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Morocco! (2) February 4, 2007

Posted by Khawarizmiya in ACM, memoir, recovered from blogspot.
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Day: November, 30th. . Time: 6:00AM Approx.
By now, our little tour in Dubai Airport almost came to an end. It was nice, felt like being in “The Terminal” movie. We had to be back to meet with the rest of our group. The guys were there, gathered around a laptop and solving some programming problem. The funny thing about the guys’ team is that they hardly knew each other, two of them didn’t know Java (freshmen) and the third was a masters student and a pre ACM contestant who’s practically a Java expert. I thought to myself “What a team”.

It was time to take the 8 hours flight to Casablanca. I decided to take the competition a little bit more seriously and try to practice a bit. And so, I got my file with all the previous contests and started looking through them. I was very much interested in any problem that required String manipulation. I love the String class in Java; its very amusing to know what you can do by playing with the predefined methods available in it. So anyway, I started with a problem that involved having a Dictionary of words, and some word searching processes.. I think it was “Macrosoft”..not sure though. I was so happy and excited when I reached what I think is a valid solution for the problem. After that me and Khadige started thinking of a problem that involved number theory. Those were basically the only types of problems I liked dealing with. The problem with dynamic programming and graphs theory problems was that I hardly practiced or programmed anything that involved either of’em. I only remember conceptual basics of DP from Algorithms course, and that was it.
During flight, and while I was walking in the corridor, I noticed something that looked familiar..”A…C…M.. ACM!” Yes acm papers! Why are those guys holding ACM papers? Oh ok, they had to be students. I thought it was pretty exciting to see other ACM contestants on board. I knew later they were from AUS..

System.out.println(“Hello Morocco”);

Casablanca airport.. I was so [lake.jpg]excited about being in Morocco. I guess being with friends was what made everything seem really amusing at the moment. Despite the one hour late arrival of our luggage, I was still in my hyper active happy mood..
“Hassan”; one of the AUI (Alakhwayn Univ of Ifrane) was there to guide us through our way to Ifrane. Before going for the buses, (Micro buses we found out later), we had to find a place to pray Thuhr and Asser prayers. Hassan told us we had 10 min only to do that. So we started running in the airport, after finding out that the Musallah is far away from our spot. Running in Casablanca airport..I don’t know why that felt like Hollywood, again.

We stopped in the middle of the road for refreshment. For us, that meant lots of chips and Cola.. I saw some Egyptian teams for the first time at the café, was nice to see them, not to mention that there were girls participating from Egypt too. For ambitious teams, I suppose, Egyptian teams were the acm geeks that always got the top places. For me, they were a part of my homeland, they were a part of me… Really? Wow, I never thought I could say such a sweet thing..

Cout << “Ifrane”; Ifrane was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life. The nature was amazing, Subhanallah. We took tons of pictures everywhere, we walked to and from AUI almost whenever possible. It was cold though, but still lovely. The first day program included an opening ceremony. I met there another team of girls, “Support!” I thought to myself. They were from the Univ of Sharjah. The female volunteers of AUI came and introduced themselves to us; they were very sweet and kind. It felt great to be around them, especially that the majority of contestants were guys. At the ceremony, I was happy to see Dr Ziad on stage. He was chief judge this year. Ok that was pretty detailed..I wonder who will find this entertaining.

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