London for Business

I was fortunate to travel to London last week for a conference. I hadn’t been back to England since December of 2001, when I studied abroad for a semester in college. It was really neat being able to return on a business trip at a completely different point in my life.

The first thing I did after checking in to my hotel on Sunday was to FaceTime with Julia and Andrew. I was eight hours ahead, so it was morning in California.

Next, I took the Tube across town and visited the neighborhood where I lived that fall. This is the building we stayed in. It’s in a fantastic part of town (Ferraris parked on the street) and the exterior is in great shape, but when we were there the interior left a lot to be desired. We had very cramped living conditions, infrequent hot water, and major bathroom challenges. I lived in a room with Robby and Brent that can be seen here – top row of visible windows, third from the right.

London has a great bike share program now, so I rented a bike for cheap and rode around for an hour, through Hyde Park and Green Park and past Buckingham Palace and Big Ben/Houses of Parliament.

A quick look at my Find My Friends app demonstrated just how far I was from Julia and Andy.

On my second morning there, and my first full day of work, I woke up around 4:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I jumped onto email at around 5:15am and worked from my hotel room before heading out to the conference.

I gave a presentation to advertising agency and partner organizations from this stage.

I gave a different presentation with a colleague to about 500 people from this stage.

Here’s my colleague Ben during our presentation. I asked him to get a photo of me too, but in the stress of the situation he forgot! They recorded with video cameras, so I’ll post the video when it’s available.

An unusual aspect of the presentation was there were several sessions taking place simultaneously in a large aircraft hanger-like room. This meant attendees wore headphones like the one shown here to listen to us as we spoke in front of them. Speakers were equipped with headsets that had a microphone and two ear buds so we could hear ourselves, too. It seemed strange at first, but worked fine.

After the conference wrapped up I had a great dinner on the Thames with colleagues Rakhi and Ted.

Later that night Julia notified me that Andrew had gotten sick and had to be taken to the doctor. A few days of antiobiotics later, and he’s doing fine.

Friday was my last day in London, and after a visit to the office in the morning I spent the afternoon wandering and doing some sightseeing. Here’s Trafalgar Square.

The Millenium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral – I can’t recall if I walked on the Millenium Bridge when I was here last time, so thought it was worth a visit.

Walking towards St Paul’s on the bridge.

St Paul’s up close.

Saturday morning I woke up early and was waiting for the train to connect to the airport by 7am. It was a great trip, even though it was tough being away from Julia and Andrew for an entire week!

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