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The NetBeans South America Tour, week 1.5

Posted by timboudreau on November 7, 2007 at 10:46 PM PST

It has been a whirlwind trip so far in South America. Last week we did one city a day for four days - lots of arriving in airports at 3AM, sleeping for four hours and then presenting for five, then talking with JUG members and professors into the night, then getting on another plane. But it's been a blast. We've been shooting a lot of videos, so we should have some interesting stuff for netbeans.tv - though Bruno was cursing me this morning for shooting everything in HD - one hour of HD video is 500Gb+, so we now have about five terabytes of video to do...something...with. I think I'll be buying some hard drives...

The turnout has been excellent in all of the cities we have visited, and we are having a lot of fun meeting local Java developers and users groups. Some of the highlights:

  • Playing soccer with the Montevideo JUG members - put a bunch of Brazilians, Argintines and Uruguayans at a table for lunch together, and the topic will inevitably turn to soccer. This ended in the Uruguayans challenging the rest of us to a game of soccer that night - so we all rented a soccer court on the beach, and well, two days later walking down stairs is still a bit painful.
  • Three big guys in the world's smallest taxi - Taxis in Montevideo are divided by a wall and very thick glass, and that wall is very close to the back seat. Put me, Bruno Souza and Mauricio Leal in the back of one, along with bags and laptops, and, well, it's a fun ride (photo below).
  • Chinchulin - as my friend Fernanda delicately put it, it is a cow's intestine, with its natural contents grilled. You can see it in the photo with all the meat below (the puffy looking things are cow lymph glands). What does not kill you makes you strong...
  • Muqueca de Camarao - an incredibly delicious dish made with dende oil, which you can only get in the area around the city of Salvador in Brazil (photo below)
  • NetBeans wire-art - we paid a jewelery-maker in a street market to bend the word NetBeans into a piece of wire (photo below)
  • Sumo Wrestling Robots - I missed this personally, but next to our Solaris talk the other night in Montevideo was a room full of robots programmed by students to sumo-wrestle. That's tough competition for an operating system talk, no matter how good.

Our makeshift translation rig is working out quite well - the announcements mention than anyone who wants simultaneous translation should bring a walkman or other FM radio. We have a small FM transmitter, and a microphone preamplified through a laptop. It really works. Bruno and Mauricio are the true heros, as they both do their own talks and also translate for us gringos. That adds up to about 10 hours of talking a day!

We are currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we did a talk at a university this morning, and the Solaris talks are happening now - I skipped out to an Italian restaurant where I could catch up on email and write this. Tomorrow on to Cordoba, and then Santiago, Chile. At this point we're really hitting our stride, with the talks and the timing of them tuned pretty well. If anyone wants to hone their speaking abilities and put a fine shine on a presentation, I highly recommend doing it every day for weeks on end on 2-4 hours sleep. I'm really not complaining - this is a great trip!

So we are flying to Cordoba tomorrow, and we have just learned that 90% of the pilots for the Argentine airline are on forced vacation as of today, for working too many hours above safety regulations. So most flights are cancelled, and we need to be doing a talk there at 8AM day after tomorrow. And that is the airline we are flying tomorrow. So tomorrow will be an interesting day - we are considering renting a car and doing an eight hour road trip across Argentina, or going by bus, or finding another airline (which surely everyone else is also trying to do). More will be revealed...


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NetBeans: The Flan

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Lunch in Montevideo (the fluffy looking things are cow lymph nodes)

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I need more coffee if you want me to talk for five hours

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Mauricio, Bruno and 1/10 of me, in the world's smallest taxi

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Moqueca de Camaraoes - quite possibly the best food on earth

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Trash collection in Montevideo

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