加拿大自然公园: “大自然将继续成为所有新移民都可以从中得到慰藉的聚集处。 无论他们来自何方，有着什么样的生活方式。”
“Nature will continue to be a collective place that all newcomers can take solace in, no matter where they’ve come from or where life has taken them.”
And there’s a chance you can just experience the nature, camping, and see animals, wildlife, and a lot of people are volunteering for you. For newcomers it’s really precious – Park Canada.]
Camping is not our meal
Is camping one of your favourite summer pastimes in Canada? While nothing else can bring you closer to nature than camping does, some people are reluctant to step into a small plastic tent to spend a night in Canada’s wilderness.
And I am one of these people. Three years ago, a neighbour suggested that the two families together make a camping trip, as a way to “integrate into Canadian culture”.
“Let’s do it… Most of my colleagues and neighbours spend their summer time camping in a forest,” encouraged the neighbour, who was an employee of Corporate Canada.
It seemed that turning down their invitation would make us “non Canadian”, though we were all daunted by this outdoor experience that we had never tried before. So we packed everything for a three nights stay in the famous camping site – from a cooking stove and chopsticks to blankets and pillows – more stuff than we ever prepared for vacations with hotel stay.
If vacationing meant an escape from the strain and stress, the hectic packing had already given us an unpleasant start.
After 3 hours of driving, we finally arrived at Algonquin Park, the third-largest provincial park in Ontario. While the next day’s outdoor activities -- including fishing, hiking, and canoeing seemed attractive, our first night in the dark, rugged and heavily forested Canadian wilderness proved to be challenging.
Cramped into a small tent, my family of four threw our body over two blankets covering the rugged ground – an experience we never had before. Outside of the tent, it was quiet and pitch-dark, and the silence was only broken by the occasional cry of a wolf. Even in the mid of summer, the night in the park was cold and damp.
Undoubtedly, falling into sleep was difficult to a picky sleeper like me – I have trouble sleeping at friends and hotels. After many different sleep tactics–including the use of mental imagery of lying down a sunshine beach, surrounded by mouth watering food and drink, boating in a wavy lake chased by a flock of gulls-- I finally drifted into shallow sleep, only to be awakened by my daughters washroom demand.
“Mom, I got to go!”
It dragged me back to reality – that we were all stuck in a small tent, surrounded by heavy forest, and washroom – the most convenient at home and in a hotel room -- was several hundred feet away.
As my vision turns poor at night, a washroom trip became a challenge. I scrambled for a flash light, and we were almost lost on our way back.
Needless to say, I spent the whole night awake, with eyes wide open.
The next days’ fishing excursion was lost in a harrowing mess of mosquitoes. They were everywhere, to say the least. Swarms of these buggers were hitting my hands, and it felt like walking through a thicket of bushes. They were able to pierce right through my double shirts. These weren’t regular mosquitoes; they were ferocious piranhas, nipping at my ears, eyes and even up my nose. We did have DEET on hand but it had very little effect.
By the time we were back in the car, my tongue had swollen along with my eyelids. I felt as if I was a walking West Nile virus time bomb, ready to fall ill any second, bringing fever and stomach pain along.
When the sun moved and the night started to cover the forest, the last night experience escalated into terror, I asked the rest of the family whether they wanted to experience another tent night in the wildness, and I got a unanimous answer of “No!”
We then packed everything and hurried to home – even though we paid for a 3 night deal.
Now that we did the camping, explored the nature and saw wild animals – mostly mosquitoes, we can say that we will never do camping again. Are we among the immigrants who are unable to enjoy Canada’s spectacular nature by camping? Apparently we are, and we are not alone. By and large, Chinese prefer visiting museums, aquariums and historical relics, rather than exploring outdoor adventures and wildlife.
In the end, don’t we all come to Canada to pursue a better quality of living? But the damp dark night, the mosquitoes, the long trip to the washroom at night only reminds us of the past experience in our home country with tough living conditions. Despite Parks Canada’s efforts to educate newcomers about the wilderness, it is in our blood that we don’t just dislike outdoor adventures, we detest it.
Camping, it is not our meal.
Note: The story was published in Chinese News in June, 2013.
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