Tue, 27 Jun 2006


Weeks go by way too quickly lately, and GUADEC was suddenly here. So I finally got permission from work to attend, after managing to complete our milestone the required one week in advance.

So far, my first GUADEC has been fantastic. While I've tried to come here with my most "just relax" mentality and it's working pretty well, I've also tried to be around the conference for most of the day, as meeting people is, I believe, the best way to enjoy this kind of conferences. I'm staying with Josep and Jesús in one of the bungalows at the GNOME Village, which is a very nice place, althought it's a bit too far from the GUADEC site. There's a public bus service, but some days it's quite unreliable; luckily Fabrice is staying with us at the bungalow and he has a car which we can use.

An unplanned attendee was mako, who after being around the great CDG airport for the Ubuntu Conference in Paris, had a few spare days before returning to Boston and came down to Vilanova i la Geltrú for the warmup weekend and half of the first core day. Of course, having him around has introduced the usual randomness to those days.

Just after arriving in Vilanova, toniher drove us to the lighthouse area, where there were some big Sant Joan parties going in the middle of the beach. At 4AM, and after checking our flirting techniques are not too effective, we wandered off back to Vilanova Park, seeking some good sleep. In the meantime, Danilo Segan, from the Serbian team, apparently had a hard time finding a way to open his bungalow, and ended sleeping in ours as yet another guest.

Saturday morning was spent sleeping, and while we had breakfast, I put on my Komando CT training t-shirt. When mako saw it, he said "hey I have one of those!", which made me discover how kiko traded my other Komando t-shirt with mako during the Montréal conference. WTF! We headed back to Vilanova to get lunch and my talk about the Catalan GNOME localisation project. At 16:00 it's hard to get food in some places, and when we finally managed, my talk was so close we had no time at all to prepare.

Jordi Mas, Toni Hermoso and I spoke about our experience to a great audience of about 12 persons. Having decided what would each talk about two minutes before starting, I found myself with little to say at some points, but I guess the talk ended up being interesting, and we got a few interested people in assisting us with further translations.

After the conference we met with Bastien and several Debian UK people in one of the bars in the beach area, where we, just after getting in, could see how Argentina scored a fantastic goal against Mexico in extra time. A few beers later, it was time to sleep, but we still had to go through the transportation odyssey. I think we managed to get a taxi one and a half hours later.

Sunday has been the most intense day so far. Up at a reasonable time, mako, danilo and I planned going to spend the day at Sitges, one of the most famous towns in the Catalan coast which is just one train stop away. Mako was thrilled about the idea of visiting the Gay Capital of Southern Europe, and we set off for the train station.

Visiting Sitges was not meant to be too funny for me, but mostly quite emotional. My initial plan was to go alone during the week, but I figured that mako and others would really enjoy being in such a beautiful town as this one. Sitges is where my Catalan grandmother was born, and where she lived for much of her life. Some will remember that wrote about how important she was for me when she died one year ago. I hadn't been in Sitges for years already, and I feared my emotions when I went back to her house in the middle of the town.

We walked from the train station down to the Santiago Rusinyol street, while I tried to show them some of the details I always enjoy about Sitges, including the No embruteu les parets tiles which are all over the place. We arrived at my grandparent's place and we entered the house. Having danilo and mako with me probably helped to not get too many memories back, and also, seeing the house so dismantled, and empty of life made it hard to feel "at home".

“Don't dirty the walls. Cleanness is a great signal of civilisation”

When we went down to the Platja de Sant Sebastià and I spoke to my cousin Bego on the phone I was unable to stop the tears when my grandma appeared in the conversation, though. That beach was her favourite, and I remember how she would take us to spend the day there when we were little more than babies.

I took danilo and mako around the town's center and enchanting corners, and after having lunch, we headed to the beach going through the “gay streets”. At the beach, we had our share of sunbathing and swimming, and around 18:00 I told them we should probably head back to Vilanova, as I had to be ready to play football at 19:00.

