Last week I was in Denver, Colorado for a meetup with my team from work.
There were 11 of us, so we rented a large house for 5 of us to stay, and the rest of us stayed at a nearby hotel.
Here are some of my impressions of the trip (with photos below!):
Montreal vs Toronto connection:
I’ve changed planes with short connection times in both Montreal and Toronto now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I like Toronto better. Montreal may still be under construction, but you feel like you’re zig zagging through dark hallways and caves and there are bottlenecks and lines. Toronto feels a lot smoother with far better signage, even though you go up and down on elevators and escalators, there aren’t any bottle necks and the lines are short. My Nexus card arrived just after I got home from this trip, so next time it’ll be even smoother!
- I was totally overwhelmed at first when I got to Denver. I’ve never flown very far before, but usually when you get off the plane there is a sign pointing you to the luggage pick up, but this airport didn’t have any signs telling me which way to go. I couldn’t tell if I should walk to the right or the left. I turned back and asked a lady at the counter and she told me I needed to take a pedway hike, or a subway ride(!) to the main terminal building to get my luggage. Whoa! (I took the standing subway)
- After spending some time at the airport, it wasn’t scary at all. It is well organized and very large so it was never crowded and didn’t have big lines.
- The main building has a big spikey tent over it for a roof. It was neat to hear that my cousin Patrick saw a show about this airport as a kid and that inspired him to study to be an architect!
- We rented a nice big mansion, complete with 5 bedrooms with separate bathrooms, a pool table, pool and hot tub out back, 3 dishwashers, sinks with foot pedals, fireplaces that worked with remotes, an ice maker, an elevator, you know, all the normal mansion features 🙂
- It was really nice to have a home to live in rather than just hotel rooms and board rooms.
- Even though only 5 of us stayed at the house we rented, it was cost effective. We all spent our days at the house. We bought groceries and made our own breakfast and lunch, and had snack food and pop and beer and drinks. We had lots of big work spaces so we could work on our laptops in big or smaller groups.
- This mansion was fairly new and had a security system and all the lightning was on one computer system. Kinda cool, but there were beeps and alarms going off often that we couldn’t track down. Then we accidentally hit an override switch and couldn’t turn any lights off or on one night. Security systems are so foreign to me. I was afraid to go outside at first because I didn’t want to get locked in the backyard, but even more so, I didn’t want to set off the alarm!
- Work meetups are a mixture of team projects and team building. Since we all work at home, team meetups allow us to spend time together, get to know each other in person (although we communicate all day and already “know” each other)
- We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was overrun with school kids, but we still enjoyed a movie in the planetarium about technology in space, the amazing view from the 4th floor observation deck, and the MythBusters exhibit.
- Next to the museum grounds was the Denver Zoo. I’m really not a big fan of captive zoo animals and I found their pens and cages very small. The only upside was all the animals were visible.
- We went to a Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators NHL game. It was great seeing a hockey game. It’s been too long since I was last at a hockey game.
- I had never heard of Uber before, but it is a transportation company, like a cab, only you can order your ride with an app on your smart phone, and you don’t have to exchange any cash because the app is connected to your credit card. It is really slick and easy, and you can see exactly how far they are away from you so you can get a close driver. We used them all week to travel around when it was too far to walk. The Uber’s we used were big black SUVs, like Suburbans and Escalades, so I felt like we were in Bill Clinton’s entourage or something. They also had UberX’s which were smaller cars, like the Prius. I believe Uber is only available in select cities, but I’d highly recommend their service.
- The climate is REALLY dry, and the altitude is high. I felt like I could never drink enough water. My fingers got so dry my new iPhone 5s couldn’t recognize my fingerprints anymore.
- Denver is sprawled out. Our house was quiet far from downtown. It was very quiet at night and we could see plenty of stars.
- Denver seems nice and clean and tidy for a city.
- All the houses are brick, stone, or stucco. A local told us there was a building bylaw that required such, and he thought it might have been put in place after the big Chicago fire.
- I went to my first Target store!
- Since Denver is Jeff’s favourite NFL team, I spoiled him with a lot of Bronco’s merchandise 🙂
My Travelling Experience :
- I find I have this comfort/desire/ease for talking to strangers when I travel. I chatted for 30 minutes or so at the airport with a new immigrant to the US from the Congo. We had a bit of a language barrier, but it was really interesting asking each other questions. He was waiting for a family member to pick him up who had previously moved to the US. No one had told him the cold season was approaching so I think I scared him a bit when I told him there was snow in the forecast!
- I still pack way too much. I’m in awe of some coworkers who pack a bag I’d overfill just to go on a day trip.
There is something about these meetups that cause me to hit some euphoric high part way through where I look around and know that I would do absolutely anything for this wonderful group of people. Money, liver, kidney, whatever they need.
Here are some pictures. Click on one to scroll through them large size, or just hover over for descriptions: