Robot Has No Heart

Xavier Shay blogs here

A robot that does not have a heart

The Road Home

The mirror to my previous misadventure, The Road To Berlin

Saturday, 5:30pm: And they’re racing!
6:30pm: Arrive at airport
6:40pm: Shoes get wet by an erratic shower
6:55pm: “I’m sorry sir, check-in for Frankfurt just closed. Please come back tomorrow”
8:41pm: Arrive at “dress to impress” party in t-shirt, fisherman’s and sandals
Sunday, 3:00am: Catch up on work emails
5:30am: Fall asleep on floor
9:00am: Morning, sunshine. More work.
Noon: Prost! Not eating chicken for lunch.
3:15pm: Admonished by the polezei for dancing
4:16pm: Pass out on the side of the road outside Oktoberfest
4:50pm: Scab 80c off French guy and spend last Euros on a train ticket
5:42pm: Arrive at airport, with a little help from my friends
6:20pm: Push to front of check-in line, wailing “I’m going to miss my flight!” (lie)
10:00pm: “I’m sorry sir, we don’t have a vegetarian meal for you. Have a bonus roll-with-cheese.”
3:00pm: Skip breakfast by nodding off during serving
5:35pm: After taxiing to the terminal, faint
5:38pm: After exitting the aircraft, faint
5:46pm: Eating chocolate while lying on the floor of business class
8:05pm: “I’m sorry sir, we don’t have your ticket for this flight”
8:15pm: Aquire ticket (5 minutes prior to checkin closure)
8:22pm: “Excuse me sir, Absolut Vodka for you?” (pass)
Tuesday, 1am: No vege meal booked, but the vege+fish one only has fish in the salad
1:16am: French lady in 59B gives me her icecream
5:36am: Touchdown in Melbourne, 1 hour ahead of schedule due to a roaring tail wind. Fantastic.
5:46am: Exit plane. Don’t faint. Fantastic.
5:55am: Exit Melbourne airport, having passed through duty-free collection, passport control, baggage collection and quarantine in under 10 minutes. Fantastic.
5:58am: Walk straight on to a sunbus that departs instantly. Fantastic.
6:55am: Asleep in own bed. FANTASTIC.
9:00am: At work, on time. Only a day late.

Conference Cuisine

Don’t ever let it be said we were left hungry at RailsConf Berlin.

With an attendance nearing 1000, sating the herd could not have been a trivial feat. The staff at the Maritim stepped up to the challenge, and were clearly in their element serving such a large audience. An all-you-can-eat buffet each day for lunch maintained the air of a multi course delicacy. The salads and desserts in particular were exquisitely presented, with small serving platters (shot glasses, for example) placed alongside the main serving giving the impression that the dining party could be counted on one hand, rather than the illegal quantities that would in fact be required.

And the variety! Servings of lentil, tomato, potato, cous cous, capsicum and cucumber salads, cheeses, chillies, olives, seeds, beetroot, broccoli, breads, fried potato, rices, eggs, pestos, coleslaws, mushrooms, lasagne, curry – all a feast for the eyes as well as the tongue. Desserts included divine fruit combinations – fig and casois cream, banana and cherry tart, cream and mango ring cake, berry jam – and a chocolate mousse as light as the clouds, lightly encased in a delicate chocolate sponge. Individual truffles littered among the main platters made for a decadent final cadence.

My only criticism, reluctantly, is the hot food really suffered from the excess of scale. Presentation was clearly below that of the cold dishes, and “hot” is probably too generous an adjective. The taste of the lasagne and the broccoli was bland in comparison to exciting array of salads, but it did provide a nice anchor to the dish. I can’t comment on the uninteresting choices (meat), so maybe these redeemed the mains.

A more general note to close: If anyone ever tells you it is difficult to be a vegetarian in Berlin they are lying, and you should probably consider all of their opinions suspect.

EDIT: Day 3 was shit – cardboard potato, bland carrots and something so forgettable I’ve done just that.

The Road To Berlin

Saturday, Noon: Let’s roll
1:30pm: Join the wrong check-in line
2:12pm: 1 litre kahlua, 1 litre vanilla absolut vodka: $47
2:31pm: Almost get arrested for having a butter knife in my carry on luggage – it’s been there for months :(
3:42pm: Kevin in 41B says “join the rest of the cattle”
4:16pm: First ever tiger beer
4:25pm: I am totally going to to speed run Mario
4:27pm: Nintendo locks up, resisting even a total system reboot
5:20pm: Vege 4TW, get served first
5:54pm: Kevin in 41B says “we have a convert” (Tiger #3)
6:31pm: Dance geekery – you could sort out some partnered finger chorey
9:37pm: “Excuse me sir, Johnny Walker for you?” (black)
9:38pm: 1 lemon + JW, 1 JW black, 1 lemon + JW
9:46pm: Band leader at Singapore airport: “I have a bet with the guy on keys, natural curls?”
9:57pm: 1 JW black, 1 lemon + JW
10:17pm: “Free internet” ain’t so free. Enjoying a pint instead.
11:45pm: Wake up infront of a horrible vege meal with a hangover
Sunday, 4:00am: Lufthansa food is inedible
4:35am: I am figuring a jazz routine to a live version of Buble’s Moondance
7:20am: Frankfurt to Berlin flight departure gate changed
7:40am: While on the tarmac, flight delayed 1 hour
9:45am (25 hours later): Yes, thank you, it’s good to be here

UPDATE: Do read the even more exciting sequel, The Road Home

RailsConf Europe

I’m flying out today for RailsConf Europe 2007 in Berlin. If you are going to be there, won’t you join me for a drink?

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