Tilapia, Cliff House

If I can describe my last week in a nutshell I would say it was a very challenging time of life. The greatest thing in the company I work for is a flexibility you can handle your tasks with. I am always excited to learn new things. My focus in GoodData is to solve as many tasks as possible during my working time. It is a big fun and quite addictive sometimes, especially from personal development perspective. I come from a small town in the Czech Republic originally and since my childhood I have been dreaming about some things like growing up, drinking a cappuccino or just to become an effective person.

You can achieve these goals in many ways. You can just start drinking a cappuccino or working for an American company where you can try to reach the goals set with a higher expectation for everything. The important thing is keeping your focus on learning new things. Of course, it takes time, but you should learn during the evenings or weekends and it definitively helps you to accelerate your learning curve. Sometimes you have to learn something you have minimal experience with and you should deliver a prototype in next few days. Therefore I decided to spend whole weekend in the office and come through important parts of the an existing solution. In my previous article I described how I met Tomas Svarovsky there what was very inspiring for me and I expected to meet him on Sunday as well.

However, I have experienced something different. Tomas didn’t come, but I met Kyle Pistor there, a sales engineer in Good Data. What a wonderful surprise that was to see him in the office on Sunday. I had been wondering about his tasks and the particular effort he decided to make for it. However, in next few seconds I saw his parents also and Kyle told me he just forgot some stuff for his laptop. :) The time I spent during that weekend on the task was worth enough, I could understand the current solution more deeply and prepare for the real implementation of particular prototype.

The real implementation started on Monday. That day started very nicely. At work there was a company breakfast. While I was eating, I heard some voice behind me. I recognized it was Bernadette. I turned around and asked what she said. Nothing, I was just singing, she replied. There was also interesting to listen to conversation between Jagjit and Tom. Jagjit is a very funny guy, I like him. With Tom they were talking about customer experience and when Jagjit used phrase “it was a rhetorical question”, there was an association in my brain which reminded me some scenes from Mr. Woodcock movie with Billy Bob Thorton in the main role.

Things went really great, I started to implemented that prototype based on the weekend experience. Aaron Myhre prepared a session with the customer with a mountain flag. I was wondering what mountain would mean, is that a meeting room I asked? Aaron was laughing and told me about the Mountain timezone, which is actually one hour ahead of the San Francisco one. However, Petr Olmer came to visit me during Monday afternoon and one of the prototype solution we prepared didn’t help so much actually, he said. There was some additional things we hadn’t included and the reason was some unexpected results. I was quite sad news for me, not because of some criticisms, but we actually loose some potential good chance how to improve one of our project. However, that is the life and I am actually appreciated for both positive and negative feedback. The negative one is usually better in many ways.

During Tuesday I wanted to cope with that prototype. Aaron helped me a lot. He invented quite interesting solution for some special calculation. I was going to develop it, there was a lot of communication with the customer. Before lunch Pepa Vitek hit me with his kick scooter what is always a great sign. I was working all day on that demo, evening hours included. There was a cleaner. She informed me the floor in the restrooms was wet and I had to be very careful. Actually she was probably very scared I could injured myself there because when I returned back from that restroom, she seemed very happy about that. Even Aaron went for a dinner with her girlfriend, they returned back during the evening to help me with that task. I was very appreciated, because the important presentation was set on Wednesday and when I was fixing some issues I broke some parts in the projects. Fortunately I fixed it and before we left the office area, I told him a story how Jiri Tobolka switched into command line when he started to work in GoodData. Jirka is coming on Monday, by the way, would be really great to have him here.

When I woke up on Wednesday I was a little bit scared because I found some blood on my nails. I had no simple explanation for that, I just simply hoped I didn’t kill Juraj during the sleepwalking for instance. :) Fortunately I saw him in the office afterwards. We also had that presentation with Aaron. I must say it is always a big pleasure to work him. A very nice presentation from his side, his strong analytical thinking helped us to move this project forward and received an important feedback. Sometimes these meetings are such as a big show, but I really enjoy and it is a great inspiration for me to learn something new from people like Aaron or Tomas Svarovsky, who has lots of suggestions based on his strong experience with platform. My idea is to improve some parts in my ETL and architecture and ask Tomas for feedback. I think it would be beneficial for both sides.

In our office there is a big fun. Some people play american football there, usually before they have to solve some difficult tasks. I think it is a great way how to relax. No matter not everyone understand rules, the important thing is they are very careful and usually hit themselves, not any hardware in the office. :) We also wonder quite often about the ingredients in food. What should be bark flavor in chocolate we discussed with Petr Cvegros and Winston Christie-blick. We didn’t know exactly, but with Winston we started barking like dogs. I also realized that Juraj seems like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory series. He confirmed me that this opinion shares more about 20 people. He showed me a scene where Sheldon was ridiculously drank and I really thought it was Juraj. We also had a great time in a Filipino restaurant. We went there in quite a big group and Romeo told us some interesting information about Boracay Island. I ordered Tilapia, a surprising very good fish. During that lunch I had also a very good discussion with Hubert Palan about some American cities. He described me how he was scared about some potential earthquakes in San Francisco at the beginning and how he already feel better about that.

Aaron had to work remotely because he needed to be directly with a client. He told me about Google Hangout tool. I think it is a very cool one. We had several sessions. Pepa Vitek enriched one of them when he waved on camera during our conversation with Aaron. Somebody also put an orange on my desk. This orange originally belonged to Jim, but he forgot it when he left and now it is going to be a great decoration. Hopefully oranges keep fresh long time. I have also seen a Google shuttle bus to Mountain View. It is really interesting how close everything is. I bought some Irish beer and took whole pack from supermarket to our place during the evening.

There was a plan to go to Cliff House on Friday. Such a great idea even that place is considered as an expensive one. There was a reservation and went there with Jagjit and significant part of our Czech group in GoodData. Jagjit drove a car and we went there little bit earlier before reservation time. We walked around the house. That place had a special atmosphere during that evening and I decided I should go there during a weekend. We ordered some great food and had a big fun. I am really glad I could be here. Pavel Kolesnikov’s food was mostly in a special bowl. Jagjit tended to teach me some negative sentences, but without any progress. The prices were a little bit higher, but on the other hand we had a really nice evening.

This blog is getting more a more popular. Somebody reminds this fact during some meeting sometimes and I have been told I should try to prepared some video. Quite interesting idea, isn’t it? But I think I keep this blog in written form. :) I have spent two days in Portland. I wanted originally write just a paragraph about it, but I have experienced many interesting things, especially on my way back (I have seen Oakland unexpectedly for the first time and nobody neither killed me, raped me nor mugged me) and I really think this trip desire its own article which is going to be published here very soon.

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BBQ, Chinese New Year Parade, some snippets of last week

Even I posted my last arcticle just few days ago, there are still lots of things all around me and it is time for a short summary.

It was really late when I updated my blog with my previous article. I was a little bit afraid of being tired next working day, but everything was all right. The regular cleaning services made my bed very comfortable and I could sleep very well.

In the morning I met few people in the office. I had a quick conversation with Romeo. I told him about posting my recent photos which he approved. He was surprised by speed how quickly I published it and did a quick checking. He also informed us about Cliff’s article cited in Forbes what is really a great publicity from my point of view and really congratulate on.

Coincidentally Cliff went to the kitchen and when he had been coming back to his office, he stopped at my desk for a while and gave me a feedback for my last article. He thought I posted too much photos of Romeo (two), just one is enough, otherwise he should think a lot about himself, he said. From my perspective everything was all right and I hope Romeo should carry the burden of his popularity. Actually, he reminds me Arnold Schwarzenegger sometimes. His “Radek, come with me, we need your help” sounds me like “come with me if you want to live” from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

A very special moment was a BBQ lunch on Thursday. Some people were probably very excited and everyone could recognized their ‘can’t wait approach’ with a small queue close to the kitchen, formed probably half an hour before serving. When the lunch was ready, that queue was extended rapidly. in that queue there was also Matt Curtis. When we saw each other, we were always laughing. He probably read my previous article. :) The lunch seemed very delicious and I started to look for a great place where I could eat my portion.

I saw Ross Lugos and I sat close to him. We had a quick conversation about progress in some projects. Cliff also joined us and I liked the diversity of our conversation. We started to talk about BBQ and continued with a topics about the chicken and hens breeding, one of Cliff’s hobbies. Actually it remembered me my childhood and some experience from New Zealand where I was a part of organic farms for a while. The conversation was very relaxed, it is great to talk about non-technical things sometimes.

On Friday everything went very quickly. I juggled with three difficult tasks in parallel way. That was great because I could keep my concentration on all of them quite effectively. My luck changes for the better every day. In the morning Aaron Myhre invited me on a call with the customer to get some requirements. Even I joined two minutes later due to some other urgent work, the customer call was such a pleasant surprise. I heard about Aaron only nice things, but I have to say the personal experience was better than I expected. He moderated that call very professionally and constructively and I was very happy I could experience it.

Even I was busy and finished some important tasks before lunch. I needed to send another postcard, therefore I found an Asian restaurant close to our office to be right back. When I came back, just people from support were eating their food. Holly, Cindy, Ray and Juraj asked me about the origin of the content of my food box. I really enjoyed our conversation about South East Asia. Cindy spent couple months in Singapore and Ray was in Vietnam to visit our support people there. I asked him about Cambodia. Never been, but he would love to go there, he replied. Me neither, but I think it is a great place for holiday to relax and have a cappuccino there.

Ray described how people in Vietnam take a nap after lunch. It also remembered me my childhood, but it seems this activity is spread among all nursery schools around the world, because Holly, Cindy, Ray and Juraj experienced the same when they were children. Sometimes it also would be useful to take a nap after lunch here in San Francisco or Prague, but we can’t have everything.