We were lucky and the train arrived as soon as we got to the station, and also when Fabrice gave us a lift to the stadium with his car. The GNOME World Cup had already started, and someone had taken the last red shirt to substitute me, so I quickly neglected my ex-team and joined the Blue Team. We found ourselves in the final after a dramatic penalty kickout, to play against the mighty Black Team led by Bastien Nocera, who had *destroyed* the White Team with 16 goals or something equally insane.

It was a very even final, though, and after 40 minutes of non-stop running, our team scored the decisive goal just three minutes before the end.


The day would not end up there, as I had to meet my cousin Laia and her boyfriend Marc in Barcelona, to have dinner with them. So off I went, with a hurt calf and dressed like a tramp, to fetch yet another train. I had dinner at a nice place near the Plaça de Catalunya, and after that we were all so sleepy that we went straight to bed at my cousin's place, at 2AM or so. Then, there was the fight against the mosquitos at 4AM, and an early wake up to go back to Vilanova, in time for the grand opening of the Core GUADEC.

Mon, 29 May 2006


I arrived in Sevilla this morning to attend tecnimap 2006, and I will be staying in the city until Friday evening. I'd love to hook up with the Sevillan Free Software community after the show ends during the week, so if you're in the area, please contact me by phone (there's plenty of Debian people who know my number) or by email and we can try to make up some plans.

I'm staying in the Sevilla Congresos hotel in the outskirts, so going out to the city involves taxis, busses or other non-trivial means of transportation, so have that in mind!

Getting here has been quite stressful, but that's no news anymore. At 00:00 last night, not only I had not packed at all, but all my clothes were scattered around thre different flats in the city, and I had no car to go pick the stuff up. Luckily, this morning my sister could give me a lift to pick things up and then took me to the airport.

The flight revealed a very dry landscape as we headed south, and some irrigated areas in the middle of pure desert. There are also some very characteristic circular fields that show very cool patterns when looked from the heights. It's pretty hot in here, but still bearable. I don't want to imagine August around the place.

Anyway, if you're in Sevilla, I hope to be able to meet you any of the four evenings or nights I'll be around. I need some natives to walk me around the place, and in some cases, translate the very special Andalusian spoken here. :) Momona people, I also mean you!

Thu, 11 May 2006

The difference between Oaxtepec and Seville

So, I'm not going to Debconf. I suspected this long ago, when the dates were changed to early May, but you never know. During the last month, I've been finding daily pink notification alerts on my irssi window, with different people asking me to start swimming to Mexico, to book a last minute flight, to work overhours so I can justify leaving office for a whole week. In short, to POP THE TRUNK.

But unfortunately, it doesn't look like I'll make it, being Thursday, and when I was planning a hypothetical departure on Saturday in the same flight as other Spanish Debian people. So, I've spent some time reading the blog entries that start flooding Planet Debian from people who are already attending Debcamp. NO NO NO! I can't believe there are even 10m diving platforms.

There's talk at the office about me maybe having to go to some conference in Seville. jacobo and ana had an opinion on that.

12:06 < ana> jordi: dude, mexico es mucho mas interesante que sevilla
12:07 < jacobo> en vez de decirte "quillo" te dicen "cuate"

I still have 1 and a half days to take some wild decision and get there by surprise. That would be fair with azeem. :)

Sat, 18 Mar 2006


I'm miraculously on my way back from London, after spending a week with daf, mvo and two guests, abel and thep, from Hong Kong and Thailand, working on improving some l10n aspects of the upcoming Ubuntu release, dapper.

The most visible result of the stuff that we've been doing is that if all goes well, users of the Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Bengali, Lao or Korean languages will get their required input methods, fonts and dictionaries Just Working as soon as their drives spit their dapper install CDs. We've learned quite a bit about the state of many of the Asian languages in the Free Software world today. Daf and I can certainly tell when an app renders Bengali or Thai correctly and when it doesn't, after closely comparing how different browsers do the job on various websites and font test pages.

