Good times in Amsterdam

I already posted my notes about the XTech conference itself, but there was more to the trip than that. I had a wonderful time in a wonderful city. Edd is not much for nocturnes and other night-time events, and I think this is the way it should be. After attending sessions from 9 through 5, who has the brain cells left to think more about XML? Time to hit the streets. (All pictures have titles: hold your mouse pointer over them).

I stayed at the Hotel Barbizon. I am not recommending it (it does beat the goo out of the Novotel at the RAI, though). Next time I go, if they have a reasonable rate available, I'm staying where Damien Steer and Libby Miller did, at the Amsterdam American Hotel. Great location (right on the Leidesplein). It turned out to be a common meeting place

As always at these conferences, I hung out a good deal with Libby and Damian (They also hung out with Lori, the kids, DanBri, Max and me in Bath in 2003). They're a lot of fun to explore and chill with. The XML crowd is, in general. I've always been impressed by the backgrounds of people in the XML circle. To a much greater extent than most expert developer scenes they come from backgrounds from literature, visual art and graphic design, music and theater, relational and object-oriented methodologies, engineering, and more.

I also met a lot of new folks, which is always cool. Ian Forrester and and his wife Sarah were the highlight, I think. Sarah is from Racine, Wisconsin, and reminds me a lot of my clever, hilarious, strong- willed, energetic wife Lori. I've found there's a definite class of women from Wisconsin with those impressive characteristics. Kristen, Fourthought's current manager at Sun, is another. Next time Lori and I head to the UK (next year, prolly), we're hunting down Ian and Sarah to hang out with (whether they like it or not). I also met and had a good time with Ralph Meijer, who was presenting in place of my friend Peter Saint-Andre, Ruud Steltenpool who was pimping SVG Open 2005 and who was kind enough to bring a basketball (I'd asked for ideas on exercise opportunities), Dominique Hazaël- Massieux, Håkon Lie, Michael Day, yet another Dan and yet another Matt (both Brits whose surnames I forget). I met in person for the first time electronic acquaintances Mark Baker and Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer. There were also usual compadres Edd, Eric, Leigh, Micah (The XMLHACK gang), DanBri, MattB, Dahobe, DanCon, Liam, Ricko, Liz, etc.

Amsterdam doesn't seem to have as much fly graffiti as, say Paris or London, but then again I haven't explored it as widely as London. Norm, who clearly has a good photographer's eye, did find a good deal of street art (a good deal indeed), mostly in the form of stickers. Last year Libby captured a beaut. I did find a stenciled cut at Bush and a few other bits, but nothing very exciting.

Thursday night the afters consisted of a party at Steve Pemberton's spacious apartment. The views from his roof are spectacular (see top image, for example). On Friday, after some tapas a large group of XTechers lolled about at Het Vondelpark. I was still craving exercise, so I wandered around until I found a bunch of (I think) Surinamese playing keepie-uppie (a.k.a. juggling) with a soccer ball. They were pretty damned good, but I'm decent enough, so I asked to join them, and did. I then returned to the group of XTechers.

After an Italian dinner we all split up and I went to check out the clubs near Leidseplein and the Reguilerswaarstraat (or something like that). It was fun, except that I was lacking a bit of steam. I noticed that a very weird combination of Samba and Euro electro seemed to be all the rage. Saturday, after a gratifying sleep-in I joined Damien, Libby and DanBri at the Leidseplein. We did some shopping, made an abortive attempt to go on a cruise (line was too long), and, joined by Liam and Mark Baker strolled around until we got to a BarBQ to which Liz and Dave had kindly invited us. We were joined by some of a very fun collective called, apparently, "Hippies from Hell", ate, chatted, joked, and recited poetry in English and Dutch (Liz treated us to Wendy Cope, for example), and that closed off my trip very pleasantly.

For more pictures check out the Flickr XTech tag.

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