October for me
I’m back at the valley after a month’s worth of traveling. The final count of stops tallied at San Francisco -> Taipei -> Kuala Lumpur -> Bangkok -> Kuala Lumpur -> Hong Kong -> San Francisco. There were far too many things that happened along the way for me to cover in a single post (or rather I’m still lagged and want to finish this quickly before a bunch of gibberish appears in the post – the result of my forehead crashing into the keyboard after I pass out) so I’m going to pick up some summary spots and talk about those instead.
Now fortunately my trip back to KUL from SFO was previously covered here so I get to skip that. The stuff that I *do* want to talk about however are:
1. Mutton curry
There was a *lot* of face stuffing that inevitably occurred when I was back and I honestly can’t remember half of it. I remember however that the only thing I really wanted was good mutton curry. Its a testament of how cosmopolitan the Valley has become with the fact that there is really very little you can’t get here (food wise and otherwise) but good mutton curry unfortunately falls under that exception. I think its partly because most of the Indian food here comes from Northern Indian/Pakistani cuisine which rather lacks the spices that’s generally used in Malaysian styled mutton curry. You can tell almost immediately that its good Malaysian styled mutton curry when your tongue spontaneously erupts into flames and your arse feels sore after your bathroom trip the morning after.
Oh and if there is a good Southern Indian place in the South Bay area that I’m not aware of, please feel free to correct me.
2. Barcamp Bangkok
I was up in Bangkok at one of the weekends to attend Barcamp Bangkok 2010. Now there are a few things we need to clarify. It was not held in a bar, there was no alcohol served but there was camping involved. Barcamp Bangkok is actually a geek event spanning the weekend when geeks congregate for tracks, sessions, a bit of hacking and to generally network.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was the fact that tracks and sessions were not prearranged by the organizers. Rather, at the start of Barcamp, a stack of topic papers were made available to anyone who wanted to speak. The speakers would then write their topic and post them up along the wall and the rest of the attendees will vote for topics that they wanted to be involved with. There is no limit to how many times you can vote, just as there is no limit to how many times you can speak.
The “conference” room was actually a gym the size of a basketball court and the posted topics spanned one wall right to the other. With the dynamics there, you get all sorts of subjects from HTC’s “How to make money with Android” to the Mozilla Foundation’s “Hacking Firefox with Jetpack” to other…shall we say more unorthodox topics. I’ll let the picture below illustrate what I mean.
3. The Malaysian 2011 budget
I’m trying hard not to be too disparaging about our budget and was struggling to look at every issue in a constructive and objective manner. I really did like it when Najib opened with the statement that they wanted to make a budget for the people and they listened to everyone when drawing the thing up. Fact of the matter tho is that if you want to spend $5 billion building a 100 story tower that:
a. Nobody wants (aside from cronies and contractors that will wallow in cash when it comes thru)
b. Nobody needs (which is painfully obvious from the under utilization of office spaces in KL)
c. We can’t afford (didn’t his own department tell us the country will be bankrupt soon ?)
leads me to question who the heck he was listening to in the first place. Really hope we didn’t replace a dozing prime minister with one that hears voices.
4. My trip back
I flew Cathay Pacific this time round which was great because I didn’t have to stare at the back of a seat for 16 hours and I had access to like a hundred movies that was on demand. If you couple that with the fact that I was smushed into a window seat with a fellow passenger nearby that has issues with odor; I slept a grand total of 1.5 hours in a span of 2 days.
In any case, the highlight of the journey was the fact that my transit in HK only had a 1 hour window. Made me really nervous because the next corresponding flight out of Hong Kong wouldn’t be for another 36 hours and I really didn’t want to get stuck in an airport that long. I figure my chances of meeting Catherina Zeta Jones wouldn’t be nearly as good as Tom Hank’s for one. In any case, it worked out fine in the end except for the fact that:
…I’m not really exaggerating all that much actually.
And its good to be back. Looking forward to my first real Halloween experience this weekend. Nick’s description of the event has been fairly graphical