We've learned more than we probably like about fontconfig, and thanks to mvo, there is now a mechanism to get custom fonts.conf snippets depending on the default language of the system set by language-selector, so users get the right fonts installed and used by default. Thep's and Abel's help to get this straight is invaluable.

On Friday, daf and I went to the ExCel Novotel where the Launchpad team is having a sprint, in order to lend a hand with the dapper translation import that is going on right now, but for a series of reasons we ended up working on l10n sprint stuff. At least I got to see the team again, and specially kiko, who greeted me with a "Qué pasa, hijo de puta!"

The real life side of this sprint has been less exciting than on other occasions, as due to being few in number and being quite tired, we haven't gone out of Earl's Court area until today. Still, our exploring around the hotel has yield some nice discoveries.

On Sunday, mvo and I were looking for a place to have dinner, and stumbled uppon the Troubadour a place which can either be a pub, a restaurant, a social club or a theatre, depending on your mood. The food was excellent, and the staff was really friendly. I found a Dictionary of Slang in one of the book shelves, and learned a few funny phrases.

Other days we've been to good Italian, Indian or Chinese restaurants, but we couldn't resist to go back to Trobadour again. On our last night, Mark took us to a place in the South Kesington area, with again was very good.

Abel left just after dinner as his flight was at 5AM from Stansted, and we hope he made it OK to the Netherlands, as at 00:30 or so he phoned us and seemed to be pretty lost somewhere. mvo left early in the morning, so daf, thep and I went to visit some bits of the city. My plane was at 16:45GMT, and we calculated that I should be leaving the K&K at 15:00 to be well on track for my flight. We went to Monument to see the tower, went up and enjoyed both the great views over London and the Thames river, as well as the really cold wind which made me swear once again about the %*@!# lack of Spring in the UK.

It was getting quite late for me, so we went to China Town for lunch. Despite the restaurant people being really quick, I only managed to leave the place at 14:50, but given my travel plan was pretty conservative, I was supposed to be safe still. Daf left me at the tube station entrance, and there I started my way too stressful journey back to València. If on our way to London Carlos and were quite close to find our flight closed, this time, I think I hit the limits.

I really don't know how daf and I arrived to the conclusion that leaving Earl's Court at 15:20 was acceptable to get in Heathrow on time. I ran up and down the tube stations, grabbed by luggage, and rushed back to the station, but I had just missed a train to Heathrow and that made me lose some precious 10 minutes. As stations passed by, it became clearer that we had fucked up somewhere when deciding at what time I needed to leave. At 15:35 I was still in the Hammersmith station, with half of the Picadilly line ahead before arriving to the aiport. I sent a message to daf, so he started to get prepared about me staying to sleep somewhere in London.

As soon as the train's doors opened, a number of people rushed out. Someone ahead of me fell when climbing the automatic staircase and I somehow managed to jump over him, with luggage and all. After a run that seemed like half an hour, I arrived at the Iberia desk and, panting, I could only articulate "Tarde para València?". The guy at the counter looked at me, and with a "this can't be true" expression in his face, he picked up a phone and asked "Is it already closed? [...] Can you open it for one more piece of luggage? Thanks."

In the meanwhile, I had been busy removing a 500 ml yoghourt from my bag, fearing having all my clothes smelling like strawberry back in València. The guy handed me a boarding pass, and gave me instructions about the "Iberia Room" near my gate. I asked him what that was about, and he says "oh, of course, you're in Business Class". For a second, I was reminded of stargirl's tricks to get free upgrades when flying, and immediately I was reminded that I was still in a hurry, and I should rush to my gate. And so I did, forgetting to thank the guy for being so kind. I left my yoghourt there though, so at least he could get some food if he was hungry.

The long line before the security check was exasperating, and when I finally went past it, I had to run all over terminal two to my gate, where everyone appeared to be waiting just for me. The doors closed as soon as I entered the aircraft, and I sat in the first row, got a free newspaper and a free meal. I couldn't believe my luck.

