Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 28

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

Monday, May 20 2024 (Day 28)

I jinxed myself in the last blog post by saying that I was completely recovered from my illness — I woke up today and immediately knew something was off again — I was sore all over, my throat was slightly scratchy, and my body temperature was off, like the chills that come before a full-blown sickness. This was going to be a boring day anyway but the idea was that I could go somewhere after I checked out of the hotel around noon, and before my train back to Guangzhou at 5:40 pm or so from Xiamen North Train Station. With these impending tendrils of sickness wrapping themselves around me, I had no intention of doing that and instead decided to go right to the train station. Perhaps there was a mall there I could walk around or something, I figured, but if not, at least I would be where I needed to be to catch the train back to Kel‘s home even if my condition got worse.

I checked out right at about 11:57 am, 3 minutes before the alloted checkout time, and after watching a rerun of that musical show that I liked and talked about in a previous blog post. I brought along the toothbrushes with me, the one that I had opened last night as well as one other one that I had not opened yet, because I couldn’t bear to see them tossed away and wasted by the wasteful room service, who was just outside and approaching my room by that point. The staff asked if I wanted to leave my bags there for a few hours, which was a nice offer, but I said no thanks and made my way toward the train station.

It was raining softly, so most of the street was empty, but both sides of the streets were more or less covered by shop awnings anyway and so the people that were out and about stuck to that. I took a picture of a nice hotel name that I passed:

Melody of Sea Xiamen Hotel, that name is quite the mood.

I made my way to the nearby station, then to Xiamen North Railway Station, just under an hour on the same train line from where I was. It was set up like a small airport, with random horizontal escalators across pointlessly large halls, an info desk, signs pointing to bus and car pick-up locations, and so on, I wanted to use the bathroom there, but it was really annoying to find a working one — the two washrooms in the railway station itself had no running water and the stalls were darkened, and thankfully I checked the water before I actually used the squatting toilet there, unlike the other lady who was crestfallen to discover that after using the bathroom.

I then went downstairs into an underground “mall” area and looked for the washrooms there, but they were small and hmm.. “oily” and icky and worse, there was no toilet paper there, you were expected to bring your own to use them I guess. But at least the toilets and sinks worked? In the end, I walked around and found a washroom farther away from the central areas of the station, next to some carpark entrance, and which necessitated crossing through an area uncovered from the elements so less people would go there while it was raining, I figured. It still had no toilet paper but at least was less icky. And after using that I finally had free rein to wander about and take pictures.

The view out from the station looked amazing in the rain though:

This was an area just above an underground mall, with the most pointless escalator ever that led absolutely nowhere:

I wandered into the ticket office and noticed that even 4 hours before the train ride, all the tickets for our train today were already gone. Also, all the tickets for the same train tomorrow were also all already gone. This must be a very popular route to not have any tickets even on a weekday. While in the ticket office I also saw this Fire Hyd Rant room sign that I wanted to capture:

I feel like someone took some liberties with that translation.

I walked around the underground mall and took a picture or three after that. Like many other malls in Xiamen, this one seemed half dead — there were some food stalls open near the entrance of the area where it connected with the main “airport” section of the railway station itself, but the back areas were full of closed shops and offices. What’s with Xiamen and half-dead malls?

I didn’t get any good shots of the closed parts of the station though, mostly because the closed wings were centered around some outdoor plaza areas that were being rained on. But this was part of the more active portion of the mall.

And some of the plazas breaking up the mall area looked like these:

Those poor palm trees in the first picture were nowhere near a road and still had white paint around them. Weird. Maybe they’re a video game mechanic to inform the player that those trees can be climbed or interacted with in some way.

I then went into some hot, oily restaurant/eatery to have lunch. One thing that weirds me out abut Chinese restaurant culture is that a lot of these little eateries have a dustbin set right under or by the side of each table, for people to throw tissues and other things in, but then that also means that over the course of the day, the bins fill up with used tissues, cigarette ash, food scraps that attract flies, and other weird things that future patrons then have to sit down next to. It’s fairly icky. Also I cannot fathom how people can work in hot, sweaty, somewhat unhygienic eateries for years, whether they’re the cooks, the cleaners, the cashiers, or anyone else involved with the place. By the same token, this restaurant was the first place in China where I saw a bunch of food trays laid out by the cashier, with a sign saying that I could pick some vegetables and/or meats and make my own meal out of them, sort of like the typical fast food Asian places in western malls. I was never going to buy tray food from such an unhygienic location though. How many flies must have landed on those trays of food?

