Thursday, October 4, 2007

Trip Re-cap

I think that the map just about says it all.

Phoenix to London = 10 hrs________Destination
London to Chennai = 11 hrs________7.5 hour layover
Chennai to Coimbatore = 1 hr_______Destination
Coimbatore to Chennai = 1 hr_______9 hr layover
Chennai to Kuala Lumpur = 3.5 hrs___3.5 hr layover
Kuala Lumpur to Perth = 6 hrs______Destination
Perth to Singapore = 6 hrs_________3 hr layover
Singapore to London = 5.3 hrs______7 hr layover
London to Phoenix = 10 hrs________DESTINATION

I was able to snap some photos of Greenland on the way home.

Piccadilly Circus

After walking around a bit I finally found the shopping district at Piccadilly Circus. I don't know, I guess with the word "Circus" in the name I expected something a bit more entertaining. I did see a lot of people holding signs pointing me to buy cheap theater tickets.

The saddest part is that I went in to look at the tickets and a Star Wars poster caught my eye. Then I remembered that there's a Star Wars exhibition going on right now! It opens at 10:00 AM, but I needed to get all the way back to the airport by 12:00. I found out that I was 20 mins. away from the exhibition. With travel time to the airport and the exhibition I would have about 15 mins. to see the whole thing. So, I missed it.


I think that I ended up walking away from Piccadilly Circus and found this little place to eat breakfast. I thought, "That was a nice little place. I'll have to take a photo when I leave." Well I forgot to take the picture, but I was in no rush so I walked back and took it!

LOOK OUT!!! There's an Australian impostor on the street!

On a side note. When I was leaving Australia they said that my carry-on bag was too heavy. I ended up taking my laptop out of the backpack, and the redistributing the backpack contents into my other bag so that I could stuff it into my checked luggage. I traveled all the way home with the camera case dragging behind me and the laptop under my arm.

I laughed at this sign, took a picture of it and then walked right past it. I saw a little open air marked that was just setting up off to the left and thought I would go through this little gate, into the alley and have a look. Then I thought of the sign! I backed up and kept on walking.

Day tour in London

So I'm off and running. I've got about 6 hours in London so I decided to get out. I took the Heathrow Express to Paddington. On the train I talked to someone who was coming home from a trip to San Francisco. She suggested that I take the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus and have a look around.
The escalator in the underground was so steep that I nearly fell!

I just started walking around and I came down a small alley where they were setting up some fruit stands etc. I thought that this was a cool looking building.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Goodbye Australia ;(

Well, it's hard to say goodbye, but I've been away from my family for 2 weeks. I'm getting pretty excited to just get home. This is a shot down by the Harbor at Fremantle.

I was standing at the airport and decided to do a panorama shot. I got to the end and this girl was standing there and just made for a wonderful reflection shot!

In parting, I forgot to mention that everything in Australia was pretty familiar. I was a bit confused by "Hungry Jack's". I forgot to take a photo so I got this one off the internet. It turns out that someone already owned the name "Burger King" and wasn't willing to part with it. As a result, we have Hungry Jack's.

Networking for the Blind

One of the guys that we met in Australia was Iain Murray. He works in Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Research at the Curtin University of Technology. He told us that when he first learned about the Networking Academy Program that he thought it would be perfect for the Blind. He said that it required the network engineer to be able to visualize the network as much as being able to actually build one.

Below is Iain, Aubrey, Dr. Helen from the University, (Helen Parke is blocked from view) and then Lou.

This is a peak into the secret lab...well not so secret. Iain is working on new technology to assist the blind. I think that he said this project was a PDA.

The Cisco Networking Academy text book in braille.

I though this poster was great!

Checking out of Fremantle

In my final stroll around downtown Fremantle, I was sure to take a shot of the local University.

These are the train tracks at the far end of the park.

We stayed in the building in the center back with the red dome. It is the Esplanade Hotel.

I don't know what it means.

Cisco Mini-Conference

I think that because I was traveling with Helen who is the Exec. Director, I was involved in a bunch of different meetings. We attended a Cisco Mini-Conference and were asked to take a bit of time to introduce ourselves. I feel that Helen and I communicate quite well, and that she feels confident in having me speak to a crowd as a representative of the Cisco Learning Institute.

