Dominican Republic

Arrived
The virtual radio silence here is excused by a lovely internet-less trip to the Dominican Republic and the busy weeks post-return. I finally managed to sort some photos from there, at least.
Cheers to Carlos for thorough briefing ahead on where to go and what to see in his homeland and Rosendo Alvarez III, the Honorary Consul for Estonia there for his kind invitation in the first place.


Nice Welcome Surprise

Estonian welcome in London
At some point the Radisson Edwardian hotel I usually stay at in London started leaving me hand-signed welcome notes to the room when I arrive. Nice touch, even if common for regulars at many hotels.
Now they’ve taken it a step further – the note speaks my mother tongue. And quite familiar in tone, I must say. (“Kallis” is usually used in the very friendly context where “darling” if not “sweetheart” is appropriate, as opposed to casual “dear”).
Thanks for the neat surprise, Radisson! Estonian has just a bit over 1 million speakers globally, so we don’t get service in our own language abroad too often.


Thermal Portrait Snatched From Museum

Thermal Portrait
Learned at the last minute that The Tech museum across the street from the hotel I’m staying at in San Jose is opened later than I thought. Spurred through just one floor there in 30 minutes and found even that limited glimpse very cool. Cleanrooms for chipmaking, multi-G robots, hands-on 3D rendering stations for a roller-coaster ride that you can then experience in virtual form and so forth. Silicon Valley in a condensed, playful form.
Presentation-wise they do one thing that I have never seen in any museum. Many of the exhibits are equipped with a bar code scanner. You pass by, or rather interact with what’s on display and in the process scan the code on your ticket. And afterwards some output of your experience is available online at My TheTech. You can use the demo account to peek inside, or use my ticket code 0000001504656457.
Sad that my 3D headscan got messed up, but the thermal portrait (above) is cool (except for face & palms) enough.


Emotional Hours at Wembley

Blue sector
The Estonia-England Euro2008 qualification game at Wembley was quite an experience. For the most part, not for the devastating game but the emotions around it. Roughly 2000 Estonians trying to outshout & -sing 84600 English supporters. Apparently, our Song Festivals are not that unique after all.
A few more mobile shots here. Note to self – you actually could bring a decent camera to this stadium, no matter what the back of the ticket warning says.
And a trivia quiz: Who is now the first Estonian to score a goal at Wembley? (Hint: the score was 0:3)


私は東京を愛する!

A few more people
Spent a few days in Tokyo. Finally. This place is now officially number #1 in my World Cities toplist. And frankly – I was sort of expecting (or hoping?) this to happen.
The Skype Developer event I was attending there was a huge success with great turnout of interesting partners. Everything else in the counted few days before and after was just mind-blowing. I need to have the thoughts and emotions settle a bit to blog anything sensible. Until then, you have to live with the photoset.
My special thanks go out to German customs who were so happy to see me back in Europe that they decided to welcome me with some extra taxes + a 350 EUR fine, because tumbling off a 12 hour flight I did not voluntarily land in the red customs corridor while I had a certain new gadget in my bag with purchase value exceeding 175 EUR. Did you know that this extremely low threshold is applicable to “all other items not listed explicitly like alcohol and tobacco” in whole EU? I do now. Hier, nehmen Sie meine Kreditkarte.