Pasadena Bank Attempt - Follow The Money and the Heart - CycleBlaze

January 19, 2020

Pasadena Bank Attempt

Today was going to be a killer day of travel, but I had a plan to make it work.  First off, collecting all my luggage then heading to the Guangzhou Railway Station again.  This time I caught a taxi to save my sanity.  The high speed rail station was pure madness due to the holiday rush, but little did I know then it would soon be shut down completely.  This particular exit from China would essentially be my last one for the forseeable future and the timing of this trip had unknowingly been done to perfection.

There had been rumors of a potential pneumonia virus going around Wuhan China for the last couple of months, but nothing was said about it on the mainland and there were no indications that anything was being done about it.  However, twice now I had noticed them checking temperatures at the Hong Kong immigration section of the train station.  Did Hong Kong know something that the mainland did not?  I began to get suspicious that the virus was purposefully being kept hush hush and they wouldn't do anything until people had already left for Chinese New Year.  Just seeing the mass crowds and travel chaos now meant that any shutdowns due to a virus would cause unbelievable panic, anarchy, and quite likely a revolt.  So my best guess was the mainland government would say or do nothing about the virus until the travel rush died down.  Little did I know this prediction turned out to be 100% accurate.

Once back in Hong Kong now, I got a room for the day and basically caught up on sleep.  It was a great deal due to all the protests that had dampened tourism.  My only wish is that the bank could be open on Sunday and not require me to make two trips, but such is life.  Later in the afternoon I caught a fitness class at F45 before heading out to the airport.  Once there I got lucky in that for the super long red-eye flight on Eva Airways to LA, there was a window seat available in the emergency exit row.  This would mean blissful sleep on the flight, and that was sure nicely needed.

The flight arrived around 7pm the same day due to the time zone differences.  It was a breeze getting through immigration in LA but the snag happened in trying to figure out where to catch my Uber.  You first need to catch a shuttle bus to a parking lot where they do the rides from, but confirming my ride would mean needing wifi that wasn't available on the buses.  I got super lucky that the bus stopped at a red light and I could catch some temporary wifi from a restaurant.  For the brief window of time I confirmed my Uber ride and he was waiting for me at the parking lot.  After such a long stint of travel, these things you kind of want to go without a hitch.  He then drove me to the Airbnb in Pasadena that was pure luxury.

Leaving China for the forseeable future. I didn't know about the virus at the time. As I write this blog a month after, it is still unknown if I'll even be back.
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Totally insane New Year rush. Here's what's even more insane. During this time, there were authorities in various levels of government who knew about this coronavirus months in advance and did nothing. Without a doubt, the virus would be spreading right in the midst of this crowd in real time because of that (Jan 18 2020)
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Hong Kong was going through protests at this time as well, they were smaller in scale than previously. But with that scaling down, the coronavirus would soon be ramping up and causing Hong Kong a double dose of pain.
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Do you see any masks here? I don't. But about 3 weeks later I would return to this very same airport and it would feel like being in the apocalypse. Masks would be everywhere and the feeling would be ominous.
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Using up this change to buy good food
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Taipei layover
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The next day I didn't realize this but it was an American holiday, i.e. Martin Luther King Day.  It seems that with such an early Chinese New this time round, I had been early enough to catch this holiday also which almost never happens.  So it basically meant the bank I wanted to deal with was closed.  No worries, I'd take care of it in Vegas later on.  For now I needed to do something to get over the jet lag so another OrangeTheory fitness class was the order of the day.  It sure sucked not to be biking, so I needed some other way to burn 600-800 calories and these classes were the way to do it.  They involve high-intensity training in group classes on the treadmills, rowing machines, and weight floor exercises.  It just so happened that today was an especially hard partner workout called 'capture the flag', that resulted in almost 900 calories burned which is almost as much as a short day of biking.

Since it was over a 5 mile walk to that OrangeTheory studio from the Airbnb where I was staying, and my credit card no longer worked with Uber as I put a stop on it, I was forced to walk.  But I wasn't going to walk with luggage, so I just dumped my luggage in Pasadena and asked the people at the Airbnb to look after it.  Most likely I won't be able to pick it up for another 6 months, but there's nothing valuable in that luggage anyway.  The only reason for lugging it was to give the appearance at LA immigration that I was a normal traveler with a reasonable amount of luggage and not some guy traveling around the world with just a backpack and no bicycle.  Since that purpose was no longer needed, and I sure as hell didn't want to walk with luggage anymore, I just dumped it.

Won this for coming in 3rd place in a fitness contest in Pasadena
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Amazing Airbnb
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