Even the worse condition we had still a great time. We returned our bikes on time and went to find a taxi. Unfortunately it was quite late and there were none in the park. We decided to go closer to the main road. We had seen some cabs, but very rarely and nobody wanted to stop. After a while we continued with walking up to Geary blvd. and take a taxi there. On our way there I was waving on a car because I thought it was a taxi. Unfortunately it was a pizza driver. However, everything was all right on Geary street and we cough a taxi very quickly there. We decided to stop at the Safeway supermarket close to our apartment. We bought some stuff and returned home to prepare a great dinner – a chicken with bread. I was really tired, but very happy and couldn’t wait for Sunday when we decided to go to Golden Gate Bridge with my girlfriend.
We woke up quite early, but left our apartment later on. Before we did that, I wanted to go to a hairdresser. Unfortunately everything was closed. Helca talked to her parents and sister. When we left our apartment the weather was still very good. We were walking around Fisherman Wharf, next to a harbor and the Fort Mason. I was wondering if John Mason from the Rock movie had the name based on this area. We found a supermarket when we bought some snack. It was raining for a while. However, we decided to continue and hope the weather would be better. Before we reached Golden Gate Bridge we had a quick stop at Palace of Fine Arts. The place where John Mason met his daughter after some car chasing also in the Rock movie.
At the Golden Gate Bridge area we had some great photo opportunities. We also explored the special gift shop. They had some DVD with Vertigo movie, but it was really expensive. We bought some souvenirs and continued with our walk. We crossed our bridge. I hoped we could finish everything very quickly, because I recognized I forgot my cell phone at the apartment and a new member of operations from the Czech Republic would be on the way to San Francisco and I was the only one who had some keys.
When we crossed the bridge we started wondering how to get to the nearest hills by walk. Fortunately we found a way quite easily. There was a car park and we had a quick conversation with a park patrol guy who recommended us a great way. We had a very nick walk and after ten minutes we were on the considered place. The weather was really great and we took some amazing pictures there. However, we were quite tired and decided to take a cab on our way back. We had a chance to do that after we crossed the bridge again, but fortunately there was a waiting taxi driver in his car on a car park. He was a very nice guy and after 10 minutes we were at our apartment. We expected Tomas Klouda would be there also, but when I checked my cell phone I read about some problems with the flight and some delay. For the rest of Sunday we just relaxed and prepared some things for our vacation here.
In my previous two articles I described my sunburn during skiing in Lake Tahoe area and how things went pretty well and my face was recovered during one week. I went to work on Monday, a week ago, and my colleagues registered this positive change. I still had to answer lots of questions, but everything was fine again. My luck changes for the better every day.
The last week was a pretty standard one in many ways. There was more a more work and I had the same time for solving them. To become a very effective person means I have to find a way how to cope with all of them as effectively as possible, what is not always easy as it could be. At the same moment I have to work on two quite difficult tasks with very tight deadlines and both of them need lots of attention.
Pepa Vitek is a very creative guy. Few months ago, when he was in Prague, he build a special meeting room called GoodBoth from cardboard boxes. This construction was very popular and served well during some meetings when there was required more space than usual. Few days ago Pepa built another version of GoodBoth, called GoodBoth lite. It is not a full meeting room as before, but still a very useful hand set. You can simply put the special construction on when you need more space for yourself. While Pepa was building this extended version of GoodBoth, Aaron Myhre thought he was going to crazy and told me I am fully responsible for him. I described that everything is all right, Pepa just wanted to demonstrate his creativity and day after Aaron himself used this version of GoodBoth and seemed very satisfied. A funny situation was when Pepa was ready to put GoodBoth on and Courtney did her best to stop him. Wait, wait, she said. That is not for me, it is for Aaron, Pepa replied.
There is also such an English corner in GoodData, not concentrated only for explaining vocabulary, but also for spelling and grammar. Some people were confused with Jira and Jiri. The clear description was that Jira is a tool, Jiri a name. Courtney also described me the meaning of phrasal verb knock out. Romeo asked for some help with English grammar. He wanted to incorporate some further tense structures according to his description, but I recognized he was wondering more about present perfect continuous one. Present perfect what, he asked. However, I understand this. I had an advantage because I had learnt English as a foreign language. In the Czech Republic the beginner lessons are more focused on grammar more than conversations. It is going better fortunately, but on the other hand I was able to help Romeo with this this grammar question quite easily. As English native speakers don’t have problems with proper English usage, they use everything automatically as well as I speak Czech without a deep knowledge of grammar.
There was also some confusions during last week. Guilherme arrived from Prague and considered me as Petr Olmer. Ben sent some suggestion to a different Radek in our company. Fortunately Radek is a pretty rare name in GoodData. On Thursday I celebrated my “name” day. Here in the USA and probably in whole English speaking world it is not common, but in the Czech Republic almost each name has assigned a day in calendar. Based on this one we had also an interesting conversation about names. We reminded Miroslav Satan, a NHL player from Slovakia. His surname sounds very respectable. I was confused when I saw Tomas Svarovsky and Avinash Mandava. From some point of view their aperrance was very similar and I had to double checked if I spoke with the correct person, because I had had quite frequent conversation with both of them. In last week we had also some discussions about movie Falling Down with Michael Douglas in the main role.
Romeo also mentioned survey for the training we had two weeks ago. He told us the survey should be filled very quickly. He was right, it took me just few minutes. The most work I had was to answer a question about my biggest progress. I had no doubt in my mind I know the answer. If somebody talks a lot and all his words are just irrelevant information, I will ask lots of questions to shut his mouth up, I replied and the survey was successfully sent. Quite interesting was discussion between Andrew Lee and Martin Hapl about sending passwords in a secure way. The focus of GoodData is clear. To spend lots of dollars to keep security as the highest priority. Andrew is a very nice guy, but he mentioned something very special. He told for him is possible to keep a password in his mind. I believe it is possible and everyone who is interested in, I can strongly recommend a really cool techniques from Gregor Staub and you can learn a lot of useful techniques about keeping as many information as possible in you mind. There is no problem to remember a really long numbers if necessary. I was wondering about this and I think it is cool, but for keeping some productivity is better to use a specialized tool.
