Friday, 29 September 2017

Route to Santa Clara County HQ
Route to Santa Clara County HQ

For our first meeting in the morning, we headed to the Santa Clara County HQ.  It took us nearly an hour to get there due to the morning traffic.

Meeting with Dave Cortese
Meeting with Dave Cortese

We met Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors of the Santa Clara County and also Board Member of the Santa Clara VTA (Valley Transportation Authority) . VTA is Silicon Valley’s equivalent to SPAD. From my understanding, the Board of Supervisors are somewhat similar to the State Executive Council in a Malaysian state.

In the afternoon, Dato Dan took us for lunch at Black Pepper Restaurant at Menlo Park. Apparently it’s a Thai / Malaysian restaurant operated by a Malaysian family. The restaurant was big and full with people. However, like many other restaurants in the west that serve Malaysian cuisine, the food quality is just average.

Meeting with Cloudera's Amr Awadallah
Meeting with Cloudera’s Amr Awadallah

After lunch, we headed to Cloudera. We were introduced to the co-founder, Amr Awadallah. He gave us an excellent presentation on how information technology has evolved over time. I was most impressed with his energy and passion when talking about technology.

Exhibitions at PARC
Exhibitions at PARC

From Cloudera, we went to Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC). PARC is a subsidiary of Xerox, and is well known for its contribution to computing such as laser printing, ethernet, the modern PC, graphical user interface (GUI), object-oriented programming and many others. There is a urban legend in Silicon Valley where Steve Jobs got the idea for Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh after visiting PARC.

In the evening, I went walking around the shop areas near the hotel. I had dinner at McDonalds. I enjoy trying out common fastfood outlets (e.g. McDonalds, KFC, Burger King) from all around the world to see their special local menu.

Our flight back to Malaysia was at 1:15AM that night. We arrived at San Francisco International Airport slightly early so that we had time to relax. For the 18 hour flight home, I received a free upgrade to business class, which was a pleasant surprise.

Singapore Airlines business class
Singapore Airlines business class

It was my first time in a Singapore Airlines business class. While I have had the opportunity to sit in business classes in MAS and Etihad (post here), I find the Singapore Airlines seat to be way more comfortable.

SQ01 Business Class
SQ01 Business Class

It has ample leg room, and the seat could be converted into a full bed (above: lower right photo). It definitely made the 18 hour journey bearable. The in flight entertainment and selection of food was really excellent. Singapore Airlines is definitely my favourite airline .. for now!

As for my trip to the USA, I just hope that this is the last of it. Apart from the obvious long distance, it doesn’t feel like a pleasant place. The constant fear of being harassed, rough and dirty cities, horrible traffic jams, poor public transport, and not to mention the ever increasing shootings, it just doesn’t feel safe for a foreigner.