Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Operational Excellence Training Day 1 and Palmers East

My British Columbia trips to the cities of Victoria, including The Butchart Gardens, Vancouver, and Whistler are all part of the quick weekend sidetrip to Canada from the nearby city of Seattle, Washington, USA.

Weekend has past and it's another work week ahead. After the series of technical sessions I have attended in Seattle during Microsoft TechReady 9, I soon went for Operational Excellence trainings in Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, just half an hour away from Seattle.

I have also transferred hotel to Residence Inn Redmond, located right in the town center but as opposed to what I was used to wake up to in downtown Seattle, Redmond is a pretty quiet and laid-back so I find it very comfortable to walk around any time of the day (or night) around the area.

My breakfast for day 1 in the hotel: self-made pancake waffle - one quarter of which is plain and the other quarter is blueberry-flavored, bake potatoes, nacho cheese and some meat

After breakfast, I walked towards Redmond Town Center, Building 4 where I was picked up by a Microsoft shuttle that brought me to the campus headquarters.

inside the shuttle. I was pretty amazed with the very efficient dispatch system and eco-friendly hybrid car they were utilizing in the campus!

Our training was held in Building 11.

our training room. we were only quite a few in that rigorous training.

For lunch, we usually go to other buildings. During the first day had our lunch on the building just across the street.

Because I began to grew tired of blant food, I opted to get an asian food this time. Good thing they were serving Pad Thai in that cafeteria it was good but because of its huge serving, I only finished half of my plate.

After the training, I immediately went back to my hotel so that I can have time to see the place around the area. It was already past 5PM but the sun was still up bright!

I checked the shops around Redmond Town Center first, which is just beside our hotel, and browsed around before going back to my room. Talk about convenience!

Residence Inn Redmond

When I went back to the hotel, I was invited to the Manager's Toast, a social event held every Monday night for the guests. Wines, cocktails and some sweets were served but I only helped myself to some brownies and cookies because I had plans to have dinner with my colleague in the Philippines, Johnny, later on.

I met with my friend a couple of hours later. Because he is also as photo and travel frenzy as I am, and curious about the vicinity, we first walked around the area

Here are some shots around the neighborhood:

Redmond Shopping Square

a nice looking building

a few band members and musicians walking in and out what seemed to be a "music place"


old-looking building and coffee shop

a clock tower in Leary Way

corner street

We initially went inside The Matador restaurant but when we began ordering, we were carded and they didn't accept our ID cards (Philippine government-issued driver's licenses that indicated our birthdates) and insisted that we show our passports. They were very professional and friendly and explaining the situation so we didn't get frantic but we got dismayed and left to look for another place eat. Outside, we saw this bench and both of us agreed that the lighting was perfect to take a snap.

Somewhere nearby, we noticed a busy place that seems cool. It was Palmers East. We went inside because there was no other place around anymore to dine at that time.

It was a local neighborhood bar. They had lots of alcohol choices but since we were already hungry, we went for the food menu first instead.

While waiting for the food, I took the chance to sneakingly take pictures inside. There were slot machines, video games, pool table and even a karaoke area! Seems like a cool place to hang-out!

And then the food came! I had a set menu of steak and shrimp pasta with garden salad and potato sides. It was good but it was too much for me to take! Glad that Johnny was there to share it with me. As we began to eat, a couple of locals sat on our table for a chat. That gesture made us felt very welcome in the place! These guys and a few others were very friendly to us, showed us things, and shared stories throughout our stay.

Later on, someone stepped up for the karaoke and began to sing! Later on a few others followed and more "artist singers" were borned!

I also had a couple of glass of lemon vodka, mixed according to my instruction of half-half.

For us, it was a nice find and a strike of luck that we were instead diverted to this place. It was a cool experience and something memorable. It was also a good start for the week and a good ending for that day.

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