T-Quest has become an annual competition in Amman, where teams of four sign up to scour Amman for certain treasures. You have to wake up pretty early Friday morning, which isn’t the greatest thing, and after turning you team’s driver and car into walking/moving advertisement, you’re released into the wild with a small square card. The card of course contains a clue the requires you to decipher, usually an image or a few nonsense words you have to make sense of that end up meaning something that will lead you to a place. Once that happens, the point is to drive to the location and get handed the next card with the next clue and so on and so forth.
Around the the third clue or so, you’ll be handed a puzzle which when put together makes out a picture with a bunch of “treasures” you have to collect and hand in at the end of the day. Treasures this year included a deck of cards that Nissan handed out during Ramadan of last year, a cowboy hat, a harmonica, a live chicken, a female ticket for the Ultraviolet party that took place in Aqaba, a special edition swiss army knife that was once upon a time distributed by Umniah, and a Courtyard ticket to the final game between AC-Milan and Liverpool. On top of finding these treasures, solving all the clues of all the locations and competing in several physical activities, there were also several pages of questions that ranged from IQ type questions, which I know even the organizers themselves would have a tough time answering if they hadn’t gotten them off the Internet, as well as questions relating to the various sponsors of the competition; including things like how many stripes in the wallpaper are there in the blue room at Luganos cafe (we think 119).
The majority didn’t have time to do all this so as a result most of the questions were cheated. Pulling up to the golf course that was the final gathering point for all the teams to submit their day’s work, it looked like a high school classroom before first period began, with everyone scrambling to get the answers off each other. Others tried to purchase the treasures from other hopeless teams, especially the impossible ones. There was more paperwork to submit than a Jordanian bureaucratic ministry and there were at least 20 chickens in the room that had no idea why they were there.
The organization of the competition was not too bad, although many complained about the second card that sent them all the way to the Rasheed hospital near the Baq’a (or Bag3a as we say in Jordan) area, as well as other clue cards that had far-away-locations such as Kan Zaman. To solve most of these clues you really needed to know a lot of these places to begin with, have a good eye for advertisements and slogans, as well as a good cell phone connection to other people you know in the competition. I mean some of these clues either didn’t make sense (even after solving them) or were just too vague for anyone to get unless they had inside connections. So the point of the competition became a game of networking with those who had such connections as well as outsourcing various tasks to people you know outside the competition (like getting you a live chicken).
Also, other than a croissant and a small cup of coffee (and the Redbull-people insisting we drink their product), we were all pretty much famished and highly caffeinated throughout the competition which required us to wake at 8am, began at 10am and ended at 7pm, with announcements of the winners made some time after 10pm.
That being said, it was an interesting way to spend a Friday. Not the most fun thing you can do on the sacred day-of-rest, but it does break the monotony that usually comes at the tip of the weekend. I mean if I were to rank it, I would say that of all the fun things to do on a Friday, T-Quest comes right after sleeping in late, watching TV, reading a book, and/or shooting stray cats with a BBgun.
Our team didn’t win anything but we did enjoy each other’s company and had some fun trying to put everything together. And hey, at least we got a whole bunch of free stuff from Umniah, including a tshirt, cap, mug, pens, notebooks and a rubber ball. I always wanted to be a walking advertisement.