Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seattle - Microsoft trip

On Sunday, March 16, I left for Seattle on business. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. You want to hear more? Oh, OK.

Flight out

I was a bit nervous about the flight out because my dad made a comment over the phone about having the option of crashing the plane and collecting on my insurance if my brother were to get in financial trouble. I figured the NSA flagged the conversation and would have me put on the no-fly list. Well, I got on the plane just fine, it turns out, and had a lovely 4 hours crammed between two random guys. I got my rental car without any problems, but did have to search for the hotel a bit (the sign from the road is tiny, so I drove right past it the first time).

The hotel

I don't have very high standards when it comes to comforts and amenities. I admit that the hotel didn't have anything to wow guests, but the bed was of the new comfort-top variety, the sheets were soft (as opposed to being heavily starched), and everything else worked as it should. The free continental breakfast was above average and I enjoyed the OJ immensely.

The best part had to be my noisy neighbors, though. They kept me up on Monday night, but they were entertaining for a few 15-minute periods. I think they spoke Spanish, as I recognized a few words, but they seemed to speak English quite a bit, too, such as: "But I was almost there!"

Microsoft food

In addition to the free continental breakfast provided by the hotel, Microsoft also included a virtually unlimited supply of food during the three days of work. They had breakfast items, midmorning snacks, a full lunch, and afternoon snacks available each day. Plus, there was another kitchen with a freezer full of ice cream treats, and both areas had various beverage options. Monday's lunch was salmon, followed by sloppy Joe's on Tuesday, and deli sandwiches on Wednesday. I had a few muffins, a glazed twist donut, a couple cookies, a couple cake-square cookies, a fudge brownie, a bag of Sun Chips, and probably a few other miscellaneous items I am forgetting. Basically, I was very happy in Building 20.

I went out with my architect for Monday's dinner, which was nice. We just went to Red Robin, but had good conversation and I was happy to meet him after a full 18 months of working with/for him. Tuesday, the Microsoft people took both of us to a nice Italian restaurant. It was rather expensive, in my opinion, but it did taste good. The conversation was excellent, again.

The trip wasn't just about food, though. In addition to being filling, my trip was actually productive. I just can't talk about that - it's top secret. I can say that everyone was very eager to help out. Every question we had prompted a new expert to appear in Building 20. The freezer full of ice cream was raided proportionately, according to my informal observations.

A close second to the food in terms of favorite Microsoft experiences was the accent of one of our primary contacts. She was from Ireland and so had an Irish accent (amazing how that works). I could listen to her talk all day. Thankfully, she had the pleasant habit of mumbling/humming to herself.

Seattle

I was able to meet up with my uncle on Wednesday evening. He picked me up from my hotel and gave me a tour of the city. I have to say, Seattle is simply a beautiful city. There was a lot of traffic, but the drivers all seemed very courteous. Everyone I talked to had a long list of potential activities, whereas Kansas City has enough to keep its population sane, but little more. Throughout my trip, I found myself thinking "I could live here," or "I could work here." There's still a lot keeping me in Kansas City, but if someone wanted to drag me out to live in Seattle, I wouldn't be terribly opposed to it.

I drove by/across various lakes/sounds/rivers/bodies of water, the space needle, the sports arenas, the first Starbucks, some house boats, places that my uncle has kayaked, and quite a few other things. We ended up in a parking garage and then walked to a mall. I was told by a trusted source that I had to eat at a World Wrapps, and so we did. It was quite good, and it was also nice to get to talk to my uncle as an adult (mostly).

Flight back

The flight back was much better than the flight out. First, I had an aisle seat, so I had a bit more room in which to sit. Second, a very attractive young woman sat in the middle seat and was interested in entertaining me, for some reason. I did not object, naturally - she gave me her Travel Snacks, after all. She also loaned me a book by David Sedaris. I read the first story only, but it was highly entertaining. I did my best to be funny and entertaining myself, but she had extra food, books, and magazines. I had a pen that she was able to use for Sudoku (in case she ever finds and reads this, the bottom left square of the upper right block is a 4 [of puzzle #4]), and offered the novel I had been reading, but that's much harder to pick up and read than a collection of short stories. I'm afraid I just didn't have a whole lot to offer in the way of boredom relief. Anyway, it was a pleasant flight, and trip, for me.

1 comment:

Christyogini said...

"Trusted source?" :)