Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A nerdy but fun weekend

I haven't been to a Mensa weekend for a couple of years now and after being involved in organising a few it was a nice change.

Friday evening the kick off was a dinner at the Centra and a talk by a member who trained and worked as an Astronomer in South Africa. The science went over my head but the photos were illuminating. The evening wound up with a team quiz which was pretty tough. A typical question "How many of the songs on Abbey Road were not written by Lennon & McCartney" !

Saturday morning was filled with three presentations: about NZ Bio security, the history and art of Chinese Calligraphy, and IQ testing of gifted children. All were interesting and the morning flew past. After lunch we opted for both the guided tours, first was at the SPCA. The Auckland branch takes in 15-20,000 animals a year, mostly cats. We were given a presentation then shown around the facility and met the farm animals, including Chester the pig who has his own blog.

The second tour was arranged for us by a Mensa member who cannot be named. He is currently the head of targeting and risk assessment at the Customs Dept at Auckland airport. He took our group of 20 behind the scenes and explained some of the processes that travellers don't usually see and how they profile for risky travellers and so on. An amazing number of cameras watch everything that goes on. We also met one of the dog handlers and had a sniff-out-the-drugs demo after one of our group had something sniff-worthy planted on them. Fascinating.

The dinner was at Daikoku Teppanyaki which I always enjoy. By Sunday exhaustion was setting in but we had to ramp up our observation skills for the car rally/treasure hunt. We were all set to win for sure when it was decided before the off that we had too many Aucklanders in our car. The visitors from around the country head-hunted one of our members and so we set off as just three, with our team name 'Swifties' due to taking the nifty Suzuki.

The route took us around vast tracts of south and west Auckland, gathering answers to clues as we went. At one point I had to run into a motel and ask what the rate was for a day room. But we had the wrong motel, and the proprietor gave me a very strange look as she said "we don't do day rooms". I wonder if she clocked that I had 2 men in the car with me!

All in all a very fun weekend (if a little nerdy).

1 comment:

mariSh said...

Wow! What a busy bee you were! Sounds great - I wish I were with you! I loved the idea of the treasure hunt - it particularly appealed to me.