The visit itself was fairly interesting as we received the standard company presentation and tour of the facilities from a marketing engineer. You could tell that she knew what she was talking about. During the tour, we got to see different steps in the process of fabrication and test of various drilling equipment.
The highlight of the trip was the demonstration of a special type of cement that they had developed, which uses solid additives to control the viscosity of the cement mix. Figuring out how it works occupied much of the rest of the tour. This was an indication of how things were to be, on the rest of the trip. When you stick a bunch of engineers in a room and show them something interesting, they're bound to try to figure out how it works.
We then got a special face-to-face session with one of their technical directors. He used to work in KL and he was quite happy that there were a bunch of Malaysians on the visit. We got to ask him a lot of technical questions related to Schlumberger. I learnt several things from him: (1) Linux was used everywhere except on desktops; (2) Embedded software plays a very crucial role in their application sphere; (3) They use self developed data links for their drill equipment, which is perfectly understandable.
After that, we got a free lunch on the company. Although we were allowed to have anything we wanted from their cafeteria, most of us only picked up a simple yet nice three course meal. Then, we were dropped off at Ecole Centrale, where we began our first private tour of Paris.
We all bought ourselves a Carte Orange, which is a week travel pass for use on all Paris public transportation. We made full use of the pass throughout the week. We visited Montmartre, Champs Elyses and Arc de Triomphe that evening. This was the day that we discovered that Preethi was probably the only Indian tourist in Paris. She got a free crepe from a Sri Lankan crepe seller. This was not to be her last freebie.
*** photo: random street artiste at montmartre. i thought that his paintings were really good. ***