Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 23

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Calgary > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 33 - Sat May 25 2024Wan Chai, Temple StreetHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 34 - Sun May 26 2024Chungking Mansions, Nathan Road, Ladies' MarketHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 35 - Mon May 27 2024Central Market, Sino CentreHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 36 - Tue May 28 2024Tea at Minimal (with WingBenny), Dragon CentreHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 37 - Wed May 29 2024Plane (HK > Singapore), Tampines N2 Shopping StreetHong Kong, ChinaSimei, Singapore
Day 38 - Thu May 30 2024Tampines Regional CentreSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 39 - Fri May 31 2024Lunch (with Debbie and Zixiang), Bras Basah Complex, I Light SingaporeSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 40 - Sat Jun 01 2024People's Park Complex, People's Park CentreSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 41 - Sun Jun 02 2024BishanSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 42 - Mon Jun 03 2024Dunman High School, Katong Shopping Centre, Parkway ParadeSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 43 - Tue Jun 04 2024Hell's MuseumSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 44 - Wed Jun 05 2024Flight (Singapore > San Francisco > Vancouver > Edmonton)Simei, SingaporeEdmonton, Canada
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts!Edmonton, CanadaWe'll see

Wednesday, May 15 2024 (Day 23)

My entire day was taken up by one problem — my laptop was found dead on my bedside table in the morning, and a murder culprit (and solution) was sought after for most of the day. Over the past couple of days, I had heard some sort of weird zapping sound a couple of times while my laptop was plugged in, and this must apparently have had something to do with the battery as it seemed to no longer be holding a charge or be capable of being charged, and my laptop became nothing but a heavy brick. This would have potentially spelled the end of my trip, not specifically because I would not be able to blog or anything like that but instead because I would not be able to do my work remotely, and that would have meant I would have had to take lots of actual vacation time off of work and I didn’t want to do that.

By the end of the day, I had discovered via happenstance that the laptop wasn’t actually totally dead, and that it would still sometimes be able to charge itself, though other times it would look like it was charging but it was actually slowly losing its charge even though it was plugged in. The key was that I would have to twist the cable where it connected to the laptop while watching the power meter on the laptop itself, until I found a position where it could regain its charge instead of losing it. Even the part of the laptop that said stuff like “82% charging (full in 18 minutes)” or whatever equivalent was not accurate, it could say that and still be losing charge slowly, and the only way for me to tell was to see if the next number change was to 83% or 81%.

I also had an issue with remote desktop being really, really slow and unable to load anything on the other end without extreme graphical and input latency, even though it was fine a couple days ago, and for this one I eventually found out that it was something in the Power Options/Edit Power Plan/Change Advanced Power Settings menu that did this. I’m not sure exactly which option did this trick, since I just changed the entire power plan to Smartmanager Balanced and it worked after that, but this took until pretty much the morning of the 17th to troubleshoot. (And later on the 17th, I realized that that might have been a red herring and the latency probably actually came from which VPN server I was attached to to get on to the Internet.)

All this severely slowed down my blogging and even work tickets for a bit, and then the latter slowed down the former, and then I have travel days on the 17th as well as the 20th on top of that to mess my time up even further. That means that the blog entries for the next few days might be a little short as I’m going to prioritize trying to catch up over trying to write down every little thing. Well that and I’m writing from a memory veil of about two days in the future rather than from the evening itself.

Back to Wednesday, May 15 2024. When this issue first happened, I figured that it could be four things. The power adaptor, the cord leading from the adaptor to the power brick, the power brick itself (or the undetachable cord that leads from the brick to the laptop), or the laptop battery. I figured that the adaptor would be the easiest one to replace though, especially since my current one was meant for Japan and not China and for some reason did not fit into Kel‘s wall sockets or extension power bars very well (though I gather that it is *supposed* to). So at about 9:30 am in the morning, far earlier than I normally do, and after a bowl of instant noodles for breakfast, I ventured out of the house and went looking for a power adaptor.

This proved to be an extremely fruitless search at first, since I was not completely aware yet at just how dead the other half of the Clifford Wonderland area was, so I first did another walkthrough of the area looking for potential shops to buy an adaptor from. In particular, there was both a Miniso shop and a Haalo convenience store (owned by the same weird company as the supermarket below Kel‘s apartment) on the other side of the Wonderland (or Wonderland II? I can’t really tell since they’re equally active) and those looked likely to sell a power adaptor if the supermarket directly below our house didn’t.

In the end though, none of the three did — the supermarket came closest, but it only sold a European to Chinese adaptor, and not the American to Chinese one that I wanted. The other two had nothing of the sort and the staff seemed confused as to why I would need something like that and pointed me to an outdoor charging outlet nearby until I waved my three prong plug at them.

I did get a few more pictures of the Clifford Wonderland area while walking through it though.

Here’s a lonely woman doing taichi in the morning:

None of these rides were running or looked remotely active.

A mom and her kid were riding this sad little car around though.

“Today, kids, we are going to visit a graveyard of dreams.”

