Taj Mahal

IMG_0338, originally uploaded by adammonago.

Incredible weekend in Dehli. Yesterday did a tour of the city and saw the Mughal fortress at Qutub Minar. Today, my colleague KC Mohan took me along with him and his family to Agra to see the great Taj Mahal. It was quite the trek (4 hour drive each way), but completely unforgettable, even if it was insanely HOT.

As luck would have it last week, I left my camera at home; I originally did not think it would be a big deal considering I was not planning on sightseeing, but everything worked out. The iPhone snaps came out great, and KC is going to share the rest of the photos from his camera.

Two more days in Dehli for business and then I head to Chennai to do a client training event with Nivetha. Really looking forward to the rest of the week.

Adam at Agile China 2009

152, originally uploaded by AgileChina2009.

This weekend I flew to Beijing to give my ‘Agile Analysis Not Fragile Analysis’ talk at Agile China 2009. I was pretty knackered from Jetlag, but the talk went great. The most amazing thing was to see how the conference and community grew since I spoke at the last one there on my birthday back in 2007. Time certainly flies.More pics of Agile China 2009 can be found here and here.

Greetings from Beijing (part 3)

This is a greeting from the Temple of the Red Conch, up in the forests north of Beijing. You can guess that I look like I felt after climbing the Great Wall all morning after a late night out with colleagues drinking Baijiu. Another awesome experience in China capped off by this great photo taken by Badri. I have not decided if I’m going to stick with the beard yet, but it made for some good snaps.

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My trip to Beijing

I travelled to Beijing this past week for the Agile China conference where I did a talk on our latest product offering. The experience was fantastic. It was my first time in China and I was able to meet all of my wonderful colleagues from this amazing country.

I got sick the day before I left, and by the time that I landed in Beijing, I had lost my voice. Luckily, Yabin told me about this amazing Chinese medicine called Hou Xiang Zheng Qi Shui (in Pinyin minus tones). It came in little wax bottles and smelled god awful, but within a day, I felt better. It was like magic. I had half of my voice left by Saturday (day of the conference), but my colleague Zheng told me that I sounded sexy, so I was not afraid. All in all, the conference was fantastic, as I was able to meet all sorts of wonderful software developers from Beijing.

As I scrambled to figure out how I could pack some tourist fun into my trip, I learned that the Great Wall was only 30 minutes from the city. So, on my 33rd birthday, we managed to make our way to the Wall (see pic below). It is big. And awesome. And hard to climb. But it was great.

Here I am on the Great Wall of China

Other highlights of the trip included the trip to the Ming Tombs, seeing Tiananmen Square in person, eating at King Duck, seeing Chinese folk musicians in the subway, wandering the alleys and shores of Hou Hai, watching the Venti coffee come to a Beijing Starbucks even though the day before the biggest size they had was Grande, eating awesome Yunan food, and drinking yak butter tea and a great Tibetan restaurant.

I am looking forward to heading back to Beijing this fall. It is a fantastic city that feels like it’s about to become a great deal more exciting.

Life in Sydney

I have now officially been in Sydney for more than a month. On the whole, I would say that I have been very fortunate to be on a trip such as this. I stay in a small corporate apartment in the center of the city, near the central business district. Our office is just a few blocks away, just a couple doors down from a fantastic espresso bar (the Met Cafe….Hey Brendan!) which we frequent often. Note: Sydney has unbelievable coffee; I never knew this before coming, but it’s true.

Weekend in the Hunter Valley (Part One)
One of our teammates was getting ready to head to another project in the UK, and he and his girlfriend had a little leaving do for him up in the Hunter Valley. They rented a pretty cool house where we stayed and launched some wine tour excursions from. In the evening, we enjoyed the spoils of our tours with some hearty games of Carcassone and nice homecooked food.

It was my first time spying a pack of about 20 wallabies in the middle of a field. The funny thing is that they are as common here as deer. Overall, many similiarities to Napa/Sonoma, but definitely it’s own feel. The morning fog and the eerie bird cries in the morning are one thing I will never forget.

