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What do one monkey, a snake and 84 people in 11 countries have in common? They all helped a recent Harvard University graduate complete a Rubik's Cube while on a post-graduation backpacking trip.
First, Nuseir Yassin planned out his strategy. Then he asked people in each country to complete the moves while he filmed them—even underwater. Over two months, in countries such as England, Thailand, Vietnam, and Israel, Yassin got reactions he wasn't expecting, he told NBC News. He'll never forget, for example, the Vietnamese woman who appears at 1:35 in the video.
"She spoke no English and she was selling dried jellyfish, I believe," Yassin said. "I told her I'd give her $1 to appear in my video. Five minutes and five takes in, she finally did the right move. I thanked her profusely and proceeded to give her a dollar. She refused, however, to take my money unless I bought something from her. She would not accept any 'free money' without selling something for it. Mind you, this woman is incredibly poor, and yet she turned down agreed upon money just because she was trying to help."
Yassin, who studied economics and computer science, is now in his native Israel visiting family with his completed Cube. Next month, he will return to the U.S. to work as a software engineer for Venmo.