Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and relax as I am going to tell you a little story. Sitting comfortable? Good! Where do I begin? Ah yes ahem… There are two things I particularly dislike in today’s society; the first is global inequality, which continues to blight our world, the other? Well, it’s camping…
Let me be clear, I do really like to spend time outdoors, it’s just, well… you can have too much of a good thing right? Sure getting out of the city once in a while can yield some great recreational moments, but after a while, once the novelty has warn off, you kind of remember how it often lacks good bathroom, Wifi, sleeping and tea & coffee making facilities. I guess I have just never understood how camping can really exist as recreational activity these days when we have these things called ‘houses’ which have all of the afore mentioned (including wifi).
You’ve probably by now gathered the idea that I’m not a big fan of camping, I don’t see any shame in that. So imagine my trepidation when I was
told invited to attend this semesters ‘CSA Great Wall Camping Trip’. I figured I’d recreate an honest written account of said trip as I have done with all the other CSA trips this semester, so here goes:
I'm a third generation Malaysian Chinese who's been living in New Zealand for the past decade. The three main languages that I know are English, Malay and Mandarin - ranked specifically in that order to reflect my level of proficiency in each. I’ve been to quite a few places but the prospect of coming to China scared me even more than when I went to an ex-Soviet country for 2 months (I stuck out like a sore thumb as I could barely read the Cyrillic alphabet). Last year, I had a gap in between my jobs so I decided to bite the bullet and go to Beijing for 3 months to work on my kindergarten-level Mandarin.
I’m so infinitely glad that I did because I loved the experience so much more than I thought I would have.
As an American, I am accustomed to lots of delicious fake Chinese food. Always fried to perfection, somehow made shinier than a new car, and finally packaged in iconic Chinese takeaway boxes. American Chinese cuisine is very satisfying. It is often even prepared by Chinese-Americans, who were born in China, which leaves us thinking that it must be authentic...sort of.