17 Nov 2006
TQ Live 2006 – Eulogy
And at last, I come to the last two days of this epic narrative.
On the fourth day, there was more sightseeing. Mom and I visited Alcatraz Island in the morning. There was an ex-inmate of the ex-island prison there. He was promoting some book he wrote on his life there. In the afternoon, we found some time to visit more of the shops around the hotel. I called Lufthansa up and asked them to change my food preference from “Western Vegetarian” to “Asian Vegetarian”. I wanted the food served on the flight to be better on the way back!
In the evening we had our farewell dinner. It was supposed to be full of good food and all, but by now I bet you would know my routine. Um ok, we sat around in tables and each table had one question (pertaining to how the event was run) that we had to discuss and come up with an answer for. The microphone was passed around. I liked the way the the staff made a conscious effort to improve the already impeccable event organization.
At the end of the dinner we received our technology prizes: A laptop and a digital camera. It was so exciting. I had a 2 GB memory card with my digital camera (Sony)! Amazing.
I was already feeling pretty down at that point. I have made lots of friends, and it was pretty sad that we were all going to get scattered across the world again. With some parting photos, I retired to my hotel room to pack the prizes.
The next morning, at 10.15 AM, we left for the airport.
There is one final thing for me to comment here. I was not aware of the fact that Lufthansa did not allow cargo luggages exceeding 28 KG per luggage (but overall 60 KG per person allowed). Between myself and my mom, we had just one luggage weighing 34 KG, and I thought it was fine. But alas, the luggage was not allowed to be checked in, and I had to BUY a cardboard box for US$ 15 to transfer the excess weight. Well, that costs about 700 rupees, the price with which I could have probably bought 500 such boxes in India. Oh well.
With that, one fantastic week in San Francisco came to an end. The entire trip was an eye opener to me in many ways. I learned a lot about different cultures and different people (the day light savings rule amused me!).
I owe a lot to Oracle Education Foundation and ThinkQuest for all that I have learned and benefited from this great experience. Without Thinkquest, I probably would never have developed a liking to web development and design. And unless I am much mistaken, never would have seen anything of US till I atleast was in my late twenties. I have no words to express my gratitude. ThinkQuest makes a huge difference to the lives of many young people from all around the world. It is a great program, and I wish them all the best.