STP 2013 Northern South America: Last Stop, Quito

On the heels of a great event (and experience) in Bogota, we packed up and crossed our fingers that Tame airlines wouldn’t mess up again. In the airport, things went smoothly and, in no time, we were on our plane headed toward the capital of Ecuador. We arrived to discover that, despite it being nighttime, our ride into the city was going to be about as long as our flight, due in part to traffic. The airport used to be right in the center of the city. Now, with the advent of larger aircraft and busier schedules, the airport is located quite a distance outside town, a whole mountain outside to be exact. We crammed into a cab and hung on for the hour-long ride over and through the surrounding mountains. The cab drivers are clearly intent on getting you where you’re going, probably because you pay before you leave, and there are no meters. Eventually, we found ourselves in the old town of Quito. Surrounded by beautiful Spanish architecture, we gazed out the windows, impressed with the state of the city. We also noticed that everything seemed to be closed. Upon arrival at the hotel, we checked in and found out that the old town goes to sleep early on weeknights, and that if we wanted anything, we would need to head to the new part of town, about a ten-minute cab ride away. We discussed our options in the lob and, given that my stomach was in no shape for food, I called it a night (to relax and write for you all) while the rest of the guys went out for dinner.

The next morning we met up at the hotel restaurant for breakfast. It was located on the top floor and had a panoramic view of the old town and the square next to the hotel. Once full, we gathered our things and headed to our event. Our host, Ivan, a Microsoft employee, was there to greet us. The event was being held at a local university and we walked in as the AV crew was installing a brand-new projector. A few technical details later and we were ready to roll. This was the first-ever SharePoint event in Ecuador so the crowd was very attentive and full of great questions. Because of that, the sessions morphed a little to be guided by the questions of the audience instead of holding them until the end. Joel, Paul, and Michael had no problems and easily navigated their way through presentations that were more interactive than in our previous locations. Sadly, my flight home was the earliest of the group, and I had to bid the team farewell early. I grabbed a cab with the help of Ivan, and soon my whirlwind STP adventure came to a close.


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