I finished many things during Friday, but there were some technical issues on one of our instances and due to urgency to prepare a functional prototype by Monday, I decided to work whole weekend . Fortunately I have had a great time in our office. That is nothing new for me, so I woke up very early today and went to the office after I took a shower and a quick breakfast. I signed at reception and went directly to my desk. I ran some tasks and was analysing one of our solution I received. I had also a great conversation with my girlfriend. The work here during the weekend has lots of advantages. You can borrow Pavel Kolesnikov’s kick scooter to make a trip from your desk to the toilet shorter and you should not asking him for a permission. You are also not alone. I expected I could meet Tomas Svarovsky and I was right. He works really hard, weekends included.

When I went to sign off late afternoon I hard serious troubles to find my name on the list. There were more than 50 other people working on Saturday in our building. It confirmed me the work on weekends is very common in the USA. Fortunately I had no worries with the lunch. Even I broke the tongues I ate some pieces from Thursday BBQ we keep in our fridge.

I had also a great conversation with a clark at reception. Not only he knew Tomas, but he had also a great experience with Czech guys because he shared an apartment with some people from my country. He told me his name, but I can call him Victor, he added. The conversation went really great and I wish to meet him again. On my way home I wanted to take some photos in the downtown. Unfortunately the center was closed for a Chinese New Year parade. On the other hand it was worth to stop for a while and enjoy the atmosphere there.

Otherwise things going very well and I still very enjoy the atmosphere here. No matter there were occassional gun shooting in Oakland once-twice a week (last one on a bus). For the next week I have great plans how to spend my time. Hopefully the weather will be great and no snow in Portland. :)

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Happy hour, meet Matt Curtis, Angry Prawns

The most significant thing I found here is the time comes very quickly. It has been almost one month since I arrived and still this is the most thrilling experience for me.

On Monday we had the Presidents day, a public holiday here. Sounded like the Queen’s birthday (in the UK and countries of commonwealth) for me and I had a discussion with Tom Cooney about this event. The fact is this day is not as significant public holiday as the Thanksgiving day for instance, but on the other hand you should enjoy a day off. Tom said there were more days where people celebrated birthdays of some important presidents like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, but the presidents day is just a merge of all these days together.

I had also a day off. I wanted to enjoy as much as possible, I also wanted just load some testing data from Friday to a test environment. I did it and was ready to have a great day, but as I found later on, I accidentally populate the production project with this testing data. I am always little bit nervous when I work with important clients and the changes I do should affect them significantly, but this situation happened. Actually for the first time, but happened. I was investigating quick impact (fortunately testing data were correct) and I hoped the next load should fix everything. It didn’t.

Everything seemed all right, but there were some unexpected things. When somebody make a mistake, there are probably two ways how to cope with. To do nothing and believe in a miracle, or try to solve it in a constructive way. Even it was little bit unpleasant, I definitely decided to spread the information what I did probably to all people in the company and also proposed some solutions. Unfortunately there were some technical issues, but on the other hand the communication through all relevant departments was very good. I described everything to Ross who understood the situation very well and was very happy we were strongly focused to solve this issue as quickly as possible.

Due to technical issues it took longer than I expected, we also had to wake up some people in Prague and Brno, but the fix was done and the customer seemed very happy about that. L2 support and OPS did a great job to fix it even they had Monday evening in the Czech Republic. I was very appreciated about that. Thank you.

Wednesday was also very busy day, but in a different way. When I came to work, I was was involved in some meetings with customers, even I didn’t expected to be there. But it was great. I think from my point of view to understand the customer properly is one of the most important thing, and it is sometimes a big fun. On that call there was also Filip Stastny. Almost everyone here recognizes me as a replacement for him. I always describe myself as Filip, but more skinny. We had a separated call afterwards and because there were two Czechs and one American, Filip proposed to speak Czech. It was just a joke, he added. Tom was very happy he had not to learn Czech language in next few minutes.

When I returned from these calls I found another Czech people in San Francisco offices. Martin Matula and Jan Kurik. Both of them are very skilled architects. Hope they enjoy San Francisco very well. Juraj on the other hand acclimatized very quickly. He helped me a lot with the Monday incident and also he is able to enjoy food almost all the time. Ross was very happy we handled the incident very well. The greatest thing here is you should sometimes work under really big pressure, but when the results are great, everyone is extremely happy.

For lunch we had our favorites crêpes. We went there with Petr Cvengros, but we met also Pepa Vitek and Aaron Myhre coincidentally. The waitresses have already known us very well. Aaron was considering to sit next to me due to my positive approach, Pepa on the other hand was wondering about writing a blog about the same situations what I experience, but from his point of view. The most interesting topic during our lunch was a discussion with Jagjit and his plans to go with me to the Cliff house. I was wondering why he wants me to take to Cliff’s house, but he told me about place called http://www.cliffhouse.com/. I definitively want to go there.

For the evening there was prepared a Happy Hour sponsored by one of our department. I had some tasks what I had to finish, so I went there little bit late. I had some problems to find that place, but Juraj was waiting on me in the front of the entrance. I showed my ID and went downstair to find some people from GoodData. I found Romeo and Cliff. We had a short conversations about some projects and drank some beer.

I also met Matt Curtis there, our new sales engineer from Boston. When I saw him for the first time, I thought it is Neil Strauss, probably one of the most famous pickuper in the world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Strauss). I am not interested in this area, but couple years ago I had a chance to read one of his book and I must say it was written very well. I showed picture of Neil Strauss to some people and everyone thought it is a picture of Matt. So, welcome to GoodData, Matt. :)

The atmosphere was very good, I took some pictures of my colleagues. Romeo approved me I can publish on my blog and there were couple of interesting discussions. With Matt Curtis we discussed about Boston, New York and some other topics. They was also Holly who confirmed her surname Szkoropad really means “almost falling” in some roman languages. She was on lunch with her father and was asking about that. There was also Cindy Au from support and Hector Hung. Cindy told me I am an extremelly positive guy and some people think it is a great attitude. Hector seems to be extremely calm person, but he is very nice. He told me he fells sometimes very bad when people in our team have to implement projects during our days off (sometimes), but he also definitively wants to meet all of us if possible. He was on a trip in Asia.

After I happy hour we moved to a different place where our Czech group found a great place to sit. Holly and Ray joined us. I talked to Ray, we remembered some situations from past. We were comparing some cultural difference between the USA and the Czech Republic. We discussed about some recent visits and their reactions. When somebody from the USA visits the Czech Republic, especially Brno, he (or her) should expect very hospitable people there. The restaurant where we ate was really good, I ordered some Angry Prawns. A little bit spiced, but a very good choice.

On our way home we met a homeless, but he was one of the homeless I wanted to meet. He offered us some newspapers. I remember the conversation I had with the Brazilian woman a week ago about these guys and I decided to buy some for $1 and support him a little bit. On our way back we had talked to Pavel Kolesnikov before he took a bus. He gave me some inspiration how to handle quite difficult problem more easily and it was really helpful.

There are also some really challenging tasks ahead, but I feel very confident with my technical background and I believe I can handle quite easily even it is something completely new for me. :)

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How I met Jakub Nesetril, Musée Mécanique, living in a dream

Last week was very thrilling and I experienced many amazing situations. From some perspectives it was one of the most important week in my life and maybe there is no surprise I really enjoyed it. With David and Jose (and Dilip for a while, but it counts) we had a very nice trip around San Francisco and Napa Valley area. We discussed about our experience and I promised him to write an article about it. When I met Jose on Monday, he looked exceptionally happy. He dropped a comment below that article and together with his wife he enjoyed reading my stories. I also received very nice feedback from Dilip. Thank you guys.

Monday was surprising in one thing. I started to see some people from Czech engineering in San Francisco offices. The first one was Ondrej Cernos, a very skilled technical guy who arrived in town to attend a Cassandra training. He should implement very important task and he needed to know some best practices for Cassandra. I wish him all the best because the description of that task seems to me as a very big challenge. This training was suggested by our colleague Pavel Kolesnikov, who returned back to San Francisco from a short business trip in Prague.

In the afternoon I had been developing a project when Courtney came to me and asked me for a help. There was a customer visit and they asked some advanced topics and according to her description I was an ideal person to answer these questions. I really like these tough situations when you are not ready (haven’t done any preparation before) and must do the best to keep customer happy. After they asked me some questions I demonstrated my abilities and implemented them what they want and I was really impressed by my skills and how quickly I am able to create a suitable, non-trivial solution.

On my way home I bought some other postcards and had a nice talk to a elderly woman, originally from Brazil, but she grew up in San Francisco. Her accent was very strange, I think she had a speech defect. However, despite her speech problem we had quite interesting conversation about my English learning curve and homeless in San Francisco. She was curious about my experience and from where my accent comes from. I told her about New Zealand and about learning everything on the fly. The rest of our conversation was focused on homeless problematic. I am quite well awarded of some facts about it and there was no surprise in this conversation.

However, the best thing came when I returned back home. Few weeks ago I found on Facebook a profile of the person who inspired a lots in the past. I come from a region oriented on coal mining and where is very difficult to keep your mind open due to various reasons. I had experienced some great success before, but since I have read Cayman’s blog, it helped me to concentrate on key ideas much better. I liked his approach and started doing things by myself as I really wanted to.

It worked of course and I am sure there are much bigger success ahead if I keep my current execution of all my actions, but if I had never found his blog, I would probably be still somewhere in Ostrava. Cayman stop blogging and I hoped we should have a chance to talk to each other once again. Couple weeks ago I found his profile on FB through another amazing person and on that Monday he sent me some very nice reaction on my feedback. I was crying for joy and I had a lot of enthusiasm to wrote some very nice things on all my postcards. From my point of view Monday was really cool day.

Next day there was a planned quick training for one of our product. I expected to answer some questions in half a hours, but actually I did it a little bit faster. During lunch break I sent all my postcards to the Czech Republic, Germany and New Zealand. The greatest thing in the post office was the process which was super simple. I wanted to specified all countries (There were about 10 postcards and I sorted them in particular order), but the clark just wanted to know if I was going to send them overseas. He sold me particular amount of stamps and I put all of them on. I hope they don’t loose any postcard on the way.

