NECC 2007 Atlanta

I’m excited about attending NECC for the first time. This evening, I went to pick up my registration package from the Georgia World Congress Center and to help set up the Open Source Lab with Steve Hargadon, other members of his team and fellow volunteers. The setup is thin clients so there was little to do beside physical setup. Being at the GWCC heightened my excitement for the conference and I’m looking forward to the kickoff tomorrow.

Moving on …

I arrived in Atlanta last evening from St. Lucia. I’m always a little sad to leave my birth country and my family who live there.

The flight to Atlanta was uneventful. I planned to wake up early this morning to go sightseeing but staying up until 2 a.m. this morning put a kink in that plan. I woke up at 8:30!

I spent the day exploring the Martin Luther King Junior historic area. I took the Frommers walking tour, stopping at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market for lunch. My exploration of the area took most of the day.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the King Center are both excellent museums. I found myself teary eyed as a walked through the museum and saw the history of Atlanta, the south and African Americans in images and objects.

I’ve read about slavery and the resistance to the oppression of slavery but the history really seemed alive today. I was struck again, as I have often been, by the eloquence and wisdom of Dr. King and many of the other African-Americans who struggled for freedom, for democracy, for justice. I realized how important Dr. King’s faith in God was to his struggle, and how it fueled his courage. The whole concept of confirmation, that God is merciful and helps us if we submit to his will and when we strive to serve the greater good of humanity resonated with me today. The message that I most try to apply to my life though is to make the right decisions, one that will foster the advancement of society and humanity at every opportunity. Every moment of our lives affords us opportunities and we have to weigh those opportunities against the impact not just on ourselves, but on the other interconnected souls in this world.

Ah…holidays

I’ve been in St. Lucia for the past three weeks. Well, it was really two weeks because I had to go to Barbados with my aunt for some interviews last week. The time flew by…

I had a great time in St. Lucia. My mom is a cook at Sandals La Toc. She treated my sister and I to the buffet lunch there last Friday. I enjoyed all the food but particularly the accra (fish cake) and paymie (boiled cornmeal cake), both of which I haven’t had in years. My virgin pina colada was also fabulous. At the end of lunch, my sister and I took a walk on the beach.

My mom, sister and I later met with my other sisters. We went to the new cinema in the north of the island to watch Fantastic Four. The night ended with a quick stop at Dominoes Pizza for take out pizza.

I spent much of my holiday relaxing, reading novels and hanging out with friends and family. My cousin had the past two and a half weeks off so we spent a lot of time together. Yesterday was her last day off before returning to work. We decided to end her holidays with a bang by going an a sightseeing trip around the island. We rented a suzuki jeep and three of us went off.

The day started off gray and rain fell off and on through most of the day due to a tropical storm depression. Not an ideal day for a sightseeing trip but we kept on. I was a bit nervous about driving in St. Lucia because I’ve never driven here before. I’d only driven in Canada and Sudan, neither of which has steeply inclined roads or twisting roads as is the case here. I don’t think that I’ve ever been on a vehicle that drove as slowly as I did. 😀

We stopped at several spots. We started off in Mon Repos on the east coast and drove to Choiseul to go to the craft stores. Then, it was on to Soufriere. In Soufriere, we went to Fond Doux, a traditional St. Lucian estate. From there, we drove on to the drive-in volcano with the same name as the town. Although it’s a m agnificient sight, my friends and I were anxious to leave due to the strong sulfur smell in the area. From there, we drove through the Jalousie Estate to go to the Piton Falls. We were planning to swim in the waters of the sulfur springs there but it was raining too heavily. By then, we were starving. We had to decide between a trip to the Diamond Falls and lunch.

We weren’t sure where the Diamond Falls were and it was after two by then so we went off to find The Still restaurant. Unfortunately, we went to the beach location rather than the plantation location. My cousin had been to the plantation location and had been impressed with it. We weren’t thrilled with the beach location because they had few of their menu items available. We noticed the Hummingbird Resort and Restaurant just down the road from The Still so we decided to go there for lunch instead.

The Hummingbird restaurant has a beautiful view of one of the Pitons so we took some pictures from there. My video camera had died so I got it charged there for later use.

After lunch, we continued on our way along the west coast. We wanted to stop at La Place Kassav in Canaries for cassava bread. It was 5:00 p.m. by the time we left Soufriere so we were worried that it would be closed by the time we got there. Fortunately, it was still open so I managed to buy some cassava bread (cinnamon, chocolate and strawberry flavors) and some cassava flour (called farine). We’d planned to also stop at Ti Kaye but it was too late to do so. We simply continued our drive through Bexon, Dennery and numerous other places before finally getting to Mon Repos, the end of our journey. We went home and dropped off our stuff before decided to head to La Pointe to buy creole bread and coconut patties.

It was all in all a stressful day for me with all the driving on unfamiliar winding roads but it was a fun day. Next time, I’ll have to go sightseeing up north and through the rainforest…

Thinking

I just went back and read my one and only blog entry this year. The good news is that I have been learning about web2.0 technologies. I’ve started using them more both professionally and personally. Too bad I haven’t made my posting in my personal blog a daily event.  In fact, I’ve been thinking that maybe there isn’t even any need for this site. I’ll think about it some more…