So I ordered from the kitchen instead. And boy, this meal that I had in this place, their Fresh Seafood Hor Fun, was pretty much the best meal that I had eaten in China so far. It was so good. The store was called Qiu Mo Mo, and the dish looked like this:

Also there was a a dead child in the booth next to me, but never mind that.

She was sleeping as her mother came in holding her, put her down there, whispered sweet nothings to her, and then went off to the counter to order some deadly food.

I went to check in past security, and for some reason, unlike the Guangzhou Railway Stations, I couldn’t seem to check in with my passport so I had to use the manual check gate to get in. It was no problem though and I was in in no time at all, with a full 3.5 hours or so before my train was due. I sat down and tried to take a little nap, then after a while I noticed that there were a bunch of shops on the other side of the post-security area:

That was weird, since there were no shops on our side of the post-security area. The two areas were connected though, so I dragged my bags along and limped my way through there, killing about half an hour as I looked through endless rows of cookies and instant noodles, before making my way back. There were no power outlets anywhere too except at a little standup table, one on each side of the post-security area, and inside the business lounges, whatever those were. It was very boring and very soul-draining, but since I was still feeling ill I did appreciate the ability to sit down and nap a little, even though the chairs were uncomfortable as heck.

I set an alarm just in case so I wouldn’t miss the train, but my body clock is fairly accurate anyway so I didn’t miss it. Three hours later, the queue for my train had formed and I joined it.

It was at that point that I realized that our side of the post-security area also had shops, but they were ALL CLOSED. Every last one of them. There was a Miniso to the right of that shop above, and stairs that led up to an upper area that was assumedly for shops (according to the sign) but was completely sealed off. Classic ghetto Xiamen. Apparently China’s city has a tier system and Xiamen is a tier 2 city. I guess it does have a lot of malls and facilities, even if they were all closed and run-down.

These next couple pictures were from Xiamen North Railway Station after we had checked in at the gate and were heading down to the platform. It was still raining at that point and the misty view was still beautiful.

The 4 hour 6 minute ride back to Guangzhou was excrutiatingly painful on the soul, but at least I had an aisle seat. There was no power outlet for any of us either, but the person in the window seat in our row never showed up, so the girl in the middle, who was wearing a nice, green sleeveless sweater over a white blouse, could stretch out over the two seats and that meant that I got a bit more space as well. Also we couldn’t even get to our seats initially after boarding until the train had already started off on its way, because some wrinkly old folks were trying to figure out how to put their baggage up on the luggage rack above the seats in the middle of the train, and then trying to decide who was going to sit where and blocking everyone else trying to board behind them instead of taking a damned seat until everyone could get in first.

There was a bit of air-conditioning blowing down on me for most of the ride, though it didn’t come from any specific outlet that I could turn off or point away. I played Hades 2 on my Steam Deck for a little bit, but got so tired that I stuffed my hands in my bag to keep warm and fell asleep for a couple of hours, and that was probably a good thing since it helped pass the time a lot faster. It was still really boring and didn’t help my soreness all over though. I (still) think that China’s bullet train is pretty terrible compared to the Japanese shinkansen, largely because they’re cheapskates and build for mass consumption instead of for comfort and the people. Also there were staff walking up and down the aisle many times throughout the ride, trying to sell bowls of instant noodles and various drinks to people on the train. When someone relented and fell prey to the overpriced food, they would then radio the car and seat number to someone else in another carriage, who would come by later with the requested food for them.

Four hours later, we arrived in Guangzhou South, and I radioed my return from exile to Kel before taking a train over one stop from Guangzhou South Railway Station to Shi Guang Lu, where I met Kel. She had bought some food for me after hearing that I had eaten nothing for dinner since all they had on offer was instant noodles, and she got me kimbap, which was rice and seaweed slices with a side of kimchi. It was actually really good.

By this point, I was still sore but my chills had started to break, especially once I got to Kel‘s apartment and took a nice, long, hot shower. Mmm. I noticed that my feet on the cold marble floor were still giving me chills though, but I was fine when my feet were off the ground. We sat down and chatted for a bit afterwards, and she told me about a weather phenomenon here, usually for a couple weeks in March, where the combination of some weather fronts coming together or something pushes the humidity so high that even though it’s not raining, the floor everywhere will become wet from condensation, and how mopping the floor will create puddles of water that will not dry during this time period, and also that if you leave the windows open in your house, the moisture will get in and condense on the walls and the walls will start “weeping”. Something like this thread and video. Crazy. After that, I took a big cup of some yucky herbal tea before we both headed to bed.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 27

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 29

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