Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Tech·Ed SEA 2007 experience

I attended Tech·Ed SEA 2007 last September 10-13, 2007. It was not a company sponsored event and me and my peers had to shell out for this trip but it was well worth it. Aside from the knowledge we absorbed from the ingenius minds of the speakers in the conference, we went there for the experience of mingling with other technical folks like us and to feel how an international conference goes. This is my first time to attend an event open to the public where delegates are from all over the region. My next posts will be about this trip and related sidetrips in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Because we were on a tight budget, we took a Cebu Pacific flight late at night from Manila and arrived in Kuala Lumpur by midnight. Budget airlines use Kuala Lumpur International Airport - Low Cost Carrier Terminal. A no frills terminal, it just have basic facilities and modest stores. It doesn't have jet bridges so you literally go down and touch the airport parking apron and walk to the terminal.

The terminal is approximately 40 minutes away from the city center so it was a long drive past 1am. We immediately checked-in and rested for we have to wake up early tomorrow for the conference.

Registration started at 8am the following morning. We were there right on time and the welcome session was yet to come so we had a few opportunities to walk around the park of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

A few minutes later Tech·Ed SEA 2007 officially started. 2007 was Malaysia's tourism year so the delegates were welcomed by local government officials and festive dances.

Chocolates. During the plenary session some of us felt a bit sleepy and others were hungry so I shared a pack of chocolates that was in my bag.

Because literally thousands attended the event, there was literally a stampede during lunch hour. Thousands of delegates waited for the dining room to open its doors and serve their hungry stomachs.

Right after lunch we decided to cut the first sessions and walk around KLCC Park.

In the park were luscious greens, places to sit down and enjoy, children's playground and water fountain displays. It was a very relaxing place to stay and chill out.

We went to Suria KLCC to look for a Maxis Telecom store. We bought Hotlink SIM cards for our phones. We abused the network service to be connected with one another throughout the duration of the conference and up until our extended stay. In our group, Eugene was staying in another hotel, and Christine was in another wing of our hotel.

This is the view of Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC from Skybar, 33rd floor of Trader's Hotel. I was with Eugene and a few other Microsoft folks in the region and other visiting countries for a little chitchat and for a drink. The twin towers are really beautiful and stunning from afar!

We went down after to grab some food. It was time for LIVE Fest, full of exciting and fun activities for the participants.

Because we had a very long day that started early and ended late, and due to lack of sleep the night before, we didn't really hanged out in the party and left early to get some rest. I stayed in Renaissance Hotel which is a few blocks and 10-minute walk from KLCC.

Going to sleep, we can't help but be amazed of this view right outside our window when we lie down.

Day 2 was jampacked with sessions. We only had a few opportunities to go around Suria KLCC during break time.

On our way back to the hotel on the we decided to pass by the stalls of street foods near our hotel. Too many bizarre food to choose from but we didn't dared much and went for more regular food.

We went back to our hotel with carrying Tandori Chicken, Garlic Naan and Cheese Naan, based on the recommendation of the stall vendors.

Julie and I went around more that night. Right across our hotel is Malaysia Tourism Centre. From here we got information of other spots in the area and other things to do in the city.

We also tried the KL Monorail for the first time going to KL Sentral Station from Bukit Nanas which is the nearest station from our hotel. It was my first time ever to ride a monorail (because I failed to try the one in Seattle).

We arrived in KL Sentral a few stations after. The Monorail station wasn't really connected to the other trains that are in the main terminal station so we needed to cross the street and a parking lot to get there.

On the way back, we decided to stop by the open-air night market. This is where we got a few souvenirs and shirts for keeps.

3rd day's schedule was more full. Aside from the conference, we were invited to attend an MVP Dinner party that same night. We just tried to visit a few places near the hotel and but didn't really tour around.

Our MVP Dinner Party was in Bossa Nova, a Brazilian restaurant in Parkroyal hotel. I'll be blogging more about this experience later.

Going back, we passed by Bintang Walk in Bukit Bintang, a trendy and hip place for hanging out, parties and shopping.

We used the KL Monorail to go from Bukit Bintang back to Bukit Nanas.

The last day of the event was a bit relaxed. The most famous and overwhelming acceptance of booth in the conference belonged to the Internet Kiosks - it was always jampacked and there were even times that long waiting lines were present. If you brought your own laptop, there was wi-fi station nearby where you can sit down and connect your mobile unlike this kiosk.

At the end of the conference, we tried to explore more of the KLCC park. We visited Asy-Syakirin Mosque.

When we got tired, Eugene, Julie and I decided to rest in one of the covered benches in the park. Julie took this picture of me and Eugene resting and fixing things.

It was also Eugene's last day in Kuala Lumpur. We accompanied him to do some shopping for take homes and went to different malls in Bukit Bintang area including Sungei Wang Plaza.

My feet and legs was severely swollen because of this experience. Julie was helping Eugene to shop a gift for a girl and we walked from Low Yat Plaza to Bintang Walk to Times Plaza and back to Bukit Bintang area.

One thing that caught my eye was a shop full of pink stuffs. Pink clothes, pink lights, pink accessories, etc.

It was Eugene's last day. As for Julie and I, we extended until weekend to explore more of Kuala Lumpur and nearby attractions. My mom and eldest brother Jairus joined us early next morning. I'll blog more about this later.

More pictures are available in multiply. Just add me as a friend to view them.

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