Another frantic recording of my dream time.
OK, it starts off in a mountainside town, pretty well-developed. Kind of like San Francisco, only steeper and a tad more rustic. My my Chinese office mate Han, me, and my adviser are sitting in a pool at the back of a zoo butting up to pine forest training a couple of sea turtles to swim. It's adorable until the one we named Olivia starts producing poop rings (like smoke rings but brown, smelly, and coming out the south mouth) in her excitement. So we decide to head back home in our rental gold CRV.
Despite my best efforts, Han, who just got her driver's license both in the dream and IRL, insists on driving. But she keeps getting distracted and neither me nor my adviser are helping. We detour to a 3-story Szechuan restaurant, which is beautiful inside. I eat a stir-fry of tofu, kelp knots, green peppers, and rice, and then look upstairs at lodging options that don't exist. Just a block up the mountainside is another 3-story historical open-front cabin that is absolutely packed with tourists, including my parents and several veterans wearing grey foam angel wings who I somehow accidentally trick into playing a jaunty song on their horns.
One block further up is an enormous Days Inn hotel with a Publix attached. Han somehow forgets we're in the car and, despite my adviser trying to get her to take me home first since I'm the only one who can't reasonably get to my place on foot, parks in the Publix. My adviser just decides to walk home, but I pick-pocket the keys from Han and try to drive myself. By now it's pretty dark and the headlight beams stop about a meter in front of the car, so I'm navigating almost blind. Nonetheless, in a roundabout and not-as-scary-as-I-thought-it'd-be way, I made it home to the guest house where I was staying. My parents are there too, and they know me, but they treat me more like they do their friends. The guest house is basically a spartan white living room with 2 and a half bedrooms (the biggest is the half because it's just an offshoot of the living room with a curtain separator instead of a wall with a door) with 4 futons between them. I vaguely remember something slightly unnerving happening in a 10' x 10' den carpeted with AstroTurf, and I think a giant mosquito and a financial form I had to fill out were involved, but I don't remember what it was.
Then I'm back in the CRV which morphs into an ultralight, twilight has returned, and my parents are sitting next to me saying that I had a $568 reservation at the Days Inn for the conference (incidentally, I am going to an astrostatistics crash course at Penn State in June, and that was the exact cost of my week-long stay)and since I'm not taking advantage of it, I'll have to pay a $150 no-show fee on top of my booking cost. My parents are surprisingly resigned to it (probably because I'm paying). And suddenly it's midday and the ultralight is a boat on a canal of the type you'd see in Miami neighborhoods, rounding the back of an aqua-colored, retro-style hostel also called Days Inn.
Skip a ways down the river. It's twilight again, my folks have disappeared, and now I'm part of a motley group of sort-of Naruto-style ninjas. It's me, Sailor Mercury, Batman, Sailor Jupiter, Sasuke from Naruto, Okita and Hijikata and Kagura from Gintama, and some hunchback old guy with an umbrella and a wooden barrel on his back. We had been in this dark wooden feast hall trying to put together a feast for some occasion with allergen-sensitive foods that kept getting accidentally contaminated because people kept stacking the Tupperware in the fridge with the containers open. So I'm spilling stuffed peppers trying to get to the chocolate pie crust we're gonna use to make a chocolate cake shaped like the thing you get when you fill one of those sand buckets at the beach and turn it upside-down. These aliens resembling Warframe characters invaded and we fought in and out of a Viking church a grassy field between a forest and a cliff face. There's one called Lizarro or Liyard with face like a smeared painting of a dog-lizard hybrid and he can curl up into this armored sphere with a poison spike on one side that bounces around cackling and stabbing things (my hands especially). Another of them calls himself Loco Haram (like Boko Haram). He look like kid Sasuke with purple, spiny skin, green hair, and a jeweled goblet for a neck, and if you're caught in his current, you get thrown around and beat to hell in a 15-second-long strobe-lit, seizure-inducing looping nightmare over and over and over for what seems like hours but is really only a few minutes. And then there's this bright red female one (can't remember her name) that makes her target suffer any damage she does to herself, like a living voodoo doll. Twice, she throws herself off a cliff and shatters every bone in her opponent's body, once to Sailor Jupiter, and once to Hijikata, who is apparently me only I'm watching from the outside. I didn't see how Jupiter fixed herself, but apparently I figured out she'd healed herself by digging into the sand bed in a shallow stream at the edge of a mangrove swamp (bottom of the cliff?) and waiting for the bones to set for 7 weeks. So Hijikata buried himself and sat for 7 weeks, living off the stream water and any garbage that floated down the stream from the nearby village. Apparently, this was quite traumatic because when he was finally able to move again, the villagers tried to bully him away for eating garbage and he bawled about how much he'd suffered just to live. Anyway, he made it back to the top of the cliff only to find big grave placards for the rest of the team. Again he cried all over the graves until Okita came and got him, assuring him that rather than graves, they were monuments to the victors.
