Madam Geek…

Finding the geek in every woman

Beijing Day 2 July 5, 2020

Filed under: Life,Madam Geek,Travel — Madam Geek @ 7:00 pm
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Day 8 of China trip – started off with heavy rains. While having breakfast and looking down at the cars driving in the rain and cyclist cycling in streets, I sat and couldn’t believe that I am finally on vacation! This was our first breakfast at this hotel and it was jam packed with families and kids running around and wanting pancakes. I was one of the kids and stood in their line waiting for the chef to serve us pancakes. The breakfast variety was even wider than the last hotel. Because we were out and about all day and didn’t really have time to stop for lunch we made sure we ate a hearty breakfast at the hotel before heading out.

Once breakfast was done we grabbed an umbrella from the concierge and headed out for our next adventure. The aim was to visit the Forbidden City and visit the Palace as well. After many minutes of walking, subway ride and long line to get into the area of Forbidden Palace we were told that you need your passport to enter through security. Now being typical tourists, we obviously locked our passports away in the safe at the hotel, not thinking that we might need it to access a tourist attraction.  The journey back to our hotel was too far that it was not worth going back to fetch our passports. So we decided to just walk along the areas we could visit without a passport. It rained when we got there then the sun came out so brightly that I had to use the umbrella to protect me from the harsh rays of the sun. Another new thing I discovered is that everyone has an umbrella either tucked away in their bags or just walking with it. It rains and then the sun comes out, so either way the umbrella comes in handy.

We had a city map with tourist attractions and another place we wanted to visit was Silk Street. An indoor market where you can negotiate with the sellers. Some items are original (or so you think) and others are amazing knock offs that you cannot tell the difference and then the items that are sold at fifth of its original price, that says large but is actually a small you know is a knock off of a knock off. I am no good at negotiating prices for goods and I just feel sorry for the person trying to make a sale. There are so many places selling the same or similar goods that competition must be tight. My husband seems to love this concept of negotiating and making sure that each sale is way under what the original price was. I ended up buying items that had the sizes completely wrong because I felt sorry for the lady trying to make a sale. I am such a sucker!

After the market visit we found a restaurant selling pizza. We didn’t really want pizza but it was raining so hard that we decided to wait it out and you couldn’t just sit at the restaurant without ordering. So we had pizza in China. Since we are staying at the hotel literally in a shopping mall we found a cinema while walking back to our hotel. My husband loves cinemas in other countries and movies anywhere, so guess what we did on the night of the second day of our vacation. We watched Spider-Man in 3D and ate caramel popcorn!

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Beijing Day 1 July 4, 2020

Filed under: Life,Madam Geek,Travel — Madam Geek @ 7:00 pm
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What a journey it was to get to this very moment of Day 7 and the start of our vacation? First stop was Beijing. Packing, checking out of Hotel in Dalian and rushing to the airport was quite a mission but we made it. We barely managed to tag and check our luggage with sleepy bodies as our flight was pretty early. The lines at the airport were ridiculously long for check-in and we definitely thought we would miss our flight. But after enquiring after a shorter line close to Business Class check-in we saw a sign that read: “World Economic Forum Check-In”. We swiftly grabbed our conference badges out of our bags and showed it at the counter and we could bypass the insanely long line.

The flight was pretty straight forward with no delays and we were super chilled as we immediately switched over to holiday mode! I was teasing my husband and saying that it was so easy to switch just as we would turn on our “airplane or flight mode” on our devices when flying.

Landing at Beijing airport was beautiful. I love airports as I think it is quite interesting to see how they try to capture a bit of culture and the essence of their country in this first point of entry. I am not saying all airports got this right. But most airports try and have your first point of entry give you a glimpse of their country or city in this case. We then made our way via taxi to the hotel. Driving through a new city after just landing in it is also a surreal experience, because when you drive back after spending some time there your views would have changed. All our hotels and flights were really booked a day or 2 before we travelled to another city. This keeps the element of surprise alive and one just hopes that the pics and reviews you see and read online are true. Fingers crossed.

