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CHINA - Adventuring in the Orient
Going to China

Previous reports have looked at how to get there and back and also what may lie ahead for an adventurer. It is now time to look at the three countries in turn and whether it is for alphabetical or that it is the cheapest to get to, we will begin with China.

In order to understand what it is like to visit Shang Simla, we will be looking from the perspective of some of my adventurers.

Mariko Takagi's Journal - An Opportunity for Travel to a Land of Adventure

Having spent most of my working life in business, the most adventurous thing I did in my life was take it easy or chat around the water cooler when the boss was in a meeting. I would not have really considered myself an adventurer but one day, I was presented with an opportunity for career advancement. I was told that if I wanted that next promotion, getting my department head some relics to put on her desk would give my promotion chances a bit of a boost. As the relics she wanted could only be found abroad and could not be found on ebay, it meant that I had to travel. I chose the cheapest place to visit for a quick trip and that was Shang Simla in China. Not quite Japan where my ancestors were from but it was as close as I could get.

Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was that Shang Simla looked like a place that time had forgotten. If it wasn't for an ugly transmitter mast on a hill outside town, Shang Simla looked like it could have still been in the era of the Sim Dynasty. As such, it did not look as if it had been affected by the Cultural Revolution, nor was it a mecca for nectar-guzzling tourists.

I would have preferred some creature comforts as the accommodation was no luxurious hotel and the tour company I went with would not even drop me off at the door. I found myself dumped by a notice board that was situated at the foot of a long winding flight of stairs up to what looked like it had been a monastery. Its purpose now seemed to be a self-catering base camp for those who were seeking adventure.

At the time of my arrival, I still was definitely not in an adventuring mood. My original plan had been quite simple. I was going to go over the bridge into the Forbidden City, find the market place, pop into the relic store, buy some cheap fossils and then be on the next flight home. However, as I'd paid to be here for three days and despite the accommodation being so spartan, it made no sense for me to head home within hours of arriving.

Instead, I chose to have a look at the noticeboard and see what the big deal was with adventuring. As these adverts were in Simlish and not Simdarin, it was no bother to understand what the locals wanted. Some local had wanted some relic finding, but only by someone from out of town. Perhaps he was too embarrassed to let his friends know what he wanted finding. An outsider wouldn't know who to gossip to about it in the first place. So, I decided to take the opportunity and report in.

According to Katie Melua, there are nine million bicycles in Beijing. That's a fact, so she says and I'm not questioning it. According to me, though, it looks like there are ninety bicycles in Shang Simla. If people are not running or walking from one place to the other, they travel around on bicycles. I did not see a single car or bus while I was here.

Anyway, The guy wanted some relic finding that was in a tomb under the Hall of the Lost Army. I was given a keystone that he said I would need in order to get in. So, off I went to the place he told me to, which is a large imposing building in the heart of the Forbidden City. Some footplate - obviously placed in the middle of the hall - was very inviting. Once I stood on it, a long staircase opened up leading down into some tomb. I followed it down.

I found a place for the keystone and the chains locking a door in front of me magically broke. Time seemed to flash past while I adventured in this tomb. I thought "Montana Miller and the Temple of Gloom" was just Simmywood hype but I found adventure and excitement. I found secret doors, cleared a pile of rubble to reveal a switch, swam through an underground tunnel, found ancient coins, gems, bags of money, small relics and some not so small. An ethereal glow seemed to lead me to the treasure chest inside which was the relic that the mysterious patron wanted. One day of adventuring was a hundred times more exciting than spending a week collating the company's annual tax returns.

On this occasion, I needed to pull the statue onto the floor switch in order to break the chains on the door in front of me.

I spent my next day looking around the Forbidden City and visiting the market. I sampled some of the local cuisine from the café, bought some fossilised fruit from the relic shop, got a few books from the local bookstore and stocked up on some adventuring provisions from the general store. I even got a treasure chest of my own. The storekeeper said they would ship this out. Perhaps there are only so many things I can put in my inventory.

I never really stayed at the base camp. On one of my nights, I stopped at Camp Chrysanthemum, which was one of the several campsites dotted around the countryside. The facilities were rather basic. A tent, a public convenience with male and female rest rooms and a fire pit where I was able to roast some food. This stay did prove quite profitable as I was able to pick up some uncut rainbow gems that I found laid nearby.

Further up the hill was an abandoned barn. Next to it was a pond that was teeming with koi. I couldn't resist the opportunity to try out some fishing and I did manage to catch a few. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw some nasty looking red bugs although when I turned to look directly at them, they seemed to have vanished.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and I had get the next flight back to Sunset Valley as my Zero Level Visa had run out. However, I had a Level One Visa if I chose to return and then I could stay longer. I knew at the first chance that I could get to return that I would. This time, there had been so much to see and so little time to see it all in.

Incidentally, although it did not happen the next day I went to work, those relics did help me to get that promotion.

How it played out

I have found that even if you try to play The Sims 3 without any plan of becoming an adventurer, opportunities from home will regularly come up that direct your sims to go abroad. These home-based opportunities can usually be easily accomplished in under a day but with the sim having paid for a minimum of three days, it makes sense to go adventuring to fill the time in.

This is how it happened to Mariko. As I was already planning this part of the report, I chose to send her to China to collect those relics. China is the cheapest of the three new countries to visit and for those sims who do not have any travel-based lifetime rewards, the default trip of three days will cost §1,300.

The drop-off location is at the foot of the flight of stairs up to the basecamp. It is quite a trek up the stairs to this building that looks like a former monastery but it is essential making this trip at some point if a sim wants to make the most of the amenities. Upon arrival, as a sim's needs are maxed out, it is not necessary to take that trek straightaway so checking out the noticeboard for a quick adventure on a sim's first arrival is pretty much a "given".

The first adventure in China always involves looking for something in a tomb under the Hall of the Lost Kings. It is more a familiarisation adventure, introducing the adventurer to the use of keystones, using floor switches, finding secret doors, swimming in dive wells, clearing rubble piles, moving statues, disabling a trap and generally getting the feel of what a Chinese adventure is like.

Hint - The electricity traps can be disabled to pushing a moving statue over it.

Mariko went on to visit the market. If a sim wants to have a good time adventuring, a visit to the market is somewhat essential, even if it is only to stock up on showers in a can to stop them smelling as bad as the mummies. Each market is different and they have their own unique items for sale.

Shang Simla's market is found just south of the East Tower in the Forbidden City and takes the form of one orderly row of shops.

On the left end is is a bookstore. The books here range from a primer on martial arts, recipe books for egg roll and stir fry, fishing books on how to catch koi and plenty of miscellaneous books for the avid reader. There is even a Jimmy Sprocket book but written by Chin-Han Ping. I wonder if K. J. Simling knows about this. The shopkeeper and till can be found downstairs but there is a reading room upstairs for those who would like to try before they buy.

Next door is the café. Inside the door is a fortune cookie machine. This café sells all types of delicacies and is not just confined to the local ones of egg roll and stir fry. There are tables and chairs indoors and outdoors for those who want to eat. People here eat almost all food with chopsticks. Our adventuring sims can buy produce to take with them for later.

The third shop along is small relic shop. It is decorated with Chinese and some Egyptian relics. If an adventurer wishes to buy something, the item list displays how many of that item are in stock. It also will buy some of what the adventurer has to sell if they need some ready simoleons. Adventurers are recommended to come back regularly as the stock can change.

At the end of the row is the general store. Specific to this country, it sells a Training Dummy and Block Breaker for learning Martial Arts, a Fortune Cookie Maker and fireworks.

Written at 05:35 on Thursday 21 January 2010 by Andy.

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