I also had a chance to meet Daniel Zing, one of our consultant much better. He is probably very good at marital arts. During lunch he practiced some kicks around his table. Last two days in last week he worked from a weeding of his friend. We usually use WFH what is an abbreviation for work from home, but for this situation it should be WFW.
On Thursday there was open a specialized shop in the shopping mall next door. Cindy told me about that after lunch and wanted me to join her, Holly, Juraj and Ray. We went there through a special entrance inside the building where GoodData is situated. We saw that many people are interested in. Stephen and Avinash talked to camera, we went directly to taste some cupcakes which were very delicious. On our way back we did a quick excursion to Wales Fargo bank. The entrance was at the other end of hallway in the same building, 111 Sutter. The atmosphere there was very cool. I also met probably the most successful salesman in GoodData history. Juraj also told me some TV channels were changed. He likes some TV series and fortunately he found some new TV channels which he can watch. I also saw one of the most interesting TED speech ever.
People in our team in Prague are also very creative and prepared a special event. They put on some suits and created some photos based on some series themes. A very cool one was The Suits one. The photo was very awesome and was very popular here in the United States of America. Romeo seemed very proud and was wondering about settings a casual day here in San Francisco. I haven’t seen many positive reactions, but I remember some feedback for the photos. Some people were wondering about the utilization. Without a doubt I replied the team in Prague took these pictures either early in the morning or later afternoon. Courtney also enjoyed the original theme photo and asked if these guys worked in Prague. Unfortunately it was just a photo from the Suits series.
The plan for the weekend was to go skiing. Everything went much better than before. We rent some ski gears on Thursday and prepared everything for a great weekend. Jagjit proposed me he should brought some suncream, but I was also prepared for this situation. When we rent our gear I also bought a ski mask and from last time I had some cream already. Everything was perfectly planned, but we left the city quite late unfortunately. I bought some important water in San Francisco and waited until Pepa sent me a message. He was on time at my apartment, but we found a problem there. His headlight didn’t work and was necessary to buy a new bulb there.
We stopped at a petrol station while we were on the way to Petr Cvengros’ place, took some petrol and ask for a bulb. Unfortunately they didn’t have. We took Petr at his place and I asked him if he had some Subaru bulbs what would be a great coincident. Unfortunately without a success. So we had a great sightseeing tour in San Francisco during the night with one goal – to find a bulb for Pepa’s right headlight. Not many shops were opened, Pepa had to ask in Walgreens and some other petrol stations. Not a success at all.
Pepa remembered there should be some in Walmart. A special retail shop where you can probably buy everything. These shops are usually outside of cities, fortunately one of them were on our way, just in the middle of Richmond. I fell asleep for a while, but when I woke up we were at a car park next to that Walmart. I looked around and saw a lots of Afroamerican guys. It was a big surprise and I remembered many great movies with some extraordinary Afroamerican actors and I hoped most of them around that Walmart are very nice guys. We went to Walmart and fortunately found a bulb for Pepa’s Subaru.
When we returned Pepa started fixing the light issue. It was a problem to get there in a easy way, but after a while everything was all right. Some people around were quite curious and either offered a help or just started talking to us. Light was fixed after a while and we could finally continue to Lake Tahoe. I guess it was 11pm when we left Richmond. I also think the drive was all right, even I slept almost whole time. I remembered we had a quick stop at the same petrol station as before and used an American version of Toi Toi toilets.
We reached Lake Tahoe quite late, but we were very happy to be there. Accommodation was very good, a two bed room for three people. It was our plan to take an air flow bed for me. There was a pump and it took some time to prepare this bed, but it was worth. Not only because of physical training, but also for the experience. I have to say I had a very amazing sleep and not only in my dreams I was very excited for next morning when we had a plan to go to Homewood, the most beautiful resort according to some posters.
In the morning we woke up quite early and prepared everything for an amazing day. Based on my sunburn I used a lots of suncream. We packed all our important stuff and went for some breakfast to our favorite restaurant. I ordered a very good sandwich, Pepa bought an orange juice which was a little bit frozen as an ice-cream. We hoped we could meet somebody from our office, but also without any success.
At Homewood resort we unpacked all our things and went to take a day tickets. We had already bought these ticket through Liftopia. Unfortunately they had a special system for Liftopia customers and we had to wait for a while, they had to leave their seats. When we had our tickets, we found a nearest lift chair and started enjoying our day.
The funny thing was I had some incidents on lift chairs. The first one hit me to my back and some special sounds came from my mouth and maybe once or twice I fell down from that chair. Fortunately at the last stage, not above the mountains. In the United States is not required to have lift chairs with some safety bars. It is one of the difference between Europe and the USA. I thought people should complain about that, but everyone seems very happy and probably doesn’t care so much.
The skiing was very good. Unfortunately the quality of snow was a little bit worse than 14 days ago. There were some slopes I was able to achieve before, but not that Saturday. However, we didn’t care so much. The best thing was we had some great chances to take some pictures. Later on we found a restaurant just in the middle of a slope. We bought some delicious hot dogs and some beer and cider. There was also a DJ. Not David Jez from GoodData, but a real one from Lake Tahoe. Such a great atmosphere to relax and take some pictures there. Pepa had a GoPro and was able to record his skiing techniques.
I used lots of suncream during the day and also was very happy I had my ski mask. When we finished we decided to eat out. There was an restaurant not far from Tahoe city. A very nice place with possibility to eat very close to a river. We ordered some food and sat outside to enjoy everything. I observed the river and looked at fishes, but there was none. There was just an organism, seemed a little bit as a octopus, but more as an alien we agreed. Before we returned home we had a stop at a cafe in Tahoe city. The funny thing there was an advertisement for Doggie style where you could buy one clothes for your dog. Maybe Anthony Lin would be interested. I also returned a helm I rent. I originally rent it for whole weekend, but Petr told me our next stop would be on our way home and we didn’t return to Tahoe city. They refunded me some money for earlier return and we went back at our motel afterwards. We watched some GoPro videos and were really excited to go to Sugar Bowl – our next stop.
Next day we woke up quite early. We had quite delay, but we packed everything, returned the keys and went for a breakfast to our favorite place. I used some suncream again, but unfortunately some of it was in my eyes. It was quite unpleasant, just few minutes before I ordered my food. There were lots of tears in my right eye and I couldn’t stop it. Fortunately I found toilet quite easily and clean my eye with some water. It was going to be much better.
We continued with driving to Sugar Bowl. The destination was quite long and unfortunately we missed the exit. Fortunately we found another one when we turned around and went back on a highway, backuped with a navigation system. We found a way, but recognized it is not always a great idea to listen to GPS literally. The sweet woman voice navigated us somewhere, from where was necessary to return as quick as possible to reduce our delay. We followed our intuition and the signs and we found an ideal car park a really close to some great slopes.
We unpacked our stuff and went to get some tickets. We had also a reservation, so we got our tickets very quickly. I had some troubles to fit this ticket to my jacket, but Petr helped me. I also rent another helm and after a while we started skiing. First two hours together and we decided to split afterwards. Petr went with Pepa to some very difficult ones, I was happy to improve my skills on some medium slopes. I was not in a rush, so I had some great photo opportunities. I was also filming some of my skiing creations with lots of hope I didn’t break my camera. Once I fell down so interestingly and my camera was full of snow. Fortunately it survived.
I had to take some break, bought some drink and food and I returned on slope after 15 minutes of a rest. I continued with improving my still. Even the snow wasn’t perfect, I really enjoyed the atmosphere there. I had also some great conversations on lift chairs. There was a guy from the USA who worked in Prague for a while for instance. There was also a racing event and it was nice to observe some very talented children how they defeated their opponents quite easily. Late afternoon I returned close to the car park and did some final skiing. I was quite tired, but utilized whole time as I could. I met with Pepa and Petr and summarized the experience. We agreed the helm was quite useful. Petr accidentally broke his ski poles. I returned the helm I rent and we were on our way home.
We had just quick stop at a restaurant close to Sugar Bowl area. We ordered some food and drink, I asked for three glasses of orange juice. We had some good burgers for a dinner and also enjoyed the special atmosphere there. There was almost nobody and the staff could fully concentrated on us. We hoped the rest of our trip will be without any problem. And we were right, even we experienced some heavy traffic, the trip was very straightforward and we returned back to San Francisco at 9pm.
In my last article I mentioned my sunburn during skiing in Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately I underestimated the impact of sunshine in mountains and my face was particularly remarked. I was sure everything should be all right after few days, but I returned from mountains during Sunday night and I had to go to the office next morning. I really hoped the situation would be better next morning, but it wasn’t and I had to explain everyone what happened during Monday.
Since Monday morning everyone had been surprised, especially when they found I didn’t use any suncream. I didn’t want to do that for some reasons. A very funny moment was when Cliff asked Petr Cvengros whether we survived our weekend trip or not. Radek not really, Petr said and Cliff went to check the situation with Roman. Both were very surprised and I probably never forget the moment when I was walking in a hallway and saw Roman at the other end of the hallway and how easily he was able to recognize me from the long distance. I bought some Aloe Vera cream and started apply on my face on Monday. The first two days were the worst. However, there was an unique opportunity to meet Matt Maudlin from Indianapolis on Tuesday. He also recognized me quite easily and we had a very quick chat about work.
A quite special day was Wednesday. We had a company training for improving some of our soft skills. I preferred to stay at work because there were some important tasks we had to finish by end of the week, but the participation of all team members was more than welcomed, therefore I woke up very early and did my best to be there on time. At the reception desk I met Cliff and some other members of our team. The clark wanted to see my ID and when he recognized I was from the Czech Republic, he mentioned his ability to speak a very little Czech. To get to particular training area I had to use an elevator and reach 15th floor. Quite a nice trip, I really like these fast elevators in skyscrapers.
When I was there I had some troubles to find that office. Fortunately I remembered the exact door number. I went in after a while and saw Romeo and other people. I sat down, unpacked my laptop and ate some breakfast. We had an issue with internet connectivity and Romeo asked me for a help. I had no idea how to solve this, but fortunately Pepa Vitek found a workaround which worked perfectly. I sat with Eric, Courtney, Romeo, Cliff and Andrew at the same table. The tutor was very nice, but very strict. We were able to get some special points if we kept all rules and knew answers for the bonus questions. I liked the geography ones, but one the other hand final points were decreased when anyone broke up any rule and was late at the table after a break for instance. That was a reason why we lost some points when Romeo was gone. He and some other people had to solve some tasks and they hadn’t told her about their plans at the beginning and the lady was very strict.
However, she also asked some interesting questions. After I replied the more I know the more work I have, everyone started laughing. The whole day was quite interesting, even all these things were quite straighforward if people have a common sense, wasn’t a bad idea to come through whole material. We had some breaks and a very good lunch. Plenty of sandwiches with some good drinks. I only hoped these drinks were a part of GoodData order, because I took them directly from a company fridge. The training went great and we had also a chance to improve our creativity. There were some sort of fashion colored strings. You could change the shape in your hand quite easily. I don’t know the name, but all of us crated very cool things. Jagjit some glasses for instance.
For the evening there was prepared a dinner in a restaurant quite close to GoodData headquarters. We returned back to our offices for a while and went directly to that restaurant. There was an reservation for Daniel Zing and we knew we were at the right place. There had been some people already. We took a place and order some food and drinks. Later on some other people came, Matt Maudlin included. It was very nice evening, some people from US GoodData received a company gift for their great results. There was another opportunity to talk about my sunburn. Romeo and Cliff told me it hurt them to look at me. Mike Connors sat close to us. We talked about Texas and the difference in the education system there. He thinks there is more religion in the education than in the rest of the US. It is hard to say, but I have still in my mind the French materials from University of Austin which were very amazing. Anyway, Matt is a great party boy and it had been a big pleasure to meet him and talk to him personally. I hope I will have a chance to visit Indianapolis any day. However, I went home quite early.
