First off, I haven’t managed to rise above the medal threshold. I had (10+16+0) + (92+50+0) points, whereas the first problem in the first day was so easy that I can’t believe I blew it. So writing this now is not exactly delightful, but here goes…
Our route was as follows: from Chişinău to Odessa by bus; from Odessa to Budapest by plane, and from Budapest to Zagreb by plane. This is an example of Moldavian Ministry logic, since there are *two* planes from Chişinău to Budapest per day. The mini-bus segment was the worst and longest. The Budapest airport was the biggest and most modern; the one in Odessa was the least pleasant to be in.
Arriving there, we met our guide, checked into the student dormitory and received our ID cards made especially for the contest. My memory is a bit confused as to what followed, so here are a few unordered lists instead of a coherent tale:
Things I’ve experienced for the first time:
- Flying. It was not as earthshaking as I was lured into believing. But still, being at clouds’ height and then above them feels (and looks) amazing. It’s a lot noisier than I had expected. I was unable to listen to my audio books with my tiny earphones because of the tremendous noise.
- Refreshing tissues they give you in the plane. Sort of like a thin paper handkerchief damp with alcohol and perfume. I didn’t know something like this even existed (OK, laugh!)
- Intel Core 2 Duo powered the computers for the contest. I’ve _never_ seen anything nearly as fast. KDE loaded in under a second (they used Fedora.)
- Although the housing was not that great (according to my teammates — I hardly have anything to compare to), we occupied two of the eight blocks of the huge campus. I’m not sure who owned it, but I think it was CARNet. Anyway, like I said, it was a student campus with all the bells and whistles, two restaurants, a disco club, a bar, a postal office, a shop, a fitness club and probably much more I didn’t notice. Every room had a LAN port; if only we had computers ;)
- The restaurant was of the Self-Service kind. Each of us could have as much as we wanted of whatever we wanted. If there is one thing that was really perfect, it was the food :P
- Zagreb has city borders where documents are checked and maybe a tax is paid.
Things I found unexpected:
- The second-most-spoken language after English was Russian. Multiple teams had contestants of Russian origin.
- Zagreb is very clean, modern and full of graffiti. How does graffiti rhyme with cleanliness? Well, it does ;)
- The primary public transport means is the tram. We didn’t have to buy tickets for it — our IOI ID cards gave us the privilege of free transportation. The organizers did their job well with respect to this.
- The Croatian people, old and young, have a strong sense for their Nation. You can find their Coat-of-Arms colors (red and white) almost everywhere you look. I wish our people were that “alive”…
- Our guide hardly knew how to put two words together in English. This seems to be a recurring curse for the Moldavian team :(
- Moldova got only two Bronze medals in the names of Alexandru Iacob and Mircea Grecu.
And here’s a random thing: I really, really came to like Angtoria‘s “That’s what the wise lady said” song.
I’m sure I forgot to mention something and will edit this post tomorrow…
Good night everybody.