As I write this, we've gone over the Pyrenees, which are not as snowy as a month ago, but they still look beautiful from up here. I'm glad to be back in València.

Thu, 02 Mar 2006


I'm so glad I finally decided to attend FOSDEM this year, as last weekend in Bruxelles was so cool it reminded me of the unforgettable week in Helsinki for DebConf 5 last summer.

I travelled early on Friday with Ivan Vilata, the dude who dragged me into the Catalan translations world, and about 12:30 we were finding our way through Bruxelles airport. We had barely no problems getting to Raül's place in Boulevard Louis Schmidt, thanks to the detailed HOWTO he provided a few days before.

We dropped our bags in his appartment and went out with him and Virginia after a well deserved mini-nap. On our way to the Grand' Place, where we'd hook up with the Softcatalà crowd and the rest of FOSDEM people, we stopped in A la Morte Subite, where we Ivan and I started our personal training on Belgian beers.

The Roy d'Espagne is an excellent name for a place where to meet our friends from Catalunya. I didn't know that was a formal meeting point that kickstarts FOSDEM, so I was really impressed when I got to the second floor and found the place was packed with Free Software people, many of them I already knew in person. Reaching Softcatala's table near the window took about 15 minutes, and after saying hi to most people, we decided we could use a quieter place to have dinner, and then go back.

The Grand' Place was bombed by seb128 in 1695

Raül and Virginia, our official guides during the weekend, chose a Vietnamese restaurant in the Stock Exchange area they frequent, and for little money we got an enormous meal. Back at the Roy d'Espagne, I tried to say hello to most Debian people I saw around, while at the same time I tried to be with my hosts and the Catalan people. A while after, I spotted tbm and azeem downstairs, who I finally met. I talked to Michael for a long while, and at some point we left as we didn't want to miss the last tram.

Ivan, luckily, only snores rarely, so we slept for a while, and then took the tram to the Université Libre du Bruxelles. The main room was already packed for RMS's keynote, which was pretty good. After that, we went to several talks here and there, while I kept meeting some people around the place. Ivan and I left when the show ended and we met with Virginia and Raül at the centre.

This time, we hooked up with Xevi and Jesús Corrius from Softcatalà, as Toni Hermoso had abandoned us for a cheap dinner with the Mozilla.org people. We were taken to a packed bar/restaurant (don't remember the name right now), which had a few interesting features: they wouldn't sell any Coca-Cola, would not accept credit cards in protest for the high fees Visa charges on small businesses, and something I wouldn't expect to see in 2006, their chart of prices hadn't been rounded up when they switched to the Euro. So some plate would be 9.72, others 12.43, etc. After dinner we had a few beers at the Théatre de Toone, located in some tiny alley in the centre and being pretty tired, we went back home at 23:30 or so.

Sunday was a busy days, due to the number of interesting Debian and GNOME talks going on. I'd highlight liw's talk on Piuparts, Enrico's on debtags and fjp's on Debian Installer in the Debian room, and kris' on the future of GTK+. There was also a cool demo of Novell's XGL.

During a dead slot, I approached Little Daniel and keithp to see if he could point me at some mapping between UTF-8 and XKB symbol names. But Daniel was cool enough to solve a problem a lot simpler than expected. :)

jdub's closing talk was just fantastic, and after telling him "See you in Vilanova", we left the University, for our last dinner around Bruxelles.

jdub clues the audience about some basic acronyms

We managed to rescue madduck from the Debian UK beer trap and went to an Italian for dinner, this time with Josep and Mia, from Softcatalà, making a nice mix of German, Valencian/Catalan, and Swedish at our table.

Mia, Josep, Raül, Ivan, Martin and Jordi after pizza

Raül took us around the city centre and told us about the underground river, the remaining city wall's tower, and the church that leaned against it. That night's beer lesson happened in the "2000 beer bar". We all had a 7€ Trappist Westvleteren Bleu 8, apparently "the best beer of the world". It was pretty good, actually.

