2008-04-23

Budapest notes

I'm in Budapest for a week of technical courses related to the Tivoli software I work with in my new role at IBM Software Group. So far, so good. This morning I'm going through a bunch of hands-on labs that show the new features in the most recent releases of IBM's enterprise monitoring tools.

Budapest is beautiful. The weather reminds me of Texas: it was sunny and warm the first day, we had a thunderstorm that night, rain yesterday, and it's hazy and humid today. Last night I joined some Swedish and Norwegian colleagues for dinner at a traditional Hungarian restaurant on the Pest side of the Danube (the hotel is on the Buda side). After dinner, I walked a few blocks to a restaurant/night club where I had read there was supposed to be salsa dancing every Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, I was misinformed. The dancing is only on Fridays and Saturdays. So instead of dancing, I took a long walk along the river and took some photos of famous bridges and buildings. I tried out my D300's bracketing feature for the first time, taking several exposures of exactly the same scene, but with slightly different shutter speeds. I intend to combine the photos in the computer, taking the best-exposed portions of each photo. The result should be a single photograph with "high dynamic range." HDR is a relatively new set of techniques. Do a search on flickr for photos tagged with 'hdr' and you'll get an idea of what's possible. The result can be quite dramatic.

My colleague and friend Warren is here from Austin to give several talks related to IBM's workload automation products. Tonight we plan to find a brewpub and sample some of the local beers. If there's time, I might also take a dip in the Széchenyi fürdő (thermal bath) here. I went to that bath with my good friend Agnès when the two of us traveled around Eastern Europe together nearly sixteen years ago. I remember that the Hungarians had an amazing tolerance for heat. They sat unperturbed on the top bench in a sauna whose lower bench proved too hot for me. I also remember that bath as the place where I was treated to the best massage of my life. Not the sexiest massage, mind you—my masseur was a very large and very brusque Hungarian man. But it was the best massage. Afterward, I felt like a piece of cooked pasta.

I'll return to Stockholm Friday night. Saturday, I'll attend the wedding of my friends Sarah and Thomas. I'll also be tasked with taking photos at the wedding, so I'm excited about that.

4 comments:

Roberto said...

Have fun in Budapest and keep some tips on mind. I'll ask you about them in a couple of weeks.

Greetings!

Gwyn said...

speaking of which...i hope you can make it out to Seattle in August and I will make SURE to task you with taking pictures of our wedding!! :)

Mary said...

you didn't write about famous beautiful hungarian girls.... for example: about me....in front of the restaurant...

Michael said...

Yes, there were many beautiful girls in Hungary. Mary was one of them. She coaxed us to her restaurant on one of the main pedestrian shopping streets. We had a few beers and lunch there on Friday before our flight back to Stockholm.
Hej Mary! Sorry I didn't post a photo of you. If I have one, I'll post it soon.