We arrived in Mexico City late in the evening and made our way to the hotel, unfortunately when they finally got around to speaking with me there appeared to be a problem with my booking. The logistics of the OTN tour are booked via Oracle travel where possible and I had given them the name of the hotel as agreed by the group, and they assured me they booked the ONLY Radisson in Mexico City. Apparently they didn't, and it took some time to get past the young girl on the desk who simply wanted me to travel an hour in a taxi on my own, and find a manager who could find me a room that night. Brendan and Gurcan had even offered to share a room so I could have a room but she wouldn't have it. Not a good start but I knew it would be a good stop as Francisco was joining the tour.
In fact we were also joined by Noel Portugal from the Oracle UX team who gave the keynote on wearables and then Pablo Ciccarello from OTN gave the community presentation. The event was held at UVM Campus Coyoacán and it was packed. The day was kicked off by Plinio Arbizu an ACE Director and leader of the Mexico User Group. I loved the day I had users of E Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards in my sessions.
Actually the Oracle UX team have a development office in Mexico and Noel was joined by local Rafael Belloni and had other sessions so we defiantly got the UX message out in Mexico. Noel has since blogged about this.
On the way to Latin America I read a blog by Albert Barron explaining cloud using Pizza as an analogy. If you read my blog regularly you know I love analogies and this really helped to explain what SaaS meant in my presentation 'Do Cloud Applications Add Up?' For the event Rene Antunez tried to get me a pizza to share with my audience but we were not allowed it in the university.
That evening Rene hosted us all at his home, I felt sorry for his wife with all these computer nerds descending and then we discovered it was her birthday. What a wonderful couple.
The next day we had planned to visit the pyramids and it seemed we didn't need to think too much about it as we had Francisco and just needed to turn up at the bus station at 0840. That was of course until 0835 arrived and no sign of Francisco or his son Thomas. Gurcan rang him and it seems his alarm didn't go off (had to explain the weekday concept doesn't apply to Saturdays) but they were soon downstairs and we hot footed it along the road. We soon realised the bus stop was further than he remembered and after a quick bribe to a taxi driver to take all 5 of us to the bus stop, we made it, much to the relief of Mark who was waiting there for us.
The first stop on the trip was the Basilica du Gudalupe a phenomenal cathedral that houses the national shrine. The shrine sits above the pulpit and whilst services go on, people travel along a moving walkway underneath to look up at the shrine. Really good crowd control without ruining the religious experience in the main cathedral.
Then it was off to the Piramides Teoihucan to see the pyramids of the Moon and the Sun.
It was a lovely day and not too hot although most of us got a little sun, Brendan and I never see the sun in Ireland and Glenn keeps well covered up so we looked a great white bunch. I recently hurt my hip and promised my physio I wouldn't walk too much, do you think 257 steps up and back down again count? I am so glad I managed it and have to thank Glenn who helped me for at least 200 of those. Although I looked liked I needed CPR at the top!!
Afterwards we watched a fertility dance where men climbed what looked like an enormous may pole and then danced on top before jumping off with ropes. It was mesmerising and defiantly worth watching. Then we had to try tequila (well we were in Mexico) and then a great lunch. Once we got back to the city I then did on my own a 3hr city tour on an open top bus, they really are the best way to see a city when you are time poor.
Another stop over on the LAOTN tour 2014.