On Thursday series of incidents were prepared for me. Such a great chance to practice the training material. I wanted to solve the main problems, but there also were some issues with access rights. As a result I got some special ones which helped me to prepare whole fix just by myself. However, it delayed my regular tasks I planned to finish. Even there was another company happy hour and people from support really want me to go with them, I decided to stay and finish everything. Everything went really great. I also believe the company happy hour was great according to Juraj’s reactions. On Thursday also Jirka Tobolka left the US and returned back to the Czech Republic. I wish he could stay longer, but still I probably never forget our Lake Tahoe trip.
Friday was the day of huge victories. My face was also almost all right finally. Since Monday my appearance converted from a native American look, through Michael Jackson style (when nobody knew if any part of my head fell down), back to a handsome guy from Prague. ) The whole Friday was amazing. Some important project were signed off and Cindy Au had a birthday. I wanted to give her a surprise as she did a week before, but I had no idea what to prepare. Suddenly there was an idea in my mind and remembered the funny strings from the training. I took some of them, decomposed few of my masterpieces and created a handmade present for Cindy. According to her reactions she was happy about that and shared that present with some of her friends.
That day was also important for Tomas Svarovsky. He celebrated the fifth anniversary in GoodData. Bernadette brought a special chocolate cake which was very delicious. Tomas had an idea to go to a pub. I wanted to go there for a while, because there were still some tasks I had to finish. Before we left our office we met Roman Stanek and Michael Gear. Both of them recommended me to use suncream. With Tomas, Pepa and Gautam we went out to find a place in our favorite bar. Unfortunately there was not enough space. On our way back we met Roman again in his car and after a while Courtney waiting for us. Fortunately we found a place in a bar close to our office. Gautam invited us for some drinks and our great evening just began.
We talked about Prague with Courtney and Gautam and tried to describe the center of competence in our team. Courtney thinks Jan Cisar is a very nice guy. I think so. However, we recommended Gautam to visit Prague and meet our team and talk to Jiri Stovicek and Pepa Pithart personally. At the first moment Gautam thought we are kidding him, but I strongly believe it is a great idea. Since I have been here, I see many things from a little bit different perspective and the direct contact is very important. Some people were also interested in my body language and tried to repeat it in some situations. Not far from the moment we started some other people came. Tom Kolich followed by Petr Cvengros and Hubert Palan. We also met there a person I met on the street few weeks ago. I don’t know his name properly, but I reminded him some things and he was surprised how much information he shared with me. I introduced him to my colleagues and talked about random meetings on streets.
I returned back to our office quite soon. Victor at the reception recognized me and he didn’t required my sign. I could go to our office very easily and finish my work. Things went really great and I was really happy. I grabbed my Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and went home directly. Juraj and Ray went to San Diego and had to look after our apartment by myself. When you read this article, they are still gone, but when Juraj return, he will be probably surprise in a nice way.
During my weekend I wanted to relax little bit. Tomas recommended me to visit California Academy of Science and water world there. I was pretty excited. In the morning I used some suncream and went out to catch a taxi. The driver was very nice and we had an interesting conversation. We talked about the United States, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. He wished he could stay in London longer and worked there in a cinema, but was really difficult to get a work permit. After a while he dropped me close to the part of Golden Gate Park where that Academy of Science was situated. I went to buy a ticket and used my credit card to buy a one. Unfortunately he wanted to see my ID and I left my password at my apartment. Fortunately my signature on a blank paper was enough and he accepted it. The ticket was quite expensive, but very worth.
In New Zealand I really liked the mechanical interactive things. However, I think the Americans are much far and all these things are really amazing. There was an earthquake house, the planetarium and some dinosaurs bones. Haven’t seen T-rex bones before, so I had to take some photos immediately. However, I went directly to the aquarium. Tomas was right and the area was very nice. I respected the rules and didn’t take photos in some exhibitions even these animals were very beautiful. The rest were quite photogenic . I had seen some giant fishes and I was also impressed by some medusas. If you have a chance to go there I really recommend to visit this place.
On my way back I bought some lunch in California Academy of Science building and was looking for a bottle opener. However, those bottles were able to open without any extra tool how I recognized later. Quite interesting thing was to observe scientists during work. I went also to a shop to buy some souvenirs. Before I left the Golden Gate Park completely I did some quick walks around. I think it is really an unique place. A very large area which can take whole day to explore. I was wondering to rent a bike and do some tours arounds, but my memory cards had started to be full. I just walked around some special trees and a Japanese garden before I called another taxi. It was very beautiful and I think the suncream was useful, because the sun was shining really strongly again.
The next taxi driver was from Egypt originally. He left the country after Arab Spring. He lived in New York City, but he moved to San Francisco which he really likes. We talked about pyramids and some other beauties of this African country. There were some traffic jams and we had a long time to talk about. My next stop was Mission San Francisco de Asís – the oldest building in San Francisco. I know this building from Vertigo movie and I wanted to see it personally. He dropped me really close to that building and I took some photos. Due to memory limit on my memory card I had to delete some of the oldest photos. I bought a quick tour and went inside the church and temple. Even I believe just in myself, not any god at all, I really liked the atmosphere there. There were some organ (the instrument) and a very involved organist. I just stopped and listen to beautiful melodies there.
When I went outside I wanted to find the famous cemetery there. I wanted to find a grave of Carlotta Valdes known from that movie as well, but I was not successful. I just took some last photos and returned back to Mission street and went directly to the BART. I am sure I will visit Mission San Francisco de Asís one more time with my girlfriend and take some more photos. The whole area was very beautiful and remarkable. When I returned back I had played with my Amazon Kindle and learnt how to use this gadget. There were a lot of people around the downtown due to Saint Patrick day. I will plan to explore the Silicon Valley more in next week. Stay tuned.
The last week was very special. After my Portland trip I was a little bit sick, but I slept well on Monday and felt much better next day. However, probably the most important thing was that Jiri Tobolka arrived. He came on Tuesday into office and sat at the sales engineering sector. I was looking at him by myself, but without any success. However, he wrote me his location and I went there. He sat next to a lady from sales department. Unfortunately I don’t know her name, but I think she is a director of sales enablement in GoodData. It was easy to recognize Jirka because he had also some board games for Pavel Kolesnikov on his table. We had a quick conversation and was a very nice to see him there.
