6 Nov 2006

TQ Live 2006 – Day ONE

So, the event officially began on Monday, 23 October.

At 7.00 AM, I made my way to the hall in the hotel called “Barcelona II” , where the registration and welcome meeting started.

I collected my goody bad (containing various useful items like a jacket, phone card, San Francisco map, etc.) and found a table to sit down. I was one of the first one there, so I was waiting eagerly for my team members, whom I know only by their photos, arrive.

And when they finally did, it was just absolutely incredible. For six months we put up with the one dimensional medium of Internet… and it felt so great to meet all of them in person.

We had our breakfast, then the welcome meeting commenced. Just like last year, we had a round of introduction from the splendid staff of ThinkQuest, and then we were walked through the agenda for the week.

Then, we played this “Getting to know you” game in which each of us were randomly given a Pokemon card of some color, and we had to go around finding people of the same color, introduce ourselves and make them answer some questions. At first, it seemed ludicrous, but even the coaches and adults participated freely, and so it was all good.

After that, we played this game where we basically sat down as a group and discussed to come up with a list of the most important items that are needed for survival on a ship wrecked island. It was just a sort of ice breaker… and I thought it worked.

Then it was lunch. Nothing to say about it. The food was generally fantastic for the entire course of the event. But, me being a veggie and all, made things a little difficult for me. I was ok with that.

After lunch, we had a city tour and a scanvenger hunt. This is my second time at San Francisco, and I cannot describe how beautitful the city is. We were given some specific taks to do in the various places we visited on the tour. I was feeling pretty tired throughout the scavenger hunt, because of the jet lag and all, but Chloe definitely was not! Well, I just got to admit that some people have got more energy that others. Oh well.

We visited China town (yes, yes, the Chinese are everywhere!), the Golden Gate bridge, and various other local monuments. The tour guide walked us through the history of San Francisco. It was pretty interesting. San Francisco is a earthquake prone city. In fact, on the local newspapers, you have a earthquake (more like gentle tremors) count of more than 50 daily!

After that, we went to this field (I forgot the name) overlooking the Golden Gate Bridege, where we played some games… It involved some throwing of frogs and catching and depositing them on baskets. Not something that you would expect a 19 year old to be doing… but the kids enjoyed it. The view was once again very beautiful, and what with the sun out and all, the weather was fabulous too.

Then we went were brought to this… err… Chinese restaurant for dinner. That’s it. The minute I saw it, I wanted to just turn back and return to the hotel. Having been in Singapore for a decade, I know what food I will find there, and I did not very much like the prospect.

Yet, I just went in. There were a total of 11 rounds of food served that day. For a while I thought there were trying to replicate the Chinese zodiac calendar on the table (no offence meant). But, it is something I found really amusing. One after the other came the various animals, from Chicken to Fish to Crab to Prawn and so on… And I just stared at the empty space.

After some time, they gave me a bowl of rice with some half cooked long beans (with soy sauce… yuck). Out of compulsion, I tried to swallow some of it down. Then the really funny part of the night came (apart from the sight of watching the people figure out how to use the chop sticks to eat the rice).

A plate of some crispy fried dish with some filling inside was kept on the table. The waitress told me that it is vegetarian on the outside, but contained prawns inside. What she suggested was I I eat the crispy outer layer and leave the inside untouched.

Well, I just didn’t know what to say. I would say that doing that would be the equalent of eating the chocolate wrapper and throw away the chocolate. No thanks.

After a while, I was pretty bored, and I just decide to take a walk outside the restaurant. There were some painting and artifacts kept on the showcases, and that kept me occupied. In the mean time, a lion dance troup came to entertain the crowd. It was fun, but something I have seen plenty of times (the lion used to come and perform in the house of my neighbour in Singapore during the Chinese New Year!).

All the students and chaperones were split into various color groups, and each group had a ThinkQuest employee assigned to them. So, the standard procedure of head counting was carried out, before we were brought and dropped off at the hotel after the dinner.

The end of a pretty exciting and action packed day.

Leave a Reply