Last week was DrupalCon DC. This was my 4th DrupalCon in a row... Barcelona, Boston, Szeged, and now Washington, DC. The NowPublic development team is distributed throughout North America and Europe, so the bi-annual DrupalCon is the only time we all (or most of us at least) are able to get together. Though the whole team couldn't make it this time around it was still good to see the guys that were able to.
We ended up staying in 4 bedroom house with 8 "beds" and 11 people. All in all a great time, and I managed to avoid the conference flu that tends to spread through conferences at this time of year (which is the first time I've done so in 3 years :) ).
The conference was very well organized, my only complaint would have been the internet... you should make sure it's working /before/ bragging to everyone about it.
I actually went to more sessions this time around than normal, but still have very little to write about. Did a bit of sight seeing while I was there, but the US DrupalCon's seem to just be a bit less of a party and more of a conference than their European counterparts... go figure.
Among other things, Rio is a great place for eating. If I needed a reason to go back it would be the food. Almost without exception, all the meals/snacks/drinks I had there were delicious. On every other corner there was a juice bar serving juices of pretty much any fruit you could imagine... the juice was made to order from fresh fruits. My two personal favorites were watermelon and açai (prounounced ass-eye-EEE).
Acai is a small berry, similar to a blueberry but denser, that grows on acai palm trees. I believe they keep the berries frozen and then blend them when you order. It's not so much of a juice as it is a delicious purple-y fruit slushy. The berries have recently become popular in North America for their anti-oxidant and supposed weight loss properties. Sam and I had never heard of the stuff before we got to Rio, but we had one each just about every day. So delicious.
At YVR currently waiting for a delayed flight. The new domestic wing is pretty huge now. Took about 10 mins or so to walk to my gate from security. I think YVR is easily my favorite airport... especially now with the free wifi.
Hard to believe that I just got to Vancouver a month ago and already I'm leaving for another trip away. I decided to splurge for the month and stay in a loft in gastown. I've wanted to see what it was like living in gastown for a while and am glad I got to, if even only for a month. I doubt I'd live here again until they build a proper grocery store.
Last night was the illuminate yaletown show happening on mainland and hamilton. It was kinda cool. Lots of people out, some neat light shows, some lame ones, some ice sculptures. Mostly just nice to walk around. I took a few photos at the event, the better ones are up on flickr here.
Brazil is quite a poor country, and in Rio it's easy to get into trouble if you don't keep aware of your surroundings. We had few problems ourselves and even took a tour of a local Favela. Favela's are basically illegal neighbourhoods with no authorized electricity, plumbing, or phones, yet a majority of the population lives.
While the city was younger with fewer people, the government decided to turn all of the mountain sides into official parks, so that no one could build there. The mountains were to be used for everyone's enjoyment, not just the rich. With little land nestled between the steep mountains I imagine the city quickly ran out of affordable places for middle and lower class people to live. So they started building up the mountain sides into the park land.
I took a bit of time off during the last two weeks of my South American trip to visit Rio with Sam. The photos from that trip are now up on flickr.
To be perfectly honest, I don't think either of us will call Rio a highlight of the trip. When we arrived the hostel was a bit dodgy (as you'd probably expect in South America, but it wasn't cheap either.. about $80CAD/night). With no air conditioning in 35+ degree heat and high humidity... it was a bit too much for either of us to handle. We moved to a hotel after a few days and then to an apartment for the final week. Well worth the hassle to get some A/C.
I was walking down Robson street last night (near Granville) and was accosted by one of the many people who try and give you crap in Vancouver. This time it turned out to be Doritos, so I was pumped :).
Apparently they're doing a promotional contest for a new flavour of chips. It must have been a "sneak peak" as their website claims it won't be out until Feb 16. They want a name and a 30 second ad and I guess have a chance to win 25K + 1% of the net sales.
Among the more interesting ingredients there's cheddar, blue, monterey jack, colby, and swiss cheeses, tomato powder, garlic powder, and sour cream powder. They're also spicy... in the chemically typical not too much taste, type of spicy. They taste quite similar to their spicy buffalo / blue cheese bags of chips, but with both flavours in a single mix.
