While the IOI team is busy during the week of the IOI, this series of blogs is being written by team leader, Joshua Lau.
With the competition done and dusted, today was the second full excursion day of this IOI. Off to a late start – due to the weather (though I reckon everyone could have done with it anyway), the leaders visited a 12th century historic village (called Qala). This village was an archaeological site, with many ancient relics, and reconstructions of historic houses. The dependence on oil was very apparent, which forms a large part of Azerbaijan’s economy today. There was also a farm, which had two-hump Bactrian camels (sadly these aren’t called bicamerals), which had the author rather excited. Next door, we visited the “From Waste To Art” Museum, containing an exhibition of pieces crafted from recycled materials!
Meanwhile, students visited the Yanardag natural reserve, where they could get up close to a natural eternal flame, that burns on the oil reserves in the ground. There were also some old and large rocks, which when hit together, produced different musical tones. The groups swapped in the late morning – so everyone had a chance to visit both sites – before reuniting together at the Baku Elite Events Club for lunch (along with a documentary on Karabakh horses, which was not everybody’s cup of tea), followed by a horse show!
In the evening, everyone gathered together at the Athletes’ Village for an open-air dinner, followed by the IOI’s first cultural night! Teams who’d signed up hopped up on the open air stage to dance, sing, clap, play music, and even RickRoll representing some element of their culture (though the connection was tenuous at times, especially in that last case). Despite the competition that had happened the previous day, it was very nice to see teams have a go, have fun, and share in each other’s culture. The Australian team didn’t have a go this time, but those who are eligible for next year’s IOI are considering doing the Nutbush if the opportunity arises…