Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 31

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

Thursday, May 23 2024 (Day 31)

Cough cough, hack hack. Cue me getting sick again once my computer woes were finally(?) fixed. I partially blame the hard mattress in the room for part of this because it’s so hard that it feels like sleeping on a wooden floor, my organs feel like they’re putting gravity pressure on my body (this doesn’t happen with a regular soft or somewhat firm bed), and I feel like it’s been bad for my sinuses building up overnight, but then again I’ve also noticed that if I need to clear up blocked nose issues on the left side of my face, I can lie down on my right side and the pressure is nice for that, and vice versa for the other direction. I do wake up sore nearly every day though and am slightly glad to be moving on to another place due to that — I’m not sure how Kel does it since her bed is as firm as mine and she apparently likes it that way.

So anyway, I woke up without taste and with my voice gone again, though the taste got restored before I went out for lunch. Kel thinks I have bronchitis, possibly from bad China/Taiwan environment and/or lower personal hygiene levels of the Chinese in the cities or neighbourhoods that I’ve been overall. I don’t have any of the classic symptoms like weirdly-coloured phlegm though. We are also thinking of naming the pink dinosaur plushie a variant of the word bronchitis because it’s not too far off from brontosaurus.

I will miss Kel a lot, it’s been fun catching up and spying on how she’s living and making a mess of the house for her in general. We siblings are quite close to each other, and it’s nice to see my family more often. Kel‘s the hardest one to see since she’s always overseas (though apparently she’s coming back to Edmonton to visit in July.) I don’t see my Edmonton family enough either, though. Since they don’t live anywhere close to a train station and I don’t drive.

Today was my last full day in Guangzhou, and thus the last time I will see Kel on this trip, barring some weird turn of events. While she’s been busy during the day and usually late into the evenings from her job as a teacher, and her weekends are usually spent in Shenzhen with her boyfriend so I got banished to Xiamen last weekend, we’ve still chatted a good amount with each other, especially as night, and that has been so wonderful. She’s also helped with spacing out my travel costs a bit, by paying for some stuff now and having me pay her back later once the credit card bills from the trip have passed, hopefully without me having to dip into the backup $6,000 in my other bank account.

But the interlude is over, and it is time to move on. Or it will be after one more day of exploration, which nicely enough is also the last full day that my Holafly VPN was contracted for.

For various reasons I had not really spent much time going further afield in Guangzhou during my six days here, and so I looked up and found an anime-focused mall as well as a tourist walking and shopping street not too far away from each other, and decided to focus my efforts on that today despite the light drizzle that was popping on and off all day. Today’s blog entry pictures will largely be in galleries, it’s just one of those days with lots of pictures that do not require commentary.

This first mall I went to was called Comic City. It was notable for how the station that it connected to, Gongyuanqian Station, had a bunch of exits that went into different segments of the Comic City mall, but each mall segment seemed discrete and not really connected to the others, so much so that those entrances were also the “main” exits from those different mall segments. They probably were connected via seedy service corridors or nondescript exit doors or something, but not obviously so. What this meant was that since most/all people used the same exit to leave those mall segments, which were also entrances back into the station, and there was a police checkpoint and item scanner at each one that they had to step through each time because entering a train station in China always triggers one of those searches, in effect anyone who visited and then left even a portion of the “anime mall” was always subject to a police search, and to visit the “entire” mall seems like it would require multiple searches to do so. How weird.

Despite that, there were actually a decent number of young people wandering around here, and a number of them were even casually cosplaying as they shopped. Some examples:

There were some gothic/lolita fashion stores too, which is rare for an anime mall:

A lot of the mall was just anime figures and things like blind boxes, badges, and posters though, which was not my sort of thing. There was no store selling CDs at all, at least not in the segments I went to. The most interesting that that did happen was that I wandered into a store and the store clerk must have been on the spectrum or something, she immediately latched on to me and followed me around the store even after I shook my head at her, indicating that I was just looking. I had earphones on so I couldn’t hear anything, but I noticed that she was trying to say things to me now and then, and eventually I removed my earphones and looked quizzically at her, which made her realize that I had not heard anything she had said to me, and she went “ahhh” and looked up at the ceiling in a very exaggerated way. I demonstrated that I could not speak to her due to having lost my voice anyway, and left the store soon after. Which was a pity, because that was the only store (besides the lunch restaurant) where I considered actually making a purchase, since they had a wall of Bocchi the Rock! badges and acrylic stands. The pushy salesperson lost them the sale though.

I had eel rice for lunch from a restaurant there, it wasn’t a whole ton but what was there was actually nice. I learnt from my last trip to Kyoto that I liked eating eel quite a bit, but that it was always really pricey. This one cost 28 RMB (about $5.25 CAD) and somehow lacked a spoon to eat it with, I guess mimicking the whole Japanese experience.

After this, I left the building itself for the main street, where it was still ever-so-slightly drizzling but nothing that bothered me, especially since the streets were lined with covered walkways on both sides for most part. I planned to walk to a “famous” tourist pedestrian road thing nearby, since I figured there’d be less people there due to the fading rain. This turned out to be about 45 minutes away, which was perfectly fine by me.

