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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Thursday, 03 July 2008

Well late last week, I was asked whether I was able to visit Georgia for a Prospect Partner review. Always keen to broaden my horizons and experience other cultures, so I was able to workaround my meeting schedules and agree on my availability to attend - no doubts whatsoever!

It was an interesting experience - though extremely long indeed!

We travelled on Monday morning to Gatwick - which wasn't too bad at all. Managed to get a good nights sleep in any case, though had to do quite a bit of work on Saturday and Sunday - bang went the idea for a "relaxing" weekend - but had to be done!! Still wasn't able to do EVERYTHING I wanted - but hey, wanted to try to keep sane!

The Ukraine International flight wasn't too bad; although we had to have a short stop-over in Kiev airport. Unfortunately, we got stuck there for about 3 hours, due to some weird reason - weird in the sense, that no one really knew what was going on in the airport. There was a funny moment, when we tried to locate the "transfer" area, rather than going through immigration and customs etc, but it was like you had to have a special password, as there was a secure door preventing the access. There must have been a very interesting reason for this (though we didn't dare ask!)

We met a nice bunch of ladies and a few gents from across US - who had almost completed 20mths of volunteering work in the Peace Corp in Ukraine - teaching.

We arrived around 2am in Tblisi in the end, though we didn't have much time to sort ourselves out, as the meeting was meant to start around 9.30am - it seemed it was going to be one of those trips!! Ha!

The first day was pretty good - though I had not previously undertaken a PDS-Session, it didn't seem to go too badly at all. Had a good mentor / role-model helping me along the way, a seasoned Technologist! :) - the write-up afterwards is going to be tough though (trying to read all of my paper-notes - haha!)

The second day was slightly different, but same type of work involved. Definitely been an interesting insight - and good for my development, I guess.

What made these 4 days special - was that there was no BlackBerry roaming service (well with my UK "O2" business service provider!) - and I couldn't get my wireless on my laptop to work at the Sheraton where we were staying. I guess this is where AXP Security Policies conflict with practicality - i.e. most hotels are moving to wireless as it is cheaper to install and maintain, but we are not "in theory" meant to use it, and in my particular case, I can't find a way around the blocked settings on my laptop anyway! So live without e-mail for 4 days - bliss indeed!! Though the Friday catch-up is going to be interesting...but alas that's Friday's problem!

Regarding dining-out, we were taken out for both evenings, and we certainly got a nice treat across the two days - very nice local food indeed, and was no issue at all.

We did take a few moments to walk and visit some of the main areas of the Tbilisi - though we had to do with the time we had available - as there really wasn't much time available to do anything more significant - maybe next time (if I am fortunate to get the project??? Never say never!) - though I did forget my digital camera which was a real bummer - hopefully my colleagues photos come out well!

Anyway, as our flight back left at 4.10am on Thursday morning, we decided to forget the sleep part and go straight to the airport after picking up our cases from the hotel. It was shattering indeed, and we finally arrived back to Gatwick at around 10.30am UK-Time...managed to get some well-earned rest during Thursday, and will hit the decks (work) later on in Thursday evening, to catch-up with bits and bobs following the trip.

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