I always find it very striking: No matter how much you read, how many videos you watch, photos you look at or accounts you listen to – actually visiting/being at a place is more often than not different from what you’ve heard before and has you seeing the real thing with your own eyes, and subsequently shaping your own experience.
Taking my first trip to China as example, I knew that Beijing is horribly polluted as well as crowded with people, like many of the country’s major cities. I’ve also heard that a number of visitors suddenly suffered from respiratory problems after staying for a while. And the reality? To be honest, nothing can prepare an ordinary “Westerner” for seeing the thick and grey smog for the first time – it is depressing if you can’t see further than 100 metres in front of you, because of something man-made. At the same time the air did not smell much different from any European city, nor did I personally have any breathing problems (don’t get me wrong, inhaling this stuff over the long term can’t be good for anyone). There are heaps of people around, for sure, but at least on the streets it’s not as bad as I have imagined – places like the South of Hong Kong’s Kowloon peninsula are where the real insanity starts.
Let’s move back to Oceania and the country that’s the topic on this blog. I stumbled upon E2NZ.org, a blog which fires frantically against New Zealand and strongly advises potential migrants not to move to this “third world hellhole”. I had a closer look at what this community has to say and why I think most people active on this site would have had an equally bad time anywhere outside their home country’s sphere. Continue reading