Thu, 19 Aug 2004

Oxford, 8th, 9th and last day

Ah well, I'm back in València, with no air conditioning, no long sleeve t-shirts (actually, no t-shirt at all) and some very nice 30ºC at midnight. LaMont, you'd pay to be here.

Monday 16th

As I said in my last entry, Lu, doko and I would meet at 7:30 in the morning to go for a run. The mobile phone made its very weird alarm-clock sound (it tries to sound like a rooster, but it quite doesn't get there) at 7:10, after I've had a veeery long and bad night. At some times, it seemed I was melting, and at some others I was very cold. I remember waking up and looking at the TV's clock at least 4 times. I also had a quite stupid and obsessive nightmare involving one of my eyes being crushed and my mother not caring at all, which kept coming back as soon as got asleep again. Anyway, I was very tired, but managed to get out of bed and get dressed with the running stuff. When I went into the bathroom, still more asleep than awake, I found that my eye was quite ok, and I remember being quite relieved about it. When I went down to the reception, I just found enrico, who was waiting for his taxi to go back to Italy, but no other runners.

Fortunately Lulu appeared, but Matthias seemed to be stuck to his sheets. Instead of going to the Thames Path, we went Lulu's way, which was a smaller path near the closest canal to the hotel. After going below the highway's bridge, the path led us to a smaller trail at one side of the small canal. Every now and then there were boats moored to the sides of the channel, which as Lu explained to me, are used by people to spend their vacation, as if they were doing camping. Very cool! After some 15 minutes, I left Lu behind for a while and following the trail I reached a urban area, which looking at multi-map would be Stratfield, Kidlington or whatever. I saw a sign that said something else though. At that point, I turned over and went back to where Lulu was, and both continued until the hotel. After a weekend of no physical activity at all it felt quite good.

Went for a quick shower and breakfast, and I was up at Cherwell ready for Monday's group session, which was pretty short. At 10AM, I started getting IRC and Jabber calls telling me to "come to your BOF, dude", and guessing it could be a good idea, I did. :) The BOF went very well, and after discussing the convenience of UTF-8 in a default install, we went to see how a Warty install coped with zillions of different language scripts and stuff, using two cool docs Mako had prepared. Pretty ok, except for some quite omissions which could have left without support just a few users in Asia.

Spent most of the morning ordering the notes of the BOF and preparing them for being included in the wiki. Also, seb128 kept telling me there was about to be a revolt in #gnome-debian if I didn't upload nautilus 2.7.3, but I certainly was quite busy with other stuff to deal with that. XMame being installed in my laptop didn't help either and just before lunch I found myself playing Bad Dudes vs. Drangoninja, and pumping up the volume of the speaker so everyone could hear well the awesome "I'M BAD!" sound after I killed a stage boss. Mako seemed to approve this every time I did it.

At lunchtime, we found out that they had arranged the tables in a weird way, joining all the tables into a very long one, leaving just a single one at the sofa area, and another small one in the big space left by the rest of the tables. Mako and I decided it would be cool (soo cool!) to sit alone in the single table, because it looked as if we were conspiring. And we certainly did! But that's a secret, until we have a webpage for this VERY EVIL PROJECT we're about to start. Warthogs will be assimilated unless they are bad enough dudes to help Ronnie.

After much fun at lunch time, we went back to the conference rooms and as soon started coming in, the activity partially was paralised by a very unfortunate happening at the conference rooms which made the rest of the day suck quite a bit. I hope it gets solved as we all want. :| After dinner Mako led a keysigning session. I got a nice list of fingerprints, and I hope I start getting signatures soonish. I'll try to sign my part soon. Went to bed quite early not knowing if we were supossed to run in the morning.

Tuesday 17th

After a long (8h, long for the WartyConf standard) sleep, Tuesday started with a few cool things. The Rosetta dudes had a long meeting with Mark, while I started fixing nautilus (which required eel2 and gnome-vfs2 updates, too), and at 11, I went to the security BOF, which ended being both very interesting and funny, with elmo saying "fuck" every 3 fucking words while defending the rights of debian admins. :) Shortly after I uploaded nautilus and deps, hopefully making people happy. gnome-vfs2 ended up with HAL support enabled, in an attempt of breaking things a bit more in experimental.

At 7PM it was running time again, this time with doko really joining us, and me leading the way to the Thames Path. Soon after getting in the path, doko got a bit tired and stopped, and I continued forward, with Lu following at a slower pace. The idea was to get to the bridge and come back, but once there I couldn't help reaching Oxford again. The segment after the bridge is very nice and I wanted to see it again before leaving. Not surprisingly, I didn't find doko and lulu until I got to the hotel, where they were stretching.

I went up to the restaurant to get a key from Carlos, but he wasn't there. mako and daf scared me telling dinner ended at 8, so I stayed to have dinner with my running clothes and not having a shower. Shortly after we were joined by doko and lu, and laughed with some of Mako's crazy stories again. And following dinner, swimming pool, with seb and Carlos, until we were kicked out by the gym dude.

And from there, directly to the Trout Inn again, after being showered by the not-so-light rain in our way there. After a while sitting under one of the large umbrellas in the terrace, it started pouring and my tired head couldn't think of anything else than how soaking wet I'd get to the hotel. Luckily it stopped, but that didn't change that a bit after 11, the pub closed and we were again kicked out. Back in reception, Lu proposed more running at 7:30, and I accepted too happily, knowing I had to pack up and stuff. I managed to go to bed at 1AM, which was a pain the morning after.