Lou had asked me to take some photos while I was video taping from the back, and when I was asked to come up front and talk a bit, I took this photo. :D

Swan Bell Tower

We had a bit of time between our meetings and I wanted to go out and get some more footage of Australia. We drove down towards the water and found the Swan Bell Tower. I had never heard of it before. I went walking around and then went to the top of the tower.

I was windy enough at the top that I opted to leave my hat with the guard.

Oh yeah, work

Helen and I went to meet with Paul (far right) to hear about the new method and technology that he's developed to teach some of the Cisco curriculum. When we got there we were introduced to Dr. Otsuki and Mr. Akamatsu from Kobe. I enjoyed having the opportunity to introduce myself in Japanese.

Paul explained that he comes from a scientific background. He searched around a bit for effective methods in teaching and didn't find anything that he felt was working. So he then applied the scientific method to the problem of education and came up with some wonderful concepts. I look forward to hearing more from him.

We are leaving cameras and equipment with 15 different Networking Academy sites around the world. Over the next 2 years they will record their class lessons for 1 hour a week and then mail them back to us. Helen is presenting the camera to the head of the Central TAFE in Perth Australia. I looked through the business cards that I came home with, but I didn't seem to get hers, so I'm not sure of her name or title.

Sister cities

Well, I've come to find out that Flagsaff Arizona is part of the sister city program with City of Blue Mountains in New South Wales Australia! Below is another photo of Fremantle, which is on the other side of the country from City of Blue Mountains.

Here's a shot of downtown Flagstaff. (From the internet).

Here's me looking quite Australian.

Just a beat-up old sign.

Pink Diamonds

So, Helen had heard that Western Australia is where the pink diamonds come from. She had an address so we went to check it out. It turns out that the address that she had was actually for the factory that processes the diamonds. They, ah, well, they wouldn't let us in. :D

They referred us to a jeweler called Linney's. We drove out to the shop and it was right down the street from the Witches Cauldron. We walked in the front door and this guy came up to greet us. We told him that we had been referred to speak to David Fardon and he said, "Yes, we've been expecting you. We just got a call from the factory." Woah! These guys are on the ball.

So the diamonds were pretty small, but the price tag wasn't. He said that over 95% of the worlds true pink diamonds come from Western Australia. He said that some diamonds are colored by impurities, but that these pink diamonds are formed through a natural shift in the formation of the diamonds structure. The pink color is actually a result of the way that the light is diffused.

In the shop they had this gigantic geode. It's about 4 feet long.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Put a bounce in your step

Helen and I drove up to Perth (approx. 15 min.) and picked up Louise Heppell for dinner. Helen left India a day earlier than I did so that she could go to a Cisco mini-conference in Brisbane with Lou. Then, they both came out to be here in Perth for another mini-conference as well as the video interviews that Helen and I were working on.

So, this is what puts the bounce in your step. A heaping helping of KANGAROO. I mentioned to one of the guys we've been working with that I ate kangaroo for dinner and this was his reaction. "Oh great. You've eaten our national symbol. Next time I head to the states, I'll be sure and eat a bald eagle, and all it's eggs." :D

I'm pretty sure he was teasing.

Lou just kept laughing at me! She thought that it was wonderful the way that I was embracing the culture and wearing my Akubra and my Australia jacket.

The Witches Cauldron

We were walking around after finding my Akubra and we asked someone where we could go for a good bite to eat. They suggested that we go to eat at a place called The Witches Cauldron.

(btw, Helen was so impressed with the way that I looked in my hat, she got one for her son!)


So, I talked to a guy at a shop in Fremantle and he said that I would have better luck finding my hat if I went in to Perth. I picked up Helen and Louise from the airport and then took Louise to the Hotel where she was staying in Perth. Helen was so happy to get off the plane that she didn't mind driving around a bit. We found a parking spot and walked down the shopping area to find the hat shop.

Doesn't this look like main street Disneyland?

We were walking back to the car and I stopped to take this photo. I found the hat. This is a cross between the formal, short-brimmed hat with the Indiana Jones style band, and the traditional western style Australian "cowboy" hat. It's called "Leisure Time", but the girl at the shop kept calling it Leshur Tem. Sometimes there's a slight language barrier.

This is the weekend market in Fremantle. It's similar to a swap meet where people set up their booths and sell stuff.