Hello Hello to each and every one of you who has taken the time out of busy schedules, and your busy hustling, bustling lives to take a gander at my humble blog. Not only do I want to thank you, like seriously, thank you (and remember to subscribe), but I really want to lay it on thick, because who ever said, that flattery will get you no where, was obviously very bad at giving compliments. So, once again thank you, and let’s jump into the ocean of my crazy, wacky, sometimes embarrassing memories, with one that I’ve entitled, “ It’s Just Grass”
It was the year 2009, and 18 year old me, had just arrived in China. The flight itself was uneventful, and the jet lag I experienced after landing at the Beijing International Airport, and the euphoria of those first few timid steps upon Chinese soil, were more or less lost on me, simply because I was so damn tired. Seriously, exhausted. Let’s break it down. China is 12 hours ahead of Barbados, and goes without saying, exists in a different time zone. Not only had I lost around 7 hours with my stopover in London, but I then gained a whole day, basically just with one leap to China. I, quite literally flew into my own future. That sounds cool, and indeed it is, summoning up images of the 80’s “Back to the Future” blockbusters, but in reality the only effect it had, was to make me feel down right washed out, broken down exhausted.I arrived in China as a mentally wide-eyed but physically, walking dead zombie.The most positive undead you’ve probably never met. Funny right. Those first few days passed in a blaze, or more like a haze, of fulling out forms, moving into the dorm, standing in the longest lines in the world, lines that would have given the great wall a run for its money…and win. Also, getting money sorted out, collecting all manner of maps and pamphlets and attending every orientation possible.Yes.Long story short, it was like waiting in the bank on a Sunday Morning, SLOW.
It wasn’t until 8 days after my arrival in China, that I actually began to feel like myself, and actually make friends. The first friends in China were, Kristina, a friendly Russian Girl, and Boris, who unlike you’d assume by his name, was not Russian, but actually a Brazilian born Chinese, and he was really cool too. You may be asking yourselves, through which exciting means did I happen to meet these two exotic yet, friendly people. Well, you’d never guess it, Not ever, ever, even if you tried….Low and Behold I met them while waiting, wait for it, while waiting in a line of over 300 people. After that whirl wind meeting, we three we inseparable. Going out shopping, eating, or basically just having fun. Good times.
We had become such good friends, that in late spring of the following year, Boris and Kristina, and a couple other friends had organised a trip to the Grasslands of Inner Mongolia. It was here, for the first time, since I left Barbados, that the Bajan in me rear itself up. When they broached this trip idea, my face was saying, Oh, dear me, I’m so sorry, but I have so many assignments to complete, and I don’t know if i have enough money to go.Basically,every polite excuse you can imagine, but, the Bajan in me was getting on bad, “What the Hell, Who gine go an pay good money, to go an see GRASS?! It’s Just grass people, get some sense, cheese on. I mean, you come all the way to China, and de First ting you gine go an’ see is GRASS? If I look out through my window right now, I gine see grass and if I look real hard, I cuh even see grass in my crack of my wall then, Come on! It’s just Grass then.” So Yes, while I was politely declining, with my iconic smile and twinkling eyes, my Bajan mind was going off and laughing at the idiocy of spending good money to go see miles and miles of grass. I mean, you could buy some good food with that money or something.
Without doubt, I did not accompany my friends, to the grasslands, because it was such a ridiculous notion and especially because, you were in essence, simply paying your hard earned money to see grass. I felt quite content with my decision and truthfully did not even give it a second thought. Even after my friends returned from their trip, regaling me with tales of grass covered fields stretching to the horizon, my only thought was yep, but no though, still not worth my good money.
Even though I was so sure and steadfast in my decision, when indeed I was presented with another opportunity to visit these so-called Grasslands, I actually took it. Less because of the destination and more due to the fact that it was free. As the saying goes, never look a gift horse in the mouth, and in this case, I kept my eyes wide shut.I expected a free trip, a few nights in a hotel, some free meals, and time to hangout with my classmates. What I didn’t expect was for my steadfast, limited preconceptions to be so completely shattered, that it actually changed a core part of my being from that point on.
As I looked through the windows of the travel bus, and at the moment I placed my feet on the plains of Inner Mongolia, I knew I would never be the same again. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Beautiful beyond comparison, more beautiful that anything I had ever seen before, and I drank it up. The sun dappled waist height grass, as they swayed back and forth in the gentle breeze was almost hypnotic. The wild flowers of every colour imaginable, painting the plains more vividly than any artist’s impressions. However, the most magnificent incarnation of beauty was captured so sublimely, so elegantly, by the pure freedom of the large harras of horses, which galloped so unrestricted across said plains. It was the definition of beauty,natures charm at its best and it was then, in my first year in China, that I became aware of my thirst for travel. To see far off vistas, meet interesting people and simply experience something different, something novel, to bring me closer to what it truly means to being human.
After experiencing the Plains of Inner Mongolia myself, it made me aware of the importance of trying new things, because simply by seeing or doing something new, you stretch the limits of what you know and what you can both accept and understand to greater lengths. It makes you compassionate, or at least that’s what it did for me.
Now, because I wanted to try something new and exciting. I saw nearby, that there was a ranch, on which you could rent a horse to ride out onto the plains for about half an hour or so. I of course, said, yes, this was do nicely and made my way over to said ranch. At the ranch, there was a short line of about 25 people or so, (this is China people), so I patiently waited my turn, until I had finally reached the top of the line. Whether it was providence or just some lucky coincidence, the horse I was meant to ride was a Strapping black, muscle rippling Stallion, and I, of course being no shabby specimen myself, was taunt with excitement.As you can assume, I made my way over to the horse, looked him square in the eye, and as I was about to mount it, the jock hand ran over to say, “ Oh no, sorry, this is not for you” while pulling the reigns from my hands. “Thiiisssss ( a very looooong this) horse is for you” while turning me in the direction of a fat, pot bellied, patchy, spotty, short Mare. I of course was shocked and as I was being herded towards that,’one leg in the grave’ sort of horse, my proud black beauty was being shoved into the arms of this middle aged Chinese lady, who in fact was looking at me with an expression which shouted “ Ha Ha…HA Ha HA! Look who’s getting the good horse, sucka!” I was most upset, but and I must say, what happened immediately afterwards went get lengths to bringing a smile back to my face and putting a hop back into my step. As soon as the lady who STOLE my horse sat herself in the saddle, Black Beauty took off at a full gallop. He sprinted like the ground was on fire, and of course, the poor,poor lady tumbled right off the back of the horse and was dragged along the ground for about 40 metres, before the jock hands caught up and calmed the horse down. She didn’t die of course, but Lordie was it delicious to have revenge so swiftly delivered. Plus, as a bonus, my fat, short horse was remarkably well tempered and excellently trained, and we had a wonderful trot over the plains. My second lesson from that trip, Never judge a book by its cover!
Thus, my trip ended, but at the end of that new trip, I discovered a new aspect of my personality, a part which over the years helped me to grow into the person I am now. As we are coming to the end of this blog I want to leave you with two things which are so easy to just pass off or overlook;
1: Never hold too tightly to your preconceptions, because, they are more often that not, not accurate.
2: Never judge before getting to know something, or before having experienced something yourself. However, as a rule of thumb always say no to drugs and alcohol and all things that could literally kill you but that’s just a rule of nature.
Thanks for reading and stay turned for our next Issue!