Concluding the China Leg of Our Trip

By Published May 26, 2016 at 5:04 pm
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I'm not sure why the hotel phone rang – a loud, cursed beige thing – at 11PM. I was asleep; it's 11AM on the East Coast, about bed time, and the woman speaking to me was doing so in Chinese. There's something especially vexing about trying to come-to from a Snorlax-like slumber while also being at the receiving end of an unfamiliar language. I sat there in silence for a moment while trying to piece together what she just said, then realized it was no use – “English?”

She laughed. I said “It's OK,” phonetically stammered out “may qwan qi” – something I learned a few hours prior, and without learning the spelling – and then we hung up. This curious episode was matched moments later, when one of the hotel staff knocked (loudly) on the door. I still wasn't sure of the time, and figured it was room service: “Later?”

Sticking to single words seemed the best bet.

She knocked again. I cracked it open and was handed a lighter, and she was whisked away by the darkness of the hall. After looking at the thing for a moment, I put it on the bathroom counter and returned to bed.

It's interesting trying to work out of China. The firewall blocks almost all of our comms – Facebook and Google, mostly – and so we've got to be creative. We've been remote accessing our home-base server to transact files (slowly) and access email, which is also blocked, while on our 2.5-day stint in Dongguan, China. This has proven difficult for YouTube production, as YouTube is a Google product (and therefore blocked), and has slowed us from uploading our recent coverage of NZXT's case factory. That'll be online soon, though; we're leaving China in a few hours.

china-trip-pan

From a technological standpoint, it's an amusing challenge. VPNs don't quite work well enough for YouTube uploads here (that we've found), and so that has left us to remote access. Keegan Gallick, our traveling video producer, remotely edited and cut our recent Overwatch video. Looking at a laptop screen to look at the screen of a significantly more powerful rig, with (more importantly) significantly faster internet, and controlling its input to edit a video – that's amusing to us, as tech writers.

But Overwatch was easy. The gameplay was captured local to that machine by Mike Gaglione, one of our test technicians, and already lived on that server. Moving it here would have taken more than a day, so it just made sense to move our voice-over files to the server and work through remote access. Then there's the other way around: We have all the files here, e.g. our NZXT factory tour, and can't upload the finished product. We're trying to transfer it to the remote system, but that's just taking too long. It probably won't go up until we land in the next country for our trip.

china-trip-thirds

The good news is that we paid $120 for 800MB of data from the Generous and Venerable AT&T. That's megabytes, by the way.

China's a big place. The factories in this particular area are prevalent. We saw the black smoke rolling into the sky from the plane, but that's not all there is here; the hills, countryside, and plant-life are incredibly vibrant and build in layers atop impossibly steep mountains. In these places, it's beautiful and starkly contrasted to the industrial fervor found elsewhere. If I had more time here, I'd find a day to do some downhill mountain biking – but that'll be reserved until the tail-end of the Taipei trip.

It's hot – probably 90F – and somewhat humid, though the humidity is more tangible in Taipei. In Dongguan, China, depending on the time of day, the heat seems to feel a little dry. But that just depends on the weather patterns.

The streets here are lined with familiar stores. We've had a fun time trying to differentiate the real, authorized retailers from the bootleggers. One street had four “Apple” stores within scowling distance of one another, flanked only by (what appeared to be) legitimate shoe retailers. Our guide, Olive of JD Factory (which manufactures the NZXT HUE+), told us that the Apple stores have “good hardware, but not license. In States I think it is in prison. China, no problem.” He waved his hand dismissively.

Fair enough. Unlicensed retailers of real product.

china-trip-vendor-cart

Those shoe stores, by the way, had reason for mention: Keegan's shoes have been digging into his heels, and we figured it best to replace them before Computex. I brought this topic up to Olive, who nudged his colleague and laughed for a minute, ultimately telling us that we'd have trouble finding shoes for a tall American here. Thankfully, a single store had a single pair of size 12 shoes – bright red Nikes. Not his style, but damn nice shoes.

You'll read all about the factories in our NZXT post – assuming we're not apprehended for trying to upload a video through a VPN. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, try out our In-Win factory tour in Taoyuen, Taiwan.

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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