Our weekend in Bruxelles was about to end. After not that much sleep, Ivan and I took a tram and a bus to the Airport, arriving in València around 10AM, and after seeing the best view of the Pyrenees ever, which were absolutely covered with snow, as well as many other places in the País Valencià and Teruel due to massive snows during the two days we were out.

FOSDEM is probably a "can't miss" yearly event now. Thanks to all the organisers for their hard work to make it happen. You rock.

Wed, 16 Nov 2005

Charles de Gaulle, worse than the NYC Stock Exchange

Yesterday we did meet zufus and gravity for lunch, then mika joined us for bubbles tea. There also was a somewhat unexpected couple joining the group at that point: kiko and his sister. gravity and zufus had to go back to work though, so it was mika, micah, kiko, zuzi and I who went for some Freedom Trail discovery.

The weather wasn't that good, and I didn't have too much time either, but we did manage to see a few things around the centre, like the memorial grave yard and a park with tons of fearless squirrels.

We headed back to the Acetarium, I quickly took a shower and packed, and we left to the metro, a bit behind on my planned schedule. mika left me two stops before the one I needed to get down in, and instructions to get to the airport from there, using the shuttle.

It's not amusing how slow something can appear to be when you're in a hurry. The driver of the bus said it took 5 minutes, but I had to go to the very last stop at terminal E, and it was like an eternity. In the end, I arrived at the terminal at 18:40, when my idea was 18:00, and I ran and ran until I found Air France's desk. There was no queue or anything, only me.

During the flight, I tried killing time with War of the Worlds, which was a timekiller but nothing more, and The Island, which I wouldn't recommend unless you care too much about hot female characters.

After 6 hours of flight, I was in Paris, apparently on time. But the doors opened much later that when we landed, so my connection started to be endangered. Again, I ran and ran, from one terminal to the other, around the chaos that is CDG. In vain, as my checkin was closed after arriving only 20 minutes before the departure.

Much annoyed, I went to the transfer desk, to discover the next flight to València was cancelled, so the next one was the next morning. The quick alternative via Madrid was full, so I now have tickets for CDG-BCN-VLC, which is extending my travel plan in 7 very nice hours.

I have no idea of where my luggage is, but at this point I don't care. I only wonder at what time I'll get sleep. What I do know, is that these fucking idiots claim there is free wireless in this spot of Terminal 2F, but it's not true at all.

Tue, 15 Nov 2005

Not that Cambridge

As predicted, the morning was not productive at all. At one point I slightly became concious and saw sladen fetching his bike, opening the door and telling me "Back in two hours!". We didn't know anything about him until 24 hours later. As we started waking up, we tried to think of a plan for the day. The morning was gone, though.

Clint took us to a restaurant two blocks away for breakfast, or actually brunch, because that was the only food in many hours. I ate some "pancakes" with banana in them, and barely could finish them; they are very filling. We went to the promenade for a last look at the Manhattan skyline and took some pictures while we tried to figure out what to do.

A last view over Manhattan

Mako was developing a plan in secret, though, which involved micah and his car. Micah found out soon after. We went back to Clint's, expecting to find sladen somewhere, but we didn't. I packed my things, and when we really needed to go, we resolved to put his things in the entrance so he could find then and do whatever he wanted on his return.

We went on the Metro to Union Square, where, hear this helix, I saw TONS of raperos doing their break-dance thing (ok, maybe not tons, but I did see them). And two blocks away, we arrived to the most incredible book store.

Mako has blogged many times about buying very rare books at the Strand for ridiculous prices, but this was totally unexpected. The Strand is huge. On the outside, there's carts with hundreds of second-hand books, all for one dollar. Mako used to go there and browse the books to find interesting stuff. The Acetarium is full of them! Most of the dollar books are total crap though. A very high percent talk about god, religion, "our troops" and stuff like that. Mentally filtering what might be good and what is not is not easy when you haven't done it before.

