By mrbill on Apr 20, 2009
I arrived in Beijing Sunday, just in time to watch the Shanghai F1 Grand Prix on CCTV in Mandarin. Once I saw the weather, I was glad that I didn't fly in early to go to the race. I love attending races, and five F1 races are hosted in my region, but any race that requires "monsoon tires" or "wets" just won't be on my top list of places to be. I'd make an exception for Monaco or Spa Francorchamps, of course. Throw in the likelihood of getting "general admission" tickets rather than seats under some kind of cover, and I was glad to watch from my nice, warm, dry hotel room 1000km away.
This trip is focused on a few existing (and highly valued) customers. It is what I call a "go deeper" trip. I'll be working for 3-5 days with each customer to help talk through some of their pain points and work with them to improve their operations and IT infrastructure. The issues are often "spur of the moment", or based on recent activities and drama, but digging through these as symptoms of underlying systemic issues often uncovers more interesting challenges. For instance, "that system is a piece of junk!" often translates into "No change control or configuration management, and everyone having the root password is probably not a good thing.".
I did get a chance to celebrate yesterday's news with a dinner at the Hard Rock in Beijing. Don't get me wrong, eating native is one of the perks of my job, and I love to explore cuisine in far reaching pieces of the globe (except for eel, or any animal that I would consider... ummm... gross), but once in a while you just have to get a cheeseburger and fries. The Hard Rock in Beijing is great, and the swag in the gift shop is cheaper than any other HRC that I have visited (over 30 and counting). I was bummed that they didn't have any decent hats, but I did find a couple goodies for the family at home.
The highlight of the night was the band. Didn't catch their name, but they were form Singapore and Beijing, definitely a mixed bag of nationalities. They did some nice Cure, Journey, POD, and Green Day covers with three members swapping the lead singer duties. Laugh of the night was provided by the over-animated Chinese lead singer who lost a couple buttons on his '501's during an especially spirited portion of the show. Kudos though, he never missed a note.
More later as the week gets rolling...