After a really good nights sleep, I got up and staggered down to breakfast. Today is the day that “Team 3Pair” from Hull got to strut their stuff on behalf of the UK. So it was on with the “Team Supporters” shirt and off to their first presentation.
The first part of the contest is the called the “Lightning Round”. This is because the rounds are short, and does not involve any high voltages or bolts of thunder. The idea is that the teams are given a seven minute slot to introduce themselves and get across the gist of what they are trying to do. Team 3Pair give good lightning, they were on shockingly good form and their presentation really made the sparks fly (that is all of those jokes out of the way, I put it down to the malaria pills I’m taking).
After that, feeling it was time for some rest and recreation, we headed across to the “Leisure Mall”. As we were one of the first teams to present, this was just about deserted and so we had the pick of all the attractions. As we waited for the bowling alley to warm up (I didn’t know they had to warm these things up, but there you are) we played pool. I can’t play pool. After committing a couple of miscues which cost me and my partner the game we moved onto the bowling lane. I didn’t think I could do bowling either, but my first attempt made all the pins fall down (which is apparently a good thing).
As the game progressed I managed to make the pins all fall down a couple more times. I put this down to the “magic pink ball” that I (and pretty soon everyone else) was using.
After that we went off to prepare for the second presentation, which was much longer, at 20 minutes, and is where the team had to deliver a proper description of the system that they had made, and why they had made it.
After twenty minutes of presentation and a gruelling bunch of questions it was time to eat. So we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. And I committed one of the gravest social faux pas that I have ever managed to achieve (and that is saying something). As we went around the table I noted that my wimpish colleagues were all going for dishes from the non-Indian part of the menu. After a sequence of requests for Arabian, Japanese and Italian dishes went down I thought I’d show some support for the locals and ordered an Indian chicken dish which sounded nice (although I have of course now forgotten what the name was).
When it came, artfully arranged around the plate, I tucked in, feeling very smug – even though the meat did not actually seem very chickeny. Only when the waiter brought the final dish to the table did the awful truth emerge. I had of course been eating the Arabian lamb one dered by Mark. Mark was very good about it, and swapped my proper dish for his half nibbled one. However, I then compounded my bad behaviour by eating all the nan bread, even though it was meant to be shared amongst three of us. The good news is that my meal was delicious. The bad news is that I am now known as "food stealer Rob" and people don't like sitting next to me at meals.
For the rest of the afternoon we hung around the bar, checked our email and talked to some journalists. Tomorrow lunchtime the team will find out if it has made the next stage of the competition, the top 12.
In the evening we found that our meal was accompanied by some local musicians. I wanted the chap on the right to be playing a very small instrument, so I could use my "baby sitar" joke.