Today I saw a young kid hopping while wearing flip-flops. I would need to go to the hospital after I trying this. But, this is not what I am here to talk about today. I just thought is it was kinda sorta cool. By the way, have you ever tried to walk backward in flip-flops? It ain’t easy. Ask me how I know this.
Of all the places we have visited so far on our blue planet; I’ve yet to find a country that doesn’t sell Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. I don’t eat them so I really have no idea why I notice these things. And, I really have no idea why I’d think you care. But, there it is just in case.
What I really meant to write about: Happy year of the ox. February 12th marked the beginning of the Chinese new year. This is a big deal on Tahiti. In fact, we noticed more decorations for this occasion than for Christmas. St. Valentine takes a back seat. The Asian influence in French Polynesia is huge. A good portion of the businesses in Pape’ete seem to have Asian-sounding names. This surprised me a little bit since it is a French island. Before arriving here, I thought the influence would be more European, like Martinique, Guadalupe, and Saint Martin.
The Chinese influence goes back considerable years. The first arrivals were in the 1860s and came for work on plantations. They now account for about 10 percent (low estimate) of the French Polynesian population. They seem to be concentrated on Tahiti.
Not far from us is a Chinese cemetery. It is built into a hillside and offers the residents phenomenal views of the South Pacific Ocean. Like most things in life, there is a hierarchy. I guess this carries on after death. The lower gravesites are normal looking graves. As one ventures further up the hill, the graves become more ornate. Those at the top are mini mausoleums with massive amounts of marble and granite. Keep in mind this all has to be imported.
After visiting the cemetery, I had an incredible urge for Chinese food. Of which, there is an abundance of choices. Not just Chinese but also Thai restaurants and food trucks are everywhere on this island. So this makes me wonder if Chinese food in China just called food. I know you’ve heard that one before. But, my brain being what it is goes to the next level. What about china in China?
For the past week, or so, I have been a little bit under the weather. It was nothing nasty but I had a headache that just wouldn’t quit and constant fatigue. I even woke up tired. It took me some time to shake whatever this was. Recently when we were talking to another couple who just sailed here from Hawaii, she told me she had the same thing in Hawaii. I guess it was some sort of bug. So far, it appears I manage not to pass it to Cindy.
When I’m sick, I get crabby. Kudos to Cindy for putting up with me. In order to pass the day when I really didn’t feel like moving off the couch, I started to play an online game. We have more internet data than we can possibly use in a month with our current plan. Even streaming Netflix most evenings doesn’t put us close to our usage cap. So, I have no issues with joining an online game to see what it is all about.
Because we both worked for a living and had busy personal lives, I have never taken the time to venture into online gaming. I have often been curious about the gaming world. It’s a massive size industry. But, there were two things always holding me back. One was time. The other? I’m a cheap bastard. I have a very hard time spending money on virtual things. If I am to spend money on a magic sword, it better darn well be one I can hang on the wall of my brick-and-mortar house. Or better still, a sword with which I can use to cast spells. You know, like the one King Arthur had. Watching a re-run of the Big Bang Theory (Netflix), I was reminded I know nothing about online gaming. What the heck, let’s give it a go.
The game I joined is called Evony The King Returns. I picked this particular game because an ad popped up when I was playing Two Dots. A warning: never play Two Dots unless you want to have an addiction. I started playing a few years ago loving the fact an internet connection was not required after the download. This meant I could play when we were anchored in remote places with no internet or even when sailing long passages. I find Two Dots to be an incredibly effective way to waste a couple of hours of my life in a single sitting.
On a side note about internet ads: Have you ever known anyone to buy something on the internet because a pop-up ad hit them? I mean actually clicking on the ad and spending real money for an item they suddenly felt like they could no longer live their life without. Feeling the need to not do any research and just make an impulsive purchase spending some hard-earned money. Have you ever done this? I haven’t. To this day, I and everyone else I know are pop-up ad virgins. Maybe it’s just the generation I hang out with. We learned a long time ago we don’t “owe it to ourselves” to make this purchase.
So, based on the pop-up ad I saw when playing Two Dots during an update and loading more levels, I downloaded Evony TKR (for free). You just know I am too much of a tightwad to pay for any online game. It is advertised as a war game where the player builds a city, trains troops and generals, collects gold and gems, and forms alliances with other players to fight monsters and other cities. Just perfect for crabby me; kill a few monsters, invade a couple of cities and perhaps I’ll feel better. For about the next week I struggled with the game. Nothing online ever comes with instructions. Why should this app be any different? The younger generations seem to have a sixth sense enabling them to click on things I have no idea exists. I am missing this sixth sense. Eventually, I figured out how the game works.
I figured it out it is a Krebs cycle. Much like the cycle you learned about for pine trees in high school biology class. Here’s how it goes.
The blue arrows represent wait times. Between doing anything a countdown happens and the player must wait. It is possible to go out and explore during a wait time or check for rewards. However, this gets pretty boring. You can avoid the wait if you are willing to spend gems to make things happen instantly. How does a person get gems? They are sold. And, there lies the catch. The game is produced to take full advantage or exploit people who feel the need to have instant gratification. I, on the other hand, am perfectly willing to put the game down for a few hours while my city goes to the next level. But then comes another rub.
The other rub is all the time I am trying to kill monsters or retrieve rewards from goblins, this requires stamina. I constantly found myself out of stamina. Once out of stamina the clocks start for more. You guessed it! I can purchase instant stamina with gems. Remember how we get gems? Now I find myself without stamina in a virtual world in addition to being out of stamina in the real world. Perhaps this wasn’t the best idea.
When I was struggling to comprehend some of the basic activities, I went to the place where all young people go nowadays for education: YouTube. I found the perfect video entitled Evony THR for Misers. Yep, there are others like me who also are too cheap to spend money on virtual stuff. I watched a video and the guy doing the presentation said something that completely and utterly amazed me. He said, “People spend thousands of dollars a year and sometimes thousands in a month on stuff to upgrade their cities and strengthen their armies.” What? Do people really spend hard-earned real money on virtual cities, virtual money (gems), and enhance the power level of generals to win wars that don’t really exist? I guess they do. I’m out!
To be perfectly honest, I think I am just too much of a miser to see any value in on-line gaming. Not that there is anything wrong with those who do. If people see the entertainment value in it then God bless them and I hope they win. I think I’m going to stick with the real world for now and continue my hunt for the magic sword in French Polynesia.