Tuesday was also the first day when I had a chance to talk to our company lawyer David Howard. I wanted to ask him some questions and I found him in the kitchen. We were talking about Filip’s experience. Actually he didn’t mention his name, but according to his body language description I was sure he was talking about Filip. Another good thing is the name Radek is quite unique in the company and it is quite easy to remember me. It is also quite advantage when I buy some lunch. I have some favorite places and our orders are usually to go. There is a one place where you should tell your name for better order identification. I have been there few times, but the good thing is they remember my name without any hesitation and talking from my side.

There was a scheduled feedback from Jiri Stovicek via Skype planned on Wednesday. I woke up earlier and waiting for Jirka. I received one of the best feedback I have ever heard and I would like to thank him and all Managed Services team for this, because it is my pleasure to work with them. They are really true “A-players” and one of the greatest people I have ever met.

When I started to work for GoodData, it was a contract-based role. However, nothing would happen if Daniel Hastik, my boss in Datahost, had never met Jakub Nesetril, a recent UX Lead in GoodData and nowadays an owner of very promising startup Apiary.io. What a great coincident I met Jakub in GoodData office together with two other guys from Gooddata from the Czech Republic – Stanislav Opichal and Adam Kloubocnik. Jakub was considering to move here to Sillicon Valley area, Standa and Adam arrived to attempt a training about a Javascript framework. Tomas Svarovsky had a great idea to eat out in a restaurant. We chose really fancy one, but unfortunately I don’t remember the name. However, it was really delicious.

Jakub described his experience. He spent almost three years in New Zealand, so we talked about some places here. His technical background is really strong and he was participated on various projects. He was talking about investors for Apiary.io, the difference between American and Europeans ones, is about some people who were surprised when they found that there is not the only one Cambridge in Massachusetts. I liked the topic when he described that some investors are focused on Silicon Valley and they occasionally invest on the East, but only to Boston or New York. Big surprise was when they talked about China and they outsourcing activities in the Czech Republic for some products of Apple computer. I recently visited a game developer conference where Lukas Codr described his experience from China. The interesting part was when he talked about salaries. Were higher (for qualified jobs) than in the region I come from and many people in Moravia would be happy about that. When we left the restaurant Jakub was going to drive to Palo Alto. We talked about Silicon Valley a lot. It really seems the balance between big success and big fail should be very tight and I wish Jakub all the best in his activities.

On my way to work on Thursday I met Aaron Heise, one of my colleague here in San Francisco. I bough a breakfast and were wondering about doing jaywalking to have a shorter walk to our office. But the presence of some cops suggested us using the longer way. There was another restaurant event in the evening with our Czech group. Hubert Palan also joined us and we tried some Californian sushi. I also experienced some common American bars that evening. It was Valentine’s day and we expected all bars would be fully booked. I returned back very late, but I really enjoyed that evening.

Friday was also exceptional in many ways. In the morning I had a call with the significant customer and I also received a challenging task from Sales engineering. Cliff wanted me to help with this and I hoped my experience would be good enough for this. However, after a discussion with Petr Olmer I was sure I can do that and when David Pascale from Sales Engineer had a time, I sat next to him and described him whole concept and how he could do that. We prepared what was necessary and I hoped this would help.

I also had a great talk to Roman in the kitchen. I had been preparing my one coffee I drink a day when he came to the kitchen. He asked me couple questions and what tasks I have been involved on. He seemed very happy when he left the kitchen.

Friday was also the last day for David Plachetka who are going back to the Czech Republic. Ray and Holly prepared a great ‘say goodbye’ event in a restaurant near to our office. Ray Light was very generous and even he couldn’t join us on Friday (it was originally planned on Thursday, but due to Valentine’s day moved on Friday), he allocated $100 dollars for having a great evening. I order some bottles of cider and had a great talk to our support people as well as my colleagues from the Czech Republic. We were wondering about Holly’s surname origin and the right pronunciation. Her father was a Ukrainian and the pronunciation of Szkoropad is [skoropad] if I understood correctly. I was talking about my associations with this surname with “almost falling” if I translate it literally to English. With Holly we were laughing about it.

Holly is great. Together with Ray they do a first level support and work very hard. I always hear them to talk to customer directly and sometimes it is not that easy. Holly graduated in San Jose State University in journalism what was great to hear, because 5 years ago I was really involved in this area where my biggest success was an external cooperation with Czech Radio. There are lots of newspapers in the United States of America. Unfortunately many of them were hit by crisis and during that period Holly started to be more focused on IT area.

We discussed a lot about our support guys in the Czech Republic. Some of them are little bit afraid to speak with customer in English. I understand this problem. I was always very nervous when I could talk to customer in a different langue. Therefore I am extremely happy to have a strong New Zealand experience where I had to cope with everything from scratch. To be an outsider and to not be afraid of making lots of mistakes is probably one of the best approach to have a great success.

Our american colleagues left the bar quite soon and with our Czech group we moved to an Indian restaurant where we had a great dinner. Our last step was a visit in another bar where we drank some local beer. They had also a Pilsner branch. I finally know the difference between Munin and Muni after a discussion with Ondrej Cernos. :) When we left that place I was walking with David back to our apartment. It was the last night here in San Francisco for him and we talked about various things very deeply. In last few days we had technical issues with the toilet. It was probably stuck, but we had no ideal tool for fixing it. I did some necessary work and watch some videos on youtube for having a better idea about an ideal and quick fixing forever. I was very good to know some technical details and some important difference between plungers for instance.

In the morning I woke up and went to supermarket to buy some necessary things. I was successful and it seems our toilet is fixed. The flushing speed is incredibly fast and my skills extended. If I have some troubles in IT area, I should either drive a forklift or fixing toilets. David packed all his stuff, took a photo with a plush rabbit for his girlfriend and before he left he was worried about shipping some cell phones devices for our colleagues in the Czech Republic. Customs clarks in our country sometimes ask lots of questions and I hope he passed without problem. He is a very nice person and I wish him safe journey.

I washed some sheets and pillow cases for Juraj, the next person on the rotation and went to another expedition to the city. I was walking around quay and I was very excited to try to eat a crab. I found a great place where I ordered a crab sandwich. I was eating and listening other orders. Somebody ordered crab Charles. It sounded very fancy to me, next time I have to try this as well. I found a great museum around – Musée Mécanique. There were famous technical interactive arcade things. Each device consume $0.25 and you should use each of them. I liked pinball tables. From my point of view pinball was one of the best games ever. I chose the table with Indiana Jones and really enjoyed playing.

There were lot of various devices. I spent there more than 2 hours and I am sure I will return back there. On my way back home I bought an American and Czech flags for three dollars each. I bought also some beer to celebrate Juraj arrival. He landed quite late and Ray was waiting for him at the airport. Unfortunately Ray forgot his cellphone at home, but they found each other quite easily. They went to have a dinner and in next two hours Juraj finally came. He smoke his last cigarette and I gave him keys and explained some important things. Was very great he arrived without any problem.

When we woke up in the morning, I promised Juraj to go for a walk to show him everything important. We ate out and walked over the important streets. Juraj prefers the less luggage the better and took just few things from home. I showed him a special place called Ross – dress for less. We went inside and saw such a price paradise inside. Everything was very cheap. Juraj bought some shoes, clothes, sunglasses and I finally found an ideal wallet for me. When we found a checkout I remember I forgot my credit card in my jacket at home. Fortunately I had enough money and I could take everything I needed.

Another goal was to find a Slovakia flag. We went to the same place as I was yesterday. Unfortunately there was no Slovakia flag at all. The shop assisted proposed to buy a Lithuanian or a Croatian one, but Juraj didn’t agree with this idea. We decided we should set up a new tradition. I bought Czech and the US flags and keep them at the company apartment. If somebody new arrive, he can just simply add a flag of his country and there should be also a Portuguese, Ukrainian or Russian flag for instance in a near future.

We also visited that Musée Mécanique together. Juraj was also impressed. After a short walking inside we found special exit where we saw very nice submarine from World War II. We took some pictures and also visited a beautiful gallery of Rodney Lough, Jr. I really like his motto – http://pinterest.com/rodneyloughjr/. The more I am here, the more I enjoy this city. It seems my luck changes for the better every day and sometimes I strongly believe I have been living in a dream.

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Painted ladies, Twin Peaks, Napa Valley, Sonoma

Sunday was ridiculously spectacular. That is what I can say about last day in a nutshell. My original idea was to a Vertigo trip and visit some remarkable places, but as sometimes happened, my plans were changed.

Few days ago my colleague and flatmate David proposed me to join him and Jose – our technical assistent who can help you with your hardware things and some tasks related to operations area. They wanted to go to Napa Valley and David asked me if I want to come with them. I heard about some Californian vineyards, but never about Napa Valley, so I agreed. I also wanted to meet Jose more, because when I arrived he helped me to solve some initial tasks. David and Jose also proposed 10am as a time when we should start our trip. That was all right for me, because I usually wake up very early.

Before he arrived, I packed my camera, took some notes and my credit card. I had about $40 in cash, but I hoped they would accepted credit cards everywhere. David was also well prepared, he went shopping and visited farm market where he bought some fruit like Mandarin orange. He gave me a piece to taste and without the doubts it was exceptionally good.

Jose arrived on time and the first small surprise was the car he took was exceptionally big. It must consumes lots of petrol, I said, especially in San Francisco and its steep streets. He lives close to San Francisco international airport and I asked him how much he likes SF roads. Not much he replied, but I enjoyed the way how he coped with these steep streets all around.

Our first stop was a famous place called Painted ladies. While he was driving I enjoyed the streets and the atmosphere all around, especially some places were exceptionally good. There were built many Victorian houses between 1849 and 1915 in San Francisco. I think there are so typical for this city, even many of them were destroyed during the big earthquake in 1906. Jose took us to Alamo Square where you can find a row of these houses painted to very nice colors. What a wonderful surprise was when I recognized these houses from some postcards I have seen before. Jose told us some information about that place and how popular is among amateur and professional photographers. Lots of them try to make some spectacular shots of city.

