Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Observations of the Forum

Question: Where are you when you see a group of construction workers staring at a hole in the road, slowly sucking on their cigarettes, while a horse cart passes a busload of debaters? That’s right! Welcome to Romania!

Many were excited to have their airplanes finally land in Romania. Too bad you didn’t know that the bus ride up the mountain is longer than most airplane trips. Speaking of speed, visitors must have been especially excited to notice that road construction here is as quick as in any country. Road construction truly is an international language. It’s a very slow language, filled with lots of bodily scratching, but it is a language nonetheless.

What was longer and more embarrassing than the plane trip and the bus ride? Trying to open up my door. You have to slide the card in the right direction and at the right speed for it too work correctly. Don’t get too distracted by the flashing green light, like I did. I would swipe my card and then giggle at the wonderful green light. “Look, look, green means go!” I would say, clapping my hands.

It looks like a door knob, it smells like a door knob, and it tastes like a door knob, but you cannot turn it. No matter how hard you try, the door knob refuses to turn either right or left. Instead, bathroom door knobs in Romania prefer to be slapped on the top of their door knob heads. Cultural differences truly are what make us unique.

By the way, did you know that before the start of the camp, trainers were debating what is more confusing here, the water topic, or how to use the cutlery on the tables?

For those of you who have just arrived and are especially tired, no worries. Labs have already begun today, so you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on your sleep.

Many of you may not be able to sleep, after experiencing the most difficult and nervous part of the camp: carrying your bowl of soup. If you can survive this lunch time test of skill and coordination, then you can survive anything at the camp.

This is a great place for exercise. You can run around your hotel room, balancing your laptop in your hands, as you try to get the wireless signal. I noticed three people on their balconies yesterday, holding their laptops in one hand and hanging on for dear life with the other. For those interested in illegal gambling, bets are already being placed as to when the computer system will crash. For those interested in prophecies, bets are being taken for when the electricity will go out, a plague of locusts will swarm the building, and Armageddon will be upon us. I say Tuesday. In other words, the first day of the Karl Popper World Championships – good luck!

Dalbir S. Sehmby

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