We were definitely grateful that the first hotel of our vacation was a good one. Good rating, service and location. The hotel was called Hotel Jen. The hotel was also connected to China Wold Shopping Mall (yes a shopping mall) and the subway. We definitely enjoy travelling in the city using public transport so this was convenient. On day 1 of Beijing visit, I got to explore the shopping mall, had Peking Duck for lunch (I love duck), had my first train ride in China and visited the Lama and Confucius Temples. All of this in a 40+ degree celsius temperature. You will notice on the pics at the temples how hot and bothered we looked. Beijing is most definitely the king of humidity. Moving between aircon hotel, mall, trains into the outside heat knocked me for a six. I consumed so much water and ice cream on this day and realised that whatever I was putting into my body was just coming out through my pores! The cold relieve was only temporary but you keep telling yourself that the $3 bottle of water and $5 ice cream would cool you down. But let us not get stuck on the cost of these items.

My first day of vacation was amazing and getting back to the cool and comfy hotel at the end of the day was such a pleasure. We were on the 18th floor and the number signs were made up as bookshelf filled with books. Clearly not for reading but a beautiful design none the less.

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The Final Day! July 3, 2020

Filed under: Conference,Life,Madam Geek,Real Talk,Travel — Madam Geek @ 7:00 pm
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If you need to catch-up and read how this post came about read the previous post “This Day!”

Day 6 of the trip ended up being the last day of the conference and our final night in Dalian and all things business related. Yippeee!!! That means my next post is purely about our vacation. So be ready for that.

But let me recap on day 6 in Dalian and the final day of the conference. I remember having a late start to my morning. Most things were winding down and people started checking out of the hotel and everyone was trying to have final meetings and making connections before this annual gathering ended. My ending was gathering all the business cards I collected and adding it my drive with a photo of the person in case I needed to reconnect with any in the future. Since I was committed to end all work related activities on this day which included emails and report submission, the day actually flew by in a flash.

At many of the conferences I have attended, when it gets to the last day there is something in the air that one can generally feel it the space. Whether it’s a sense of urgency or loss or purpose, I don’t know. Every day people go to the conference with a sense purpose and have set objectives, but on the last day you just never know if you will make that last connection you were trying to make the whole week or if you have exhausted and capitalised on the opportunities availed during a gathering of its kind.

Luckily for me, I had no set objectives except to get through the week and get on with my vacation. I did enjoy Dalian as a city. It was clean and super efficient. I am grateful that I got to experience the conference and meet some amazing individuals and even got to see some old friends from Cape Town. Weird that when we are in Cape Town together we don’t have time to chat and catch up and it takes us going to another county on the other side of the world to reconnect.

After 6 days since leaving Cape Town and most of those days were for travel I was feeling a bit settled with the time difference and getting my body clock into a new zone.

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This Day! July 2, 2020

Filed under: Conference,Life,Madam Geek,Travel — Madam Geek @ 8:00 pm
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If you need to catch-up and read how this post came about read the previous post “Today is the Day!

Day 5 of the trip and the second day of the conference got off to a bright and breezy start. I woke up early enough to make it in time for breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast buffets at western hotels in a foreign country is always over the top. But I was not complaining about the variety.

After nearly missing the bus to the conference venue again, which one got just outside the hotel, I managed to make it just in time for an AI session at the conference. Here you could play around with the technology and have the device scan your face and replace it with one of your choice. I chose Bruce Lee’s face for fun and hoped that his moves might be miraculously transferred to me. The conference on Day 2 was quite similar to Day 1 and I simply just sat through talks and tried to get into all the session run by women. One thing I could not get used to was all the cameras and interviews that just happened at random moments and places.

The conference venue was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel and I used this time to walk back and actually get a feel of the city. While walking I came across McDonald’s and the Avengers Head Quarters. Of course it couldn’t have been the real one as it should be kept top secret, but I found the logo super cool on the building of an accounting firm or something serious like that. Also came across a restaurant that looked like KFC at a glance and found out it is actually called Mr Lee and they also sell fried chicken.

That evening we went to a networking dinner at a hotel just across the street from where we stayed. The seats were all pre-assigned, to facilitate networking. The menu was a mix of local cuisine and it was placed on your table that had a revolving centre. So the food would just appear and move along to the person seated next to you and get refilled with a new dish every few minutes.

This day was quite uneventful but I was still counting down the days to my actually vacation!!!

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Today is the Day! July 1, 2020

Filed under: Conference,Life,Madam Geek,Travel — Madam Geek @ 7:00 pm
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If you need to catch-up and read how this post came about read the previous post “It’s another new Day!” I have officially completed the journey to China. Now that I have arrived in one piece and immediately got working on ticking things off my bucket list. After registering the evening before for the conference and collecting our access cards we managed to roam around the city to scope the lay out of the land (or city in this case).