There were random people chilling out and using their phones on the 3rd floor of Clifford Wonderland II, where signs said there were shops waiting for visitors. There were barely even shopfronts in the area, just empty husks.

On Kel‘s advice, I then took the train one stop to Panyu Square next, where there was an old, familiar friend from Japan next to the station. An Aeon Mall!

No idea what that red/white pill capsule is though. I entered the mall itself and took a few pictures of the interior as I went along, though not many. It was a standard franchise mall with a supermarket located on the bottom.

This place had a lot of tech stores, though they were mostly cellphone stores — Huawei, Xiaomi, and so on. There was even an Apple store. None of them had an adaptor, never mind the one I needed for sale. Someone pointed me at the supermarket in the basement level, so I went down there and almost found success too, but they also just had a couple shelves of normal extension cords, and then the exact same European to Chinese converter that I had seen in the supermarket. That converter had a picture on its plastic protector/box of an American to Chinese version of the same plug, but neither supermarket carried it.

I gave up and went to have lunch instead, a bowl of Hot and Sour Wonton Soup and a glass of Chilly Bayberry Juice from a restaurant in the Aeon Mall called Yujian Xiao Mian. It wasn’t very good, mostly because the “hot” spice in the soup was the Northern China sort of spice and I do not like that spice very much.

I walked around the mall a little more after, and stopped by another of the phone outlets to try them even though I knew they wouldn’t have the converter. The staff member suggested I look for an “wu jin dian”, and when I googled up what that means, I learnt that wu jin dian, or “五金店“, was a hardware store (or an ironmonger’s store, which summoned visions of a medieval blacksmith). At this point, I put 五金店 into the Baidu map app and it popped up a bunch of stores near me, but outside the actual Aeon Mall itself, across the road in the opposite direction from the train station.

There was a zebra crossing where pedestrians to cross, but China is a country where zebra crossings are optional for cars to stop at, so it was still somewhat dubious lining up with a couple of others and waiting for a break in traffic or for a bored car to slow down before we all hurried across half the road, then repeating the same for the other side. And then the journey back eventually. This shop was just across the zebra crossing though:

And when I went up and showed the bored and slightly confused guy running the shop the power plug that I was carrying, he dug around and brought out exactly what I needed, a “travel adaptor” which was “for export only” and had all the holes that my plug needed. He quoted me a price of 15 yuan for it, which I gladly paid him using the scan QR and enter amount variant of Weixin Pay/WeChat Pay that also announced the 15 yuan payment out loud to the otherwise empty shop once I authorized it. I thanked him and then left back for home.

On the way back, while passing through Panyu Station, I noticed this little library area in the middle of the station while transitting between levels on an escalator.

And I apparently have a picture of the train too, so here we go.

When I got back home and tried the power plug, I noticed that it occasionally sparked once if I just plugged it directly into the wall, so that seemed a little suspicious. It seemed fine in the end though, as I’ve since used it both with a power bar and directly into the wall since and it seems to have not caused any fires or fried electronics yet. At this point I learnt that the laptop still wasn’t charging, stomped off to take an accidental nap, and then when I came back I saw that the laptop had charged itself up to 60% and was actually working. It would still not be until much later that night before I figured out that twisting the power cord back and forth where it connected to the laptop to find a “good” position would be what was needed to charge the laptop, but for the moment at least I was able to get into the laptop, finish my Day 22 blog post, and also confirm that all the pictures that I had on the laptop had also already been saved properly on my home PC or phone. I also then caught up on all my work tickets.

When Kel came home that evening, I told her about what happened, and we went out to a noodle place somewhere in the Wonderland area below her apartment for dinner, on Kel‘s tab. She was friendly with the jolly old guy owner there, it seemed. Kel was also getting sick at that point with sniffles and coughs, and blaming me for it instead of her kids (which might be correct since I didn’t seem to catch it back from her!), so she opted for some noodles with no spice while I took a spicier dish. To me that dish was still basically spiceless though, but the noodles were actually pretty nice, although the portion of food that came was equally small. This was also fine though since it was my third noodle dish that day at that point.

Like the night before, we then went back up to the hotel room and chatted for a bit before retiring for the evening. In particular, Kel said that she would be out of the city from Friday night to Sunday night and suggested that I also took some time to explore some other place in China so that the visa that I obtained wasn’t just spent in this one place visiting her. I agreed, and we started looking up nearby places to visit. We more or less settled on Xiamen, in nearby Fujian province, as the city that would be best for me to explore, since it was “only” five hours away from Guangzhou by high speed rail and our family (and a lot of Singaporeans) were ethnically from Fujian province or nearby it at some point in the distant past. We didn’t make any bookings at this point though, since it was late and we wanted to leave the final decision for tomorrow.

Also, my room’s air-conditioner started emitting a weird, damp-like scent whenever I turned it on, so I stopped turning that thing on and reported it to Kel, who couldn’t smell it anyway due to her blocked nose, definitely given to her from her kids that she takes care of as a teacher. She suspected it might be some sort of mildew or mold, because that room and that air-con hadn’t been used in so long, and said that she’d get someone in to look at it after I left.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 22

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 24

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