I think a lot of us have experienced some sort of game watching, whether it’s birding or out there on a safari game drive, they are similar. You are up early in the morning. A quick cup of coffee, a rusk and you all bundle out the door, excited at what the day will yield. The sun is just peaking over the horizon, lazily casting rays of light across the valley as it burns away the blanket of mist. One can feel the cold on your cheeks as the wind has this little bite in the early morning. Off you go.
It’s not long and the vehicle slows, there is immediate excitement in the car, ‘look there, look there to the right, can you see it, where, where’. You were just too late; the Sable antelope got spooked and off it ran for cover in the thicket of thorns. So, on the day goes, sighting after sighting, click, click of the camera and so the entourage of cars grow, all out now looking for the big five.
In China we are the game, and a rare sighting at that, especially when we come running through a village in shorts at sunrise with the temperature at two degrees. There are yelps of excitement as everyone dashes for their phones to capture this rare sighting. The first pic is of our legs, or a sneaky video of us running, then there is the selfie request.
The worst is when we are a “road sighting”, cars will come to a screeching halt in the middle of the road, trucks swerving and breaks screeching to avoid an accident. With utter amazement people just sit and stare at the bare-legged aliens running along the road and then dash off into the farmlands for shelter. Windows drop and phones are shoved out snapping away. I now know exactly what game feel like, hour after hour as these crazy people snap away, passing ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ comments as they then drive on into the sunrise. The best is when we run into a tourist area of the Wall. We become a bigger attraction than the tourist attraction.
As the day wears on and we tire with the running, so do our smiles also wear a bit thin, and let’s say we are not so accommodating, but the sightings continue. It’s the same thing hour after hour – I now know what the wild game must feel like after a long day. They probably just wish the sun will set and that everyone goes home and just leaves them in peace.