I always wonder what someone like Fernando Alonso does the night before the race. Or what David Beckham does before the soccer game kickoff. Or perhaps, what all the boxers do the night before the big fight.
Tomorrow I will do my CCIE SP lab in Brussels. This is my big fight. It may not be as big as Formula 1 or Championship league, but for me this is still a big thing. It’s a huge thing. In fact, I feel like I’m going to do a giant leap that somehow will affect my life and people around me, in the future.
For me, this is history in the making.
So now I’m starring at my notebook, without any clues what to do with only few hours remaining before the lab. There are few things happened between my flight and right now. I guess I’m gonna kill my time by writing all of those.
Ok, it was 16 hours flight, remember? Well, actually it was almost 13 hours flight from Singapore to London, which I found really really funny. Why? Because on the way to London I could see Belgium in the overhead map! So my flight actually flew over Brussels to reach London Heathrow, where I had to stay for about 2 hours, then took a smaller plane to go back to Brussels. Ouch! I should pay attention to Geography lesson next time. It makes more sense to take a flight that stops over in a country between Singapore and Brussels, to cut some time.
And remember my plan to take a long sleep during the flight? It didn’t work quite well because they provide.. Movies on Demand! Oh no, I couldn’t resist to watch Spiderman 3 one more time. And obviously spending hours going through several episodes of The Simpsons TV series should not be a big deal.
TV is evil. But it was me to blame. I just can’t resist.
And as Chester shouts, I’m my own worst enemy.
So I could sleep only about 4 hours during the flight. And I was not in the mood to read, since it’s quite dark anyway, so if I didn’t watch movie I utilized my time to listen to Brian Dennis and Brian McGahan presentation on CCIE SP Advance Technology class-on-demand.
After I reached London Airport, just like what I did in Singapore airport, I jumped into my notebook and started working with my lab. So far so good. Almost missed the flight since I was too busy checking on some inter-AS scenario.
I reached Brussels airport quite too early so I decided to grab something to eat first. It was a right call, later on I found that there is nothing to eat in my hotel and the surrounding area. My hotel is close to Cisco office which is about 15 minutes ride from the Airport. You know what it means, close to the Airport means the place is quite far from the city. And it also means the place is in the middle of nowhere, and in the country where people really respect their weekend. Dead place. No shops or restaurants were opened.
But it was still okay. Luckily I brought some chocolates from the airplane and food was not in my top priority. My top priority was the Internet connection. Internet connection so I can connect through VPN to my lab inside Cisco network. And damn the hotel doesn’t have one. I mean, they said they provide wireless connection that costs 19 Euros for 24 hours. I bought 3 * 24 hours access and I was unable to connect at all. After couple of hours trying to troubleshoot the issue with the technical support over the phone, I fell a sleep. I guess I was really tired. And I woke up after couple of hours just to find out the problem persists.
So I decided to walk to Cisco office. Yeah, you hear me right. Going to Cisco office on Saturday evening. At least they have fast Internet connection. And soft drinks. And some fruits. I feel at home.
To make it short, I have been spending my time in Cisco office in Belgium from Saturday until few minutes ago. I believe I have done what I could. I have tried to verify all possible scenarios in MPLS VPN. Screwed up the network by putting Traffic Engineering in the middle, then run inter-domain multicast routing between the VPN sites. Anything that I could think of so far. And I may need to verify some more, but since there is no Internet connection in my hotel room I need to wake up really early tomorrow morning and walk into Cisco office maybe couple of hours before the lab starts.
What should I do the night before the big game? I don’t know. No food, no Internet, no good TV channel. Sitting alone in a small hotel room starring at my monitor. But none of those can hurt me since I know this might be my last journey in CCIE. If I pass tomorrow, I may not go for the remaining CCIE tracks, which are Voice and Storage. If I pass, it might be a new beginning for me to start focusing on Service Provider technology. If I pass, it will start a new era.
Like I said before, this is history in the making.