He/We rejoined the group and some 40 other villagers at the edge of the forest where umbrella-back started trying to provoke a fight, saying there was a traitorous killer in their midst. There was some back and forth accusations, but the fight started when Sasuke, who was the only person in the group known to have killed a person, started swinging around by the vines knocking his attackers away. Eventually, he was caught and stuffed into a coffin with a mostly open "lid" and the incumbent staked to the back wall by jewel-tipped swords. Sasuke was giving me reassurances while they sealed him in. And then umbrella guy got suspicious, reopened the casket, and there was nothing inside but a pile of sand. He yelled something about substitution and the rest of our group, which was down to about 10 or 12, fled down the edge of the river away from the angry villagers.
Then we came upon a horrific scene. There was a dam of rising water and a lock full of tarry "volcanic" sludge side-by-side. A giant golden Smaug and his army of LOTR-style orcs and trolls were trying to break down the dam before the sludge got to them. Somehow the dragons were responsible for the rising sludge, so Batman went in to try to stop its rise. Smaug was panicking because his scales were turning to solid gold and gold is a relatively soft, flimsy metal that was making it hard for him to continue attacking the damn. While Batman tended to the sludge reservoir, the rest of us tried desperately to stop the army. I turned into 4 Dark Elf-type warriors, 2 male and 2 female, each with over-sized weapons on chains. None of us were particularly good shots. We eventually beat Smaug, but Batman drowned in the sludge and the wall stopping the sludge from reaching the river was breaking, so we had to get to the middle of the failing dam and position ourselves to ride the wave well ahead of the inevitable flood of sludge. For once our plan actually kind of worked, at least until the wave drove us into a wall of trees and vines further downriver and the sludge nearly caught up.
Here's where it starts getting post-apocalyptic. At this point, in spite of our skills, we're effectively refugees in the swampy jungle just trying not to touch or get trapped in the slicks of black sludge tainting the landscape. Weirdly, huge swaths of the jungle have these thin nets kind of half-buried by moss and algae almost shrink-wrapping most of the trees and covering the ground, as if to keep the contaminated soil from moving around too much. By now I was myself, the Gintama characters we all gone, and we'd been joined by Raven from Teen Titans and a couple of my upperclassmen, Jesus (Spanish) and Deno (pronounced like Dino). I was kinda sorta in charge of scouting the path, and Sasuke kept trying to find a high enough, clear enough place that the giant Eagles would answer his whistling calls and take us to some remnants of civilization. But they never would get too close; the contamination overwhelmed them. Every so often, we'd cross paths (or under the paths) of other people in the jungle with totally alien ways of coping. At one point my mom was there and the 2 of us wandered into a niche that turned out to be the remnants of a stingray display at a zoo, but it dead-ended into a wall of foliage coal-black with sludge, so we returned to the group and had to turn north (evidently we were trying to head west). At another point we found a rope bridge and followed it, passing these fur-caped natives riding giant cobweb-covered leaves into the rapids back east (where the sludge came from). We thought they were crazy until we got further along and realized the whole forest was draped with cobwebs and we started hearing buzzing noises. I saw something that looked like a hive further up where the bridge dead-ended into a knobby grayish tree buried in web, so I told Deno we needed to turn around. As soon as I said that, a giant locust-like creature easily a 1, 1.5 m long with eye-spots on the wings emerged and headed right for us. So we back up as fast as we could (not that fast), which was obviously nowhere near fast enough to outrun them despite their being blind. Fortunately, it turns out they were after the fist-sized beetles that kept landing on us, so as long as we didn't scream or run, we seemed to be OK. But about half the group loses trust in my scouting abilities and we split up. Since the other group is heading toward Russia and we're heading toward Europe, I'm sad that Jupiter and Sasuke might be enemies next time we meet.
Eventually we made it to the shore of another leg of the blackened river separating us from a walled-in city resembling Jerusalem by a span of maybe 50 m. By now my Dad has joined up with the group and our party is back up to maybe a dozen. On the bank a very small, rusty canoe/wheelbarrow thing sits half-buried in the muck. The river looks pretty calm so I ask if we could ride it across without touching the sludge. Dad says no. But then we hear some voices just a little eastward along the riverbank, so we walk for maybe 30 sec and stumble on a group of potheads roasting chicken and chopping at an obscenely large tree hoping to make it a bridge. We get to talking and Jesus, who keeps morphing into Ed, translates one guy's high ramblings that we're in Morocco and the other side is Portugal, only blah blah blah all of this is supposed to be Portugal. The tree falls and we're all like "Heyyyyy!" or "Yayyyy!" or something, but it's still not safe to cross. Then the sisters from Frozen show up on the other side along with Sailor Mercury, and Elsa is wearing a wig like Marie Antoinette. Elsa spins a sort of frosty web using the tree as a brace,and it makes the river water pure, but only directly under the web. That's good because the web stuff is sitting on the water and feels like a wet sponge under the feet. Some redheaded kid with the voice of Olaf the snowman starts taking about how the ice web, because of its structure, stays warm to the touch, but I'm not really listening. Anyway, we make it across, a bunch of our group is reunited with the people we thought went to Russia or died, and all in all that dream ended rather happily even though the situation wasn't really resolved.
Are you not entertained? Of course not, it was long, meandering nonsense and I didn't pay any attention to writing style whatsoever. As you were.