September EP09/12 – China

Still a little over a week to go this month but I decided to spilt the month into two posts/edits seeing as Sibu and KL kinda warrant it.

The video is super short for a few of reasons.

1- I still have a fuck ton of footage but it’s mostly b roll and I didn’t know how to fit it in. Some of my jumps the footage was really dark so I didn’t use em. This was also the first month this year that wasn’t completely about jumping so I didn’t include a lot of stuff.

2- I kinda ran outta time to get this out and while no one really gives a fuck about these videos other than me I wanted to get it out before I get to Sibu.

3- I think short and sweet is totally fine for this vid. In hindsight I wish I had done this month in more of a ‘this is what we are doing today’ format but I didn’t and it is what it is.

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China was fuckin sick. My buddy Paul has lived there for six years and has been trying to get me over for a long time but I always managed to find an excuse not to go. Better late than never I guess. I’m not going to say in a public post like this exactly where he is in China for obvious reasons but I will say it’s a fuckin BASE jumping mecca. I can’t even begin to explain how much shit there is to jump and I’m sure that my buddies will never hear the end of it when I get back to the US. You could literally drive for an hour in any direction and all you can see is buildings, most of which are jumpable. It all depends on what kind of jumps you like, what level of technicality you are comfortable with, and how much work you want to put in to access etc. It’s kinda like Moab but with buildings instead of cliffs.

I didn’t come here specifically to jump but after seeing the place I was like a kid in a candy store. It literally got to the point that I was sick of driving around looking at stuff because my list just kept getting longer of the ones I wanted to do and I didn’t have the time to get them all. I know it’s a bold statement but you could easily spend a year here working through all the jumps and with the seemingly never ending construction going on I think that year could turn into several without you ever getting bored.

Because my time was relatively short I pretty much just went around Paul’s area and picked off the ones I thought were the easiest.

In total I was there for 15 days and I got 6 jumps being super casual about it. I had three failed missions and we had bad weather a few days so overall I’m super happy. It was the first time I’ve ever scouted and jumped buildings completely solo so that was an awesome experience in itself.  Solo missions in general are a completely different type of jumping – I’ll prob write a separate post about that at some point. Aside from jumping we did some sight seeing, went to the gym almost every day, read and journaled a bunch, and spent a lot of time just hanging out.

These couple of weeks were a great mental reset for me having gone through a lot of ups n downs (mostly downs) over the past few months. It was really good to be in somewhat isolation for a while and I got to focus on getting healthy again. I only got drunk once on the trip when we went to Shanghai to see my other buddy and I can count on one hand the number of days I had even one drink. The jumps were just the icing on the cake. It’s pretty safe to say that I will be coming back here for a jumping specific trip in the not too distant future. I would love to potentially come here for an extended period of time but I say that every time I see a new place and my list continues to grow. For now I will take it for what it was and try to not project too much into wishing I had more time here.

Some observations/recommendations if you ever decide to go to China

  • The internet is terrible unless you have a Chinese phone. My phone was fucked the entire time I was there. Thanks AT&T. Also, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Google are all blocked here so what the fuck are you supposed to do? There is a work around by downloading a VPN which by passes the block but it’s still a pain in the ass and service is very spotty.
  • People here are extremely rude. I don’t want to lump all Chinese people in the same boat because there are over a billion of them but I was extremely surprised at how pushy people are. Standing in line to get on the plane, train, at Starbucks, in the grocery store –  people will just walk up and stand in front of you when there is clearly a line. They do this to each other as well just to be clear, seemed really weird that most don’t seem to care or notice. A couple of times when I was asking for directions people didn’t even look at me when I asked them a question. That would NEVER happen in the US.
  • A lot of the older generation don’t like foreigners, especially where I was. I honestly think I saw less than 10 white people there in the two weeks. Granted I was in a city that a lot of non Chinese people have likely never even heard of but still. Countless times I would see an old man just staring and me with a sour look on his face as if to say ‘what the fuck are you doing here?’ – Paul’s wife actually got a call one day saying someone had complained to the building management ‘there are too many foreigners staying at your place‘ and she was like ‘there is only one person staying here‘. On another evening a security guard called up to the apartment wanting me to fill out paper work with my passport and visa number etc but I managed to get rid of him without issue or without filling out his forms.
  • I’d highly recommend learning a little Chinese if you come here because not many people speak English. Thats if you decide to visit a city outside of the main tourist places (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen etc) Even having 10 phrases could help you out a lot. Lucky for me my buddy has fluent Chinese so he was able to translate everything for me but I would have been fucked without him. I find that with a lot of languages you can kind of get a jist of what someone is saying to you but with Chinese it’s like, well, it’s like Chinese hahaha.
  • Electric bikes are everywhere – At first I thought everyone was driving mopeds but they are all electric. Gas mopeds are actually now illegal in a lot of places as the government is attempting to decrease pollution.
  • Finger print scanners are very common here. It’s funny to me that a couple years ago everyone freaked out over bridge day wanting to fingerprint jumpers – “my right as an American” and all that bullshit. My buddy over here is a member of two gyms and instead of having a key he scans his fingerprint. I’ve also seen workers checking in using them at his apartment complex. I think it’s a great idea.
  • Train stations are like airports. You have to go through security, your bags scanned n all that. I thought it was overkill at first but I guess their idea is that if they have protocols like that in place from the get then it’s a lot less likely they will ever be attacked etc.

Granted all the above is my personal experience in a place tourists don’t normally visit so take it with a grain of salt. China is now def on my list of places to return, next time it will just be longer. It was really cool getting to experience a new country for a bit and I’m excited for the next two weeks of craziness. Fingers cross I don’t have any medical issues or get food poisoning again this year.

 

john