Oddly enough, the road I followed for the first bit of my trek was called Zhongshan 6 Road, which was basically the same name as the famous, touristy road in Xiamen that I had lived nearby to in my three days there, plus one extra character (the “6”) in the name. Like the Xiamen version, this street also featured lots of 2-3 storey tall white buildings with shops embedded in the bottom level. Unlike the Xiamen version though, it was an actual, proper road as well. There were lots and lots of cheap clothes and medicine and random odds-and-ends stores here specializing in hyper-specific things like clocks.

At some point, I turned off onto other roads, starting with Renmin Middle Road and then down weird side streets. At one point, there were several shops in a row and then a little complex with shops that were all selling nothing but eyeglasses. At another point, there were like 8-10 stores over a 2-3 block area that displayed and sold wigs. The shops and streets were also getting very dirty and rundown by this point, in a low-class area sort of way, very reminiscent of large parts of Taipei that I had walked through.

I did figure out that this was because I was following a really minor road though, and crossing one street over immediately moved me to a cleaner, higher-class neighbourhood, and one more street over to the main road and it looked like I was in a downtown area of the city. It was still a weird juxtaposition though.

Finally, I reached my target location, Shangxiajiu Street, which was supposedly a pedestrian street that had been closed to vehicular traffic some time ago. There was a big main square (Shangxiajiu Square) that was easy to find and was fairly cool to see.

The square itself had a bunch of sculptures and ornaments in it.

And stretched on in two directions, east and west, away from the square itself.

There were two small malls flanking that central square, with the one I went into selling lots of probably fake but still fancy clothing.

And a “be careful of slipping” sign that was translated as “Carefully Slide”.

There were also a number of fast food chain stores and street food stalls surrounding the square, although I didn’t eat here as I was going to meet Kel for dinner soon.

People-wise, there were a number of parents with children here (I love this particular child’s dress):

And groups of children in school uniform, apparently hanging out after school:

Amidst the tourists walking around and taking pictures of things:

I got yelled at by these soldiers for taking a picture of them:

Well not really, but they said pictures werent allowed, after I had already taken one. Maybe don’t set up a stand right in the middle of a tourist square if you don’t want to be part of pictures? Dumb army.

The rain had fully stopped by then, but the sky was still overcast, so it was windy and cool and the square was very nice to hang out in. The buildings in the surrounding areas were similar to both Zhongshan Roads and consisted of those colonial white buildings:

That last picture above was one end of the east-west pedestrian street, which really wasn’t very long at all. The other end was also cut off by large construction barriers or something, I could see them a mile away so I didn’t even bother going there. Supposedly the Shangxiajiu Street shopping area itself is considered to go on further along that street stretching on from the last picture above, but that’s not a pedestrian street at that point, and I believe a lot of the stores were closed as well, so I never ventured outside the square and the paved pedestrian street itself.

I was also in touch with Kel by this point, trying to figure out where we were going for dinner, and we were scheduled to meet up back at her apartment, so I needed to get back to the nearest train station, which was a couple of streets north of where I was, and then take three trains back home to Shiguanglu Station. On the way there, I saw this weird store selling…

I’m not sure what they were selling, actually. Bangles? Also, this woman was seated on what looked like a motorized vehicle thing and chugging along on the road, going even slower than a bicycle, but whatever works for her I guess. I suppose it’s some sort of variation on a moped, but when I saw it in person it looked like motorized wheeled luggage, and I wondered why I couldn’t have a motorized wheeled luggage vehicle for myself.

Dinner later that evening with Kel was at another hotpot place, where apparently all the staff members stop and spontaneously break out in dance at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm or something every night. We didn’t make either of those times though, as we hung out in her apartment while I booked my Hong Kong lodging and my plane trip out from Hong Kong to Singapore. Kel also helped me book a train ticket from Guangzhou to Hong Kong later that night. This more or less completes my trip itinerary unless I want to stuff in one or two extra places after Singapore, except that I still need a place to stay in Singapore itself, and I need to find my ride home, which might involve a stay in another country for a couple days.

Anyway, this restaurant, called Song Hot Pot Factory, was in the Clifford bubble and thus not far from Kel‘s apartment at all. The staff members there all had a plushie strapped to their back, which was cool except for the bit where those plushies must end up really dirty/oily after every night.

They also had lots of weird illustrations on the wall:

They not only had a decent selection of condiments, but also free soft-serve ice cream, and both Kel and I helped ourselves to both. We had some of this free ice cream in the middle to help banish the taste of the chilli soup base and the spice used in it in one of the hot pot bowl’s partitions, and then again at the end to wash down the food once we were satisfied.

Kel found and ordered a two-person hotpot set, and all the random meats and vegetables came over a period of time, thus necessitating several pictures to capture the different stages of the hot pot meal.

I had started to feel slightly chilly again, but this hotpot did really help in that regard — by the time we were done eating my body temperature had again stabilized itself and didn’t bother me again. My voice hadn’t quite returned though but that was fine, I wheezed my way through the rest of the night. Kel paid for the meal but I believe that she’s going to add it to the tab of things for me to repay her for later on, since she already paid for one hotpot meal that we shared earlier this trip.

This was our last night together, so Kel stayed up a bit and I took photos of the place, as well as of the plushies that she had (for future My Diary blog entries). Those apartment photos were basically done past midnight though, and this post is plenty long, so I’ll squeeze them into tomorrow’s post instead. I started packing as well, and added a couple things from Kel for the family. My large suitcase is getting rather full now. We chatted a little bit more before she retired to bed and I followed not long after.

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