I think in honour of valentine's day I'll suggest "nacho crush".
After yesterday's post and my other very brief post on the trip, I thought it might be worthwhile to write something a little more in depth about our trip to Machu Picchu.
As I've mentioned previously, the primary way of getting into Machu Picchu takes you through Cusco and Aguas Calientes. Our flight from Buenos Aires had a short connection in Lima, Peru's capital. From the air Lima looked quite dirty and run down. Though it's a coastal city (bordering the pacific), it's also a desert city as the Sechura desert basically spans the entire coastline of Peru. We talked to a few other people who visited the city and it does sound like it has some nice areas that would be worth spending some time in.
A few weeks back Scott (MacRitchie) and I took a weekend trip to Machu Picchu in Peru. Scott came down to Buenos Aires for about 3 weeks to visit and do a little bit of traveling at the same time. It was great to spend some time with him.
If you've never heard of Machu Picchu before, or have heard of it but don't know what it is, it's basically these Incan ruins built high on a mountain top (and Wikipedia has a much better description). They weren't discovered until the early 1900's, and apparently the city was covered in gold and jewels when first discovered, however most of these were stolen by the first discoverers of the city. The city is so amazing partly due to it's very well protected location (the fact that it wasn't discovered until hundreds of years after the Spanish conquests of the Inca's).
Just thought I'd post a quick update on my trip. Been a pretty eventful couple of weeks, both work and travel-wise, so I've had no time to sift through my photos from Machu Picchu or blog at all.
Sam and I are now in Rio de Janeiro. We arrived Saturday night after 16h of travel (we bussed from Sao Paulo to Rio which was about 6h). It was a little sad checking out of the apartment we'd been living in for the last 2.5 months in Buenos Aires. We'll be here until the end of January before returning to our respective homes on the opposite side of the planet.
The hostel we booked had no air conditioning, and since we got here Rio has been about 35 degrees and up with some insane humidity. We needed to find something with A/C today so we moved from the hostel into a hotel for a few days before booking into an apartment this weekend.
Scott and I successfully made it to Cusco today... had to get up at 6am for our flight out of Buenos Aires and have a similar day tomorrow for the train ride into Machu Picchu, but it's all in good fun :).
Cusco is amazing so far, a really beautiful city. I've posted a few of the couple hundred I've taken.
Just after Christmas we visited Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, which is about a 1h ferry ride from BsAs. Apparently everyone from Buenos Aires goes to Uruguay for holidays and most of the boats were long since booked up. We originally wanted to go to Montevideo (the capital) but since we couldn't really get on a boat until 2pm and were only going for the day, it wasn't really realistic.
A couple weeks ago I visited Iguazu Falls with Sam and my parents. Iguazu falls (aka Cataratas del Iguazu) are in the most north east corner of Argentina where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil all meet. My parents paid for the trip as a birthday present to me.
The majority of the falls are within Argentina's border, with a small part of them in Brazil. The Brazilian side supposedly has some amazing views of the falls but unfortunately due to our not acting fast enough on the Brazilian visa front we couldn't visit that side. But no matter, the Argentinian side of the falls easily filled up our two days completely.
The theme was designed and implemented by Sam in her spare time. She spent a lot of time getting even the littlest details worked out and I'm super grateful for all her work on it. So thank you Sam, you really are awesome!
My blog runs on Drupal 6, though up until this past summer it was running on WordPress. I use this site to experiment with ideas and mostly just play around with it, so occasionally you may get a php error or something, please let me know if you hit one.
A screenshot of the blog, for those stuck in RSS
Over the next little while I'll be posting about individual hacks and modules I've added to the site. Currently, one of the cooler features is that I get an IM on my google talk account every time someone comments. This is using the XMPP framework with some patches I've submitted, more on that in another post.
If you're looking for a Drupal developer to do some work for anything from theming to a full Drupal website build, please feel free to contact Sam. I strongly recommend her.