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David goes to USA: part 2

The main reason of coming to the US was the IEEE VIS 2017 conference so that was what this week was all about. The conference was held in a Convention Centre in Downtown Phoenix.

It was my first big conference so there was a lot to process. I wasn’t there for any specific reason. I wasn’t presenting a paper, I wasn’t there to meet people I know. I was just really curious about how the field of visualization works in the bigger picture, outside of the groups I know so far.

I took notes throughout all of the conference, here’s some of them:

  • My biggest takeaway probably is that I want to learn how to be a good speaker.
  • Other thing that I wasn’t expecting is how easy (and inconvenient) it is to get sick while traveling. Especially here in Phoenix, where outside it’s hot, and inside it’s freezing because of all the AC. Next time I’m going somewhere I need to prepare my immunity system for that.
  • Demos, videos, pictures, GIFs…any of this is better than trying to describe what you’re presenting.

I got to explore some of the food in Phoenix. Cornish Pasty was very good!

But the best thing I had was a burger at Welcome Diner, a place close to the motel the receptionist recommended.


Downtown Phoenix is kinda cool. It’s amazing however that you can walk somewhat short distance and suddenly you are in a not-so-nice area.

We left Arizona for California. The plan of the road trip is pretty fluid right now, hopefully we figure it out somehow and will have a good time.

David goes to USA: part 1

This was my first time flying to US and also first time on a long haul flight. First flight with Austrian (close to 9 hours) went perfectly well, they distract you with food and drinks, and I had podcasts to keep me entertained.

The other flight was with United (for around 5 hours) and I got lucky, I was sitting next to a lady who shared a Philly cheesesteak with me.

The immigration checks (or whatever it’s called) went smoothly too (it’s something I’ve heard is kinda random).

We went to SLC for a meeting of people working in the same field and I got to say that I left feeling very inspired! I really liked having Salt Lake City as my first contact with USA, the mountains are super pretty, the city itself looks very clean, and the University of Utah campus looks like a typical american university campus (very nice).

From there we drove to Grand Canyon. But we are stupid and didn’t book any accommodation for that night and it turns out it’s kinda difficult to find a room around Grand Canyon at 11pm in the night.

We ended up sleeping in a car on a parking lot next to Horseshoe Bend. At least we got to see it on sunrise the next morning.

We did two hikes while in the Grand Canyon national park: short one on Saturday and brutal long one on Sunday. The short hike was along the South Rim. The long one we hiked down on the South Keibab trail, then changed to the Tonto trail, and finally hiked up the Bright Angel trail.

After that we drove to Phoenix and now we are here at the conference. The conference ends on Friday 6th and after that our road trip starts.