I had a bit of a rough start to my first Tech-Ed Hong Kong last week. Pretty much every day while I was in Japan, I dutifully pulled out the laptop (despite my lack of internet connection) and made sure it still worked fine.

Things seemed to be looking up when I got a free business class upgrade on the way to Hong Kong from Tokyo for giving up my seat. It meant taking a longer flight, but I had a really enjoyable flight. But while waiting in the airport lounge, I decided to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi there, but couldn’t get my computer screen to display anything. Hoping it was some weird hibernation issue, I put my laptop away and decided to wait till I was in HK.

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883 Sure enough, the screen still didn’t work. Fortunately, I follow rule #1 of the Joel Test for all my presentations and keep it all in source control using a private instance of Subversion. A member of Microsoft Hong Kong kindly lent me his laptop (thank you!) and I got it into more-or-less working order, as you can see from this shot of the room just before I began my first talk on ASP.NET MVC.

Even so, working on an unfamiliar laptop is still a pain and there were a few hitches in demos where I wasn’t sure how to change various display modes quickly on the laptop.

Since my talks were all in the morning, it gave me time to travel around a bit.

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I took a tram up to Victoria Peak to get an eye catching panoramic view of the city, though the day I chose to go was not as beautiful as the next two days.

On the first night, there was a little Microsoft get-together for MVPs and employees at Cenna Bar and Lounge. The entrance to the place is practically hidden via a non-descript doorway on this street. You walk in, and take the lift up to the 23rd floor and suddenly you’re in this small but hip little bar.

Seems like a lot of cool places are hidden away up high in these buildings.

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I really enjoyed the opportunity to have some great conversations with various Chinese people, as many of the attendees were from mainland China. In our conversations I realized that certain stereotypes we tend to have over in the U.S. are completely not valid. In principle, I know this is usually the case, but it often takes engaging in very interesting conversations for that to really hit home.

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Afterwards, a small group of us went shopping. There is no sales tax on most items in Hong Kong, so it’s a popular place for Chinese shoppers. I merely tagged along for the experience.

The next day I did some more sight-seeing around the city, taking a Star Ferry across to Kowloon and then walking around the Central and Wan-Chai districts afterwards.

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On the last evening, I met up with an old friend from college from Hong Kong for a night on the town in which we mixed and mingled with the local denizens.

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Notice that Microsoft’s LINQ technology is so popular that there’s a bar named after it. I believe another bar called “to SQL” was just around the corner.

As a strategy to beat jet lag, I ended up staying out all night until it was time to catch a cab to the airport, stopping at my hotel room to quickly grab my things. I’ll let you know tomorrow if it worked.