A few nights ago my family and I raced through Chinatown on a Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt. Amidst pandemonium, explosions, dancing dragons, strip clubs, smoke and disaster, we cut through the crowds and down darkened alleys trying to decipher small clues on historical placards and scrawled on concrete walls. It’s the hottest ticket in town.
What I liked? It twists your sense of geography as you gyrate up and down the streets from angles. It keeps telescoping your attention from the macro (what street do we go to?) to the micro (a tiny date on a sticker posted on a mirror in a small stairwell leading up to Grant Street. It’s one of the ever fewer activities in this world that renders our devices largely useless. It’s all about pun and metaphor and the deciphering of a physical environment that is best done by humans. It leaves you racing against a surreal dragon. And best of all it makes you feel like Karl Malden running through Chinatown trying to catch a kidnapper or short circuit a bomb plot.
A rare gift to even have the chance to pretend to be heroic.