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Adventure awaits

Visitors to a holy mountain in China cling to safety lines on a foot path 1,500 metres above ground. Photographer William Jans talks about his experiences travelling in the country during a show at Malaspina Theatre May 12. - William Jans photo
Visitors to a holy mountain in China cling to safety lines on a foot path 1,500 metres above ground. Photographer William Jans talks about his experiences travelling in the country during a show at Malaspina Theatre May 12.
— image credit: William Jans photo

Photographer William Jans doesn’t regret eating balut, an egg four days from hatching and a cultural delicacy in the Philippines.

The 20-hour bus ride the next day? Not so much.

“I should have flown,” Jans said.

But he chalks it up to another experience he can relate to audiences when he presents photos, videos and memories of his trip through the Philippines and China last year. His show, Off the Wall in China, is set for May 12 at Malaspina Theatre at Vancouver Island University.

“My misfortune is your entertainment,” Jans said.

The Vancouver-based photographer travels the world, presenting his experiences in places like Africa and South America to audiences. What makes Jans’s shows unique is his willingness to experience the local culture – in Africa, he was treated to the spinal cord from a goat, which was an honour reserved for tribe leaders and guests.

But he did draw the line at participating in the crucifixion festival in the Philippines, just north of Manila. There, the devout Christians recreate the crucifixion, with volunteers nailed to crosses by participants dressed as Roman soldiers.

“It really is people getting nailed to crosses,” Jans said.

Crucifixion festivalLike crucifixions in the first century, spectators are welcome to inflict punishment on the crucified. It sounds gory, but Jans said it’s actually a family event.

“You can buy popsicles and Spongebob Squarepants balloons,” he said.

Adventuring in foreign countries is not without risk, as Canada’s overly protective health and safety rules are non-existent.

Jans hiked up a volcano in the Philippines – described as the ‘perfect’ volcano because of its shape – and two people on the trip ended up in hospital.

He also took a trek on a holy mountain, or rather around it, as hikers clipped in to safety lines on a walkway made of two-by-fours with a drop of 1,500 metres.

“I would do that again in a heartbeat,” Jans said.

He also did something completely illegal – spent the night on the Great Wall of China.

A forecasted storm left his chosen section of the wall deserted and he hiked for 21 kilometres alone. He chose a remote location and set up his sleeping bag for the night.

Jans shares more stories from his trip to China and the Philippines during his show, beginning at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets $21/Valhalla Pure Outfitters; $22/online at www.wrjphoto.com; $24/door.

For more information, please visit www.wrjphoto.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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