I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

That week after I came back

I was almost considering that I’ll skip a week for the first time since I started blogging but that would be terrible. So here I am, 5 days later, and this is how the week after I came back from USA looked.

I arrived on Monday in the late evening. I was expecting to have troubles sleeping that night but it wasn’t a problem at all. However I slept through half of Tuesday. After that I thought I’m already good, I went to work on Wednesday, survived that, but still I had to be taking afternoon naps for the rest of the week.

I have to say that I was a bit sad when I adjusted to the normal timezone. It’s stupid, it was like the last thing, last connection that I had to that place.

Nonetheless, I’m back and I’m ready to do stuff! I want to work on things that will allow me to travel somewhere else as well.

In other news, my parents visited us in Vienna on Saturday. We went to Stephansplatz and Schönbrunn.

David goes to USA: final part, the road trip

The final part of my trip to USA was a road trip on the west coast with three colleagues. I think I already mentioned that it was a big deal for me to go to US (farthest I’ve ever been from home, fulfilled a dream of going there) and I had a chance to experience a lot on this road trip.

I’ll put my tips first: if I’d do this again (and I want to!) I would:

  • plan and book the accommodation beforehand; we had to figure out where we’re gonna sleep on the fly and it made it a little bit more stressful (but also more adventurous, depends on what kinda person you are)
  • get an US sim card with mobile internet; from my experience the wifi coverage is not as great as I read on the internet before leaving. Also we had problems to reach some US numbers from our phones.
  • make sure that I can pay with my credit card; one hotel pre-authorized a large sum of money of my credit card and I couldn’t raise the limit because I forgot the phone I use to authenticate internet banking actions at home. You should also make sure that you don’t have a geolocation control/lock activated on the card.

I wanted to put these down mainly for myself to remember. So let’s get into the trip itself!

We started in Phoenix. On the way to San Diego we slept in El Centro (still not sure how that’s pronounced) and continued the next day. We went to La Jolla Cove and I really liked it. It had a great atmosphere and we arrived at a perfect time when the sun was setting.

We slept in a motel in El Cajon. It was probably the place I liked the least of the places we slept the whole time, big motel in a big city, lots of noise and weird people.

So I was very glad to go to Sequoia National Park the next day. Sometimes I’d rather face the nature than the people. In this case we had to face the cold at night. It was a good decision to bring Gabi’s sleeping bag.

We slept in Grant Grove Village (which I think is technically Kings Canyon National Park but they are very much connected so…) and met there the most friendliest guy at the reception of the camp.

After Sequoia we drove to Yosemite National Park, sleeping in a tent-cabin in Half Dome Village. 

Yosemite is simply breathtaking. We did one big hike to Nevada fall and some small walks around the Yosemite Valley. Once again I was amazed by how well organized the national parks are. I simply have to come back to explore more of it, the 2 or so day we spent there are just laughably short amount of time for it.

For the last weekend we stayed in San Francisco and I have to say that I think I fell in love with this place. We stayed very close to Market street which might have been a mistake but hey, at least I’ve seen this part of SF/USA as well. I was just amazed that I’m there. I’m in the place where so much has happened, where so much is happening now, the place I’ve heard, read, or seen so much about. I was happy to be at this place even if for such a short time.

Our flight home was from San Francisco International with Lufthansa to Munich and then from Munich to Vienna with Austrian. I was actually very surprised how easy the flight was, it didn’t feel long at all! And the flight to Vienna was almost funny—we ascended, flew for maybe 10 minutes and then the flight attendant announced that we are starting the descent to Vienna.

I’m now back home in Vienna and I have to say that I’m suffering a bit from post-travel sadness. And jet lag (I thought I’ve recovered already but yesterday I passed out at 8pm and woke up at 1am…). But I’m happy to be with Gabi again and I’m really excited to be working on things now. There’s so much I want to accomplish and experience in life. I’m happy to be back at working on the life I want to create for us.

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.