Today in Izhevsk, we had the best welcome a group of Sun-MySQL integration people could ever imagine. "As you've been flying a Corporate Jet, you now need a corporate car", our reception committee said.
And, we travelled in style. After some shampanskoye, we were shuttled into the white limo (somehow exported from the US into Izhevsk) fixed by the local MySQLers.Today's Tip #1: If you look for meaty MySQL stuff, look elsewhere. If you look for travel tips for Russia, read this report of one of the most exciting day trips I've had in my life.
The Royal Welcome in Izhevsk
Today's Tip #2: If you want to go to Izhevsk, then start in Moscow, fly due east towards the Ural mountains, and land after two thirds of the distance. Be sure to bring a Russian speaking co-co-pilot.
The first red carpet that has literally been rolled out for the MySQL Ambassador to Sun
Today's Tip #3: If you want to pronounce "Izhevsk" and get away with it, pronounce the "zh" as the "s" in "pleasure" (which going to Izhevsk was at least for us).
I've been in a limo once before, in New York, but this was clearly the more fun one.
Wannabe-Izhevsk-employee Lars Thalmann pays for our dinner with a smile
The MySQL Izhevsk office has the corner room with the best view of all MySQL offices /me has seen
After having a great dinner (I had broccoli soup and a delicious sturgeon with black rice) and sending the latest emails and blog entries from the wireless in the Izhevsk office, our local hosts guided us to the local sights. The first one is the Kalashnikov museum. A must!
/me in front of the Kalashnikov museum
My main goal in the Kalashnikov museum was to see an AK-47.
Today's Tip #4: This is how to decipher the code AK-47: A as in Automatic, K as in Kalashnikov, 47 as in 1947 (similar branding to Windows 95).
The majestic entrance to the Kalashnikov exhibitions
And an AK-47 could be observed right from the beginning, as could the Windows error messages "File not found" in the video shows above the booths with soldiers from various centuries.
Mission accomplished: Kaj with an AK-47
The AK-47 is very similar in design to the Stg (StormgevÃƒÂ¤r) I used in Dragsvik serving in the Finnish army 1983-84. In fact, the AK-47 was commercially licensed to Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries. According to our local MySQLers, the Chinese used the GPL version.
A modern-day AK-47, the Nikonov from 1994
Having seen the Nikonov, we looked out for the Kanonov, but found neither that one nor the Hasselblattov.
After that, we went for a test of how much we trusted our co-workers. There's a shooting range in the basement, where you can pick amongst sniper guns, handguns and an assortment of other guns produced in the belligerent city of Izhevsk.
Dave Douglas, Julie Ross and Alexander Barkov prepare for the shoot-out
Dave Douglas trains in the usage of backup motivational methods for making the Sun-MySQL integration work
/me tries the Big Mac of the Izhevsk guns -- the AK-47
Today's Tip #5: If you want to try out plenty of guns with little waiting time, at a low cost, and without signing heaps of legal indemnifications, go to the basement of the Kalashnikov museum in Izhevsk, the capital of Udmurtia, wear protection for your ears, and be sure to really trust the colleagues you're going with.
After this much aggression, we had to go for more peaceful activities. Last year, the rebuilding of the cathedral of Izhevsk was completed, based on the original from around 1908 which was, ehh, deleted in the 1930s.
Alexander Barkov going up the stairs of the "chram" (cathedral)
Gospodi pomiluy! Lord have mercy! The contrast to the shoot-out couldn't have been bigger. We came into an orthodox mass with kneeling locals, sacral music and an atmosphere of complete tranquility.
An orthodox service in the cathedral of Izhevsk
The atmosphere in Russian Orthodox churches is peaceful
Today's Tip #6: If you want to have a look at the frozen pond in the Izh river, early March is a good month, and the central square of Izhevsk is a good spot.
The pond on the Izh river through Izhevsk
But all good things must come to an end. Ours came at 19:30, when we had to be back at Izhevsk airport, to catch the flight which we had booked for 20:00. You may have your own set of excuses for missing flights and flight times, but we ended up with a novel one: By 20:10, the pilots hadn't yet arrived. By 20:15, movement was sighted in the airplane and by 20:20, we had noticed the mixup being due to the one hour time difference between Izhevsk and Moscow.
Kaj, Dave and Julie departing from Izhevsk -- a day trip we'll never forget!
Anyway, it worked out, and we're now on our way to Kiev, in the Ukraine, with a short stopover in Vnukovo, Moscow.
Let me conclude by thanking our local MySQLers Alexander "Bar" Barkov, Alexey "Holyfoot" Botchkov, Ramil Kalimullin, Sergei Vojtovich, Sergei Glukhov, as well as the co-visitors Georgi "Joro" Kodinov from Bulgaria and Lars Thalmann from Sweden for arranging a most magnificient and memorable visit for Julie, Dave and myself! We're most grateful. Thank you also for the music, and the Kalashnikov vodka.