24 May 2016

Wuhan: Guangbutun Madness!

Wuhan city life stresses me out sometimes, I tried my best to get on with my weekend business but Guangbutun got me mad! Thanks to a few clumsy and drunken errors my mobile screen has been smashed to smithereens, I usually look after my electronic possessions but this time wasn't meant to be. I was hoping for a quick fix but China has a way with things! Oh no!

I had been told that Guangbutun held the key, apparently I could get my mobile phone screen replaced without any complications? Going underground I traded my original weekend plan to see Hankou's Jianghan district, getting off four stops from home at Guangbutun station was the new plan. Guangbutun isn't a touristy place and I had not heard much about what there was to see but I was willing to convert my electronic mission into a small sightseeing trip during that May Saturday afternoon. The Wuhan Metro was heaving as per usual at Optics Valley Square station, I honestly think that the planners didn't know how overcrowded this terminal station would become each day?! No! I'm going to take a rucksack full of mints because those riders had a terrible case of halitosis! Travelling on any form of public transport in China is never dull, the sights I have seen! Guangbutun wasn't far away and I got a seat!

China is a land where cash only is key, I acted the fool by not taking a few extra minutes at Optics Valley Square station to get some money out, I called it a bad case of 'Wuhan Syndrome!' Typically I found that I couldn't find a bank that I usually use to withdraw money from that doesn't give me a hard time, this is China! I found Computown as directed once exiting from Guangbutun station's own Exit A but I needed that Chinese Yuan to make those purchases first! I was hungry like the wolf, as cheesy as that sounds I was! Stumbling upon Kengee, China's answer to Greggs I satisfied my hunger pans with a sausage bake of some sort, nothing like at Greggs in England but Kengee serves some lovely baked goods! Before getting to Kengee I stood still for one second, I had misjudged the length never-ending Luoyu Road as I was standing in Jiedaokou, with Maan Coffee just over the road! Chinese banks drive me mad sometimes, I tried to withdraw money first at a different bank but I failed!

I was on a mission to get my shattered mobile phone screen fixed, after being advised about Guangbutun's Computown I chanced my luck to get it fixed there and then as it had been explained to me it wouldn't be a problem. I was lost for words, Computown stood before as an electronic empire that looked like exactly what I needed in that moment. I lost count at how many computer and mobile phone repair outlets were busy working within that stuffy and busy environment. I didn't really know where I was going, the ground floor showed off a flashy edge with the latest home computing products on show. I was advised to find the fourth floor as that's where the main bulk of the repair workshops were located. Armed with my battered phone I just wanted it fixed there and then for I had been putting it off. With immense travel plans, no way had I budgeted for emergencies! Thankfully, Nanjing will be a cheap trip!

Since living in China almost one year my grasp of the Chinese language is terrible, yes I can get by ordering food and for day to day greetings but asking for a new screen was going to be a whole new experience. It might sound like I was in a rage or a bad mood but I was surprisingly finding some amusement throughout this unplanned repair day, I had made it to another new part of Wuhan and was getting to grips with an insane electronic mecca. I must of asked twelve repair stores on two floors within the vast Computown to help me with replacing my broken phone screen but their response after calling for the glass was simply 'meiyou!' That dreaded Chinese word means 'to not have something' and I was getting more and more aggravated every-time that word was said to me, it got to the point where I knew their response before they had finished the inquiry. The current craze in China is to own an iPhone, an abundance Apple parts sat ready, no I wasn't prepared to wait!

Admitting defeat I left the maze that was Computown behind me, that unsuccessful repair mission had gotten me mad for sure! Making my way back to Guangbutun station for my Optics Valley bound metro I stumbled upon Wuhan's Central China Normal University. During that May afternoon outside the main sign stood a group of happy graduates who were posing for some very important shots! Yes, I stopped to catch a glimpse of that Chinese graduation, my afternoon in Guangbutun had hit the highest point of random! Catching a glimpse of the halls of residence at Wuhan's Central China Normal University I had a flashback to my time living at the Maltings in Birmingham, England. It's safe to say I was definitely spoiled with my student accommodation, I've heard some mental things about Chinese university halls during my time living in WUH. Yes, those fresh faced graduates looked extremely happy! Win!

Before I headed to the metro for the final time I saw a few African students enter the campus gates, I had heard that most Chinese universities lock the gates to the campus after 11pm each night?! That true fact became real for one of my friends who I was on a night out with a few months ago, he was going to spend the rest of the early hours of the morning in a internet cafe because his university had locked the gates, I let him sleep on my sofa as it was bitterly cold that night. I had no luck finding a solution to sort my smashed up phone, I looked at my experience that afternoon to believe it wasn't a complete waste of time. I'm going to buy a new handset from Shenzhen on Ebay as they are much cheaper than going in-store to buy a new phone. I'm not sure if I'll be returning to Computown in a hurry but never say never! Kengee satisfied my hunger pangs and I saw a random graduation photo opportunity! I can honestly what a random blog post this happened to be!

Don't Say Meiyou!

Joseph Harrison 

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