Jiri knows our platform very well and was able to help people from support with some tasks directly. They deserve it because Holly, Cindy and Ray need a hand from someone very technical, especially when the customer is on the phone. Holly also came to me and we talked about a project developed by Ales Pouzar. I analyzed the situation and told her about Ales and how is he a nice guy and a diligent worker and I was sure he can help quickly and effectively if we describe him problem precisely. I was right.
Another very special moment was visiting http://milujipraci.cz/ website. Some of my colleagues from the Czech Republic spread this page among us. It is a really funny, especially if people from the USA want us to translate the meaning of the content. In a nutshell, it is about fixing a special model of tractor from Slovakia during a training session on a Vocational school in the Czech Republic. Not far from the beginning of their trainingthey found it was hardly possible to fix some standard components and they had to decompose whole tractor probably. Unfortunately it could take him all day and their foreman was going mad due of these complications. Somebody cut the best quotes from this video and prepare a website http://milujipraci.cz/ . Quite interesting thing is a scalability of these quotes and fact that it is possible to apply them everywhere. Even some people don’t understand the excact meaning, they started to use particular parts during various situations in last week.
For the Tuesday evening Ray had an idea to eat out. We created quite a big group and decided to go to Limon Rotisserie on Valencia street. It was quite far, so we went there by taxi. Ray is probably an expert in catching cabs, because we sat there very quickly. The trip during the nigh was quite remarkable. The driver probably wanted to earn more money and used much longer way. However, we had been there very quickly before the second cab arrived. Holly a little bit hesitated, she was on her way home, but she decided to join afterwards. We went to the restaurant and sat on the first floor at booked table. We ordered some food and I think the whole night was amazing. Another surprise was that Ray paid the whole order. It was very nice from him and I hope I will have a chance to return him his great hospitality. We talked about many things like traveling and our conversation continued outside of restaurant.
I had always wondered about the right pronunciation of some US cities, especially San Jose. In the Czech language we have a special letter in our alphabet with particular pronunciation (very difficult for English speaking people) and I had always used the Czech pronunciation when I talked about San Jose. However, it was time to make a chance and I asked Holly about how she pronounce it. I heard it many times and I was practicing a lot. We saw some bikes and I said they must be from San Jose as well as some random cars on streets. I tried to compose San Jose everywhere. On our way back we used BART. Such an interesting experience to buy a ticket for it, but on the other hand the trains are very similar to ones I know from Europe. We reached the center and were walking back home.
Another very important day was Wednesday. I celebrated my birthday. In the morning Holly wished me all the best and I told her something very important – the right pronunciation of San Jose. Such an interesting coincident was that Aaron Heise also celebrated his birthday. Holly and Cindy wanted to surprise us and gave us two special cakes and sang happy birthday. For me it was a very strong moment I probably never forget. Thank you one more time. I also experienced a visit of people from Futurelytics who helped me during my beginnings. Even our ways are completely different now, that was a great see them and talk to them after a long time. Jirka Tobolka and Petr Cvengros also joined us.
We were looking for a restaurant. They wanted to use taxi, I was wondering about BART. We decided the BART. Unfortunately I was a bad navigator and we left the station sooner than we expected. On the other hand we had quite a nice walk and saw some other very interesting places. However, we took a taxi afterwards. I was thinking about the language the driver was talking. I hadn’t understood a single word he said until he use a phrase “look at that”. There was a woman on a wheelchair in the middle of road. We reached the considered street and went to some nearest restaurant around. I think the whole evening was very nice. I was also happy I received a postcard from my amazing girlfriend from Prague. Such a nice surprise.
Thursday was also very nice day. During the day I saw Hector and his training session in jogging in our offices. Quite an interesting activity how to utilize our large spaces there. Courtney and Tom told me about one project they considered to assign on me few weeks ago. They decided to assign it to Tereza Cihelkova. Even I want to solve as many problems as possible, I think they chose wisely, I replied and added that Tereza is a very skilled solution engineer and technically and personally very great. Tom and Courtney seemed to be very excited afterwards. I also prepared some initial implementation for an important client. I worked many hours during the afternoon and evening to make sure everything would be prepared properly. We also discussed with Jagjit, Mike and Jirka Tobolka we should prepare a sync in the morning. We had to customize a solution and it seemed we lose some information.
I felt little bit tired in the morning, but I was happy I prepared everything on time. However, on Friday morning Adrian Toman wrote me a gtalk message about some technical issues with one of our warehouse. This information came in a really inopportune moment. I was coming to that meeting with Jirka, Jagjit and Mike and I was chatting to Adrian about this problem and was happy Jirka could help me and described everything important to Jagjit. We decided to keep everything as it was and invite some people from customer site to validate some results. There is probably an issue, but I hope the most of the project is all right and we would be able to fix the rest after some client validations.
We had also a special sync. For a while Holly thought Aaron Myhre knows Czech while we were watching shared screen and a gtalk conversation there. However that screen belonged to someone else. The funny thing was when I wrote an email to Aaron and I wrote it also in Czech. It seemed I was quite tired and very excited to go skiing with Petr Cvengros, Jirka Tobolka and Pepa Vitek. We rent some important gear and decided to go to Lake Tahoe. Before we left our office we experienced some other funny situations. Ravi played basketball in our office and Romeo learned some impolite words. I also met David Nuffer and a very cute baby of Amit Marwah. Due to technical issues with some of our hardware I coordinated every step with Juraj Hornak to make sure I hadn’t broke anything before our trip.
When the time came, Cliff wished us all the best and with our group we went for a dinner. We had a very special Vietnamese specialities in a Chinatown restaurant. Petr went home afterwards to pack his stuff. With Pepa and Jiri we went to buy some things for us. Especially a jacket and a pair of trousers suitable for skiing. We went at my place and I went to pack my things and returned back to car. However, on the way to Pepa’s place I recognized I forgot my gloves and cap. When Pepa parked he invited us to his place. The entrance was amazing, such in a Stephen King movie. However he showed us a roof terasse there and it was another great experience. A very nice view all around.
