MVP Summit 2011 – Pre-Conf

A week ago, I was just arriving in Seattle, and now I’m sitting at LAX, waiting for the plane home. 

It was a looong way to travel for (only) three days – so I had a few days either side of the conference – to do some sight-seeing & exploring.

It worked out to be pretty much seven days on the ground in America – and I definitely packed in a LOT…

This post is more for “ME” to remember what I’ve done – feel free to ignore – nothing to see here – move along, move along…

Day 1 : Friday 25th Feb

A long haul from Melbourne – I watched a few movies on the plane 127 Hours – and “Bad Santa” – and (tried) to sleep a bit – and wrote up a blog post for sharepointroot.

We had a few hours in LAX – and pretty much just headed straight for the gate – via a bunch of security check-points.  I even had to remove my shoes – and step into an X-Ray machine – wow.

Also – the security at customs involved a fingerprint scan – which I hadn’t seen before – each thumb, and then 4 fingers – so they did FOUR scans – and a photo !

We were looking out for celebrities – and saw Shannon Doherty (90210, Charmed) – and the bride of Frankenstein – Joceyln Wildenstein.

My travelling buddy recognised a guy from the TV show Battlestar Galactica – but I didn’t know him.

Got to Seattle – and fvck, was it cold !!    We’d expected that – but still – wow !    We’d gone from ~30 degrees celsius – about 90F – to 30 degrees fahrenheit – about 2C !

Got a ride to the hotel with another MVP – and checked in (Bellevue Hyatt) – had a quick shower & freshen up – and then off to see the shops at Bellevue Mall.

Just like any other mall really – like Chadstone, etc – but they have a LEGO shop, and also MICROSOFT and APPLE store.

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Went out for dinner with Mike Fitzmaurice and Brett Campbell from NINTEX – after a quick stop in to the U.S. office – great to see.   We went for dinner at an awesome steak place called “DANIEL’S” – highly recommended – great food !

Back to the hotel – and crashed out to sleep…   *phew*

Day 2 – Saturday 26th Feb

We’d booked a tour of Seattle for the Saturday – and woke up early to get the bus into town.  The temperature was –3, very cold indeed !    Good fun to ride the 550 bus from Bellevue into Seattle – they have underground train/bus stations – so you arrive in the middle of town.

The tour we did covered a whole bunch of stuff – a small bus, only 3 patrons and a driver – so it was like a person guided tour.

Here’s a few highlights – more for *MY* memory than anything else :

  • Pike Place
  • Klondike Gold Museum
  • Fire Station
  • Drove past Safeco + Qwest field
  • Fish ladder
  • Chocolate factory
  • Discovery Park
  • Fremont Troll – great story behind that one
  • Ballard – fisherman’s pier – boat from Deadliest Catch
  • Pioneer Square
  • China town / international district
  • Queen Anne Drive – great views from the hill over Seattle

** This photo was taken at Kerry Park.


After we finished the tour, we were dropped off just near Pike Place – where I bought a new beanie – yes, it was THAT cold…

We wandered around Pike Place market, where they throw the big salmon across the aisle – but didn’t see any airborne fish….(!)


Quick lunch, and then to the Space Needle – amazing structure, but we didn’t actually go up the tower.  Instead – we went to the Experience Music Project next door.

They have Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobains guitar’s – as well as an interactive music exhibit.  I learnt how to play power chords for real – and know how to play SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT !   (not well as all – but I ‘get it’)

** The guitar Kurt Cobain played in the video clip :


There is a Sci-Fi exhibit there also – and had a Battlestar Galactica expo on at the moment – with costumes & spaceships – very cool.

We caught the monorail back into town – and then the bus back to Bellevue.

I had a night out on my own, with a concert/band playing at a small pub in Seattle.   BIFFY CLYRO are amazing live, I’d seen them in Melbourne only a few months ago – and this venue was 1/2 the size (or less) – and so it was a great pub-show.  


Good fun to go see a band in Seattle (!!) – at a venue where Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Alice In Chains – and others have played over the years.  

That ended the sight-seeing – with a day of Mountain Biking to follow !


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