SyneRyder - journal

USA Trip 2005 - Part 4

July 2005

Denver, Colorado

The Hyatt in Denver (where the shareware conference was held) had an unbelievably "expensive" feeling. Lots of things were gold plated, they had a ballroom, etc. Almost felt like I was in Trump Tower. Crazy. But comfortable, of course.

Welcoming Event at SIC 2005

After I got settled at the conference hotel I saw the first of the shareware people - the maker of Pretty Good Solitaire, Thomas Warfield. He's one of the shareware millionaires, proving that some millionaires really do wear t-shirts.

Denver seemed nicer than San Francisco - or at least, it was around where I was staying. Everyone was calling this area of Denver "Prissyville", as it was a very expensive and pretty part of Denver. The roads are lined with green trees on either side, perfectly maintained grass, and the houses nearby are clearly multi-million dollar mansions. At one point I could see into the backyard of one house and they had a children's playground... literally. If you can imagine the play equipment at a local park, it was like they had all of that in their backyard.

During one of the conference presentations, a siren sounded through the hotel. At first we thought it was a fire drill - until it was announced that a tornado had been sighted heading towards the hotel. We were all advised to move to the hotel basement, away from all the windows. By this time the skies had turned very dark, and there was hard driving rain against the glass hotel facade. Quite a few people were nervous, especially those who didn't fully understand the English announcement. Attendees from Kansas were laughing, they've been through this before. Surprisingly, it became a good networking opportunity, and it was during the Tornado alert that I met Jessica Dewell, the president of the Association of Shareware Professionals.

Interior of a Denny's Store

In between conference presentations I tried a lot of "local" American foods, fast food restaurants like Taco Bell (think Mexican food as if it was made by McDonalds) and Arby's (serves burgers and also 'fast food' sandwiches that are just like you might make at home). My favorite was Denny's - they have all day breakfasts, and for $5.99 USD I'd get fried eggs, hash browns, sausages, bacon, and a pancake with icing, maple syrup and real fruit filling (Cherries, Blueberries or Cinnamon-Apple). The waiter service was the best I've ever come across.

Oh, and I was made fun of a little while eating. I was cutting up my bacon with a knife and fork, but apparently people here eat bacon with their hands. I was eating the hash-browns with a knife and fork too, but apparently I just needed a fork in my right hand. None of it's a big deal of course, it's just been funny seeing the differences. I must have seemed like that Seinfeld episode with the guy who eats a Snickers bar with a knife and fork.

Looking over the mountains outside Denver

While in Denver I took the time to visit a few other places - the Hard Rock Cafe, and a mexican restaurant called Casa Bonita (complete with its own waterfall and cliff divers!). By chance, I also walked past the original Coyote Ugly bar that the movie was based on. I also took time out to see Wedding Crashers at the movies, a couple of months before it reached Australia. And no trip to Denver is complete without exploring the nearby mountains, which provided some incredible scenery.