Pepa’s apartment was also a very cool place. We were waiting until he packed all important things and left the place together. Suddenly Pepa remembered we forgot some things and returned back to his place. When we got it we planned our next stop. It was my apartment and my forgotten gloves and cap. We had some problems with parking, but I was very fast at that time and returned back very soon. We could finally stop at Jirka’s hotel. While we were waiting I decided to leave our car and bought some water. It was about eight liters. Seemed like pretty much, but I believed we could drink it quite quickly.
Our last stop in San Francisco was Petr Cvengros’s apartment. We grabbed all our stuff, ski gears and left the city. Our plan was to leave San Francisco at 5pm, in reality it was 9pm when we left. We came through Oakland and directly to Lake Tahoe close to Nevada borders. The trip was really long, but great.
PetrPepa told us about Oakland cranes and the inspiration for George Lucas and his At At Walkers. I was also considering the sense of some capital cities in the US. We had a quick stop at a petrol station to grab some petrol (and food). However the trip went great and we arrived after a few hours, accommodated in a motel called Lake Tahoe Inn and went to bed quite early.
In the morning we packed some of our things and went to Tahoe city. Pepa prepared a quick sightseeing tour and crossed Nevada-California border in no time. We needed some breakfast. Our first stop was a small restaurant. This place was special because there was possible to meet some people from GoodData. Pepa and Petr met Jim Olness there few months ago. Even he is gone from our company we had some opportunities to remember this moment. When we finished our breakfast we returned back to our car and continue with driving to the Homewood – a place where we spent whole Saturday.
We arrived there quite early, bough tickets and started to enjoy atmosphere all around. Our plan was to check as many slopes as possible. We used a lift chair and wanted to reach the first bigger peak. I experienced a small surprise. Most of the lift chairs here were without a safe bar and it was quite easy to fall down if something bad happen. However everything was all right. On the first slope I recognized very quickly how Petr, Jirka and Pepa are extremely good skiers. For me it was the fourth time on the ski, but I also want to enjoy this special event as much as possible. They took me through some more difficult terrain. It was very good to cope with this, but on the other hand they had to wait for a while when I arrived.
The standard slopes were all right. The bigger problem was the raw snow on some slopes. I wanted to try it, but my every step led to big fall. That was the first time I regret I don’t have a helm. However I did my best to cope with this terrain. We were going to another slope. What a surprise there was another raw terrain. I was a little bit negative, but in fact there was no worries in my mind and I decided to continue with these difficult terrains and I made it, even it took me a long time. On the other hand there were some extraordinary sceneries and I enjoyed the atmosphere there. Jiri and Petr also met a girl who set up her own startup and had some experience with GoodData support. They were quite close to create a deal for her.
The rest of the Saturday was all right, Petr, Pepa and Jirka went to some very difficult terrain, I was utilizing traditional slopes. We met after an hour and continued together. I think it worked perfectly. Even they were much better we enjoyed whole day in Homewood very well. During the evening we had a great time in a Japanese restaurant with Pepa’s cousin Dusan, his son and friends. They live in the USA and went also skiing for a weekend. Even had seen them for a while I had to say they are very nice people. I think we had a great evening. Pepa’s great roof terrace was remembered a lot.
During the evening we returned back to our hotel. I was very tired so I fell asleep pretty soon. In the morning there was necessary to change the clock due to daily saving time. I woke up quite early. We drank some water and prepared everything for another day. I use suncream very rarely and I decided to don’t do that at that time. It wasn’t probably my best decision, as I recognized later, but I was fully concentrated on the Sunday experience. We packed our things, returned keys and went to the same place in Tahoe city as on Saturday. We met there Pepa’s cousin and his friend again. Such a great coincident, again. There was also a double of Jan Holcapek from GoodData ROLAP team. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of him, but I really though that was him.
Our next step was Squaw Valley, a really extraordinary place where the Olympics games happened in 1960. We arrived quite soon and even the place was much more expensive, the atmosphere was extraordinary. We bought a ticket and used a special cable car to move up to the hills. Where is possible to ski, Pepa asked couple minutes before we left the cabin. However, next few minutes proved limit was going to be a big fun. The terrain was awesome. Even no much experience on my side, there was a lot of space to improve. Not only in skiing, but also in technical fields. I had also seen my first Pipe Dragon in my life.
Around midday we went for a lunch. We found a restaurant just in the middle of mountain. A very nice place with a remarkable terrace. Like Pepa’s one, but with the different sceneries. Not skyscrapers, but just mountains. After a lunch we continued with skiing. I really enjoyed every slope I went on. I knew my limits and every step was worth. Pepa had also a meeting with his cousin at 3pm and I decided to continue on my own by 4pm, to take some great photos and enjoy atmosphere on my own. On a lift chair I met a guy from Oakland and a person who really believed I had to be from Europe because not many people from the US consider about safe bars there.
I took some photos on the top and skied down and when the time came I returned back to the meeting place. Not far since I came I met Petr and Jirka. We bough some water and were waiting for Pepa who had some delay. When we finished we packed our stuff and decided to go back to San Francisco. The trip was much longer than before. There was an accident and also some long traffic jams close to Sacramento, the capital city of California. We had a stop somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, not far from Dutch Flat. We ordered some food and drank some water. I recognized my face is burned from the sun and covered by a red color. Maybe next time I will consider to use more suncream. Few minutes before we left the place I visited toilets and when I returned, somebody opened the kitchen door and hit me on my hand by the doors very strongly.
We returned back to San Francisco quite late. A great chance to see Civic Center. I wanted to finish this article during the night, but I was really tired. However, I must say the weekend was really amazing. Such a great pleasure to ski with phenomenal skiers as Pepa, Jirka and Petr really are. I really think my skills were improved rapidly and I hope it was not the last time for me I was there.
From my point of view traveling is one of the best thing ever. You should move from one place to another, enjoy the unique atmosphere which many places offer and meet a lot of interesting people. Some of them disappear very quickly, but on the other hand you should turn first impressions into a friendship in many situations if you are on the right place with the right people. I haven’t traveled much yet. I have visited some places in Europe and Africa for a vacation purposes and New Zealand where I spent 10 months.