On Day 4 of our trip it was also the start of the conference. As I mentioned before going to a conference was not my idea of a holiday but duty called and I got dressed up in my nicest dress (that did not need ironing) put on my shoes and planned to catch a bus to the conference venue. My husband was part of an early morning exclusive gathering for members only, which left me to my own devices. I got to have a lie in and by the time I went down to breakfast it was closed already. Nearly everyone in the hotel was attending the conference, so they were not expecting late sleepers to come looking for breakfast at 10am. I managed to beg the waiter by using excessive hand signals to please bring me some coffee and any pastries they had left. It was actually funny because he was trying to tell me that breakfast was closed and I was trying to tell him that I want to order food and pay for it separately. Since our room was bed and breakfast, I guess it was unusual for guests to skip the free breakfast.

After my mini breakfast and navigating my way through security to get out of the hotel, I found the bus stop with signs to the conference. It is always a joy to ride a bus in a foreign country. Definitely something I would do back home. In a bus you are seated high enough that you get to look out of the window and see the city as a visitor. The streets were so clean and the building designs were amazing.

The bus stopped far from the venue as no vehicles were allowed in. That meant you had to walk the rest of the difference. Little did I know that these few steps would be nothing compared to the 100,000+ steps I would walk during my trip in China. Before entering the building I had to take a pic by the sign. This happened pretty easily as there was another lady that looked like she wanted to take a pic and couldn’t do a selfie. I immediately offered my photography services and before she could say thank you and walk away, I offered her my phone in return to take a pic of me. Of course she could not say no. Once inside the building I must have spent 15mins just roaming around trying to figure out how to get to the next level. Beautiful building but they could definitely have worked more on the user experience for a smoother transition from point of first entry to where you actually end up. Not to worry I am quite resilient in finding my away in and around strange places, so I finally figured out the level and which sections of the conference I had access to. I won’t bore you with the topics of the conference but I must say that the food was delicious. Not sure if free food always tastes good, but the variety was mostly western food which was a relief that I didn’t need to guess what I was eating.

The day ended on a good note because I somehow found my husband among the avid conference goers and we could take a walk back to our hotel together. By now we figured that Facebook and Whatsapp was blocked on our devices and we had to use a VPN to bypass the network and imagine we were in the US, so that we could message our family to let them know we finally reached our final destination.

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It’s a new season June 27, 2020

Filed under: Life,Madam Geek — Madam Geek @ 7:00 pm
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After blogging everyday for 20 days straight, I decided to take a break. The break was short lived (around 24 hours) but I felt I needed to change it up a bit shift into a new season. Over the past 20 days I blogged everyday and schedule the posts to go out the next morning at 7am. Each title was unique and I really pulled the inspiration from the most unlikely places. Sometime during each day I would have an ah ha moment, when I come across a phrase to use as a title. I would immediately go to my WordPress App and start a new post and add the title. This would usually sit for a few hours before I can get back to actually sit down and blog. As I mentioned in my previous posts the last couple of months have been a trying time for myself, family and just in general for everyone I came across.

To those that have been regularly reading my posts, I do thank you for the shares, comments and likes. It has been an incredible journey to embark on and no journey is fun when you are alone. I was really blessed to have all of you journey with me and I do hope my posts have left you inspired and encouraged. As much as it was a point of release for me, I also hoped it would help someone out there needed to hear what I wrote. The next couple of blog posts will be completely different and I hope to brighten things up.

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This is Me June 14, 2020

Filed under: Humanity,Life,Madam Geek,Real Talk,Women — Madam Geek @ 7:00 am
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I woke up this morning with a song playing in my head: This is me – it’s on the soundtrack of the movie, The Greatest Showman. If you have watched this movie you will know what the story line is about and most probably like me,  you will remember how fantastic the cinematography was with the soundtrack that could easily remain on repeat. I have a few favourite songs in the movie and I must say Hugh Jackman is a brilliant performer. Who would have thought that ‘Wolverine’ could sing and dance?

One of my favourite songs on the soundtrack is: This is me. For those of you that don’t know the lyrics by heart here are few lines from the song – “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down … I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out … I am brave, I am bruised … I am who … I’m meant to be, this is me … Look out ’cause here I come … And I’m marching on to the beat I drum … I’m not scared to be seen … I make no apologies, this is me!”

