Although I really enjoyed 360:Flex (San Jose edition), I couldn’t make it to the one happening right now in Seattle for reasons mostly involving finances (starting with £700 for the flight alone – and I can’t get the conference expensed at all) and deadlines (the next version of my “intranet product” has a major deadline in 3 weeks). It’s a real shame, as this iteration looked even better than the last one.
Instead, I went on a day trip and visited the West Dean Gardens Chilli Fiesta with some friends. Although it seemed to be suffering a little from the effects of a mild summer and record floods – especially compared with what was on offer last year – there was still a cornucopia of all things chilli related – salsa, jams, ice cream, fresh chillis, chocolate, plants and seedlings, beer, massage oil, fudge, gummy bears – you name it.
This year I also discovered my limit of chilli related things – Chilli Pepper Pete’s Dragon’s Blood (which is made from the hottest chilli in the world – the Dorset Naga). Within seconds of sampling a tiny amount on a broken corn chip, my mouth was on fire. A few minutes later and my jaw started locking up in pain. About 10 minutes later, I had a sharp stabbing pain in my stomach. Then the pain went away, but everything was tainted by chillis and even plain boring bread was extremely hot. Eventually I found some chilli ice cream and the ever present chilli sensation finally went away.
To top off the evening, I took advantage of the new moon and sat on Hampstead Heath and watched the Perseids – even within the bright city lights of London we managed to see a few of the brightest meteors.
My weekend was definitely a good substitute for the best Flex conference in the world, enjoying the things that 360 Flex lacks – chillis and meteors!