We did the same and I also enjoyed the whole atmosphere. There was a girl from Hong Kong who took some pictures of me. When I finished taking of photos I asked Jose what an interesting shapy building is in front of us. He thinks it is the same shape as the inside of a washing machine. The building was The Cathedral Event Center and the construction was really impressive. I had already admired it from car.

Twin Peaks was our next step. When I hear Twin Peaks I remember a film and TV series by David Lynch. I hoped I there was not going to be anything mysterious. Twin Peaks are two very big hills in San Francisco with a spectacular views. When we were driving there Jose described us some city history and expensive places in San Francisco. Some of them looked very good, but the prices were really insane. There was also a historical street, well known thanks to a famous hippies movement. The streets were also exceptionally steeps and narrows. Jose described that car for bigger trips, with his wife they have another one for standard trips. After a while we were up to Twin Peaks lookout. I expected an amazing experience, but the superb spectaculars views exceeded my phantasy.

The first part of our trip was done and it was time to go to Napa Valley area. Jose took us through the Bay Bridge and described us his experience with another big earthquake in 1989. He is originally from the Philippines, his parents moved to the USA when he was 1 year old. In 1989 as an university student he was on the trip to school and when he was crossing the Bay Bridge the big earthquake struck the city. The damage was significant, the Bay Bridge – the most important connection between Bay Area and Oakland was damaged. In the same year there also was an important baseball match between Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. The earthquake changed plans to many people and it was really hard to travel between Bay Area and Oakland because of damaged bridge.

On our trip to Napa Valley we had series of great conversations. Jose demonstrated deeper knowledge of history of the city. We saw a road to the campus of Berkeley University and some refinery. Jose didn’t recommend us to live there. I agreed, but he probably never was in Ostrava and some of its spectacular neighborhoods. We also saw a special train which should take passenger along vineyards. We stopped at the first place where we should try some vines. The place looked interesting, there was a woman from Brazil who pour some vines for us. I always tried just a little bit, but alcohol here (beer, wine) is much stronger than in the Czech Republic. Believe or not, I was a little bit drunk after some tries.

The taste was also different than I expected, but I enjoyed it. From the list of vines there was a one which I preferred the most. Until I tried a port one. The taste was absolutely delicious. I decided to buy a whole bottle for me and my girlfriend for the celebration of her arrival in next few weeks. No matter the price was around $100 per bottle, I am sure she will like it. Jose was very nice to us and he paid tasting fees. I took some photos outside and we went to the second place.

We were exceptionally lucky because we found a parking place quite easily. There was a really beautiful large house with spectacular interiors where you should try some vine and a small building where you should go shopping, especially something to eat. Because of lunch time we bought some sandwiches. Since New Zealand I have a hand sanitizer with me almost all the time. We found it very useful at that moment because we could go directly to taste new vines. I tried maybe 5-6 various ones. On the one hand I was more drank than before, but on the other one I found port vines very tastable. I had to buy another bottle for me and Helca. Jose was a member of that vineyards so we didn’t need to pay tasting fees. His knowledge about vine was exceptional. He also bought more vines than I have seen.

Another stop was a place in Sonoma. The reason was Dilip from GoodData was there. It was good to see him there. We met his fiancée and his other friends. We tried some more vine, but I order a smaller amount. I took some photos and talked to Dilip and his friends. he asked me how I like San Francisco. He remembered Josef Pithart who didn’t like it so much. When the time came we left the place and were returning back to San Francisco. Jose decided to cross Golden Gate Bridge so we chose a little bit different way. David proposed Jose to drive up to the hill close to the bridge to observe San Francisco from above. It was amazing.

We crossed Golden Gate Bridge afterwards and continued to our apartment. Jose chose Lombard street and we cross that famous eight hairpin turn street with car. We were really appreciated and I must invite Jose on lunch. I thought Jose is very shy guy, but he is very nice, helpful and very cool man. His knowledge of vine is really exceptional. Thank you very much for this experience.

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Super Bowl, a dog in the office, astonishingly cool San Francisco

Last week was very exceptional in many ways. After a deeper expedition of Bay Area and breath taking walks thought quite steep streets I was quite tired. Even Saturday evening city was very alive. There was no surprise that almost everyone had been preparing himself (or helself) to watch Super Bowl – the final match in American Football, probably the most popular sport in the USA. San Francisco was especially involved because their team – 49ers took part in the final and wanted to beat Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans where the match was played.

I am not a big sport fan and especially about American football I know nothing, but I enjoyed how people were deeply involved. The final was scheduled on Sunday, the 3rd and day before, when I was walking within North Beach area of San Francisco I listened couple conversations among people who very proudly discussed about that big event. I also met a bigger group of 49ers supporters in low rider cars what is another great thing in the USA.

Due to long walks on Saturday I had sore legs and I decided to walk in downtown and around the Bay Bridge. I hoped I could see Lombard street – twisty little street recommended by my friend Ashley from Canada which is very close to the place I stay, but when I walked through Chinatown I had to change my plan. I wanted to take some photos there, however, streets in Chinatown were ridiculously crowded. The Chinese New Year is here – a very important event here, because in San Francisco there is really big Asian community. When I was walking there I had seen Chinese New Year Parade. Streets around Chinatown were closed and people enjoyed attraction there. It was very nice, but I decided to walk outside that big group and keep exploring the downtown.

My further steps went to Sutter Street where is also GoodData headquarters. I wanted to walk around and look at beauties over there. The architecture all around is extraordinary. We had a discussion about this with my colleagues. There is a church for instance, probably quite new one, but we think the ancient Greeks could have problems to build it, especially with the strong marijuana smell in the air on some streets. After a while I was close to San Francisco harbor and was enjoying the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco Bay Area with Oakland. I was a little bit tired, so there was no question in my mind whether walk the bridge or not, I just enjoyed watching.

On my way back I wanted walk along all Piers and water. I found a place where you should buy a ticket for Alcatraz. I haven’t bought it yet, but I read some stories about prisoners when I was there. My another plan was to go shopping and wash my clothes. I went close to the place where I stay and bought some ingredients. I cooked risotto and I hoped I find proper Arborio rice. There were plenty of people everywhere because the final Super Bowl was almost on. When I bought all ingredients I returned back to my apartment. There was a small problem with laundry. We need to use special dollars in coins (they don’t have $1 in a coin as in New Zealand for instance) and I have mostly notes.

Fortunately there is a place close to my apartment where I could change a $5 dollar note to particular amount of quarter dollars coins. It is like to win in a lottery to grab all money from that box, but it was good feeling to know I would be able to start our washing machines. The mechanism is the same as in New Zealand. There is also a dryer. I don’t like using these dryers for particular clothes, but at the moment I don’t have much chances to use an alternate way, therefore I don’t care so much. My backpack was almost empty, because I want to buy some stuff here anyway.

The kitchen in our apartment is well equipped and the final risotto was amazing. Even I bought the cheapest selected white wine, the final result was great. David wanted to watch Super Bowl and I decided to join to find why this sport is so popular in the USA. I like when the popular American singers sing the US National Anthem at the beginning and the great atmosphere. The match was scheduled on late afternoon PST time, but probably people in whole America were excited whole day because there was something on TV since early morning probably.

I thought it would be great if team of San Francisco had won. I was prepared to cross streets and take some photos of potential peaceful riots. Unfortunately their opponent Baltimore was much better. I didn’t understand the rules, but for me it was a funny event. Especially when the power outage happened what I think could be a little embarrassing for the organizers on the other hand. San Francisco improved their game, every point was loudly celebrated with people in bars all around, but they lost the match. The whole city was really quiet afterwards.

The following work week was also extraordinary. There was a company breakfast in our office. I had a quick conversation with Holly, our support engineer who looks after our customers really nicely. She asked me what I did during weekend and if I did anything sexy. I described my trip around Bay Area what I probably never forget. Some people proposed we should go together to eat out. I agreed because eating in a restaurant is very rare thing. Mostly we buy some food and bring it to our office where we have a special space for eating. Jagjit chose wisely the place. An italian restaurant Cafe Tiramisu (http://www.cafetiramisu.com/) with lots of specialities. I ordered Pici, a hand rolled fat spaghetti with cioppino sauce. It remembers me home where I prepared some fresh spaghetti with my girlfriend.

We took some photos and were really satisfied the lunch. I asked Andrew Lee about permission to place some of that photos. He agreed. When we returned I continued with implementation of my tasks. Since I have been here I strongly believe I am able to cope with everything. I really enjoy it because I am able to handle three times more things than in Prague. Time to time I have been helping support due to my strong knowledge of most of our implementation. I also had a call with a customer and solve some problems very effectively. It is great to be here.

I have also experienced my first rain here. There was really a special atmosphere here in the city. The only problem was an absence of any coat hanger in our office, so people have to put jackets everywhere. Quite interesting is a possibility to have a dog in the office. One of our colleague’s dog is small as a chihuahua and clever probably as an dolphin. His name is Rex and he can sit on a chair and walks through the office. I love that dog. We always play silly games.

San Francisco is also a great place for its potential filming locations. A lot of movies were filmed here. I remember Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock. My plan is to visit most of the Vertigo location. Unfortunately some of them don’t exist any more due to various reason. Great thing is there is still the oldest building – Mission San Francisco de Asis where some scenes for Vertigo were also filmed. Btw. Francis of Asissi was an important person for San Francisco. When you look at original name in Spanish langue you can find San Francisco de Asís. I also remember The Rock movie with Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, Sweet November with Keanu Reeves and Charlie Theron. One of my colleague mentioned me The Princess Diares, but I am sure there are much more films created in San Francisco.

Other things are interesting too. Couple days ago I was walking to the office when I met a guy. He was a little bit weird. He seemed as an bodyguard who just left lunatic asylum. He was training defense techniques just by himself. I was also surprised when I had a conversation with our bodyguard. I was waiting when the automatic door will be opened. Do you need any help, he asked? Now I know I must push the door little bit and it would be fine.

