Mike Grehan says...

Random musings about search marketing, flying around the planet, networking and people watching.

Monday, September 04, 2006

San Francisco, San Jose, New York and then... Corfu!

Here we go with another retrospective entry to my blog. I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that, even though I've had a little extra time on my hands over the past few weeks, I'll never be a 'blog a day' person like my buddy Andy Beal and others.

Anyway, I was in one of my favourite places on the entire planet a few weeks back. I had a weekend in San Francisco before heading down to San Jose for SES. So, I looked up some old friends. Most of whom were interested in my current employment situation (or lack of it, should I say).

The show in San Jose is usually one of the biggest of the year. It certainly had all of the hallmarks of previous huge and successful shows. But I have no idea of the total figures.

Things I did do this year included everything I usually do. I did panels, I met and interviewed a number of people. And I met a lot of people that I stayed up late with and we all got very drunk. The usual sort of show.

Things I didn't so this year included the Google dance and not a single other sponsor/vendor party. I think going somewhere to stand in line for a free drink... to have to go back and stand in line for another one is not my idea of big-fun anymore.

Nope, not a party pooper at all. The shows are so big and therefore so are the lines. That's about it. Having said that, I did pull together quite a few little intimate groups and sneak out for some outstanding Indian food on a few of nights, so I thoroughly enjoyed the social side as usual.

And did I have more than one person ask me if I was forming a company with my pal Andy Beal (who coincidentally resigned the day after me). Not only are Andy and I not forming a company together, we didn't even get a chance to meet each other in San Jose let alone anything else. A little disappointing as I love Andy very much and we never miss getting together at the conferences usually.

Danny moved the organic session from its usual early morning slot to the last session on the last day. I know that we on "team organic" complain a lot that its murder getting up so early after a late night. But I think that actually added a lot to the session. The fact that everyone was always still a little drunk from the night before. I didn't really cross swords with my sparring partner Dave Naylor at this session. Usually we have a proper pop at each other which always leads to some of Dave's funniest one liners. However, I think we were being very civil with each other at this particular session.

I think I'll sneak a bottle of my wife's favourite *real* Russian vodka into the Chicago session and fill the water jug with it. That should set Dave and I off with a few verbal fireworks :-)

I didn't get a picture of the audience at any of the sessions because I'd forgotten to charge the battery for my camera. I did manage to get one shot of the panel (thanks to Thomas Bindl for taking it for me) but the flash was off so it's not a very good shot (from the left, Bruce Clay, Todd Friesen, Dave Naylor and you know who).

We were all having a big laugh at Danny having to fulfil a bet he had with Thomas on the world cup. I'm sure there must have been many pictures circulating of Danny attending the session wearing Thomas' Lederhosen. It was a little tight in certain places, judging by the fact that Danny's vocal moved up about on octave for that session :-)

I moved on to New York with my wife to meet up with some friends for a celebratory wedding drink. We took a long weekend so that I could catch up with a number of people in and around Noo Yaawwk.

My wife's favourite part of Manhattan is South Street Seaport. I used to hang around there a lot with my pal Larry Chase, until he moved into the country. It's just behind the financial district and virtually right underneath the Brooklyn Bridge . There are some great cafes and bars. As well as Pier 17 Mall and the tall ships, of course.

I spent the better part of the last day with a friend sitting outside a cafe drinking Mojitos. After I paid the huge bill, we both headed out to the airport to catch our respective flights. He dropped me a note the following day saying that he made the flight but missed dinner because he fell asleep. I couldn't help laughing... because I did exactly the same thing on my flight!

I swept into the UK for one day and then my wife and I headed off on a little surprise trip for her birthday, to the beautiful Greek island of Corfu.

This was my first time in Corfu, although I have visited a number of other Greek islands (in fact, my wife and I were married on the island of Cyprus).

I really needed some time to think about the future and generally just take a chill pill. We stayed in a magnificent little place half way up a small mountain on the north west side of the island. It's an idyllic place with the most wonderful bay and beach just a short walk down the hill (although, I did have a small car for the duration).

The view from where we stayed was fabulous, looking over the bay on one side and the olive groves on the other.

And so it was that I lay on the beach admiring the view there...

And enjoying the company of a relative of San Miguel, uncle Amstel.

We became very close friends, having lunch together every day.

One evening we attended a traditional Greek night. Here, the men wear short skirts and tights and fling each other around on the dance floor (a bit like some friends of mine in San Francisco, actually!)

We visited the old part of Corfu town a few times. The streets are very small and atmospheric and send you reeling back in time.

There's also a very old fort by the port area.

We didn't have a chance to visit it unfortunately. We were in and out of town as my wife was having a special necklace created by a local jeweller as a birthday present. It took a few fittings before it was exactly right.

On her birthday, we went for a special lunch.

It lasted until late in the day when we got back from the town at sunset.

And the following day we had the pool just to ourselves and just hung around playing music and having the odd dip. It was so laid back and relaxing. The pool is actually above the building and looks out over the mountains and olive groves. Very nice.

All in all, a spectacularly relaxing time... for my wife. Personally I had my laptop and Blackberry and spent most of my time on the beach or around the pool online. I know, I'm addicted.

So, what else is new? Well you'd have to have been on the moon for the past week not to know that Danny Sullivan had resigned. And yes, of course, he and I and Andy Beal are forming a company together... Yeah, right!


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