Latin Flash Tour Retrospective

Well the Latin Flash Tour is finally over and after taking a few days to rest, I want to share some of my experiences from this amazing trip. Overall this tour heavily reinforced my belief that the Latin American Flash community is one of the strongest we have, not only in terms of enthusiasm, but also in skill level. I only needed to be home for a few days before I started missing all of the new friends I made over the last few weeks. What follows is a very rough recap of the trip. Things got quite loco in some countries so this has been sanitized for public consumption. There were also far too many people and things to talk about so I’m sorry if I leave something out.

Santiago, Chile
I had about a 9-hour flight from Dallas to Santiago, which was very smooth. In the morning I awoke as we flying over the snow-capped Andes. This was very beautiful and also made remember the movie Alive where a plane crashed in those mountains and the survivors were forced to eat the dead. I looked at the guy next to me to see how much nourishment he would provide in the event of a crash.

Santiago is an extremely beautiful city. I was staying in the swanky part of town at the new W Hotel. I met up with the user group managers Luis Felipe and Rodrigo Duarte for the dinner the night before. We had possibly the worst waitress in the world but still had a nice time nonetheless. I also got to meet Lifaros, who is one of favorite old-school ActionScript experimenters.

The event in Santiago took place in religious building on a Saturday and we had a great turnout of around 150 people. Despite being warned about the lack of English language skills, everything I presented seemed to be understood with ease. I had a lot of great questions, which is always a good sign when presenting.

After the event we went out for some traditional empanadas. I think I’m still full after that meal. I really wish I had another day in Santiago to see more of the city.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
After a short and smooth flight I arrived in Buenos Aires to meet up with the rest of the Latin Flash Tour crew. Grant “Grande Leche” Garrett was already at the Sofitel hotel getting settled in. That night we met up with Maximiliano Firtman and Mariano Carrizo for dinner. They said it would be a short walk to the restaurant. I guess short means something else in Argentina :) .

The next morning Enrique Duvos arrived and the crew was complete. The event that night was great with again around 150 designers and developers. This crowd was very lively and weren’t shy about asking us some tough questions. We received a great gift of Havana cakes. These things are like having a circus in your mouth.

That night we took a bunch of the attendees to a pizza place where we consumed a large amount of Quillmes beer, which we later started calling KillMe’s.

Lima, Peru
The flight from Buenos Aires to Lima was amazing. Customer service in Latin America is so much better than what you get in the US or Europe. We arrived at the JW Marriott, which was an amazing place right on the water. We met up with the local crew consisting of Erik Porroa, Fernando Florez, Hugo Campodónico, and Marco Ordoñez. We had a great lunch of cervices and pasta as well as a very strong Pisco Sour.

The nightlife in Peru was a lot of fun and I will just leave it at that. The next day at the event the turnout was quite as large as we expected, topping around a 100 people. Fernando and Hugo each gave a session before we started. The microphone would give you a shock if you touched it and your laptop at the same time. Our presentations went well and then it was out on the town.

After a nice dinner me, Grant, Erik, and Marco went out and had a awesome night in Lima. Oh what a loco time. Sorry for bruise Marco :) .

Bogota, Colombia
This was my second time in Bogota and it just reinforced my love for the country of Colombia. There is just something about it that I like. OK there are actually many reasons why I love it. First the community is absolutely enormous thanks to the hard work and dedication of Martin Montenegro and Ivan Sosa. These guys know how to run a user group and we had over 500 people attend the event. No other city came close to matching those numbers.

We stayed at the Sofitel, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite hotels. It is in the trendy part of Bogota with plenty of shopping malls and coffee shops. I could easily see myself living in this area. The people are incredibly nice and there are a lot of beautiful things to look at.

We were joined at night by Rafael Ochoa, who is a great Flash developer who came down from Venezuela for the event. There is some epic footage of us doing drunken jiu-jitsu outside a club in Bogota. Not sure if that footage will ever see the light of day but it is pretty damn funny.

We had two of the youngest Flash developers I have ever met at the event in Bogota. Both were around 10 years old and one of them actually won Master Collection CS4! These kids are going to be a force when they get older.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Grande leche had to head home after Bogota so it was just Enrique and I in Costa Rica. The flight from Bogota was bumpy as hell as there was bad weather in both places. The weather in Costa Rica is very interesting. It basically rains a little everyday and is very humid. That night for dinner we had the local dish of Gallo Pinto. This is basically eggs, rice, beans, meat, and more all mixed together on a plate. Very yummy and hearty food.

The event the next day was actually a full-day conference organized by Javier Cerdas called TechCamp Costa Rica. It included sessions from our friends at Microsoft. The MS guys were actually really nice although their session was extremely tedious to sit through. Their presence at the event only served to highlight the differences between our two companies. Enrique and I gave some of our best sessions at this event as they were filled with a quite a bit of humor. We even had the MILF hunter sitting in the front row. We were also interviewed by the good folks over at Geek Nation. Be sure to check out their video podcast!

After the event we went out for some Jamaican food and local beer, which was great. This was one of the lightest nights as far as drinking which was great, as we needed a break.

Mexico City, Mexico
We arrived at the W Hotel in Mexico City in the evening but had time to meet with the new arrivals to the tour: Mike Chambers, Jerry Chabolla, and Sam Agesilas. We also met with local user group managers and had some cervezas and food.

The next day started with some the craziest traffic I have seen. The event took place at a hip university on the other side of town. It was a full day of sessions and we also got to see some awesome local Flash work during the showcases. Sam showed off some of his awesome Orchid framework and Mike did a whole session on iPhone development with Flash CS5. I met so many cool people during my time in Mexico that naming them would be impossible.

That night we all went out to Mexican food. This included a large amount of cervezas, chopped up crickets, and a local liquor similar to tequila whose name escapes me at the moment. I took on the challenge of eating a whole habenero pepper but this was nothing compared to the rococo that I had in Peru. Sergio Brito, aka YacaFX, also ate one and he was out of it for a few minutes. At one point we began to wrestle and accidentally knocked Mike into a couple’s table, breaking glasses and spilling drinks everywhere. Mike how could you be so rude? :)

Thanks to Influxis
I just want to again give a big thank you to the guys over at Influxis who were the ones who made this tour possible. They didn’t hesitate when I asked them to sponsor this and you should reward them with your business if you ever need Flash Media Server hosting. We are already talking about next year!

Maté un ladron!
During my presentations I would always recite a line of Spanish from a movie. This movie was Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford. Below is a video clip of that scene.

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Oh my god. As I write this I am remembering another 20 things I should write about. But if I don’t publish this now I never will. Before leaving I want to thank Enrique for being the ultimate traveling companion and for bailing me out several times with his Spanish. Next year will be ever bigger!

Lee

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