There are a number of ‘British-style’ pubs on the island of Koh Samui and some of them hold a weekly quiz night where the ex-pats get into teams, put some money in a pot, drink a few pints and answer ‘general knowledge’ questions.  Last week we were invited along to join our host’s team.  It sounded like fun.  I had good memories playing ‘General Knowledge’ with my children, where you rolled a dice with letters and had to think of an answer to a question beginning with that letter.  I was pretty good at it.

Quiz Night at Cassidy's

Quiz Night at Cassidy’s

Now I’m not sure whether the quizzes on the island have been going on for so long, that they have run out of ‘normal’ general knowledge questions, or that the term ‘general knowledge’ implies something very different to the typical British or American ex-pat, or simply that I have never made much of an effort to retain this kind of information, but I have never heard such obscure and complicated questions in my life.  It wasn’t just the answer I was having a problem with; I was battling to understand the question.  I could not answer a single one, and that is no exaggeration.  And I was not the only one who was floundering, Stefan contributed one answer, and it was wrong!  Luckily we were at a table of super-smart retired Brits (and one Canadian) and, although we came last, we did not slip too far behind.  Well that was that, we thought, it was over for us, after all who would want us on their team after our dismal performance.

But we were wrong; our host kindly invited us back a second time.  Unfortunately by the end of the first round we were once again lagging behind.  It seemed I knew nothing at all, and I had resigned myself to simply drinking my cider and agreeing wholeheartedly with anyone who came up with an answer.  We paused half way through the quiz for a Pad Thai supper and things were looking pretty hopeless.  But that was before we were handed a sheet with 20 African flags on it, that had to be identified.  Our advantage was not so much that we could identify the flags, but that we knew a lot of the names of African countries and could guess.

You might think that 8 out of 20 was pretty bad, but when you consider the other scores; 2, 3 and 3 … we did okay, in fact we did well enough to overtake all the other teams, piping them at the post, and taking first prize!


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