in China, everything goes squish

The morning brings another trip to the breakfast buffet.

This is my second trip to this horror show of foods I absolutely do not recognize.  Mostly I stick with something that might be a chicken sausage, a bit of toast, orange juice, and Nescafe’.  Coffee seems to be non-existent in China, but the Nescafe’ machine is an ok substitute.  I try something that…has the texture of shredded potato but the colouring of scrapple.  I have no idea what it is, but declare to the boys, “Nope. It tastes like grey.”

I never thought I would long for scrapple.

“You should try the pastry,” C suggests.  “It’s coconut.”

I gingerly try one of these small bun-looking pastries.  I don’t think it has any relation to coconut whatsoever…but!  It’s filled with a dollop of peanut butter!  YAY!  I grab a few and shove them into my backpack for later snacking while J and S describe the rest of the food offerings in horrible ways.  J drops some sort of roll on his plate and looks at it, disgusted. “In China?  Everything goes squish.”

I am already starting to fear meal time.

We return to the park.  I realize too late that I’ve forgotten my work ID, and the team teases me about it, building up varied silly scenarios about how the security guards will deal with me.  Since they don’t speak English, what actually happens is that we all gesture back and forth and finally the guard sighs and lets me through the gate.

We’re the only ones on the site at this early hour.  S catches a glimpse of a tiny lizard..the first bit of wildlife we’ve seen so far.  I manage to scoop the little guy up onto a leaf.  I’ve no idea what kind of beastie he was, but he looks like a stretched out bearded dragon..

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I go back to my costumes.  In theory, I’m supposed to figure out how to make two costumes that have rip-away arms on them.  I honestly haven’t a clue how to do that…but I start to build up a fake arm using bubble wrap, tape, and a rubber hand offered to me by J.  The hand is way too heavy, but I futz with it for a while..

A request comes in:  The client would like us to decorate the trains.  In retrospect, I think they wanted something more like this; however, we really didn’t bring extra stuff for such a project.  J and I grab some cloth and my bag of zip ties and we spend…too much time draping cloth off of the train cars.  Meanwhile, the archway is finally going up onto its posts.  (The face is, of course, the front of the archway.)

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Storywise, visitors will pass by the skull thrones first, where they will see videos of a scary witch projected animation.  The train then goes under this archway, passes through a cemetery, and then enters a zombie area. A second witch animation will let visitors know things are about to get really bad, and the haunt actors in this area will be a lot more attacky than the previous ones.

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C and I assemble cage walls, using black plastic chicken wire (which is lovely, non-ouchy stuff) and the guys assemble the cages near the end of the path to give actors a place to ‘escape’ from before they attack the shooter-laden trains.

We’re still waiting for the bulk of our supplies to arrive on this side of the world.  Two of us go back to building mausoleums, and the other two proceed to attack a new twist to this zombie train shoot-em-up attraction.  We’ve been asked to decorate the trains.  All we have with us are a few bags of ‘creepy cloth‘ and zip ties from my backpack, but we hang cloth bits from the top of the train cars, and I catch a glimpse of a bit more of the local flora and fauna…

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I’m also asked to set up the cemetery scenes.

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It’s a challenge to get help, even though (a) most of the stones are not that heavy and (b) there is a horde of men standing around doing nothing.  Finally one of the younger guys sees me struggling to move things and gets all the guys to help me move stones to their final resting places, which are on slight inclines.  (This will prove to be an issue very soon.)  (This is also my first solid experience showing that being a woman is going to put me at a disadvantage with this particular crew.)

We’re told we should work until 7:30 that night.  We try to negotiate an early let’s-go-home time, but fail.  We do, however, manage to get in touch with the better-English-speaking liason and beg him to take us somewhere for dinner with food we might recognize.  M promises to meet us at a Canadian-themed restaurant, which sounds like a bit of foodie paradise.

Back to the hotel to hose off, and down to the lobby to meet our driver for the evening, who whisks us away to a tiny bit of tourist heaven.  There’s a series of restaurants here, all looking completely acceptable.  I look longingly at one that advertises hard cider on its front door, but M directs us via phone to the place he’s thinking we’ll like more.  It’s a relief to see food we recognize on the menu!  We probably order more food and drink than M anticipated…it’s as if we’ve not eaten in days.  Which isn’t entirely true, of course.

During dinner, M talks about how awesome Halloween events in America are, and that it’s because of the haunt actors.  (Yay us!) He also gives us some idea of the kinds of people we’re working with, which I can’t say helps as much as one would think.  Upon hearing that we were exploring the area around the hotel, he looks a little..shocked, and suggests that we not do that again, as the area is not very safe.  He then explains that the hotel we’re in is known for its food, but is one of the park’s oldest resort hotels. We are staying there, he says, because there were no openings at the main hotel.

M hooks us up with a cab to get us back to our home in the ghetto.  I try to take advantage of my bit of down time to get online….which is a dismal failure.

China censors the internet pretty heavily.  The hotel has wifi, but for some reason my Nook can’t make the connection, and the only signal my phone can find is in my room and only at night.  My original plan was to do work on my haunt while I was here, by handling actor scheduling and communication, but I find myself pretty much unable to do anything except text my three contacts via What’s App.  I’ve already lost track of what day it is here, let alone in the states, and I have no idea what time it is.  The watch that I brought with me to help keep me on track has stopped working.  I annoy my contacts by asking them nearly every day, “What time is it?  What day is it?”  Even writing up these blogs, it’s a little hard for me to remember what happened when, and even though my dates are wrong on the pictures, those numbers are helping me put together a timeline…



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