Day 91 - On Dating

Sunday, May 8th, 2016
Smog Level: 3/3 Mountains

Keeping Names Straight

I keep thinking about something Tad said when we had gone to trivia. When prowling the hutongs, he said something like “The Director is a damn genius!” Which lingers, for some reason. If you ever wonder how I keep the names straight between what I use on the blog, and in person.. it can be confusing. Especially with Chinese people: I will sometimes know their Chinese name, their English name, the English translation for their name, AND the name I use for them on the blog. Once or twice, I've slipped up.

Power of Labels

Anyway, I was thinking about that phrase and using the term “The Director” instead of his real name. While doing this, I noticed that the feel is so much more... imposing. Using a title makes him seem more powerful and dominant, older, and you’d think he was physically intimidating. It’s funny how a title can change the image. In reality, he’s quite light hearted, smaller than me, and only a couple years older.

Other Foreigners

Also while walking around, lost in thought, I pass a few other foreigners. This situation is sometimes weird. They’re not Chinese, which gives us a common bond of being outsiders here. But at the same time, that may be our only similarity. We could be dressed completely differently, be different races, and I wonder whether I'm supposed to give them special acknowledgement. I have, and when I do it feels like we’re kind of making a mutual acknowledgement of being two survivors clinging to a life raft together. That’s the best analogy I can make of the feeling, even though it shouldn’t feel that way. I mean, we're not in a war zone.

Old Chinese Men

While waiting for Shimou to get ready, I sit out front of the building, watching the old people and random passersby. Old men speaking to children seem to be angry. It's their tone. Every other measure indicates that they're joking. I ask Shimou about this and she says that’s just how old men often seem here.

Shimou and I were going to the Nan Luo Gu Xiang, or as I usually refer to it: that hutong. Gotta try to remember the name of this place, as it’s one of my favorite spots. I have some birthdays coming up back home and need to find some things. With some money in my pocket, this place is great. It has decent selection, though the prices leave something to be desired. It is a tourist trap, after all. Reasonable things range from ¥10-25, which is about $2-5 CAD / $1.50-3.85 USD.

Nan Luo Gu Xiang - Dat' Hutong.
We stop in a café, where Shimou explains the difference between Chinese and Western Dating.

Western Dating:

Start dating casually, enjoy the process of getting to know one another, move on to commitment and exclusivity, which then lasts a while until marriage. Assuming everything goes smoothly, of course.

Chinese Dating

When you start moving into the romantic/sexual realm, it required immediate commitment. They can't just date casually, they need a reason. Why are we dating? If you just kiss them, they will feel weird, ask why. If you say "I like you" as the reason, that's not good enough. "I want to be your boyfriend," is enough to get over their reservations. Shimou says it’s because Chinese people worry about a lot things, particularly financials, and possibly with reason. 

As this video points out, it talks about why some countries are poor and others are rich. One of the common flavors for communist country seems to be helping out those you know and are related to - not being fair for everyone. It’s tribal thinking and, when viewed from the west, corrupt. Though, those cultures may view not helping your family/friends to be the more corrupt action. Too complex for me to dive deeply into, and I’m far from politically well-read.

In the Cafe we went to - Sun Wukong, The Monkey King!

A lot happened this round. Last Time: we had returned to town from saving this theif guy from the brain pirate thing. Now we’re pretty free to wander about, but one of the tieflings (humanoid race with scales and a tail), named Whisper, wants us to help the tiefling population by doing one of his missions. He doesn’t invite me, but the other team members do, anyway. I tag along and barely pay attention because I’m not particularly interested.

The guy who needs this all done then asks me to help him steal some very important gem thing that they need for blah blah blah. Why should I care? Whisper turns to me and says she needs me to help. What's in it for me? At the end of the last mission, the magical thief equipment was divided up and he had taken a cloak that makes you harder to see. Well, I want that. Give me that as payment, and let me use it during the heist. Deal.

Where is this stone? In the castle, contained in the minister of finance’s office. One of our teammates is off somewhere else doing some misadventure. We don’t know what happened to him. He rejoins us and says he knows of one way into the castle through the moat. The moat, by the way, is part of their sewage system. It also has sharks. Great.

Interesting Wallets...
Well, the giant bug-man has connections with the nobility, so he will ask for an audience at a particular time with the man in question, and occupy him while we burgle the dude’s office.

Plan: In through the moat, follow the map I obtained through my connections at the thieves guild, take their donkey-vator (elevator run by donkey power) to the 4th floor, sneak past the 2 patrolling guards, and get it. In, and out, no problems. Right?