I met some very nice people these and with some of them I am still in touch. One of these people is Jessica who I met in Wanaka. She is originally from Chicago, but she moved to Portland where she married and raised a family. With her husband they invited me to Portland to show me the some interesting places over there. I agreed and because Portland is very close to San Francisco it seemed as a very nice trip for a day or two off. I bought flight tickets and realized everything during last weekend.
Quite a long time I was thinking how to get to the San Francisco International airport early in the morning. I really wanted to use BART, what is a quite good public transport here in Bay Area, but my flight was scheduled very early therefore I decided to use taxi instead of. In fact, I was quite excited about this possibility, because I had been wondering how cool should be call a taxi by waving your hands. On Saturday I woke up very early, packed my things and went outside of my apartment to look for a cab. I was walking for a while when I saw the first taxi car. Unfortunately it was quite far away, but I decided to make a particular effort to catch this one. In a second I started to run very quickly. Not as Usain Bolt, but my speed was good enough to be there just before the driver stopped the car and took a waiting passenger he originally considered.
Unfortunately there was a complication. Even the second person and I had similar considered route (he wanted to stop at the first station of BART and I wanted to go to the airport) and the driver could make more money because the similar way for both of us, he wanted just to take just one of us for any reason. He probably was not agile enough I thought at the first moment and when I Iooked at him how he was leaving I was ready to find another taxi. However, the story with the previous one continues. Suddenly the driver probably imagined he would be able to make more money if he takes also me, so he started driving in a reverse, beeped and tried to keep my attention at all. He definitely changed his mind and took me despite his first decision.
Our trip to airport was all right. We talked a lot about his background. Was originally from San Francisco, but his ancestors came from many places in the world. Actually one of his parents was a native american. That is very rare because many people here are either immigrants or have parents who were immigrants before. A part of our discussion was about sport. I asked him some questions about American football and Super Bowl if he watched the final match. He was too disgusted he replied and remembered how 49ers (San Francisco team) used to be very good team before. The second passenger added some stories about Texas. I know that Texas is a very unique state. They have a little bit different education system for instance even the rest of the union is pretty standardized in this area. He was talking about night life there and about some troubles for the owner of some bars. If they want to close by 4 am, they should usually call sherifs, because some people simply don’t want to leave it.
The drive dropped me at the airport very quickly and the biggest surprise was I paid much less than I expected. However, the big fun just began. I was walking through the hall and tried to find an information about my connection. It was the easiest part. Unfortunately the departure was completely in a different section. I had had some experience just with international flights and I was wondering how to get there. I found a security and tried to cross a special line. They wanted me to show my ticket which was still online because I hadn’t printed it. So I was wondering how I can do a check in from a different place. Fortunately there were some special kiosks where you should place your passport and the ticket should come afterwards. I needed some help, but after a short explanation I understood whole system very well. Such a big success for me was a moment when I held my ticket in my hands. I passed the security, used a shuttle bus to get to another gate and was waiting for my departure.
Everything went really great. I sat on plane and was wondering how lucky I am to just buy a ticket and travel everywhere I want to. I sat on the 4C seat. There went a woman who seemed like she has a reservation for my place. Are you sitting on 4C seat, she asked. Yes, this is my reservation I replied. Really, she added. Can you please check your ticket, I proposed her. She did it and found her seat is somewhere in the 7th row. Her husband was very laughing about that and they apologized what they did. However, the next passenger proofed me I was actually sitting on 4D seat. I didn’t resist and moved next to him.
The flight was all right. I saw San Francisco from above what was another very nice experience. Another possibility to see how Golden Gate Bridge is a very massive construction. I had also seen Mount Shasta and (probably) Mount Hood few minutes before landing in Portland. After a successful landing some people wanted to leave the plane very quickly, but we had to wait for the ladders. At the airport I enjoyed the atmosphere all around even there was quite cold outside. After a while I found a place for arrivals and I was waiting for Jessica and Nick (her husband) there.
They had some delay, but I recognized them quite quickly and I was happy we found each other quite easily. I sat on their car and had a conversation with Jessica and Nick. They had their daughter Lexi with them on a back seat. We went to downtown and their told me some interesting information about Portland. It is not just a one city, but a place spread into many small towns. The city center was really close to the airport and after a while we were there. I really quickly recognized how unique atmosphere is all around. We parked in the center and were walking around. I have seen many important places there. You can hear many surnames for Portland. A city of roses. A city of beer. Another name should be probably a city of statues. The big surprise was to see a lots of statues everywhere.
The biggest one was Portlandia. According to wikipedia it seems as the second biggest statue in the United States of America, just after the Statue of Liberty. We walked around and I was simply impressed. Not only with the statue, but also with the whole atmosphere. I enjoyed watching traditional Porland tramways for example. In San Francisco I thing the public transport is good enough. There are buses, BART, trolleys and rarely tramways. In Portland there tramways are more frequented. San Francisco is considered as an European city, but actually Portland reminded me Europe much more.
We did some walk around the river. Another nickname for Portland should be a city of bridges. There are probably more bridges than in Prague. After a quick walk we returned back to our car and crossed the first bridge there – Hawthorne Bridge and were looking for a place to eat. We found a Mexican restaurant. Quite interesting things in Portland are quite long queues everywhere. Even you are in suburbs, sometimes you should see the longest queues than in an Apple store for instance. We found that restaurant but we had to wait for a while. However, the waiting was worth. In that queue I was checking my money I withdrew from an ATM. Money here are quite funny things, but this theme probably deserves its own article. I found a note I held in my hands which contained a cell phone number. I took a photo and wanted to spend this note in that restaurant. In the Czech Republic should be a problem to do that, but in the US they probably accept everything. I had held lots of damaged notes, colored with a red dye after a (probably) bank robbery or very old ones. However, nobody had ever complained.
The lunch was delicious and i was really excited to continue with our trip. Another stop was Mount Tabor. I was things about my girlfriend how much I miss her. She is originally from Tabor, a small city in the Czech Republic. In Portland, Mount Tabor is a very nice area with some drinking water resources. We were walking around and watch the city from above. Portland is one of the city where is better to have a car. Downtown is quite all right, but outside is faster to have your own car. Mount Tabor was very nice, but we were really tired. I went to accommodate to my apartment and we decided to meet at 6pm again. I checked in and went to my room. I was wondering to choose either a private room or a dorm one. The first choice sounded much better for me and I was happy my room was exceptionally great. I was relaxing for a while and did some quick walks in the center of the city. Unfortunately the weather changed rapidly and started raining quite rapidly.
