Sunday, 17 August 2014

LAOTNTOUR 2014 – El Salvador – 13th August

Last leg of the tour for me, sad but I am tired and have taken the opportunity to go diving on my way home, so am ready.

Again Gurcan selected an early flight to give us most of the day in San Salvador, not quite as early a start as the previous leg but still an 0440 pickup from the  airport. Glenn and I treated ourselves to McDonalds for breakfast, I had Bacon, Onion and Cheese (with egg) McMuffin which I had never seen elsewhere and it was lovely and I do have to say the coffee was awesome. It should have been our quickest flight but due to a technical issue on another aircraft it appeared that all of Avianca’s staff needed to go somewhere via El Salvador and we had to wait for them to board with all their luggage, all the things that frustrate me with other passengers.
Never mind we arrived at the airport about 90 minutes late and due to a communication issue we had to then find our way to the hotel on our own but not a big issue and we were there and checked in by 10am. We had arranged a private tour of local attractions - the Mayan Route for 1pm so we had a simple lunch overlooking the hotel pool.

I had another banking issue here, according to my xchange app they uses Colones in El Salvador at a boy 7 to the $, so I asked the ATM for 500, quite a shock when it gave me 50 $10 bills! Apparently they stopped using Colones many years ago albeit unofficially and stuck to the dollar!

Our tour guide Cesar, spoke brilliant English, and later told us he was 70, a testament to his naturalism lifestyle which he told us about throughout the day. He really was very knowledgeable. We started by driving through the city where he pointed out a few places including his favourite restaurants which Glenn and Gurcan later visited.

There are even more volcanoes in El Salvador and so we drove out to the archaeological sites of San Andrés and Joya de Cerén, also known as the Pompeii of America.


Gurcan and Tom debating the database
The conference was held at Universidad Centoramericana "José Simeón Cañas" which was a beautiful campus but a shock. Normally we are in very air conditioned buildings and actually cold, this campus was almost open with roofs and very little walls. There was a gentle breeze but it was hot and very humid and it got worse as the day went on. Then as dusk fell poor Tom Kyte had to raise his voice over what sounded like the entire El Salvadorian bird population, but he managed, the ultimate professional.

There was a mixture of Oracle professionals and students and I think organisers need to have specific tracks for students. They are so important but deep technical sessions are not appropriate for them at this stage in their learning and adapting the sessions for them is not fair on the professionals. A separate track would ensure both communities get the right content.

There was one company Unicomer with several people attending who are looking at their E Business Suite update and have the same questions every user does worldwide. They run shops across the Caribbean and Latin America and the decisions they make are key to that business. It was great to be able to talk at length to their technical lead.

The sponsors of the day took us for dinner in a small restaurant over looking the city, a great way to say goodbye to El Salvador and my LAOTN tour 2014.

No comments: