Archive for the ‘Field Visit’ Category

Carpathian Region Trip: Day 1 – The Arrival

October 30th, 2011 No comments

Me and my friend had decided to take the Ukrainian Carpathian Region as our vacation exile since he was on a low budget period due to change of job. The main goal of our trip is to enjoy nature away from the stress of city life and do some adrenaline rush activities. Doing some research I found out that the Carpathian region of Ukraine is a natural heaven so I decided to spend some time there.

One of the problems of going to Ukraine is language barrier. The majority of Ukrainians do not speak English and I’ve noticed that some of them do understand English but they can’t speak it. So we decided to look for a Ukrainian tourist company in the Carpathian region. After some Googling, I stumbled upon a website called Green Ukraine that organize trips to the Carpathian region and provide a personal guide throughout the whole trip all day long. After some emailing with the company, we came up with a schedule to spend 5 days on the Carpathian region. I was fascinated on how fast their email reply is. Heck, we had around 7 emails a day going back and forth. The guy I was corresponding was Andriy and it turned out that he is also also our guide.


Train to Ivano-Frankivsk

I went to Ivano-Frankivsk by a train from Kiev. The meeting point with our guide Andriy was the railway station in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Word of advice: Never ever travel in Ukraine by train. Keep reading to know why.

I took the 3rd class ticket because there were no seats on the second and first class cabin. The train trip from Kiev to Ivano-Frankivsk was the crappiest trip I’ve ever been to in my life. There was no air-conditioner and it was summer so the whole compartment stinks and smells like underwear and socks! Heck I felt like throwing up and I was disgusted the whole freaking time. There are no windows to open and the toilet is crap and dirty. People do no know English so we couldn’t talk to anyone in there. Luckily, at the last moment before the train leaves, a guy came by listening to me and my friend talking in Arabic language, so he greeted us. It turned out that he is a nice guy from Jordan in his senior year studying medical in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Days later, we went back also by train but on second class. It is better than the 3rd but it still stinks. There were no tickets for the 1st class.

Anyway, at least I ended up experiencing soviet union era trains.


The Arrival

After about 12 hours on the railway, we finally arrived to Ivano-Frankivsk railway station at 9am. As soon as I stepped out the train, it felt like joy of life is coming back to me again. Of course, I still stink after spending 12 hours in there, but the delightful and fresh air outside the cage has risen up my mood.


Ivano-Frankivsk walkway


After spending about 2 hours waiting for a restaurant to open, pick up some groceries, and looking for bank to withdraw Euro currencies from my bank account, then it start raining and we finally hit the road to go to our cottage in Verkhovyna. That’s another 2 hours until we reached the cottage to take big awesome shower and feel clean!


Side view of the cottageOur cottageThe view from our cottage


As you can see above, that’s where we spent our nights. In a super cool cottage out in the country. We are surrounded by farm houses and a nice view to a mountain nearby.



Our first activity was Quadricycling (ATV). We spent around 30 minutes riding on various locations and tracks. Ascending and descending heights, between woods, on the street, on muddy tracks… etc. It also rained for few minutes. It was fun and enjoyable and the instructor allowed me to drive fast because he said I’m a good driver. That was a good complement for someone who had never drove an ATV before!

I’ll leave you with a picture of how the view was when we were doing Quadricycling.


The view while doing quadricycle


We spent the rest of the day relaxing and lying down on the farm. The night was cold and misty and we went to bed early because we were exhausted.

Microsoft's Imagine Cup Gulf starts next week

May 2nd, 2008 1 comment

Imagine Cup Gulf – Software Design category – regional final is set to start next week on 10th of May in Dubai. Six teams of many teams in the Arabia Gulf region have been nominated for the regional contest.

Here is the contest agenda as received by email from Microsoft:


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Intel's CEO in Q&A Session in Kuwait

April 12th, 2008 No comments

Dr. Craig R. Barret, Intel’s CEO, has visited Kuwait University last Thursday April 10th, 2008. He was hosted in a Q&A session arranged by CS Club and Computer Science Department in Kuwait University.

In his talk he focused in how to establish a good education system that can be compared to education systems around the world, not only in the Middle-East. Three characteristics have to be available to create an excellent education system which are: smart people, smart ideas, and good universities to provide a good environment for smart people to look for smart ideas.

Smart ideas can be found when doing basic researches, not in developing ideas. Companies like Intel spends millions of dollars in developing, however, Intel cooperates with universities to conduct basic researches. Stanford University in Silicon Valley is a good example of a university that spends millions in basic research. Intel spends 6 billion dollars in research yearly, but only 200 million in basic research.

We do not need a huge research budget to create a good idea, what we need is passion, training, and good universities.

Dr. Craig Barret will continue his trip to visiting Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi. His goal on the trip is to see what’s happening in the ground with his own eyes and visit some technology professionals in universities in the Middle-East.

The session was so informative, and I am so happy to attend it. I also have to say that not even 1 instructor from our department, computer engineering, was there, how pathetic! That’s not like it wasn’t expected. However, a faculty member from electrical engineering has been sighted there!

I’m also glad that some of my friends had shown up.

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