Recently in Travel Stories Category

ApacheCon 2006 US is about to begin


I am awake and about to head down to the registration desk to officially kick off the conference. Somehow, I think this picture from Ted Leung I just noticed in my flickr stream sums it all up very nicely.

Austin, TX, we have landed!


I've finally arrived in Austin, Texas. All in all, it was an uneventful trip getting here. Now, it's time for ApacheCon 2006 US to start!

The weather is warmer than I expected, so no complaints so far.

I do have 2 interesting incidents to share though.

When going through the security checkpoint, I was "caught" with 2 forbidden items. I had a can of shaving cream that was too big, as well as a tube of toothpaste that was also too big. I gave the nice security lady my best :

"Oh, I am sorry, I had no idea you couldn't take this kind of stuff in carry-on luggage anymore..."

Apparently she took pity on me and allowed me to pick one of the items to keep, and she would confiscate the other.

"It's all right, go ahead, pick one and you can keep it, I'll have to confiscate the other one."

I am no security expert, but that sounds like a complete failure of the security mechanism she was trying to enforce.

Before that, when going through US customs, I ended up with a fairly obtuse Immigration Officer that considered my attempts at explaining the concept of OpenSource Software evasive and forwarded me to a nice little waiting room for a secondary screening. Apparently, he suspected there was something very wrong about somebody claiming to be giving software away for free. After what seemed like a long time waiting in a small, removed, waiting room, I finally get interviewed by somebody else. Turns out, he not only understands OpenSource software, he actually runs Linux at home! Very nice, took 10 seconds, shook hands and he let me through. He still wanted to understand one thing:

"Still, why do you guys do this stuff for FREE ?"

Oh, well, if we meet again, and I don't have a plan to catch in 30 minutes, I would have tried to explain it all.

Long Beach Bayou Festival 2004


We spent this weekend at the Long Beach Bayou Festival 2004. It was a whole week-end of Cajun food, music and dancing, located in the Queen Mary Events Park, with a nice view of the Queen Mary herself and the Pacific ocean.

It was a weekend full of very good Blues, Cajun and Zydeco bands from New Orleans. The large outdoor dancing floor was always crowded either with people dancing to the bands, or learning dance moves from the many dance instructors.

Each day there was a mini Mardi Gras parade, complete with brass band and all. It was quite a sight. All the costumes were made by themselves.

The main attraction could as well have been the food. There was quite a few very interesting food stores selling good Cajun food, from jambalaya, to gumbo, crawfish, catfish and more. We both enjoyed the many varied food more than once.

And all the pictures are in the gallery :

Returning from Yosemite National Park


On our way there, we stopped by the Kings River to do some cool white river rafting with the cool people of Zephyr.

It was Gao Qing's first rafting experience, and we both had the great opportunity of being sucked out of the boat into a powerfull rapid. Then ejected right under the boat.

We both miraculously remembered the safety tips and managed to come back up to the surface alive and well. It was quite a blast and I hope we will be doing it again in the future!

We then proceeded to the beautiful Yoesmite National Park.

The road there was a bit long, but incredibly scenic, a long tortuous road surrounded by giant sequoia trees. Our destination was a particularly well equipped camping colony, Curry Village. We got ourselves installed in a nice permanent tent, well-equipped with all the luxury in the world. Electricity, heating, a bed with nice sheets and pillows, and a padlock on the front door.

Over there, they take the threat of bears quite seriously. We were given detailed instructions about what would attract bears (even toothpaste) and were given access to a very nice and sturdy metal lockbox to secure all those goodies safe from bears. It was quite nice to watch a short video of a bear ripping thru a car window to get at some food in the car

The time we spent there consisted mostly of looking around at the fantastic granite mountains that surround the park from all sides. From those majestic rocks, you can find many beautiful and gigantic waterfalls, including the highest waterfall in North-America, Yosemite Fall.

We hiked all the way up to 5044 feet to the top of one of the waterfalls, Vernal falls. The view was amazing and it was quite something to look at the relatively quiet pond that was being sucked into the massive waterfalls and down 704 feet to crash into solid granite. Pretty cool view and nice pictures from there.

And all the pictures are in the gallery :

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