Over the past week I have given you a glimpse into some of my thoughts and part of my life. The minute you think of sharing part of yourself with others you are reminded of all the times when someone else’s words cut you deep, when someone else’s actions left you bruised and battered. This could have been physically or emotionally. There is so much noise in our heads that it takes a strong will to pull yourself up and shut off the noise. This is the moment when we tell ourselves, I am brave and I am who I am meant to be. We all have a story and there is nothing more important than owning your story. Of course however you decide to share or tell it, might make others uncomfortable and could be a spoiler in some instances.

Do you know what? The fact that you and I are alive and breathing means that it is the right time to tell it. There are many that didn’t have the chance or the choice. This was taken away from them. I am thinking of those that fell victim to abuse and murder and have no chance now. Those of us still here need to be brave for them, we need to be strong for them, we need to live and not just exist. We get to march to the beat we drum!

Let our choices count, let us stand up for those that are still here but don’t have a voice, let us not be scared to be seen and let us make it safe for others to show themselves no matter what their stories are. Let us strive for a time where we make no apologies for who we are and we can unashamedly say “This is me!”

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Making a Comeback …. June 7, 2020

Filed under: Madam Geek,RLabs,Social Media,Women — Madam Geek @ 12:29 pm
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What a blast from the past? I came across a blog post on Madam Geek (my personal blog) that was posted in 2010. 11 years ago I started this blog and only blogged on it for 3 years. It captures so many of my early encounters and my very personal journey with technology and my love for certain products and tools that allowed me to access the world wide web. I feel that I was definitely an early adopter when it came to social media tools and various technologies. This was influenced by the community (virtual and real) I found myself immersed in just over 10 years ago.

RLabs was just a dream at the time. We were a group of people that thought we could change our realities when we change our minds and that we wanted everyone we came into contact with, to go on this journey with us. We were relentless in our pursuit for a better future and were not afraid to have people tell us we were crazy or what we were wanting to achieve was unrealistic. We became a Social Revolution! Fast forward 11 years RLabs is still around and we changed our tagline to “Making HOPE Contagious”. You are free to read more about RLabs on our website.

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I was truly privileged to have been part of the amazing journey of growing and learning together with this community. We have all grown and evolved over the years and now I get to innovate in different areas (mostly still technology) but added some entrepreneurship and investment to the mix. A few of the new projects I have embarked on are: RLabs Women and Junk.Fund.

Of course I have a few passion projects that I am involved in. But I will leave those for another day/blog post. I really just wanted to revive this blog and not lose all the nuggets and experiences shared in the early days. I am so glad I chose to keep my blog on WordPress.com and not move it to a self-hosted domain (here it would have died a lonely death as I would not have chosen to renew the domain year after year).

 

Be the kind of woman! March 11, 2012

Filed under: Madam Geek,Women — Madam Geek @ 12:56 pm
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I haven’t blogged in ages. Can’t believe that one can be so interested in or passionate about something for a while and then ‘poof’ just like that it’s gone. But thank goodness we can choose.

Well I guess that’s human nature and as we know there are only 2 constant things in life and that is – Change and Death.

As I’m definitely not dead yet change is inevitable and no amount of resistance can stop change.

So why not just embrace it with all the tenacity and fierce we would naturally use to fight it? Over the past couple of weeks I have met various women and have had countless conversations whether in a group or one on one. And one thing that stood out for me each time is that God knew what He was doing when He created women. Our ability to love, share, accept, give, forgive, be vulnerable and strong at the same time, care, support, nurture, empathize and feel and hold everything at once is truly God’s creation. So how can we not love and appreciate each other? One thing we all have in common as women is that we are all women.

So I would like to salute all the women, regardless of age. Even the young girls turning into ladies: the potential locked inside of you and emerging slowly as you grow into women is evident and not to be looked down on or taken for granted. No one is a mistake and is placed on the earth or at a specific place for nothing. We all have a purpose and destiny. And as we continue to love, care, support, share, give, forgive, accept, empathize and be vulnerable we will embrace life and all she has to offer.

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Accidental Billionaire… October 26, 2010

Filed under: Madam Geek,RLabs,Social Media — Madam Geek @ 2:24 pm
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Last night we had an opportunity to watch The Social Network at Ster Kinekor in Cavendish Square, Claremont. There has been many opinions and comments about this movie since the trailer was released earlier this year. As part of our daily work at RLabs is to tell people about Social Media and introduce them to various social networks, thus it was good to get the background and history of Facebook. Most of the people we train proclaim that Facebook is their favourite social network. We hope that all our trainees will set aside 2hours of their time to go and watch the movie.