Saturday, September 17, 2005

My Kidneys Remain Intact This Moon Festival

Last night, I was up until about 4am playing an online RPG. Yeah, that’s right. I played World of Warcraft and was completely transfixed. I don’t think anyone has ever been aware of the draw that things like that have for me. It isn’t playing the game so much as understanding that so many people play it, and that there’s this whole alternate reality that people have created characters in that really intrigues me. People meet at places in the games, talk to each other, and function in this carefully constructed, virtual universe. I think those games must either be sociologists’ and psychologists’ dreams or nightmares to research. I haven’t decided yet. Regardless, I had fun learning about the game. I stayed up way too late with it, especially considering the appointment for my test shots in the morning quickly approaching.

Donny and I went to lunch with Gene around 11.30, and then headed to try and find Painabao Modeling Agency. I had directions from the scout who found me, and we hoped that they, unlike the directions we usually get from people on the street, might be helpful. It seems like no one knows where anything is around here.

Our cab driver found Peaceful Town, which is where the studio was supposed to be; so, we got out of the cab and started searching on foot. Painabao was supposed to be in building 28. That number was, of course, the only one skipped on the part of the street we were walking on. We stopped in a grocery store, and I asked a guard if he knew where the building was. He told me to try in back.

Of course. In back. Why hadn’t I thought of that? - with all of those numbers on the fronts of buildings on the street where the building was supposed to be? I must have been having an off day.

We walked around to the back of the building, and sure enough, building 28 was there. We tried to go inside, but the door was locked. I had a phone number to call in that event, but I didn’t really know what I would say. So we found another a guard and asked if we were in the right place. He did a great job of keeping everyone in that building safe when he opened the door for us without even asking what we were doing there. Sometimes, I just don’t know why there are all of these guards everywhere.

We took the elevator to the tenth floor at the suggestion of the guard. When the doors opened, I saw what I had been expecting all along – a dark lobby, and an even darker hallway. “Ah, now this is the part where we get our kidneys stolen,” I said. Donny clapped and one light came on, so I guess that was better than nothing. Turning left around a corner, we saw an open door and went toward the light like moths.

It was the correct office, but the people there seemed really confused to see us. I didn’t see Sandy, the scout, anywhere. I explained to the two people who approached us what we were doing there, and I saw something click with them. They told us to wait on the couch, and a few minutes later a photographer came out and asked me to come back to the studio.

I didn’t really know what to do during the shoot. I told him to just tell me whatever poses he wanted, but he wasn’t’ very helpful. I still assert that I could be a better photographer for them than model. Fifty or sixty shots later, my test shoot was done. During the whole thing, I had heard a man in the office talking to Donny about something. When I came back into the office, their conversation suddenly became clear.

Donny was getting his measurements taken, and the people in the office were preparing to usher him off to have photos taken, too. I had a feeling that was going to happen. Before we went, he didn’t believe me, but I knew that they loved foreign models. While he was having his shoot, the office people took my measurements and contact information.

When Donny came out, he looked embarrassed. I don’t think he was prepared for having his picture taken. Furthermore, the office people had been saying all kinds of crazy modeling scout types of things to him, like, “I see it. You have a very… male feeling about you.” Hehehe. I think it went well, though. We left with our kidneys, and the potential chances to have our faces on billboards next to those of Wang Fei.

Later we went walking our school’s surrounding area. About 20 minutes into the walk, Donny pointed out a huge, glowing circle, and asked what it was. “If it weren’t so gigantic, I’d say it was the moon,” I said. We kept walking.

Another ten minutes of walking revealed that it was, in fact, the moon. It was huge! The drunk Chinese people all around and vendors selling little cakes on sidewalks finally made sense - it was the weekend of the Moon Festival. I don’t know why my professors didn’t mention this in class last week.

The moon was a really spectacular sight. It’s no wonder that there’s a festival for it. I tried to get a good photograph of it, but I just couldn’t capture how amazing it was. It lit up everything, and outlined buildings with a soft glow.

festival moon

We met up with the rest of our friends for dinner at a restaurant that we don’t know the name of, but frequent anyway. We’ve nicknamed it “Yellow Tablecloth” for reasons as obvious as the title indicates. I’ve seen the place crowded before, but this was ridiculous. Every table was completely packed, and I saw several Chinese men stumbling over themselves just on my way in. The table of foreigners was definitely the quiet table of the place. Every so often throughout dinner, one of us would point out something crazy the next table over had done. By the end of the meal, we saw an entire table passed out in their chairs and on the table. This is apparently the effect of the full moon around here.

It was great to watch everything going on around me. I’m really happy that I ended up lost in a less populated area during the walk earlier in the day. It allowed to get a really good look at the moon without as much light pollution as I would have had at the dorm.


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