The amazing event was also when we visited some bars in San Francisco with our Czech group. We were wondering about drinking in our office, but the final decision to go out was better. Places we found were amazing. I also met Petr, a really nice guy and very skilled developer who works for Google. We ordered some food and I wanted to to try some beer. My first order was Hoegaarden. What a surprise when the waitress brought a small glasses for it. I drank it and made a clear decision to try as much beer as possible and decide which of them is the best. We had a great evening, discussing about weather and how San Francisco is an extraordinary place. I just didn’t know how strong these beers and after 5 or 6 glasses I was a little bit drunk. However, our great evening continued and the whole atmosphere was cool. The only one problem was I forgot my camera.

When I am writing this article I have finished quite great walks. I have seen Coit Tower with its amazing views, Lombard Street and city during the night. There were some dudes who let some fireworks explode in many places, especially in Chinatown/downtown. It seemed little bit dangerous, but they probably celebrated the Chinese New Year and I hoped they knew what they did. I bought some beautiful postcards which I want to send to. The longer I am here the more I like this place. Since I have been here I really believe I can make all my dreams come true. I have great people around me and I like the positive atmosphere which help me to cope with difficult situations in my life. I am really glad I can be here therefore San Francisco is an astonishingly cool place.

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First days in San Francisco

A few days ago I arrived in San Francisco and accommodated in a beautiful apartment in the center of the city. David, my great flatmate, gave me keys and gave me some initial necessary instructions.

The reason why I am here is a business trip for the company I work for. When I arrived I was very tired and as you should expect not far from I opened the door from the apartment I went to bed. My goal was to sleep as much as possible. Unfortunately I woke up quite early, probably due to jet lag. There was only one thing I could do – to go on balcony and observe Alcatraz Island where is situated the famous Alcatraz prison and which is directly visible from the place I stay. I also log in Skype and platform and checked all my projects if they finished properly. There is a time gap between San Francisco and Prague. The difference is about 8 9 hours so I expected all projects had to be done in their daily synchronization.

I also had a nice call with my team lead – Jirka. We talked about my first impressions and about some projects, he gave me some good advice. He was impressed with my talk about Alcatraz. I turned my laptop webcam on and we should observe this beautiful piece of San Francisco together. I wanted to go to work, but I had to wait to David who was my guide for the first day until he wake up. When we were ready we left the apartment and went directly to the office. As a right tourist I took my camera with me. David wasn’t excited enough with my idea to take as many photos as possible during our walk, so I packed my camera back to my backpack. Unfortunately there were some great photo opportunities like two rapping Afro-americans directly just in the downtown of the city. They recorded their rhymes to they cell phones and it was really good so I must hope I will meet them again during my walks. :)

Before we came to the office David showed me some restaurants and places. We also saw a farmer market really close to the office. We went to the office and I was going to introduce myself. I recognized one of my colleague Jagjit very quickly. He was really nice and showed me the whole office. He was surprised I was able to recognized almost everyone. I was really happy to also see my recent Czech colleagues who moved to San Francisco for a longer time. As a Silicon Valley tradition there is a full equipped kitchen with lots of food and drink. Everyone should help himself. After discussion with Cliff I am also sure I will be able to help with many important tasks. I am glad and appreciate to have this opportunity.

On thursdays we have company lunches at the office. We had crêpes that day and it was really good. The service in our office is amazing and I hope I won’t be spoiled before I leave. There was a great presentation about some of our frameworks. It looked really great and I am very excited to have a final version and use it. Unfortunately first day I was struck by jet lag and I was ridiculously tired. I showed one of my automated solution to some of my colleagues and they were impressed. I got a chance to present it before whole team. I was really happy about this chance.

We have a special department with ‘jedi’ engineers. They prepare proof of concepts for potential customers and they have a very special hobby to fight with their lightsabers. It is quite interesting to watch their duels. Time to time they must cope with some special requirements from potential clients and sometimes we help them to finish some really challenging tasks.

When David and I finished we went home together. He showed me laundry and we went shopping. I reduced some limits on my card to make sure there won’t be any potential fraud. I bough some things and when I wanted to pay I found I set these limits to very lows values. Fortunately David helped me and I hope it will be all right next time. When we finished our shopping I went directly to bed and slept very well. Next morning I felt great even I woke up really early.

I decided to walk to the office by myself. I though I used the same way as before, but when I was just in the middle of Chinatown I knew I got lost. But it was great opportunity to see some new things in the city. I was walking through Chinatown and admired their decorations. I also saw San Francisco Bay Bridge, which is really similar to Golden Gate Bridge. I was walking till I found Powell Street. One of my colleague’s name is Stephen Powell and I recognized I was close to the way which David showed me day before because we crossed that street. After while I was on the right path and went to the office quite early.

I met Roman Stanek there and we had a talk. It was great to have an opportunity to ask him some questions. After a while I went to scheduled meeting where I could present my solution. I was happy I wasn’t nervous. There were also some people from partner company from Canada. According to further feedback I am sure it was a successful presentation. During the day I worked on some challenging tasks and it was great because I learned many new things which should be useful in future. With our Czech group we went to buy some lunch and ate at our office.

I had also a great discussion with our consultants. Mike and Courtney. I shared with Mike my ideas about projects I should help with and he seemed excited. There was also another guy – Ravi. He recognized my European origin. I counted up to three on my fingers and he recognized I did it the same way as we could see in Inglourious Basterds movie. Third best performance. He loves that movie so I recommended him to watch Django Unchained.

The most interesting thing happened in the evening. Roman had a special visit. A group from a Czech startup community arrived in San Francisco and visited GoodData. They had a presentation and discussion with Roman. There was also some beer and with my colleagues we tried to drink some. The drink scaled so quickly and we were laughing a lot to various situations. We had a great discussion and it was so great so I went home really late, at 10pm. I fell asleep very quickly. I would like to notice when I crossed the streets I saw San Francisco has a great night life. There is a super bawl final on Sunday evening. I expect empty streets, but if they win there should be some peaceful riots.

I have been writing this article on my first day off. My plan was to walk through the city, especially to see Golden Gate Bridge. I woke up quite early and went to complete my goals. It was really great, San Francisco is very beautiful place. There was a lot of fog all round and the atmosphere was really special. I went directly to the bridge and it was a spectacular construction. I decided to cross the bridge and wander all round. As I said many times, it was really nice. On my way back I saw some parks and monuments. Unfortunately I was quite tired due to long walk. San Francisco has quite steep streets so it was difficult sometimes to get from point A to B. I was happy when I was back to our apartment. For tomorrow my plan is to explore downtown and some other parts as Chinatown.

The great thing is the longer I am here the more I like it. It is exactly as I expected if not better. There is a lot of energy in this city and here my confidence to do a high quality job increased significantly. I believe in myself much more and I am ready to prove it very quickly.

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San Francisco Bay Aray – arrival

It is quite a long time I wrote an article on this blog. Even I had a finished one from New Zealand I haven’t posted it yet. The reason was simple – since I left that beautiful country I haven’t found enough enthusiasms to continue with updating new articles.

Fortunately, my energy is back. :) Since I returned from Zealand I have been working on my technical skills to open some new possibilities for visiting a new country. For many years I have been dreaming about the USA, especially about New York City. The hardest part is to get a work permit and I can imagine how the process could be frustrating based on experience of my good friends. I believe the best way is to demonstrate exceptional skills, but how to demonstrate anything when you are not skilled enough?

In my case there was no much fun at the beginning based on this experience. On the one hand I found some great jobs in Prague, but there were a lot of question in my mind whether it is the right decision to go there or not. Not far from then my friend presented me an opportunity. It was an external cooperation with a company called GoodData. Not in Prague, it was in Ostrava, but the potential was great – a big chance how to learn something new and get significant skills and have a chance to make my crazy dreams come true.

There was an interview with my further boss Martin and happened one interesting thing – I simply failed. For me, a failure is a natural process how to learn something new, but at that moment I wished to make a better impression. However, despite the results of interview I got a chance. Unfortunately I had no guarantees and my contract could be ended any time. I strongly believed this kind of opportunities are very rare and so I agreed.

I always believed a remote cooperation is a good way how to solve problems. You are in an environment you know very well and you should be concentrated on tasks you want to solve. I have to say for me the remote cooperation of this range was very challenging. I probably created more problems than I solved. It was really difficult and many times I was really close to give up. Just one thing helped me to keep my mind open. When I looked back I was surprised how big progress I had made. However, it took me about six months to decide the best thing would be to come back to Prague and work for GoodData directly. The first months there were also very difficult, but I believed when I am really good at what I do, I will be able to turn anything I want to reality.

I have worked quite a lot, wanted to cope with anything I could. I think I was quite successful. No matter I made a lot of mistakes, I was hungry to learn and wanted to get as much experience as possible, good and bad. I believed in success and I was right.

In November 2012 we started to talk about possibility to go to San Francisco for three months from end of January. It was a great idea from my point of view and I started to preparing everything I needed. The lack of time made me little bit nervous, I had to get a new passport, pay taxes and so on. I finished everything on time and on 30th of January, 2013 I really landed in the United States of America. The flight was good. We had a short delay from Prague to London due to bad weather, but the trip from London to San Francisco as well as immigration controls were absolutely all right (I don’t count crying children) and my new adventure should begin. I had just problem with my old cell phone because I didn’t have a signal. I had to solve that situation immediately because without functional cell phone I wasn’t able to get my roommate know I was there. I bought a new one and everything was all right.

I have a small jet lag and I think it is time to finish this article. I just want to say I am really glad I have this opportunity and I should thanks many people who helped me to get here, especially people from my team – Managed Services who gave me this chance, Hana Kozuchova who helped me to get all documents for visa and my lovely parents and extraordinary girlfriend Helca who support me in most things I do. I am really appreciated for all your support and I am really proud of you.

By the way, London has also a great atmosphere from above. Thank you also to great employees of British Airways I met (a very nice person from Lebanon) who helped me to orient at Heathrow Airport very quickly (I used a shuttle bus twice to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 and underground line to move from one building to another one). I have also experienced the first moments in San Francisco. The first impression is very good. Skyscrapers during the night are amazing. My first photos are just from the airports. I hope I will write another article with photos from the city very quickly.