Mako started scanning the shelves as soon as we arrived, and every now and them he'd pick some totally stupid title. I was on my own shelf, missing many good stuff, while mika, Clint and mako did their own. Clint found quite a few titles, but mako didn't find anything good. I got lucky though, and found the precious book of the day: The Spanish Anarchists. The heroic years 1868-1936, by Murray Bookchin. Although old, it was in very good condition, and mako immediately asked if I was taking it. :) I won!

The inside of the Strand was incredible too. Three very big floors packed with books, plus the half-priced "reviewer's copies" at the basement. I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of books I'd be interested in buying, and the limited weight I should be carrying back, so I did my best not to look too carefully.

For a few hours, I didn't have a too clear idea of what mako's plans were. At some point, micah phoned him and we rushed to the PATH, the train that goes to New Jersey. Apparently we were meeting micah at Newark, but I still didn't know why we had to go there. During our ride, I could see how pleasant New Jersey is to the human eye. Miles and miles of heavy industries. I'm pretty sure it's the ugliest place I've ever seen. What I couldn't see, and I'm still disappointed, is any of the viciously arrogant rats of the New York metro system. Mako had told me about how they look at you, like saying "if you come down here, you'll be left with 9 fingers", and the incredible number of them on the tracks. Unfortunately I couldn't see any. I blame Michael Bloomberg.

At Newark, micah appeared in his car, and we all hopped into it. We apparently were going by car to Boston... including Clint. I was puzzled, as he had to work on Monday, but he'd said that he'd simply "come back". There was a problem though, mako had dilinger's keys, and he was going back to NYC from Boston, and we didn't have time to get to Boston before he left, so we had to find a way of leaving the keys in NYC so he could get into his appartment. Finally, mako resolved that Clint would be left in a cold street, in a rough area of NYC, and he would handle the keys problem. I still didn't understand what was going on.

We headed North, and I quickly fell asleep on mika's lap. I'm getting old. When the car stopped again and I suddenly woke up, I looked ahead and... HORROR! We were at the door of a McDonads. WTF WAS GOING ON? So it seems that when you're on the road, there's no much other choice than shit food. After a quick discussion with mako about how badly those burgers taste, I quickly went back to sleep, until we were in Boston. It took a while to find a parking spot, because all of them "permit only". It's impossible to park if you come from somewhere else.

I was finally at the Acetarium, a very cool flat in Cambridge, 15 minutes away from the MIT. It was 3:30 in the morning.

The day after, we woke up pretty late, and as I opened my laptop and found a privmsg from sladen, he was was knocking at the door. This man has an incredible ability to disappear and reappear when he's most unexpected. Apparently he managed to grab his stuff in NYC, fetch the bus and arrive at 2AM in Boston, meeting dilinger at the station, and mako as he went out to MIT.

micah and I went to explore Boston, but never managed. We consumed a few hours when trying to ship some equipment to micah's colo, and then trying to find food. When we were ready to go, micah got a very badly timed call, which made him go back to the Acetarium: a server at work was dying or dead. At one point, it was late enough that going to Boston wasn't worth it, so we went to visit the Media Lab instead.

On our way there, micah and I kept chatting about this and that, and found out how small the internet is. We both know a bunch of common people from uncommon places like Perú, from our involvement in social projects in the net like Indymedia and Sindominio.net.

The MIT is incredible, specially the Stata Center by Frank Gehry. We wandered around as we only got voice mail from mako, until an hour later we found we was like 20 metres away from us. He gave us a tour through the Media lab, and it was incredible. I had never seen something like that. Every lab was colourful and fun, and very cool developments were going on everywhere. I also saw the coolest mame box ever, with an arcade case and everything.