First snag: while getting through the moat, our resident troublemaker, the bard, gets attacked by the shark. Instead of waiting for us to throw the meat in as a distraction, he jumped in first. In reaction to being attacked, he cast a spell that causes a massive thunderclap and soaks the guy meeting the minister with poop water. We quickly clean him with magic, he casts a spell that assists our stealthiness, and we dive into the moat as the guards show up to investigate. 

The sharks leave us alone, but we get through the underwater opening and are then sucked into a tube. We all avoid banging our heads against the sides of the tube. A water basin awaits us at the bottom. Smelling like shit, we take a breather. There are three doors, one we don’t want, one we do, and one that’s a supply closet. The bard wants the supply closet, but it’s locked and we don’t want to waste time of the stealth spell - it only lasts an hour.

Moving toward the donkey-vator, I take note that the guard isn’t where he’s supposed to be. The bard notices that his baby mushroom pal is missing, and says that he isn’t going anywhere until he finds it. Fine, split the group even further. Get the elevator in motion and go to the 4th floor to find there are more guards there than the map said. Something has thrown this place off it’s normal schedule.*
Quite the Epic Dump

With some luck, we make it to a room that’s marked as empty. The map was right this time. It’s 5 doors down from the office we want, and the windows open onto a ledge that’s small, but big enough for me because I’m a hobbit halfling. Problem: there are guards looking out the window of the room we want to get in, and they narrowly miss seeing me. From listening hard, we can tell there are about 7 people in that general vicinity, and are somehow able to hear the conversations.

The bug-man is in the office with the minister and trying to get them to leave, while the minister is persistently trying to get him to agree to a contract. The minister steps away for a second, and the bug drinks some poison. Let the vomiting commence. This makes the minister go on high alert, and guards start flooding the floor. Damn it.

We use some illusion magic to distract them by making a tiefling (of all things...) jumping around 2 floors below us on the windows. The guards immediately start shooting at the illusion and send most of their team down to that floor. Eventually, they shoot the illusion and we make it look like it fell into a window on that floor. When they don’t find a body, they start going room-by-room looking for him. Damn it, we just keep making things worse!

Right about this time, they find the real guy they’re looking for - our bard - raiding the storage closet. In doing so, he throws a couple jars at the guards, one of which was thrown horribly and releasing a man-eating slime. Picture a 7-foot in diameter blob that sucks you in and digests you in it’s acid body. This was released right beside our bard, and a team of guards are on his other side. He gets enveloped, casts a spell to make himself look like our bug guy, and a guard saves him. He slips away, luckily, because they are too busy with the slime to inspect him.

This stops the room search and leaves the real bug-guy alone in the room with the minister. I take the opportunity to sneak along the ledge, and into the room, hiding under a desk. The girl who wants the stone, Whisper, is hanging out on the ledge, while the last of our team, the elf wizard, is waiting in the empty room. I’m waiting for their transportation to show up in 8 minutes. It shows up alright, but they spot Whisper on the ledge. Lucky for us, they don’t care. Off they go - I'm now in an empty room.

Finally, I’m able to steal everything from the room, finding a scroll, some gems, and a silver dagger. Well, it’s something, but not what we’re looking for. We call it a day, and get the hell out of there. The fake bug-man/bard waltz out the front door when the high-alert was dropped after the guards handled the slime.

All that and Whisper won’t even let me keep the cloak because we didn’t find the gem. We did find a scroll though, and it says that the Drow (evil underground elves) are making a deal with the minister. Corruption!

We bring that to the Head Wiz, and he gives us a compass that is said to point to the nearest Drow. We report back to our original mission person, Sara, and they come with us to help find the Drow, which appear to be in a tavern near the castle. Inside, it all looks like a normal tavern. I have a couple shots while we’re waiting. Our wizard sees that the compass is pointing to the waitress, so she taps her on the shoulder with an “identify” spell and finds that she is, indeed, a Drow with a spell making her look like a Gnome. Battle!

We take out 2 Drow and one Drow-turned-bone-demon. Upon dying, the Drow-turned-bone-demon releases a green gas that invades everyone's lungs.

All hell breaks loose in the city, but that will have to continue another day.

*Best guess: The bard was caught sleeping with the Queen Mom, and might have also been caught stealing.

[Nerd End]

While cabbing home, I see two dogs cross the street in front of the cab, one after the other, on a crosswalk. No people in sight, just dogs. Are they still wild if they live in a city?

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
nán péngyǒu
[non pung-yo]
nǔ péngyǒu
[noo pung-yo]

Editing Music

No comments:

Post a Comment