October 2nd, 2006 by Ivo
I cannot disclose yet what we discussed there (expect some announcements soon), but I wanted to share with you what a great week we had, and what great people the Zenders are. Here's a report of our visit.
We arrived in our hotel (Dan Panorama) in Tel Aviv on sunday morning, around 3 a.m. When I woke at around 7, my head told me to turn around and get some more sleep, but I noticed light shining past the curtains, and I was too curious not to get up and have a look (I've never been to Israel before). When I opened the curtain, this was what I saw:
I couldn't suppress a 'Wow!' and I was wide awake. Since it was way to early to have breakfast, I went for a walk along the beach. Tel Aviv was nothing like I had imagined. It reminded me of Italy. Perfect weather, nice people, great!
That sunday was Jewish New Year's day, so we didn't have to work yet, and Idan and Uval from Zend picked us up and took us to Jerusalem. Although both of them apparently did not know the way (they nearly drove us to Gaza ), we eventually got there and they showed us around in the Old City in Jerusalem. Christian places, Arab places, Jewish places, a nice mix of cultures and beliefs. They also introduced us to 'hummus':
Zend's Idan is on the left, Uval is on the right.
In the evening, Zeev invited us for dinner in Tel Aviv. Zeev is a great guy, and it was nice to meet him in person and to be able to talk to him about his ideas and about the past, present and future of PHP and Zend.
From left to right: Jan-Willem, Zeev, me, Idan, Tom and Ludo.
From monday to friday, we had lots of meetings and met a lot of people from Zend. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to take pictures there. All of them were very nice guys and girls, and we really enjoyed our stay. Roy acted as our Tel Aviv Bar Guide and made sure that we had good food and drinks in nice bars each night.
The last night, we went out in Tel Aviv Ports, where Uval made a waitress get on a picture with us, to prove at home how beautiful Israeli girls are:
On saturday morning, after a nice game of pool where we beat Uval and Idan , our trip was over, and we went for the airport. Several hours of security checks (by far the toughest checks I've seen on airports so far) later, our plane took off.
I look back on a great week, where we met interesting people, and have come to know Israel as a very nice and welcoming country. Before we came, Uval told us "you will experience first hand the difference between CNN and reality", and that was very true. Israel was a lot more beautiful than I had imagined.
I'd like to thank all the people at Zend we've met, and especially Idan and Uval, who acted as our personal guides to Israel and Zend in particular. And ofcourse Zeev for inviting us to dinner. I'm looking forward to the-things-I-can't-talk-about-yet and I will make sure I will visit Israel some time again. If only to give them a chance to beat us at pool (practise guys, practise; that pool table in your office is there for a reason )