The Stata Center, right next to the Media Lab

After the tour, micah and I headed back, while sladen stayed to have a look at one of mako's projects. When we got back to the flat, there were a few people already there for mika's sushi party, and I rolled my first sushi rolls, which was fun. A bunch of Debian people joined us, including zufus and gravity, and had a great chat with them. The party ended way too late and after too many beers.

sladen used his secret disappearing abilities, and a few colleagues from mako crashed, so there was a bit of overbooking. Mako's solution was simple. mika, him and I could share their bed.

I can't say I have slept too much, because mako would keep pulling the blanket and leave me out in the cold, and I was trying not to squish mika. But it went ok, although we discovered too late that mika was hot while I was cold, and we swapped our places just before we ended up waking up.

Today, we'll go find the Freedom Trail and walk a bit around it, meet gravity and zufus for lunch, and I will sadly have to go back to Cambridge, quickly pack and head to the airport to catch my plane. My hours in North America are expiring.

Sun, 13 Nov 2005

The source of all evil

Yesterday was a very, very intense day, and I had lots of fun.

Clint, sladen and I headed to Chinatown walking, with a few detours to be able to checkout Manhattan's skyline. The view from the other shore is awesome, even with the two towers missing. When I compare the current view with how it was four years ago, I understand how much the city has changed without them. They were so impressively big that I just can't picture them too well in my mind.

The skyline of South Manhattan

We walked over the Brooklyn bridge, giving me other very cool views of Manhattan, while I hammered Clint with questions about this and that. I saw that since 9/11, you can't go past the Town Hall. "Security reasons", of course. I was very surprised to see police cars in every single street. It's like a Police State, and if you ask me, it didn't make me feel safer.

After some walk, we finally got in Chinatown, which is the craziest place ever. People sell stuff on the sidewalks, and many streets are packed with people. We had to meet with micah, biella, dilinger and his cat at some Chinese place for breakfast/lunch. The place, as Chinatown itself, was crazy. As soon as we sat down a few waitresses landed a few plates on the table, without asking or anything. A few minutes later I could see that the way they serve you is going around with carts with lost of food, and you either want it or not.

We left dilinger at the metro station, and moved on to the SoHo. I wanted to go to the SoHo Apple Store to see if they knew about replacement Spanish keyboards for my Powerbook. My powerbook was bought in the US last year, so it has a US keyboard. This is mostly ok, but only mostly as it's missing a key.

After SoHo, we went back to Chinatown to pick up bubbles. It was nice to see her after Debconf, and she made the effort to come just for a few hours even if she was ill and had lots to do in Philly. We headed to South Street Port, where I had a long chat about Cuba with micah while we sat on a bench looking at Brooklyn bridge.

And then, we gathered all our braveness and headed to the heart of the beast, to the kernel of the system. We walked into the Financial District, and soon enough I was walking in Wall Street no less. If I breathed hard, I could smell the money. The road was paved in gold, and there were skyscrapers everywhere. I discovered the rulers of this world had opened a "public space" in JP Morgan's building. To their despair, probably, it had been taken over by the poor. I wonder what Bloomberg will do about it.

As I walked up the street, a strange feeling in my heart grew and grew, until, behind a corner, I saw it. The source of all evil was ahead of me, guarded by George Washington himself.

The New York Stock exchange and its black evil aura of Capitalism

I was standing ahead of this building where so many people behave like bastards everyday, pushing millions to povery for a bit more profit margin. The doors were closed and surrounded by security officers, which despite being asked politely, didn't let us in for "security reasons".

Next to it was the Church of Capitalism, at the end of the street. It's curious that such an old church still stands where it was build near the harbour probably a century ago, now surrounded by some of the most modern and tallest buildings in the planet. And then, we visited the bull, which I didn't know is the "friendly" symbol of how Capitalism works.

