I don’t know a lot about Chinese culture. So far, my research has begun and ended with Sky +ing the episode of An Idiot Abroad where Karl goes to see the Great Wall and have his fortune told by a Buddhist monk. It was quite informative though. That’s where my knowledge and fear of the squat loo was born (following a frank and detailed discussion of the logistics of using a squat, I’ve been reassured by my sister in law – who’s spent the last 3 months hovering perilously over various shaped holes in grounds – that I’ll soon learn to adapt. Leave the shewee at home). I usually find An Idiot Abroad shamelessly hyperbolic, but those big boney insects stacked 10 to a stick and sold from street vendors looked horrifically real to me. I like to think I’d give anything a go, If it’s red blooded, as long as it doesn’t look like the animal it once walked this earth as I’ll try it. I think insects are a little different – bit of salt and you can easily pretend it’s a twiglet or some other crunchy comestible.
Having been oddly fascinated with the Orwellian world of North Korea for a while, I’m imagining a hop-skip over the border to Heilongjiang to be sweetness and light. I’m imagining fluffy poodles, cakes and people lolling around enjoying their relative freedom and right to be as a human. I know this isn’t quite the case in every corner of the country… I’m going to spend the next few days bursting my bubble by doing a bit of proper research. My visa arrived today so we’re on countdown to lift off!