Seeing Sydney and Meeting Cousins I Never Knew I Had
A few days after arriving, my dad emailed me to tell me that we had tracked down some long lost cousins of ours. Apparently, they originally grew up in the same area as my dad, but eventually, the father (my cousin John) met an Australian woman and moved to Sydney where he has been running a bookshop for 20 years or something. He has two children, both about my age, one of whom is a vetenarian and the other who is a surfer. 🙂 Some email introductions flew around, and pretty soon I was having dinner with my new found familiy. Since then we’ve hung out a couple of times, and I have fun with them!

Weekend in the Hunter Valley (Part Deux)
We had the Australian version of the Away Day, which they call the Team Hug and which happens every six months. It was quite fun to meet people from all of the other offices, however, I spent most of Saturday working as we were getting close to the launch.

Launch Weekend
The amount of things that need to be done when you are building a product are amazing. Even when the software works, there is still a tremendous amount of coordination necessary to: launch marketing campaigns, provision the product, gather and document feedback, build support mechanisms, and ensure all of the legals are in place. This is just scratching the surface of the stuff I need to handle in the day to day. In any case, all I can tell you was that I was not bored.

We launched on Saturday, the 30th and celebrated with a couple of bottles of champagne and a wii tennis tournament with LCD Soundsystem blasting on the stereo. In the end, the weekend was a smash success. I never met a group that has worked as hard as my teammates, and I am extremely proud of them.

China!?!? Say What?
I am going to Sydney to present at Agile China Developer’s Day 2007. I just found out a couple of weeks ago, so in a couple of days I will be off to Beijing for a few days at our offices and at the conference. Following that, I will make a stop in Xi’an to meet some of my distant teammates from that office whom I never get to see. I am incredibly excited to experience China.

Patrick Wolf at the Basement Club
On Friday night, a couple of us headed over the this club called the Basement in Sydney, to watch a songwriter named Patrick Wolf. He was absolutely fantastic, and the house was packed. His music reminds me somewhat of Antony and the Johnsons. I highly recommend picking up some Patrick Wolf if you get a chance.

Snowboarding in Tahoe

Jen and I took a trip to Lake Tahoe this past weekend to spend some time with my buddy Dave and his wife Brooke. After about 8 years of prodding, Dave finally got me to try snowboarding.
We took one lesson that lasted a few hours, and by the end, we were exhausted. It did not help that it was very hot out that day. When I was able to stand up, I found that I was actually starting to understand how to control my movements and speed. Unfortunately, once I was down, getting up was really hard!

All in all, I thought it was alot of fun. I think that I would like to try and get back there another weekend and do about 3 days of lessons in a row, so that I can really get better.
I think that the thing that I liked the best about boarding was that in general, it’s so much less complicated than skiing. The clothing and the equipment are both simpler and less bulky, plus, there is only one moving part. 🙂
That said, it was definitely easier to get going when skiing, but boarding seems like it will be alot more fun once I get the hang of it. btw…That’s me looking stylish in my borrowed gear.

sightseeing in london

After a long, hard week of work, I managed to get in some sightseeing yesterday. I’ve posted some pictures here.

Today, Steve and his friend Deanna and I headed over to Shepherd’s Bush to have Sunday Roast with Deanna’s friends Nic and Josie. I had lamb roast with carrots, broccoli and potatoes, and followed it up with a sticky toffee pudding, and washed it all down with many london prides. It was fantastic. Not to mention that the place was spinning the best records.

After a big walk home and a bit of indonesian food, I am thoroughly trounced. We have one more week of work here and then head back on Saturday. Hoping to get to see some of my coworkers from this side of the pond after work this week. Otherwise, I’m wiped and that’s it for now. Cheers!

Remembering Fun Times In New Orleans

Right now, we are witnessing what is probably the most insane thing ever to happen in modern America with the flooding and subsequent anarchy within New Orleans, one of my favorite cities. I’m too tired to recap my thoughts on the whole thing right now. I can say that I was glad to learn today that Todd had spoken with our friend Shane who managed to escape the carnage with his wife and children. Shane was a fine host during my visits to the city and on multiple occasions, hosted fantastic crawfish boils at his home which I attended. I’ve included some photos from some of those happy times to make up for the madness that is going on there right now. Unfortunately, I suspect that we’ll never know the city as it once was. My brother commented on how much history was lost in a single day; not just the buildings and parks, but the artifacts of a couple centuries of musical history that had accumulated in the mysterious homes of thousands of New Orleans residents that will probably never again see the light of day. Unreal.