OTN MENA tour Stop 2: Saudi Arabia

As I am writing this I am just slowing down after very intense 36 hours in Riyadh, still in awe and slowly processing all the impressions I made here. We arrived at King Khalid airport at 9pm on Wednesday night but hat to test both our own and our generous hosts’ patience as we waited 4 hours in the immigration line. I was expecting that with a pre-approved visa (that process alone was another huge effort) this would be rather quick. Ironically, they are in the midst of upgrading their biometric database and are not able to run at full capacity right now.

OTN MENA tour 2014 RiyadhWith the late arrival we had to skip all dinner plans and were happy to fall into our hotel beds and sleep at least 4 hours until it was time again to get up for the event which was held in the conference center of a very nice hotel. And Esolutions, the local sponsor, together with the ARABOUG went out of their way and made a huge effort in organizing this. They had signage, a very nice stage, incredible arabic lunch and they used the intermissions to award to distinguished guests and raffle off a number of very nice prices among the more than 100 Oracle DBAs and professionals that showed up for this first of it’s kind event in Saudi Arabia. One of the VIPs that was awarded an award shared how he started his IT career as a junior DBA with one of Mike’s books. There was even a professional photographer and a TV crew to document the day.

OTN MENA tour Riyadh - Jim speakingAll presentations were spot-on and well received by a crowd that was hungry to expand their knowledge. HA and RAC seemed to be the topics of the biggest interest and we managed to cover a lot of ground, starting with the Exadata Tuning Expert Panel led by Tariq, my RAC management session, Mike, Inam and Jim talking about performance tuning and Syed and Ed rounding it all out with sessions on security and big data. In addition, I also enjoyed very much to chat with a great number of attendees and hopefully answered a number of very specific questions. One of the biggest pieces of advice I hope I could give is that if they enjoyed the event it is really up to the local oracle community to organize themselves and meet for informal roundtable-type events and share their knowledge rather than hoping and waiting for an OTN tour stop every year. With Syed and Inam Ullah Bukhari they already have at least two great local speakers there and I am sure there are more.

OTN MENA tour awardEverybody was very polite and I am sure I shook hands, said thanks and had my picture taken with every single attendee at least twice during the day. After many heartly good-byes it was time for us to go on a brief sightseeing tour of Riyadh. While it may have been brief, we still managed to see so very much of this wonderful city that is by no means a common tourist destination due to their very strict visa policies. Our hosts took us to the national museum Which showcased the history of the region from the creation of the universe to today and included impressive models of the holy mosques in Mecca and Medinah including the drape that covers the Kaaba. The museum was structured very concisely and was so huge that it was really a shame that we had to rush through it.

OTN MENA tour RiyadhThis was followed by a walk around of a nice park and what looked like the rebuild of old Riyadh with small alleys, open areas surrounded by palm trees and nicely decorated houses. We then had the chance to visit Kingdom Centre, Saudi Arabia’s highest building (until the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah is finished which should become the worlds tallest building), and zipped up the the 100th floor where you can enjoy magnificent views from a bridge that spans the two arches that give the tower a very distinct and unique appearance.

The night ended with a very generous dinner by the local sponsors and while the food satisfied the hunger, I wished the conversations would have gone on for another few days. But there was barely enough time for a very short two hour nap before at least Jim and I had to head out to the airport again which gave us the opportunity to see the sunrise. Tired but still excited, my mind was so preoccupied that I left my cell phone in the taxi but was able to get the driver’s number from the hotel and he turned around to return it. Just calling my own number did not even cross my mind until a few hours later.

The event in Jeddah was only scheduled for half a day, so I would not speak there and proceeded directly to Dubai. I was actually thankful for one day of rest on the beach. But I still followed the Jeddah event over the live stream and pictures on social media and it looks like that one was another success. Now I am waiting for the others including Joel and Osama to arrive in Dubai for the final event of the tour.

12 thoughts on “OTN MENA tour Stop 2: Saudi Arabia

  1. Pingback: OTN MENA Tour Stop 1: Tunisia | portrix systems

  2. Pingback: OTN MENA tour final stop: Dubai, UAE | portrix systems

  3. The stream worked for you? It never worked for me or my colleague…at least on the first two days. Can’t remember if I tried the Thursday (3rd day).

  4. at least they tell you when they are coming.you live in boston, in an apartment, they walk all over you. i literally have held my body against the door as they tried to force themselves in until they finally gave up and went away.before the landlord even asked if we’d be staying on another term.yuck. i do NOT like real estate people.

  5. think the fining itself was hillarious. How is fining Croatia FA going to affect the fans? They should simply be docked off points in their respective group or knockedout if in knockout stage or incase one doesn’t want to spoil the current tournament, just dock points from them in their next Euro qualifications. Serves them right.Reply

  6. El mejor lugar para vivir es allí donde la ciudad está lejos…ya seasea en el campo, en la playa o en la montaña. En fin, Chile ofrece importantes y variadas alternativas a elegir, sólo basta salir del cemento

  7. oui, c’est du vrai black-out. en allemand, on parle de « untertauchen »…plonger (en-dessous); c’est plus « vrai » et attire plus de sympathie. so long, Pitou.

  8. We don't get too many of those down here – a few, though. They are cute, but so very messy!Glad to hear you're getting some snow…I'd have been really put off if we got snow before you! ;-))

  9. Van Fanel, intendevo dire che il ragionamento che vorrebbe fare Straker, ovveroha origini militari –> è losco, brutto e cattivonon ha alcun senso, in quanto ci sono parecchie realtà/prodotti di derivazione militare, tra cui, anche se piuttosto alla lontana, l'Internet moderna.

  10. pisze:Mój stary telefon Sony Ericsson k800i posiadał funkcje sterowania komputerem dzięki możliwości Bluetooth i odpowiedniego programu do komunikacji z telefonem ->> komputerem. Można było otwierać przeglądarkę internetową, wpisywać adresy stron w okienko przeglądarki i wiele innych. Przypuszczam, że możliwości wykorzystania jest wiele, dlatego też można by było się przyjrzeć możliwością wykorzystania technologii bluetooth do takich bajerów.

  11. I must say it was hard to find your blog in google.
    You write interesting content but you should rank your website higher in search engines.
    If you don’t know 2017 seo techniues search on youtube: how to rank a website Marcel’s way

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