Last month I was down in Canberra, Australia together with my colleague Asanka on a consulting engagement. Canberra is the Capital of Australia and its not surprising that this engagement was with a department of the Australian Government. I have uploaded the pictures of this trip to flickr.
Although Canberra is the capital of Australia its strange that international flights don't land in there (Although it is an International Airport). Hence our route to Canberra was via Sydney with a transit in Singapore. The transit in Singapore was not a problem at all cause its one of the best Airports to be on transit. The transit at Sydney was a shocker though. When we boarded the flight from Colombo we had checked in our bags directly to Canberra. Yet at Sydney we had to take our baggage's, go through immigration and recheck it in. Well the procedure is the same in the US but rechecking in your baggage is not a big issue. We had to wait for nearly a hour (We were lucky that we had a transit of around 4 hours) in the queue to check our baggage's in. Mind you Quantas had around 8 terminals serving passengers (So you could imagine how slopy they were. Or how slopy there procedure is).
Our 5 day onsite engagement was split into 2 days on consulting and 3 days of training covering WSO2 ESB, WSO2 Registry and WSO2 Data Services. (I wont be covering any details of our consulting engagement in this post :)). The guys we worked with were humble and friendly and were prepared to change there architecture according to the advice we provided them with. In my opinion this was an important step in making this project a success. These were not decisions based on our products alone but taking there whole SOA project into account. Hi guys I know you must be reading this post :)...
Back to Canberra. As a whole I would say Canberra is a pretty boring city (Any city is boring compared to New Orleans). Almost all the shops close by 6.00 PM baring a few restaurents. They do have late night shopping on Friday night and not suprisingly that too ends at around 9.00 PM :).
Been in Canberra we did take the opportunity to visit the Australian Parliment, thanks to Hai. It was a nice experiance expecially considering that you have not visited the parliment in your own country :). Back here in Sri Lanka the Parliment is not open to the public to visit at there leasure.
On our way back we had a 10 hour transit in Singapore. Our initial plan was to head out of the Airport and spend some time in the city but we decided aginst it. So it was 10 hours in the Singapore Airport again. IIRC the third time for me.
As a whole our visit to Canberra was a success. It would have been nice if we spent a night in Sydney or Melbourne though :). Having said that it was a trip that we had challenges and fun. BTW visiting a boring city such as Canberra with a buddy is much better that visiting a active city such as New York alone.