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Takový menší výlet: Tauranga, Gisborne, Taupo, Tongario Crossing

V našem motelu jsme se probudili celkem brzy, ale podle plánu jsme ho opustili až v 11 hodin dopoledne. Čas je většinou striktně nastaven na 10 ráno, ale na druhou stranu lidé tady jsou velmi pohodoví, a protože hlavní sezóna je pryč, tak jsou ochotní vyhovět i těmto požadavkům. První část výletu byla Hot Water Beach, známá to pláž, kde si člověk může lehnout, zahrabat se do písku a díky speciálnímu kameni pod pískem se také ohřát. Naneštěstí počasí nám tak úplně nepřálo a i když jsme přijeli celkem brzo, věděli jsme, že to nebude úplně ono. Zaparkovali jsme naše auto a udělali si malou procházku podél oceánu. Byl tam také malý potůček, který nebylo možné přejít suchou nohou a bohužel jiná cesta jak se dostat na druhou stranu nebyla. Rozhodli jsme se, že potůček přeskočíme s pomocí několika málo kamínků, které jsme zahlédli pod tekoucí vodou. Hledali jsme nejlepší cestu a začali jednat. Martin to zvládl bez problémů, já očividně nejsem přeskakovací typ, protože jsem opět spadl do vody. Velmi zábavné bylo, když jsem stál na jednom malém kameni a snažil jsem se udržet balanc, tak jsem měl jedinečnou šanci pozorovat zdivočelý Tichý oceán a slušný příliv vody hrnoucí se ke mě. Měl jsem spoustu vody ve svých botách a mé ponožky byly dále absolutně nepoužitelné. Nechci se vás dotknout, ale kdo z vás to má? :)

Zul jsem boty, ale ponožky jsem si nechal, protože jejich osud byl stejně zpečetěn. Naplánoval jsem jejich vyhození do popelnice jen co se vrátíme na parkoviště. Procházeli jsme se po pláži, ale bohužel bylo téměř nemožné dostat se k hlavní atrakci. Snažili jsme se proto najít alternativní cestu, avšak bez úspěchu. Chůze pro mě byla stále obtížnější a tak jsme se rozhodli vrátit zpět na parkoviště. Byly tam záchody, tak jsem si umyl nohy a boty, vyhodil ponožky a vrátil se do auta. Rozhodli jsme se jít podívat do Taurangy. Měl jsem číslo na Tomo, a tak jsem ji napsal, protože jsem ji chtěl ještě alespoň jednou vidět.

Do Taurangy jsme přijeli vcelku brzy a hned po příjezdu jsme zaparkovali blízko Farmers. Trochu jsme pak chodili po městě a našli několik zajímavých míst. Martin se byl tradičně zeptat na fitness centrum, ale nakonec se rozhodl, že tam nepůjde. Tomo mi napsala, že v práci končí v šest odpoledne. Našli jsme jednu internetovou kavárnu, kde jsme se asi na půl hodiny připojili. Když jsme se vraceli do našeho auta, rozhodli jsme se přeparkovat a ještě na nějakou dobu se připojit na Internet. Naneštěstí se počasí velmi rychle změnilo a začalo velmi silně pršet. Když jsme přeparkovali, byl jsem docela hladový. Než jsme se tedy znovu připojili, rozhodli jsme se najít nějakou restauraci. Bohužel skoro všechny byly zavřené, a tak jsem alespoň vzal za vděk jednomu tureckému bistru, kde jsem zkusil pravý novozélandsko-turecký kebab. Protože počasí nám moc nepřálo, po obědě jsme se vrátili do té internetové kavárny a na nějakou dobu se ještě připojili.

Když přišel čas, opustili jsme onu budovu a šli vyhlížet Tomo. Nebyl jsem si však jistý, jestli si tu mou zprávu přečetla, protože jsem neobdržel žádnou odpověď. Přesto jsem byl rozhodnutý vyčkat. S Martinem jsme si zašli vypít trochu kávy, kochali se čiště ženskou obsluhou v kavárně a v tom jsem zaresgistroval, že mi volá Tomo. Zkončila trochu později a navrhla, že bychom se mohli sejít právě v Tauranze. Sami jsme byli ve Starbucks café a navrhl jsem ji, že bychom se mohli sejít právě před hlavním vchodem. Tomo souhlasila, ale ještě chtěla něco domluvit, tak jsme měli asi hodinu čas do jejího příjezdu. Sedli jsme si do auta a koukali na film. Měl jsem po ruce telefón a vyčkávali, než opět zavolá. Když se tak stalo, vrátili jsme se k hlavnímu vchodu Starbucks café a zaregistrovali Tomo s Avonem. Bylo velmi fajn je opět vidět.

Našli jsme výborné místo, kam jsme společně zašli na večeři a vše si řádně vychutnali. Měl jsem v plánu je pozvat na večeři, ale Tomo řekla, že její laptop stále běží dobře a protože chce dodržet slib, tak pozvala ona mě. Poté s Avonem navrhli, že můžeme noc strávit v jejich domě. Po večeři jsme tam tedy namířili. Natankovali trochu benzínu a zaparkovali přímo vedle Avonova domu. Večer jsme si pak jen povídali a bylo to velmi příjemné. Když šli Tomo s Avonem spát, osprchovali jsme se a šli spát také.

Ráno jsme se nasnídali a opět prohodili pár slov s Tomo. Připravovala oběd pro Avona a navrhla, že nám může dělat průvodkyni v Mount Manganui, což bylo jméno místa, kde jsme byli (velmi blízko Tauranze). Souhlasili jsme a když se Tomo vrátila, vzala auto a v průběhu řízení nám vše popsala. Zastavili jsme celkem blízko jednoho malého strova, kde jsme pak šli na menší průzkum. Velmi mě to zaujalo, protože všude okolo byli surfaři. Pozoroval jsem je a udělal několik fotek. Ostrov byl velmi příjemný, na jeho konci byl obrovský útes a člověk mohl pozorovat, jak se ho divoká voda snaží rozdrtit. Když jsme se vrátili z ostrova, zaregistroval jsem jednoho maorského surfaře s tradičním tetováním. V hlavě mě hlodala myšlenka pořízení fotografie, ale dotyčný s někým mluvil a přišlo mi lehce nezdvořilé ho přerušovat. Dalším cílem bylo najít vhodné místo, kde mají dobrou kávu. Jako ideální se jevil Coffee Club. Objednal jsem ledovou čokoládu a Tomo se rozhodla ji vyzkoušet také. Martin si objednal snídani.

V ledové čokoládě tam měli velmi zajímavé dekorace a bylo to velmi dobré. Zavolali jsme Zuzce, protože Tomo byla zvědavá, jak se ji daří. Byla někde na Jižním ostrově a když jsem s ní mluvil já, tak jako tradičně se mnou nechtěla mluvit anglicky, takže Tomo a Martin mohli slyšel mou češtinu. Tomo mi řekla o jejich narozeninách a když jsme dokončili pití oné ledové čokolády, vrátili jsme se zpět do Avonova domu. Tam jsme potkali jejich spolubydlícího a společně s Martinem jsme se rozloučili s Tomo. Jako dárek nám Tomo věnovala několika feijoas, což bylo ovoce, které jsem zkusil poprvé v životě a nebylo to vůbec špatné.

Z Mount Manganui jsme se vypravili na východ na East Cape. Chtěli jsme vidět nejvýchodnější maják jak Nového Zélandu, tak i celého světa. Cesta byla docela dlouhá. Po naší levé straně jsme však mohli pozorovat Bay of Plenty. Měli jsme několik zastávek v několika malých městech, ale skrz Whakatane, Opotiki, Omaio a Hicks Bay jsme pokračovali až do Te Ararora. Řídil jsem významnou část cesty. Počasí nám však celkem nepřálo, cesty byly celkem úzké a ne tak frekventované. Měli jsme několik drobných zastávek, ale ne tolik času, tak jsme pokračovali. Martin si trochu stěžoval na rychlost, kterou jsme jeli. Jel jsem možná 60 – 70 km/h a vzhledem k okolnostem se mi to zdálo akorát. Martin se však chtěl vyměnit a pokračovat v řízení. To mi nevadilo, až do chvíle, kdy se zeptal, jestli vím, že tu můžu jet 100km/h? V tu chvíli mě to trochu vyděsilo. Martin byl dobrý řidič, s velmi slušnými zkušenostmi, ale sem tam jsem si připadal, že jsme někde v Německu na dálnici. Protože sám jsem preferoval trochu uvolněnější styl, z podobného stylu jsem opravdu nebyl příliš nadšen.

Do Te Araora jsme dorazili poměrně pozdě a nezbylo nám mnoho benzínu. Byli jsme však rádi, že jsme to zvládli. Spali jsme na pláži. Bylo tam sice silné varování kvůli tsunami, ale doufali jsme, že jedna noc by mohla být v pohodě. Byli jsme velmi natěšení, protože se blížil pátek třináctého. Počasí během noci bylo opravdu špatné, ale když jsme se probudili, vše se zdálo v pořádku… až do chvíle, kdy jsme chtěli nastartovat. Něco bylo špatně a motor nechtěl naskočit. Příčinou mohlo být počasí, ale po jistotu jsem zmínil Martinovi, že bychom mohli zkontrolovat také olej. Když jsme to udělali, tak jsme zjistili, že už tam moc oleje nezbývá. Bez něj by mohla být situace ještě horší. Prošli jsme se do centra města a koupili trochu oleje. Bylo to malé mětečko, kde téměř nic nebylo. Našli jsme malou čerpací stanici, ale Martin tam moc palivo kupovat nechtěl, chtěl to zkusit až v dalším městečku. Vzhledem k naprosté ohlehlosti mi to moc smysl nedávalo, ale spíše jsem doufal v to, že se nám vůbec podaří nastartovat. Olej jsme koupili a dolili na určené místo. Zkoušeli jsme pak nastartovat, ale podařilo se nám to asi až po patnácti minutách. Já osobně jsem byl velmi rád. Když člověk zůstane bez auta někde ve městě, tak má mnohem více možností jak vše vyřešit něž na místě, kde není skoro vůbec nic. Cesta k majáku byla bohužel zavřená, ale my se soustředili na to, abychom se dostali do dalšího městečka.

