Mon, 16 Aug 2004

Oxford, day 5, 6 and 7

Argh, just two days left for me at the conference.

Friday 13th

Friday was a slow day, after the great stuff going on on Thursday. There were talks on the status of hardware support in Debian, laptop support and jamesh did a quick demo on PyGTK programing.

When work ended, people started doing fun stuff. Some went off to drink a bit getting prepared to swallow Antitrust. Others stayed at some rooms hacking and generally wasting time. Mako and I started to do plans for a great xmame game, but faced some problems (like a *huge* compile and total lack of roms) and postponed until some time later. Went to bed way too late, after not training at all.

Saturday 14th

On Saturday, breakfast ended at 10AM, which was a pain. I spent most of the morning in zombie mode, while Colin took a few dudes to Cambridge to spend the day. Those who stayed at Oxford had a quick lunch at the bar, consisting of hamburger (my first shit-food-like hamburger in about 5 years) with bacon, while I made arrangements with my friend Graham from Loughsborough to meet in Oxford. Around 15:30, Graham appeared and we went down to town, where we parked his car (I was horrified by the parking fares in England) and started walking around the city, after rejecting the idea of taking a tourist bus, as most of the interesting stuff is actually in the pedestrian-only areas of the city centre. We visited the University area, with the old library and church, which were very cool, and then went down to the Cathedral, which was interesting because it's so different to a common Spanish cathedral. In Spain, they tend to be tall but not so large. Oxford's isn't tall, but it occupies a very large block. Furthermore, it's located in one of the ends of the city, so just outside of it there's just countryside, with large areas of grass where people can stay. Looks a lot more friendly to me than the evil church in Spain at least. We didn't go inside the Cathedral because we had to pay, and most of the stuff seemed to be closed anyway. Back at the centre, we had a tea somewhere, and then decided to stay to have dinner, and managed to find The Turf Tavern, near the Bodleian Library, and just off the Venecian arch, very well hidden in a tiny alley.

The Turf Tavern is awesome. It's a very old, historic pub located in a building dating the 14th century, and it really feels like a traditional English pub (I guess, anyway ;). Graham said I should try their cider, which was very cool. The pub's backyard has a few ilustrations which talk about what famous people like Bill Clinton did there when they were young. Clinton assures he "didn't inhale", just filled his mouth with some, let's say not legal substance. Let's believe him... Those that are staying for the rest of the week in Oxford should not miss this place. Try the cider, too (but only if you don't have to drive back)!

We finally had dinner at some Italian restaurant near the bus station, as Graham's foot injury was starting to hurt again and we preferred not to walk too much more. The pizza was great, but I can't remember the restaurant's name. We briefly visited a pub in the same street, which was full of people quite older than us (30's/40's). I liked the music a lot more than the music you find in a normal pub in Spain, which kinda sucks. Graham objected though, as he said it's always the same music from the 80's. I guess it can get boring, yes. Not much later we were back at the hotel, where I showed him the conference centre a bit and where all the Canonical stuff is taking place, and finally Graham left at 23:00 or so, as he had a bit more than one hour of car to get home. I'm glad we managed to meet, I hadn't seen him in the last 3 months since he left València and we had a great time at Oxford. Oh, I got a very nice British Triathlon T-Shirt too, with long-sleeves. Perfect for the air-conditioning freezing hell here at the hotel.

Sunday 15th

Slow day again, after getting little sleep. After going down at 10 for breakfast, I went up to the room again to see if I could catch some interesting Olympics stuff on the BBC, but after gymnastics finished, they started doing boxing, which I fucking don't understand why it's an olympic sport. Bleh. It sucks that I'm not following the Olympic games at all, I don't even know when the nice swimming stuff is, or when athletics start. I just know the Olympic triathlon is next week, which should be perfect for me to watch on TV. Learned that not only Greece lost their two better athletes under doping suspect, but they also got beaten by *Mali* on football. Fun...

Went to the mini-pool just before lunch, when everyone else were stuck to the bar's TV sets watching F1. Of course, Schumacher won again, what a surprise. I tried getting some swim, but it was quite hard, with just around 12 metres of swimming pool. I got quite tired as I only could do around 6 strokes before turning around and going back, losing much breath, so after a while I just ended having fun or doing some short technique exercises. When I went out I was quickly reminded that the changing rooms at the gym are the maximum example of air-con hell in this hotel. There is air-conditioning inside the changing rooms, with a quite cold setup, which just makes you freeze when you get out of the shower all wet. This is just crazy. Thom says the hotel is just trying to show off. Well, it shows off stupidity. :) After more hamburger for lunch, Mako and I finally started playing some X-Mame, as he finally found the needed roms. "Man, this game's great" or "I'm... Batman!", he kept saying. We started a Captain Commando game, which we didn't finish, as we were called by Fabio to go down to the swimming pool again. We had a nice time there, doing races and stuff. Shortly after Enrico, Teo and seb128 joined.

We went to the Trout Inn after dinner (instead of looking at what we wanted to do with the i18n BOF on Monday morning), which is just at the opposite side of the Thames Path, just along the road to Wytham. The inn is huge, and we had a few beers and a nice time, until we were kicked out at a ridicolous time, bah! Lu, doko and I agreed to go running at another ridiculous time, 7:30AM, next morning, but that's another story.