It had been several years since my last long haul flight over the Pacific, but what I remembered of it was best left in the dim recesses of memory, so I’ll just say that the best part of this past week’s journey was meeting up with fellow SAP Mentor Karin Tillotson in Los Angeles for travelling together on the second flight. Several movies, magazines, Sudoku puzzles, and sleeping aids later, after 20+ hours of flying we landed in sunny Sydney for the start of our adventure.
We made our way to the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth and were pleased to find our reservations in order. The team at Eventful Management did a great job coordinating our travel arrangements, and soon we were able to catch up on our lost sleep.
After a short nap, Doug Hay from Eventful Management picked up Karin and me and drove us to the Taronga Zoo. SAP is a supporter of the zoo, and we were very excited to visit the zoo, especially the area called Wild Australia. Our koala experience was a highlight, as were seeing the newborn baby elephant calf and the antics of the Tasmanian Devils racing about the habitat.
We met up with Doug later for refreshments at the very popular Sydney Harbour Bar, where we were joined by another SAP Mentor, Rao Subbarao, and Neil Gardiner. The views of Harbour, its famous bridge and the sunset were lovely; it’s no wonder the place was packed on such a fine day.
Saturday morning was our long-awaited adventure, the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. This was the experience of a lifetime; even the great photo gallery and 360-view photo on their web site can’t do it justice. If you ever go, it is absolutely a must-do.
Following the climb, we did a bit of shopping, then were met by Martin English and Neil Gardiner for lunch. They amused us with recounting all they had learned about Texas from watching the TV show “King of the Hill.”
Saturday evening the SAP Mentors were guests of Chris Carroll, Steve Morris, and Eventful Management at a harbour cruise and dinner. It was really great seeing so many of my fellow SAP Mentors, including our Oz colleagues Graham Robinson and Tony di Thomasis, and a number of fellow Mentors and conference speakers including Thomas Jung, Ingo Hilgefort, Oliver Mayer, Paul Kurchina, and Rao Subbarao. The view of the Sydney Harbour at sunset was first rate, as were the food and camaraderie, and it was a lovely evening.
All of those festivities led up to Sunday’s preconference event, SAP Inside Track Sydney. The recent SAP Inside Track Bonn Was A Blast was so successful, I know everyone was committed to making the Sydney event equally successful. Neil Gardiner’s Pre SAP InsideTrack Australia 2010 set the stage handsomely, and from the sights and sounds, I’d say that plenty of learning and networking was had. SAP Mentors Graham Robinson and Thomas Jung organized a great day which included roundtables on a wide range of topics, including CE 7.2, virtualization, interoperability, and Business Objects. It seemed that the largest group was the developers; naturally, self described “ABAP Freak” Tom Jung’s roundtable on agile development was well attended. A smaller but equally engaged group of system administrators joined Karin Tillotson for discussions on issues in archiving, and most of those same folks stuck around and talked about joys and challenges of SAP security with me.
All of that talking left me with a powerful thirst, and I was glad that the short speaker meeting was followed by some refreshments and more time for networking with the delegates. My day ended up with snacking on a local specialty, a tasty meat pie at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, and goodnights to delegates and Eventful staff and directors.