Wednesday 18th

Again the rooster woke me up and I didn't even know were I was. We went to the Thames Path again, but to the North side, which ended up being ok, but not near as good as the south route. There were many cows in the middle of the path which would only move away if you asked gently. That segment seemed to be a lot less used by travellers, etc. because at some points you barely could see the track.

Got slightly late for group session, but just in time for Jane to announce it was my last day. "Last ten minutes", I corrected. Mark thanked me for the stuff done during my stay, which was quite cool, but it really was nothing compared to what I learned throughout these ten days. I met many Debian and non-Debian people which I really wanted to meet some day: elmo, daniels (don't cry, little daniel!), mako (dude post your booklist!), daf, jdub, joeyh, fabbione, mdz, seb, lamont, thom... I really can't list everyone, you were too many! Also the first contacts with people I didn't know at all were interesting, with Mark and Lu being prominent. Mark's involvement in the Canonical projects was really surprising, I just didn't expect he would be allocating so much time on it. Lu was a surprise, because she ended helping me getting some training done throughout the week, and her travel stories at the Inn were superb. I really hope to see them again soonish. Thanks for the opportunity, it was a different, but worthy way of spending this year's vacation.

At 9:30 I started saying goodbye here and there, when elmo offered to give me a lift to Oxford's bus station. The offer was well received, as I had no pounds with me and was already exchanging euros with Mako to get some for the taxi. We left in a hurry (as I had to cancel the taxi the hotel had ordered for me) and forgot to say goodbye inside Wooton. Sorry guys. :) James drove me to Oxford, and dropped me just at the corner of the station at around 9:50, after having a nice chat with him. As soon as we said goodbye and he left, things started to turn against me.

If I had been a bit more observative, I would have seen the big yellow sign talking about the station being closed on Wednesday and Thursday before elmo left. But no, I just walked past it, went to the waiting area and as there weren't any buses parked at their places, I started reading the signs to see where the Gatwick bus would park when it arrived. But... wait a moment.. no buses at the station? WTF, it is always packed with buses. Noticed another of those yellow signs, which directed me to some street I of course knew nothing about. At the bus company office, I was informed that the station was closed, yes, but there was a shuttle bus which would take me to the auxiliary station at Oxford's outskirts. Went "round the corner", and found a guy with a walkie-talkie, and I asked him about the shuttle. "Yes, it's here, but you just missed one, next one in 15 minutes". Ok, calm down... it only makes sense that the bus either waits for the shuttle or leaves somewhat after the official time at the central station, at 10:15... right... asking the dude dragged me out of my perfect world bubble, as he replied "yeah, it's possible that you miss it. Actually, it's quite certain." FUCK! The bus arrived early but my luck ended right there, as we stopped in EVERY SINGLE TRAFFIC LIGHT in Oxford. When we arrived to the station, the bus couldn't turn right to enter the station because a bus which was coming out had preference -- MY BUS!

I then had an entire hour to think what I would do after arriving to Gatwick with just 45 spare minutes to check in. My little experience in air travelling told me this wasn't enough for an international flight. To make it better, it started raining quite hard, but at that point it didn't matter too much. I found 4 girls from València which I recognized because one of them was wearing a polo of my club. Talking to them killed 10 minutes of the 60 I had to consume somehow.

Finally, at 11:10 the bus arrived and it filled up with travellers. Being the same driver as when we came to Oxford, I could expect an air-conditioning hell inside, so I put on my long t-shirt. Well, after the first 10 minutes, the bus was so cold that LaMont's aircon setup at Flinstock would have seemed good enough to remain naked all day inside. LaMont, I swear you would have wanted to borrow my long t-shirt in that bus. This circumstance made it quite hard to sleep, even if I was just collapsing. I tried to read my book, but if I stopped and tried to think what had happened in the previous paragraph I wouldn't remember, making it quite a futile effort.

After two hours we arrived at Gatwick, grabbed my bags and ran randomly trying to find where to check in. I finally found my flight in a panel, and at the end of the hall spotted a large "International Flights" sign with a massive queue in front of it. I ignored it and went just to the front of the desk. After telling them I though I was a bit late for my flight and my destiny, they immediately opened a desk for me and I checked in my luggage. Wheeeew! I was the last to enter the boarding area for my flight, and 10 mins later I was in the queue to get into the BA airplane.

After having the same crappy airplane food as 10 days ago, I tried to read a bit more, but I kept falling asleep, and my head would fall forward every few minutes, making a very nice picture of me. I just couldn't help it. When we were near Valencia and started descending, the temperature in the plane's inside rised quite a bit and before I had a chance to take off my long sleeves, I was feeling a bit dizzy already, with the help of the 20 minutes of turbulences that acompained us until we landed. But at least I was back home at last.

The temperature is nice and warm again. 35ºC at the airport at 17:30! Most importantly, no more air conditioning!

Hey weirdo, please consider breaking up those fucking huge paragraphs...

If you find yourself writing a paragraph that is spanning more than 6 ot 7 lines, BREAK IT UP.

Jesus fuck...

Posted by anon at Thu Aug 19 02:53:06 2004

So right. I was way too tired to write properly. :)
More or less fixed now.

Posted by Jordi at Sat Aug 21 21:14:23 2004