I had Capitalism by the balls

We moved down to Battery Square, past the old US Customs building with the four statues representing the four continents. We saw the damaged sculpture which lived in the WTC, and sat down at the pier to watch a beautiful sunset over the Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty seen from South Manhattan

At that point, biella and micah had to meet some friends at one cinema to see the Wal-Mart documentary. We went to a funky place to have some tea, decided to go see Times Square and then walk to Central Park. At the time, mako was arriving to NYC on the Chinatown bus, so we agreed to meet in a restaurant to have lunch. Paul Sladen finally managed to get lost, after many tries during the day, and wasn't seen until we got back home.

Mako and Mika waited for us at the door of an... ethiopian restaurant in the SoHo, despite Mako knows I can't stand spicy food. But in the end it wasn't so bad, I just needed a few more glasses of water than average. And I finally got to know mika, after lots of time of chatting over IRC. Greg, SPI's lawyer, also appeared, and was a nice addition to the group.

Mako knew where to take us after that. The Belgian bar was packed, but there was a private party in one of the spaces and we took over some of that space. After a few rounds, we were ready to leave the pub and go for Falafel and some tea. I was terribly falling asleep though, so instead of tea we took a cap back to Brooklyn, where we found Paul waiting at the door.

After an hour of inflating a mattress, we were ready for sleep, at 4AM. It didn't look like the morning after would be very productive...

Sat, 12 Nov 2005

Good Morning New York!

After a not-so-easy ride with James Blackwell, and the last minute surprise of Paul Sladen joining us, we arrived in New York. The sky was dark already.

Instead of arriving at 15:00 or so as expected, we arrived at something like 20:00. Behind, we had left great perils like an empty gas tank and finding no gas station, and noticing one tire could use some pumping; evil officials at the US border not liking the fact that it was the first time I entered the country, which involved fingerprints and a smily face at the customs offices after a long wait; a great meal (after a long wait to get served) at probably the best restaurant in the whole State of New York; the three of us becoming terribly sleepy half an hour after resuming the drive, and having to stop for a short nap and stopping for gas once again around 70 miles away from NYC.

When we did arrive, we managed to get lost a few times around the city. We crossed four bridges on our way to Brooklyn, which accidentally let me admire the Manhattan skyline by night, and finally, got to Clint's place.

When we were parking, I noticed the tire was mostly flat now. Surely not the best way to land in the city. We also found out Clint and the rest had left for dinner after a long wait, as neither they or us expected to arrive so late, and we were way too freaked out with the crazy traffic and finding our way to phone them.

After a while, both problems were sorted out; Clint appeared and James was able to leave. James, thanks for all you did! I owe you a big one next time! We spent some time with Clint, dilinger, biella and micah, saw the great view of Manhattan from the roof of his appartment, and eventually went to bed.

Apparently, they are taking me to a place called "Dim Sum" for breakfast. I wonder how dilinger's cat tastes.

Fri, 11 Nov 2005

The East Coast Road Trip

Tomorrow I leave Montréal, Québec and Canada and will move down to the US, on my way to New York City. This part of my stay in North America is a bit (others would rather say "totally") improvised, and the plans are not too accurate even now, 8 hours before our departure.

The first idea for this was to travel on a night bus from Montréal to Boston, meet mako and mika and then move to New York City during the weekend.

The unavailability of any buses that did this route in less than thirteen hours made me look for alternatives. Chatting with mdz, I found out he was flying with Mark and Jane to NYC very early on Friday night, on the private jet. Sounded like a plan. Only it had a big flaw: non commercial flights entering the US require visas for everyone aboard, apparently. If you don't have it, the reports say you're really, really fucked up. So, having no visa as I don't need it in normal conditions, this was discarded too.

Finally I learned that jblack was driving down to Pennsylvania after the conference. I asked him if it was possible to go with him on his way South, and he said yes. He could drop me in the nearest point to Boston, or drive me straight to NYC. As NYC is the easiest for me and jblack and Clint has no problem with hosting me one extra day, that's what we're going to do.

(After having everything more or less clear, Paul Sladen came along and proposed yet another plan involving a bicycle and hitch-hiking. I was able to say no, though.)

Here starts this crazy road trip. Wish me luck, and see you in NYC!

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