Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Santa Clara

I had the pleasure of working at Intel's Santa Clara site all last week. Our customer wanted some re-assurance that they were getting the level of support and focus they were hoping for. So I hopped on the plane and flew down Monday morning.

This was my first time in SC with a car rental. Normally I just went for the day and took the shuttle that provided door-to-door service (the two doors being the charted-Jet-center location and the entrance to SC12 (one of Intel's buildings). I don't have a Hertz Gold Card, so I had to hoof it a quarter mile to the building where Hertz kept their service people.

Driving in SC is just a bit busier than driving in Portland. All the main streets are a minimum of two lanes each direction, and the main thoroughfares are actually 4 lanes each direction. You can take U-turns at many intersections, and traffic is (of course) worse.

I made it to Intel's building just fine, and I even saw the hotel where I'd stay (all of 2 minutes from SC12 - an easy walk if it weren't for the 8 lane road you'd have to cross).

I worked a bunch, and hung out with Bill one night.

Work progressed fairly well, we got some results for the customer and a new release for them to play with.

I was booked on the 4:30 flight out, and since the Jet Center is all of 2 miles down the freeway from Intel, I gave myself plenty of time (30 minutes) to get there. I didn't count on the fact that my directions were not to the Jet Center, but were instead to the main airport. So I took the exit toward the airport and drove in circles - looking for any sign of the jet center. Of course the Jet center was nowhere to be found, and a couple of the people I asked had no idea what I was talking about. Long story short, I arrived 7 minutes late and lost my seat.

Great. Thursdays are packed and I wasn't able to get on the later flight. I broke the news to Mary and back to the hotel I went.

Now it's Friday morning, and I'm here at the Jet Center 20 minutes before I can even check in. And what happens? The place is fogged in and flights are delayed at least an hour. sigh...

By driving around SC I've been exposed to new things and I have a few observations.

1) all the parking places are way too small

You'd think that in California, land of the car, they'd make the parking spots large enough to accommodate the mid-sized sedan I drove. Yet most every parking lot I had the pleasure of navigating had about 2 feet of clearance on either side. That's barely enough space to open the door and stick my foot out.

2) apparently SUVs aren't as popular in SC as they are in Oregon.

Especially at the parking structure at SC12, but in general, I saw very few SUVs. Most people seemed to actually be driving regular cars. I found this very refreshing.

3) many many many radio stations

This is obvious. The Bay Area just has a ton of radio stations. I never get to listen to them when I'm in SC because I'm usually working. Driving around affords me the luxury of checking out all the stations. I found myself listening Usher, popular Mexican, techno, and, of course, KQED. I've always liked that name (read the definition of QED). I got accustomed to the radio stations while at grad school, and have missed them ever since I went back to Portland - and especially now that I live in Corvallis. While a great city to live in, Corvallis boasts only about 5 radio stations.

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