Few minutes before 6pm I was waiting for Nick and Jessica. I was at the hostel close to the reception. I started a conversation with the owner. Is everything all right, he asked me directly. Everything is so amazing I replied him. I had some questions about reception opening hours, but I should not worry at all. There was 24/7 duty. We started to talk more. He told me a story about how people in Portland cheat with accommodation. They order a room for just a one person, but in the result they invite some friends to that apparent without any hesitation. The owner, originally from San Francisco, complained about that. However, he was very happy I am a honest guy who don’t do these things. He was proposed me some discount if I arrive next time. I was very appreciated, but was still waiting for my friends. When they arrived we decided to go to a Lebanon restaurant.
The place was really good. We order some traditional Lebanon food and enjoyed it very much. We did some great walks afterwards. I had seen Portland Chinatown as well as the most expensive restaurant there. There was also a place called Voodoo Doughnuts, a very popular doughnuts shop over there. The weather was all right, but I was a little bit tired and I returned back to my place quite soon.
The next day I woke up very early. I had a Skype conversation with my lovely girlfriend and started to implementing some scripts for one projects. I promised to help with some performance benchmarks and I decided to do a preparation in the morning which help me to finish this task in the afternoon quite easily. Jessica and Nick arrived at 9 am and our plan was to go for a branch. I was in a rush, because I had been finishing my support scripts. However, they had written me a sms when I was in a shower and I had some delay. They were really nice on me and waited. I sat in the car and we went to a restaurant at one of Portland suburbs. We crossed another bridge and drove around. Unfortunately there was a very long queue, the longest I have ever seen. Such an ideal time for plan B.
That plan was to go at the place where you can prepare your own pancakes. We went there, but unfortunately the restaurant was really full. They proposed us we should come later, in next 45 minutes. We agreed because the queues were everywhere. However, we did a quick walk to a park close to that restaurant. It was a very nice walk, I liked the atmosphere there, but I was a little bit hungry and I was excited to return back to that restaurant and enjoyed some pancakes. Actually, it was quite a big fun. When we returned back, our seats were prepared. We sat there and order some stuff for our pancakes. I wanted to drink something. I asked the waitress for some recommendations and her answer was Bloody Mary. I decided to try it, but unfortunately when they brought it I couldn’t drink it so much, because it was too strong for me. On the other hand the preparation of our pancakes was really funny. We ordered many ingredients and enjoyed a big fun. Our combinations were probably very extravagant, we mixed some sweet stuff with the others and sometimes the taste was completely different than we expected. I left just Bloody Mary on the table, left the building and Jessica with Nick lifted me at the airport.
We arrived just before 12 o’clock. I wanted to continue with the benchmark task. I printed my ticket, passed through the security and was waiting for my departure. The timing was perfect, I expected to have some problems with internet connection so I prepared all tasks at my hotel room. Such a banalities like export metadata from projects, but because I had had these things done I could continue with development on my way back. Just 10 minutes left to my departure when they were talking about some delay. First it was about 20 minutes, after a while about few hours which extended to departure at 11pm. The reason were technical issues and they had to wait for a component from Denver. Some people were really pissed off, some were standing in a long queue and hoping to get any refund and me? I just opened my transformations and finished some ETL graphs.
However, it was time to consider how to get back to San Francisco. I looked at dashboard with all connections and saw few possibilities there. Unfortunately all connections were provided by United, the same as for the delayed flight and I expected the long queue want to rebook the tickets to these ones. I had been considering to buy a new ticket. Such a great possibility looked in Alaska Airlines. I started running to catch this flight. The gate was on the other side of the airport, but I found it and asked for some free space. Unfortunately it was completely booked, so I returned back. I was wondering what to do afterwards. In next few seconds I got a cool idea to buy a ticket to Oakland. The more I was thinking about it, the more exciting it was. I could realize some other ideas quite easily. I wanted to see Oakland, use a BART, observe street gangs. I was walking for a while when I found the place for Southwest – a company provides regular flights there. I asked for some seat and they had the last one there. I was extremely happy about that and bought this one and after a while I was on plane. I was looking for my seat, but I found very quickly I could sit everywhere I wanted to. The taking off was very smooth and I could also enjoy Portland from above.
The good thing was I had a great company there. Next to me sat Dennis, a former soldier who had been moving to Phoenix in Arizona. A very nice guy who shared some his experience with me. He studied in France for a year, so he has some ideas about Europe. I asked him if he had ever been to Asia. Not for a fun purpose, he replied. We had also an interesting conversation about plane crashes and how would be possible to survive when your plane has technical issues. Also described some interesting things about helicopters and particular accidents there. He described his own experience from his soldier career how they survived really difficult situation on plane. It was interesting, but I was waiting for our landing. Everything went very quickly and I was at the Oakland Airport.
I was expecting some gun shooting, but nothing bad happened. I bought a Air Bart ticket from the airpot to the Coliseum stadium and was waiting for my bus. I hopped on and was observing the atmosphere outside. I saw many palm trees all over and buildings damaged so badly. There was also the stadium of Oakland Raiders, an American football team and the Oracle stadium for baseball. I hopped off the bus at Coliseum and was wondering how to get to downtown of San Francisco in a safe way. There were lots of trouble makers. I asked a police officer to help me to buy a ticket. He was so nice to me and with the ticket I was looking for my train. Some people looked quite dangerous, but I was happy to be there and I also took some photos. My train arrived on time and I could enjoy the trip to downtown.
When I reached the Montgomery station I walked up to street and was extremely happy to be back in San Francisco. I went to our office for another hour and finished my tasks. When I was done, I packed my things and went home to see Juraj. We drank some beer and talked about our experience. Juraj has recognized himself the longer he is here, the more he likes it. I have recognized the United States of America is really a place where I want to be for a long time. The question is how? There are few possibilities, the ideal one would be an unexpected success in the Green Card Lottery. I believe it would be possible to make this happen.