Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bad tea

Firstly, the TCCC final: it sucked. The "easy" problem took forever to get working, a stupid bug killed the medium, and all this left me without time to do the hard, so I ended up stone last. Oh well, at least I made the finals.

The more I go to the USA, the more I agree with Douglas Adams that tea is not part of American culture (the way it is in British culture) simply because they don't drink proper tea. I actually had some decent tea in New York with the Google Code Jam finals, but this time it was back to the rubbish. To start with, it seems that herbal stuff is now fashionable, instead of good old British-style Ceylon tea. Then, they don't know how to make it. To make a proper British cup of tea, the water has to be boiling when it hits the teabag. An insulated container with a tap, filled with water that was boiling half an hour ago, just doesn't cut it. Apparently there is also a nation-wide shortage of plastic spoons, because both at the hotel and on United Airlines, the only implement provided to stir the tea was a short, thin plastic straw. Think about this: the larger the cross-section, the better the stirrer. A thin plastic straw is almost completely useless. My finger would be more effective.

I had a wonderful cup of tea on SAA and a spoon with which to stir it, which just proves that it can be done right even in a low-pressure environment where water boils at a lower temperature.

Anyway, I'm posting this from back in South Africa, which means that this is the last I'm likely to post until either I go away again (nothing planned at the moment) or something annoys me enough to write about it.

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