California Academy of Sciences, Mission San Francisco de Asís

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.

This entry was posted in USA . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.