To neslo jméno Tikitiki a bylo to poprvé na Novém Zélandě, kdy jsem myslel, že nám dojde benzín. Naneštěstí, když jsme dorazili do onoho městečka, zjistili jsme, že musíme pokračovat do městečka Ruatoria, protože v Tikitiki žádná benzínová stanice nebyla. Navzdory tomu všemu jsme měli docela štěstí, protože dalších dvacet minut jízdy proběhlo bez problémů a když jsme dorazili, bylo to velmi příjemné. Natankovali jsme trochu paliva a jako bonus jsme potkali mnoho maorů s jejich specifickým tetováním. Jeden z nich po mě chtěl, abych mu udělal něco s jeho mobilním telefónem. Vůbec jsem mu nerozumněl, a tak jsem odmítl a vrátil se do auta. Naší další zastávkou byl totiž Gisborne a tak jsme se vydali na další cestu.

Cesta do Gisborne byla tradičně velmi příjemná. Musím říci, že Bay of Plenty je skutečně velmi fajn místo a určitě stojí za to tady navštívit několik koutů této zátoky, protože můžete vidět mnoho krásných věcí. Když jsme přijeli do Gisborne, město vypadalo velmi zajímavě. Mnoho palem a krásné úzké bulváry. Připadal jsem si, že jsem někde v Kalifornii, protože jsem si vybavil několik záběrů z několika filmů, které se odehrávaly právě v tomto americkém státě. Natankovali jsme trochu paliva, dokoupili zásoby jídla v Pack `n` Save a pokračovali do Taupa. Cesta byla poměrně dlouhá, ale já si to vychutnal. Opět jsem totiž řídil. V průběhu řízení jsem si uvědomil několik zajímavých věcí, na které tady může člověk narazit a které celkovou jízdu zpříjemňují. Když jsme byli blízko Napieru, byl jsem celkem unaven, tak jsem poprosil Martina, jestli by mě vystřídal. Souhlasil a my tak mohli pokračovat do Taupa, kde jsme dorazili večer.

Ubytovali jsme se v prvním motelu, na který jsme narazili. Byl velmi příjemný, nejlepší však bylo tamější připojení k Internetu. Za pouhých 5 dolarů jsme se mohli připojit neomezeně. Inspirováni Annou Kell a Tomo důvod naší cesty do Taupa byl Tongario Crossing, jeden z nejlepších tracků na Novém Zélandě. Stejnou noc kdy jsme dorazili, jsme už jenom odpočívali. Byli jsme totiž velmi unaveni, usli jsme během sledování TV. Ráno jsme se rozhodli, že bude rozumné ještě jednu noc zůstat, protože jsme předpokládali, že Tongario Crossing bude fyzicky velmi náročný a sprcha se bude určitě velmi hodit. Martin mi doporučil zajít na záchod, ale po mých zkušenostech z Mount Cook village jsem věděl, co je nezbytné.

Martin pak donesl drobnou svačinu a my opustili Taupo celkem rychle. Národní park byl možná hodinu autem vzdálen od Taupa a já osobně jsem se velmi těšil. Během cesty jsme mohli pozorovat celé jezero Taupo, které bylo skutečně rozlehlé. Alan z Lake Tekapo jednou zmínil, že rozloha tohoto jezera je stejná, jako třeba velikost Singapore. Když jsme zaparkovali na vyhrazeném parkovišti, počasí bylo celkem špatné, ale první část tracku (začali jsme severní stranou) byla pod stromy, takže nám to až tak nevadilo. V některých místech byl track docelá strmý a já potřeboval několik přestávek. Po chvilce chození jsme mohli pozorovat několik hor a sopku. Musel to být Mount Tongario aka Mount Doom z Pána Prstenů. Celé okolí pak ostatně byl Mordor. Naneštěstí viditelnost byla poměrně nízká a já byl celkem unaven a nebyl jsem si jistý, jestli vůbec budu schopen dojít k první chatě. Nicméně, zvládli jsme to a měli velmi fajn odpočinek. Vypili jsme trochu vody a red bullů a snědli část naší svačiny. Bylo to velmi fajn a druhá část tracku byla pro mě mnohem snesitelnější.

Okolí bylo úžasné. Počasí se bohužel stále zhoršovalo. Bylo tam několik nádherných jezer, ale vítr neskutečně silný a nebezpečný. Navzdory špatným podmínkám jsme stále pokračovali v chůzi. Bylo to stále velmi úžasné a já sám chtěl pokračovat tak daleko jak jen to půjde. Když jsme však dosáhli dalšího jezera, měli jsme několik potíží. Zkoušel jsem pořídit pár fotek, ale nešlo to. Byl jsem v pořádku, ale mé prsty byly zmrzlé a vítr stále silnější a nebezpečnější. Velmi silně pršelo a každá kapka nás pořádně štípala do tváře. Cesta zpět byla tak plná vzrušení, ale s Martinem jsme to brali jako součást skvělé zkušenosti. Byli jsme velmi silní kluci a když jsme se vrátili na parkoviště, ušli jsme více než 20 km velmi drsným terénem. Slyšel jsem, že normálně jde o velmi relaxační záležitost projít Tongario Crossing, ale o to více jsem byl na sebe pyšnější. I když jsem pak skoro nemohl chodit, vrátili jsme se do Taupa a po zbytek dne jen vesele odpočívali.

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Takový menší výlet: Cape Reigna, Whangarei, Piha, Coromandel

Když jsme se probudili v Aucklandu, sbalili jsme si všechny věci a opustili město. Náš další plán bylo jít do městečka Helensville. Najít cestu bylo velmi jednoduché, u větších měst tu obvykle tu stačí znát číslo silnice a vědět, kterým směrem vyrazit a pak tu není problém vůbec nic.

V Helensville jsme vypili trochu kávy. Martin si potřeboval odpočinout, a tak mě požádal, jestli bych mohl opět chvilku řídit. Souhlasil jsem a měl jsem tak další možnost vyzkoušet řízení auta v trochu jiných podmínkách. Prozkoumali jsme malý výběžek. Byla tam velmi krásná pláž zvaná Shelly Beach s velmi pěkným mostem, kde odpočívaly velké skupiny ruzných ptáků. Martin je chtěl trochu rozehřát a snažil se přeběhnout most jak rychle jen mohl. Ptáci pak byli pryč během okamžiku. Samotná pláž byla opravdu nádherná. Bylo tam několik rybářů a poblíž stála jedna restaurace s velmi zajímavým byznys modelem ve stylu, co chytíte, my vám uvaříme. Prochodili jsme okolí a měli jsme v plánu pokračovat do části zvané South Head, ale naneštěstí jsem někde špatně odbočil a ztratili jsme se. Ale ztraceni jsme byli na opravdu příjemném míste, kde jsme si trochu odpočinuli, snědli trochu jídla, koukli na Scary Movie 4. Přijela tam dokonce skupina japonců a ptali se na cestu, ale vzhledem k okolnostem jsme jim moc nemohli pomoci. Sami jsme se později vrátili zpět do Helensville.

Já sám jsem však byl celkem utahaný a byl jsem rád, že Martin se se mnou vyměnil a pokračoval v řízení. Jeli jsme severně směr Cape Reigna. Nicméně, cesta to byla daleká a my stále chtěli pokračovat podél pobřeží. Poblíž města Dargaville bylo místo Baylys Beach. Jak si lze z názvu odvodit, jednalo se o pláž. Už se pomalu stmívalo a my se rozhodli, že tam zůstaneme přes noc. Když jsme přijeli, zaregistrovali jsme několik lidí, ale sami jsme neváhali a zaparkovali na písku. Připravili jsme si večeři a zkoušeli usnout. Protože počasí nebylo nejlepší, vrtala nám hlavou hladina moře, která se díky okolnostem mohla snadno zvednout. Povrch byl navíc docela tvrdý, takže jsme přepokládali, že to může být důsledkem toho, že voda se tam bez problému dostane. I když jsme byli docela unaveni, raději jsme ještě jednou přeparkovali, tentokrát dále od hladiny moře.

Ráno jsem udělal několik fotek a udělal rychlou procházku na pláži. Potkal jsem několik lidí s jejich psi, se kterými byli na procházce. Nicméně, naší největší motivací byla stále Cape Reigna, místo, kde se nachází nejseverněji položený maják na Novém Zélandě. Baylys Beach jsme tak opustili celkem brzy a pokračovali dále na sever. Měli jsme několik zastávek, zastavili jsme se kupříkladu na vrcholu Pakia Hill a navstívili tamější pohodovou kavárnu. Cesta byla docela dlouhá, ale scenérie úchvatné. Na některých místech byla dokonce rudá země a nic jiného, než nádherné stromy a hory kam oko dohlédlo. Často jsem měl pocit, že se tam musel zastavit čas. Byli jsme asi 10 minut od Cape Reigna, kdy jsme si udělali malou přastávku na jednom odpočívadle. Snědli jsme trochu jídla a pokračovali na naši vysněnou destinaci. Když jsme dorazili, zaparkovali jsme na obrovském parkovišti a začali se rozhlížet všude okolo. Našli jsme velmi moderní záchody a několik cestiček. My chtěli vidět maják a místo setkání Tasmanova moře s Tichým oceánem. Zkušenost to byla opravdu boží, sám jsem si nikdy předtím nedokázal představit, jak mnoho vln se jen tak zjeví zničehonic v místech, kde by to člověk nečekal. Byli jsme naprosto uchvácení a přesvědčení, že ten výlet do těchto končit Nového Zélandu stál za to.

