It’s decided, the next morning that J will try to use the business center while the rest of us finish up breakfast. I am to wait for him and walk to the park with him.
That plan looks great on paper. And if any of our communication devices were working in a dependable manner, all would have been fine.
The business center is closed. J’s phone is being quirky, with its broken screen and its inability to keep connected to a phone conversation for longer than a few minutes. He tries to text me, but the message doesn’t go through, and he walks to the park alone.
I wait at the hotel. I text. I walk from the restaurant to the business center back to the restaurant back to the business center. I text his girlfriend, who has no idea where he is. I text him again. Nothing.
I finally decide to make my way to the park as well. I ask a hotel employee how I should get there, and she instructs me to walk upstairs to the other lobby, pointing at a flight of stairs.
I do so. There’s just more atrium and shopping and I start to suspect (a) I am being punked again and (b) someone just wants me to jump from the atrium.
I resist the urge and I figure out how to get to the park, which is – happily – much closer than I expected it to be. But I end up at a main gate, where I pull out all of my paperwork and cajole someone into letting me in without going through my tool-laden backpack.
At this point, it’s after 10AM. I am wicked late. I’m also frustrated, my feet hurt, I am developing blisters, my plantar fasciatis from a few years back is starting to flare in both feet, and…screw it, I’m taking photos of what Halloween in China looks like.
The front entrance of the park (and yes, I know my images are badly placed..I have no idea how to make them behave themselves):
Just inside the front entrance:
Found on my wander through the park:
I eventually find my way back to the zombie trail, where J finds me working on costume crap yet again. I’m told that the boys had heard there was an American woman wandering around looking lost, and they assumed it was me. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, I’m faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamous.
Today’s crisis is that the client wants to see the zombie attraction up and running by 4PM. We have no audio. All of the sound files we could use are on J’s phone. We’ve been given a small bag of mp3 players to load up with sound files but no one has the tech right there to do so. I get a list of the sounds he wants, take his phone, take S’s room key so I can use his computer to do the transfer, and I (rather happily) leave my lunch uneaten/unordered.
I make my way back to the hotel. But I get lost. Of course. And it’s still in the high 90s. Of course. And I am trying to hurry and I’m still wearing my backpack and my feet hurt more than I can adequately describe (I later learn I’m up to 6 blisters, two of them monstrously huge), and I feel exactly like this:
I get to the hotel. I really really really want to take a damn shower, but I instead try to get the computer to start up so I can try to get files off of the phone.
Computer will not start. The battery is dead and the power converter I have isn’t strong enough to get the computer up and running.
I go to the now-open business center, where I find a computer with iTunes..but not the newest version of iTunes. Which is what J’s phone is demanding I use to access anything on it.
I call M, our most dependable interpreter. He tells me don’t sweat it, none of this is a big deal, just relax, take a leisurely walk back to the park, and he’d be there soon and they’d figure everything out. Just relax.
(This took two phone calls to convey because – remember – J’s phone can’t keep a call going for more than a few minutes.)
I start my way back to the park. I do not get lost. But I also cannot get anyone to let me back into the park. I end up in the hands of the head of security. It’s 3:30PM and I’m freaking the hell out, but….all of my fight is gone. I try to tell him I have GOT to get to the haunt, but he just keeps leading me further and further away, and I’m too hot/tired/in pain to do anything but follow him back to…the office where we had our first meeting.
And J walks in behind me, looking calm and almost amused.
And I want to throw a tantrum because WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING??!??!!
He talks to tech about getting video files put onto thumb drives, which is a new lesson in frustration because they need to be converted to a format the client’s computers can use, apparently. This takes entirely too long…JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE. J ends up leaving me here for another…what, 4 hours?…while someone finds an IT guy that knows what iTunes is. I find out later that iPhones are not common here, and honestly, no one really uses iTunes. And if you think iTunes blows chunks? Try figuring out the new upgrade in Chinese.
4 hours later? No luck. I can’t make this happen. And even if I could? I can’t get the mp3 players to be recognized by the computer. Someone takes the mp3 players, saying he can delete the files on them, and…they go away. Because everything goes away in China.
I cannot properly convey how frustrating all of this was, and how competent I generally am about this sort of (theoretically) very easy task. *sigh*
J finally comes back for me and all four of us start to walk back to the hotel. He makes some calls back to the US to get his computer guy back home to get music files sent over. Pretty much the only good thing I can remember about the day is (a) seeing the Halloween decor and (b) the amazing bath I take that night.
I’m pretty sure I cried a few times this day. I know for sure I cried the next day.
..You’ve been warned.