Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 30

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 22 2024 (Day 30)

I watched with horror this morning, again, as the battery on my laptop slowly drained from 96% to 0% without me ever finding an angle that I could connect the charger to it at that would actually charge it. That was extremely frustrating. The end result of this is that I looked up (on my phone) where I might be able to possibly get a laptop battery change here in Guangzhou, even if it wasn’t an “authorized” service centre, since the laptop was out of warranty anyway and I needed it for work. Google suggested a place called Tianhe Computer Town, so away I went.

Well, technically. Despite its name, Tianhe Computer Town is merely one building in a row of buildings with a bunch of computer shops in it, but I’m not sure if there’s a name for the entire neighbourhood of shops and buildings there. I see names online like Guangzhou Computer Street, Tianhe Gangding Computer Markets, and variations on the above, but Tianhe Computer Town was (sort of) the name of the main building I visited anyway, and sounds the coolest, so I am sticking with that.

The Gangding name was because the nearest station was Gangding Station, and that was probably the name of the neighbourhood of the general area as well, though the district itself was Tianhe. I arrived at Gangding Station and left the immediate vicinity of the station gates, ending up in an underground mall area that was already very tech-centric.

I wasn’t here for this particular branded area though, so I stepped up and out of whatever mall area that was, and walked along the street itself toward my goal. I never did cross the street to the other side of the road, but I definitely took some pictures of that while I went along.

Even those bridges look like some weird component on a motherboard or something. I finally reached Tianhe Computer Town, where I found out that despite that online name that it’s most well-known by, the sign in front of the building actually says Galaxy Computer Plaza.

Okay then. Tianhe means Milky Way, and that last word has multiple meanings, so its technically correct, but I like it when people can’t agree on a name for a place, and when the original place has its actual name overridden by the Internet. Except when it affects my blog. I’m sticking with Tianhe Computer Town.

I went into the building and dodged a few pushy salespeople from branded stores trying to sell me cellphones and laptops. My laptop is a Gigabyte Aorus, and almost immediately, I found what I was looking for, a Gigabyte stall. Hoorah!

I spoke to them and they were puzzled at first, shaking their head and saying that they didn’t do laptop repairs. After that, when I persisted and asked if they knew anyone that could, the guy did some clacking on his laptop and said that they could get a battery in for me and replace it by tomorrow if I wanted to leave the laptop with them overnight, and that it would cost something like 407 RMB, or nearly $80 CAD. I consulted with Kel, who had also been asking her group chats and IT staff at school if anyone had any recommendations on what to do with a busted laptop (they didn’t), and we agreed that this sounded extremely sketchy. I certainly wasn’t going to leave my laptop there overnight. So I said I’d think about it, and moved along, never intending to return.

Not far from there, I went to this random repair store, which at least had the English words for laptop repair, battery charger, and more on their sign, although they didn’t really looked like they stored spare batteries. They at least had some cute Linlee ducks though. (Other stores in here did too, this is genius free advertising by the lemon tea company.)

The proprietor here, who I believe was named Mr Fang when I asked him his name, accurately guessed that I was from Singapore by the way I spoke Chinese, he’s the third person to somehow guess this about me on my trip even though I haven’t lived in Singapore in decades. The first two were people in Taiwan, a random convenience store cashier when I was paying for a drink, as well as the woman in Songjiang Market that I bought a couple of cheap clothes from. There was someone else in Guangzhou a few days earlier that had guessed that I was from Taiwan — unfortunately they were wrong so I didn’t buy anything from them. He said he had never left China before but that, like the other people who had correctly identified my “accent” (which I had no idea existed in Chinese too), they had had Singaporean visitors and customers stop by before.

I showed him my laptop and told him about my woes and my need to find a replacement battery, since I had replaced basically everything else. He had never seen a Gigabyte Aorus laptop before, but he plugged some sort of voltmeter thing into the laptop, and declared that the battery itself was fine and it was actually the connection where the power brick plugs into the laptop that was damaged. Oho. He said he could fix it (since laptops were all somewhat similar anyway) but it would cost several hundred yuan and he would need to open up everything. But he would do it on the spot. That sounded good, if that was going to be the actual fix, since I was never going to be able to fix something like that myself. So I gave him permission to open it up for surgery.

Over the next hour, I watched him unscrew and pick apart every internal organ in my hapless laptop.

He had a whole set of tools, and like a surgeon with a scalpel in both hands, he used magnetic screwdrivers to remove all the screws, which he stored in a box, and then some sort of tool to test the conductivity or something of various internal components. I don’t know exactly what tool that was or what was done there. He then used a roll of metallic thread and a soldering tool, and melted the thread onto where the power connection came in to the laptop, which I guess restored the connection again.

Does it work? We tested it afterwards and it seemed to work! He’s right, the original battery charged just fine (even though I’m sure it’s a little degraded over time) once the charging port was “fixed”. I could twist and turn the power cable and the battery would not disconnect and reconnect over and over again or “fake charge”, where the light came on but the laptop still lost power. Even with the power brick that I had brought along (oh so heavy). We also tested all the ports and those still seemed to work afterwards, so that was nice.

This did cost 650 RMB, which turned out to be about 670 RMB after a processing fee that Wechat Pay charged, because apparently they do that for transactions over a certain amount. That was about $130 CAD. It also saved me a new battery though, which would have been the wrong diagnosis after all and would have been 2/3 of that cost itself, plus I needed the laptop to do work, so as long as the fix lasts for some time, I think it was worth it. I even gave him a nice Edmonton postcard afterwards in thanks and made off with my laptop. So his specific shop was stall #139 in Tianhe Computer Town, and assuming the fix holds, I definitely recommend them (without knowing if the service was actually overpriced or not) and even Kel said she’d go seek him out if her laptop ever runs into trouble.