I když ještě nebylo tak pozdě, věděli jsme, že cesta trvala poměrně dlouho a rozhodli jsme se proto utábořit přímo na parkovišti Cape Reigna. Místo to bylo velmi tiché a trochu chladné, ale spalo se nám velmi dobře. Naším dalším místem bylo Whangarei. Vzdálenost mezi Cape Reigna a Whangarei byla vcelku velká, ale my si udělali několik zastávek. Nejprve jsme chtěli zkusit 90 Mile Beach, bohužel i když jsme byli velmi blízko, tak tam byl docela problém se dostat. Rozhodli jsme se tak raději pokračovat do Whangarei. Když jsme však byli v Bay of Islands, vzpomněl jsem si, jak jsem si četl o městečku Russell, kde vlastně začalo samotné osídlení Nového Zélandu lidmi evropského původu. Použili jsme jeden speciální trajekt a naše odpoledne jsme si pak vychutnali na velmi pěkném kopci s výhledem na okolí. Potkali jsme několik místních lidí, kteří tam prováděli pár známých z Austrálie. Všichni nám popřáli hodně štěstí.

Po zbytek cesty do Whangarei jsem pak převzal řízení. Použili jsme jinou cestu a vyhli jsme se tak trajektu. Cesta byla však poměrně úzká, po několika hodinách jsme však byli ve Whangarei. Našli jsme si tam velmi hezký motel. Velmi příjemné vedení, byli k nám extrémně přátelsští. Vypili jsme trochu piva a koukli na DVD. Kompletně jsme si odpočinuli a přemýšleli, co dál. Whangarei Falls vypadaly slibně. Když jsme se pak probudili, odhlásili jsme se a navštívili speciální městskou promenádu, kde o lodě, restaurace a příjemnou atmosféru nebylo nouze. Jednu z těchto restaurací jsme navštívili. Dokonalý dojem kazila trochu manažerka, která se tam občas objevila a působila trochu nepříjemně, ale ledová čokoláda byla opravdu výborná. Když jsme dopili, navštívili jsme ony Whangarei Falls. Byli jsme docela blízko onomu vodpádu, ale přemýšleli jsme nad tím, jak se dostat ještě blíže. Nakonec jsme uspěli a udělali několik opravdu pěkných fotek.

Z Whangarei jsme pak vyrazili zpět do Aucklandu. Cesta byla dobrá a já byl celkem natěšený. Když jsem byl po příjezdu na Nový Zéland v Auklandě, měl jsem chuť dostat se přes Harbour Bridge, což ale bez auta nebo autobusu nebylo možné. Když jsme s Martinem byli blízko onomu mostu, bylo to jako v ráji. Bylo možné pozorovat celé centrum pěkně zdálky, to vše ve velmi příjemné atmosféře. Rozhodli jsme se noc strávit na pláži Piha. Je to celkem známé místo, protože tam můžete najít černý písek všude okolo. Byl tam také natočen film The Piano pod taktovkou režisérky Jane Campion. Navzdory faktu, že jsem se tam opravdu těšil, rozhodli jsme se ještě vychutnat další Auckland zkušenost. Zaparkovali jsme na našem oblíbeném místě poblíž hlavní knihovny. Poté jsme udělali další měnší procházku a Martin se rozhodl, že zkusí další fitness centrum. Naneštěstí bylo celkem pozdě a do zavírací doby mnoho času na samotné cvičení. Nasedli jsme do auta a jeli blíže centru. Pro mě to byla první zkušenost řízení v Aucklandu a první zkušenost s parkovaním na velmi malém místě. Zaparkovali jsme totiž v Countdownu, kde bylo opravdu rušno. Martin šel pak cvičit a já trochu nakoupit. Poté se na chvilku připojil na Internet a když Martin skončil se cvičením, vrátil jsem se zpět k autu.

Už se začalo pomalu stmívat a byl pomalu čas vypravit se na Pihu. Zkontrolovali jsme mapy a průvodce a Martin mi věřil tak moc, že jsem mohl pokračovat v řízení. Byla to docela zajímavá zkušenost, ještě v Aucklandě na mě řidič dodávky něco ukazoval. Byl jsem zmaten, ale po chvilce jsme rozpoznali, že se nás snaží upozornit na to, že nemáme zapnuté světla. Cesta na onu pláž byla jinak opravdu dlouhá, ale měli jsme spoustu legrace. Ono když to tak vezmu, tak pokaždé když jsme se ztratili, tak jsme se hrozně nasmáli. Naštěstí jsme to nakonec našli a já byl velmi rád. Mimo silnici tam bylo jedno krásné místo, kde jsme přečkali noc a pořádně odpočinuli.

Ráno jsme pak udělali procházku po pláži. Bylo to velmi fajn. Pro mě osobně je Piha místo s plné tajemna. Velkou dominantu tvoří Lion Rock, což je obrovský kus skály ve vodě. Není tam také problém najít několik surfařů, ale Piha je také známá jako velmi nebezpečné místo pro milovníky vodních sportů. Já si celkem vychutnal tamější procházku. Zkoušel jsem přeskočit malý potůček, ale nebyl jsem až tak úplně úspěšný a má chodidla se částečně potopily do vody. Nicméně, nebyl čas litovat se, byl čas pokračovat do Coromandelu.

Zkoušeli jsme se vrátit do Aucklandu. Když jsme byli blízko centru, použili jsme špatné výjezdy naneštěstí. Po menší několikanásobné okružní jízdě jsme už byli v centru. Jako obvykle jsme zaparkovali na našem oblíbeném místě a připojili se na chvilku na Internet. Pro mě byla jedna hodina dostatečná, Martin tam chtěl ještě chvilku zůstat, já se rozhodl trochu projít. Šel jsem směrem k místu, kde jsem trávil nejvíce času. Potkal jsem jednoho ze svých britských známých, Deana. Byl zrovna ve fázi, kdy měnil svůj hostel. Zeptal jsem se ho co dělá. Stejné hovno jako předtím, zazněla odpověď, ale bylo to velmi fajn ho znovu vidět. Z naší původní skupiny tam zůstalo už jen velmi málo lidí.

Z Aucklandu jsme pak pokračovali na poloostrov Coromandel. Během večera jsme přijeli do malého městečka Thames. Nic zvláštního, ale mohli jsme nabrat trochu benzínu a něco málo sníst. Mysleli jsme si, že jsme blízko městečka Coromandel, ale mýlili jsme se, protože vzdálenost byla stále veliká, proto jsme kousek za Thames našli jednu malou cestu. Každý konec vedl k nějakému domečku, kde když jsme přijeli, někdo rozsvítil světla a šel otevřít. Pravděpodobně moc lidí kolem nebývá a tak případně návštěvy jsou opravdu vzácné. Protože už byla docela tma a moc se nám nechtělo nikde jezdit, rozhodli jsme se zůstat u krajnice na místě určeným pro situace, kdyby proti sobě jela dva auta, tak ať jedno z nich může uhnout. Jako obvykle jsme vypili trochu piva a koukli na film. Noc byla v pohodě, mohl jsem pozorovat přírodu přesně tak, jak jsem viděl na jednom impozantním videu.

Ráno jsme pokračovali v řízení. Jeli jsme takovou okružní jízdu okolo daného poloostrovu. Na chvilku jsme zastavili za městečkem Thames, udělali si snídani a pokračovali do městečka Coromandel. Místo to bylo velmi malé, ale velmi krásné, ostatně jako celý poloostrov. Mimo městečko jsme zastavili na jednom výběžku za účelem pořízení několika fotek. Z jakéhosi karavanu vyběhl maor, který si říkal Lion. Byl velmi přátelský, nabízel nám dokonce, že tam můžeme přespat u něj na pozemku, ale s poděkováním jsme odmítli. Vrátil jsem se do auta a odpočíval jsem. Měl jsem ale také zároveň určité obavy, protože tamější cesta byla opravdu hrozná, kdy nechybělo mnoho velmi prudkých svahů. Martin pak připravil takové překvapení, kdy jsme měli drobnou nehodu. Nebylo to hrozné, jen jsme dostali smyk, na chvilku vyletěli ze silnice, abychom se tam zase pak mohli vrátit. Trochu jsem se praštil do hlavy, ale nebylo to nic hrozného. Měl jsem spíše obavu o Martina, jestli je v pořádku nebo ne. Ten se mi omlouval, ale bylo to v pohodě, dokonce nebylo ani auto příliš poškozené. Pouze když se otevíraly dveře řidiče, tak to bylo doprovázeno obrovským skřípavým zvukem. Byl jsem velmi rád, že to tak dopadlo, protože některé úseky dané vozovky byly mnohem nebezpečnější a pád tam mohl být velmi zajímavý.

Když jsme se vrátili do městečka Coromandel, pokračoval jsem s řízením až na místo zvané Whitianga. Rozhodli jsme se tam zůstat, protože to bylo blízko jednomu známému místu zvaném Hot Water Beach. Martin objednal velmi luxusní motel. Bylo to pravděpodobně to nejluxusnější místo, na jakém jsem kdy byl a opět jsme se rozhodli pořádně odpočinout. Nakoupili jsme nějaké suroviny a připravili oběd. Martin byl spokojen a dohromady se koukli na film, který jsem chtěl vždycky vidět – Poslední skotský král. Udělali jsme pak takovou menší procházku po pláži, bylo tam několik surfařů, počasí se však postupně zhoršovalo, tak jsme se vrátili zpět. Koukli se na další filmy a mluvili o několika různých věcech. Martin se cítil trochu vinně, ale nebyl jsem na něj naštvaný, podobné věci se holt sem tam stanou. Satisfakcí bylo, když jsem se naučil otevírat láhev piva bez otvíráku. Znal jsem několik technik předtím, ale tato byla asi nejlepší. Jednalo se o otevření láhve piva jinou láhví piva. Velká výhoda je, že pokud nemáte otvírak, nemusíte ho kupovat, místo toho stačí přikoupit jedno nebo dvě piva navíc. V motelu jsme usnuli naprosto bez problému a měli krásné sny o našich dalších zastávkách – Hot Water Beach a Bay of Plenty.

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