So, back in December, kind of on a whim, Fito and I submitted a couple of proposals to Tropical.rb, the largest Rails conference in Latin America. "Wouldn't it be amazing," we joked. "We could visit family in Asunción, friends in Montevideo, then head to São Paulo to speak at the conference and make more friends."

Then this happened...

Tropical.rb acceptance of A Brewer's Guide to Filtering out Complexity and Churn

Tropical.rb selected our Brewer's Guide talk! Before we knew it, there were posts on LinkedIn announcing us as speakers...

And, then, this happened...

Santiago Bartesaghi's post inviting Fito and I to speak at the Ruby Montevideo Meetup
Santiago Bartesaghi's post inviting Fito and I to speak at the Ruby Montevideo Meetup

And, there were more announcements...

Santiago Bartesaghi, one of the organizers of the Ruby Montevideo Meetup, invited Fito and I to speak! Plus, an old friend offered to give us a tour of the city, and the fine folks at WyeWorks invited us to have asado, Uruguayan style. The only thing left to do was to tell Fito's family that we were coming! (They were ecstatic!)

Fast forward a few weeks and we were at the airport, in San Francisco (38º N), on our way to South America! The furthest south I'd ever been before this was the southern tip of the big island in Hawaii (18º N).

Fito von Zastrow and Alan Ridlehoover are smiling as they leave SFO for ASU
Fito von Zastrow and Alan Ridlehoover leaving SFO for ASU

First stop was a layover in Panama City, Panama (9º N). Then, on to Asunción, Paraguay (25º S) to visit Fito's family (and to recover from 25 hours of travel). We did some sight seeing...

I met Thor (and got lots of kisses). I got to spend lots of quality time with Fito and his extended family, and I learned to drink Yerba maté with mint. Yum!

I learned to play padel – a cross between tennis and racquetball played on a tennis court sized court surrounded by glass and steel mesh walls all of which are playable. There's a tennis net and tennis balls, but foam paddles that resemble racquetball racquets. It is scored like tennis. All I can say is that it is a total blast. I wish we had it here in the United States.

And, I got to attend my first ever South American fútbol match: Club Cerro Porteño v. Club Nacional!

Club Cerro Porteño won an exciting match: uno a cero! We were rooting for Cerro, despite Fito's favorite team being Club Olimpia.

Next, we hopped a flight to Montevideo (35º S):

On the flight, the flight attendant asked what I would like to drink in Spanish. I answered, "Coca Cero," in what I thought was a halfway decent accent. She responded, "Would you like ice with that?" In English. This was a recurring theme.

At least they served chipa and a guava alfajor on the flight! (An alfajor is three soft cookies with jam in between them. The whole thing is coated in chocolate. It's a good thing there was only one!)

In Montevideo, we were met by a friendly face – Braulio Martinez chauffeured us to our hotel and took us out to dinner with Sebastián Suttner. It was nice catching up in private before the meetup at Cedarcode the next day.

But, first, we did some sightseeing with Sebastián González...

That night, we spoke at the Ruby Montevideo Meetup, hosted by Cedarcode...

What a fabulous event! The room was packed. It was basically standing room only. And, everyone was incredibly nice. The questions afterward were insightful, and several folks let us know about a copy-paste error in our slides. (One that's probably been there for 18 months.) The organizers even gave us engraved guampas and bombillas to show their appreciation!

The next day we did a little shopping then walked over to WyeWorks' office, where we got a little work done, then were treated to an amazing asado!

I've been working with WyeWorks for 10 years now. This is the first time I've visited them, rather than the other way around.

Then, it was time to head to São Paulo for the main event!

We were the third talk of the first day.

500 Tropical.rb attendees in an auditorium watching a presentation
A view of the audience at Tropical.rb

And, it was a single track conference. So, all 500 attendees saw every talk! That was the largest audience Fito and I have ever spoken to! After we spoke, the conference posted this:

Photo of Fito and Alan speaking with a quote on either side: "Complexity is a measure of how difficult it is to understand a piece of code. Churn is how often you inflict this pain on yourself." Alan Ridlehoover and "Rehydration is a practice used to identify missing abstractions and reduce the complexity of code." Fito von Zastrow
Tropical.rb's celebration of our talk

After our talk, and after the conference, we met so many wonderful new #RubyFriends!

The next day, we flew back to Asunción to prepare for the journey home. It rained. HARD, like Florida rain! But, you know what? It was refreshing. We went shopping in the rain — in flip flops — 'cause that's what you do. Then we went searching for puddles to splash in...


Splish! Smash! I was takin' a bath!

Here's a few more of my favorite pictures from the trip...

4 countries (including 12 hours of layovers in Panama City).

7 flights covering 17,361 miles (or 27,940 kilometers), and 73º of longitude.

13 incredible days with my best friend, family, and whole ton of new friends!

What an amazing adventure!