But if my laptop dies again before I return home and I suddenly go dark, then you know who to blame.

After this, I went for lunch in a store across the street. Not across the main road to the side that I never went to, just across a side street. I had Lanzhou Cold Noodles (28 yuan) and a side of rice (extra 3 yuan):

It wasn’t all that good, I’ve never found cold noodles that I really like, I think, but it doesn’t and didn’t hurt to try. In fact, this delivery guy came in for lunch and asked me what my dish was and how much it cost before he sat down at his table. So I proudly told him.

I noticed that he ended up ordering something else.

After lunch, I went to look around some of the other buildings on this side of the street. I went back to Tianhe Computer Town and walked around, and took more pictures. Most will get galleried here.

I bought some earphones too, because my current pair of JVC Type-C earphones, which has a mic built in to one of the two earphone wires, had a Major Incident happen with the wire that had the mic built in to it the other day. I was walking around in the Tianhe Railway Station underground mall when suddenly BZZZTCRAGRAHHAHBLAAAARGH I thought there was some sort of terrorist event happening in the area. Nope, something just exploded in that earpiece or something and it broadcast a big pile of garbled static before recovering once I pulled it out and put it back in again. A couple of days after that it stopped working entirely though. I’m not sure if the mic portion working, but I probably still have video or voice chat sessions with Zian and Ronnie to go before I reach back home, and so even though I can survive with one working earpiece in a pair of earphones (since I only have one working ear anyway), I needed a backup just in case. This cost $13 CAD after conversion, much lower than the $30 that the JVC pair coss, though I couldn’t even find the model on an online search so that told me all I needed to know about it.

I bought it from the store with the two seated people in this picture:

And the box looked like this:

I didn’t actually keep the box though, since I was carrying so much already, the guy opened the package and I just took the earphones and a small carrying bag from it.

I also saw this while wandering around:

Hey look, its a Gigabyte Aorus ad…. on a Samsung store? That amused me since I had the impression that people hadn’t even really heard of Gigabyte before, never mind Aorus, Mr Fang had given me an odd look earlier when I told him the laptop model was Gigabyte, and repeated his question about what the laptop model was, translating the Chinese word for it into English with his phone. Excuse me sir. Gigabyte.

There were more shops on the second level of the store, and some of those pictures above are from the second level, but there was also this weird section of the level that looked like this:

It was getting weird, and the escalator to the third level of the mall seemed to be sealed off, so I went back down from there and out.

Next, I went to another building nearby called Nanfang Computer City (the Internet seems to use City here and Town for Tianhe Computer Town even though both places use the same Chinese character.. whatever).

This one had some computer and electronic stores downstairs surrounding a looping rectangular passage,

But the upstairs part of the mall had barely any shops, and the establishments that did exist were like this.

Also there was this sign that I saw. What’s “No parabolic height”?

There was a third mall that I went into between those two and the train station, it was called President Digital Harbor, which is a fancy name, and a good reminder (I confirmed this with Kel later this evening) that China uses American spelling over British spelling for some reason due to American culture being what they copied. But probably not Hong Kong since that was a British colony.

I don’t have much to say about this mall, so these pictures also get galleried. Gallerized? Gallery probably isn’t a verb. Wasn’t. It is now.

I went home after that to dump my laptop and let it start charging, before heading out again to meet Kel for dinner. Kel took me to a half-dead mall near Shiqiao Station.

And we went to a dim sum restaurant there, where I didn’t grab a picture but there were two lines of staff waiting outside the restaurant to welcome us in. Whoa. There were a fair number of patrons in the large restaurant at their own tables, but a fair number of empty tables too, though Kel said that it was much busier on weekends. She took care of most of the ordering, and the food was delivered in stages:

It was really good and quite filling, and we had a jolly chat while we ate. She said that she came here fairly often, either with her boyfriend or with other guests that came to visit her. The radishes in the small bowl with the dark brown sauce (visible in the first and third pictures) were delicious and complimentary to boot. Apparently that only happens during weekdays and there’s no complimentary gift on weekends. Also they don’t provide free tissue, so pox on them, although they sold tissue for only 2 yuan and the tissue came in a fancy box.

Kel also told me a local joke that I wanted to capture here, that the Chinese have a saying that if you see a couple outdoors, and they’re both on their phones, then they’re married. If they’re both not on their phones, and instead chatting to each other, then they’re having an affair. We looked around and indeed, the couple next to us had a husband and wife and both of them were seated across the table from each other and engrossed in their phones. They had a child as well, in a baby chair, happily doing baby things while being ignored.

Unfortunately no one was there to see us out when we left. We walked around a bit, passing through and around a mall called Worldmart Plaza on our way to the train station. It was quite pretty.

With its knockoff Apple store and other knockoff jewelry and clothing stores.

And fancy architecture and glitziness to hide the suffering:

This specific scene kind of reminded me of the Winter Market in Bryant Park in New York City, although that market was outdoors.

We also saw a bunch of kids taking part in an outdoor skating training camp or something at night, which was interesting.

We then made our way home, where we both worked on our respective work stuff for a bit, while watching the variety show that I liked (开门大吉), which I had found a bunch of archived episodes for within the labyrinth that was Kel‘s Smart TV remote’s navigation app.

Naturally, since my electronics were now fine, my own health started to fade again, and I coughed a lot over the night and into the next morning even though I didn’t feel sick and there was nothing much to hack up. Very irritating. Where can I get my health repaired?

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 29

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 31

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