Chinese Women, Asian Women, Online Dating & Things Chinese and Asian
Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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My China Trip - Day 13 我的中国之行—第13天    

By Barry Pittman
7205 Views | 36 Comments | 6/7/2014 6:50:00 PM

It was 7.30am, my usual time to get up.  I was still sleeping alone in the QinLi hotel in Shawan each evening.  Tina and her daughter Wendy were located fifteen or twenty minutes walk away.  By all appearances, I was leading a perfectly respectable life -  the gossip merchants in Tina’s apartment block had no cause to talk too much about either her or me.  A single Chinese woman would tend to be frowned upon, if it was noticed a man staying with her overnight.  “Saving face” is an important concept in China.

Having been in Shawan for nearly a week, I still hadn’t seen a single person taller than me in the town.  At 188cm, I was literally head and shoulders above most of the inhabitants.   I think I was the only Westerner in this place also.  So being both tall as well as being Western made me an object of curiosity.

Wherever I went here, Chinese men and women tended to stare at me.  This wasn’t a worry, merely an observation. Soon enough I’ll be gone and the townsfolk will’ve lost a local talking point!

Tina and I jumped on a bus here the other day.  It was full of school kids, around eight to twelve years old.  Clearly they’d never seen a Westerner in the flesh before, particularly a lanky beanstalk like me.  Their mouths dropped and they stared intently, some giggling.  I smiled at them and suddenly the tension was broken, they all started laughing and having fun, as any group of mischievous kids would do around the world.  I’m sure my presence with them on the bus for just a few minutes gave them some memories they’ll maintain for a while, re the towering strange man with funny round eyes that they saw on the bus.  Maybe my presence will one day become the stuff of myth and legend, as these kids grow up and tell their own children, about the giant man with eyes the size of dinner plates that they once saw on the bus as a child.

Tina told me today was different as we all were to have lunch with her parents.  Her father was 81;  her mother 75. I presume they’d been married for around fifty or so years.  Daughter Wendy was 16 and was home today.  We were all to have a grand lunch together as a family unit.

The fact that Tina had felt free enough to introduce me to her daughter and now to her parents was a propitious indicator of how things were going between us. By all appearances, things were heading the right way.  But who was it who once said, “appearances can be deceiving”?  I’ve traversed too many dry gullies full of nothing but rolling and dessicated tumbleweeds  - crossed too many apparently beckoning bridges that turned out to disappointingly lead to nowhere  -  to take anything for granted these days.

I thought we were to eat lunch at the parent’s house but as it transpired, we all met up in one of the local upmarket restaurants.  The food there was delicious, clearly a cut above what we’d been ingesting at the smaller sidewalk cafes and kitchens we’d frequented over the past couple of weeks.

Tina’s parents met me, smiling and shaking hands.  Her father in particular looked good for an 81 year old.  He’d been an English teacher some twenty odd years ago but these days only recalled a few words such as “hello” and “goodbye”.  Sometime during China’s “cultural revolution” period in the 1970s and early 1980s, he’d been imprisoned for a year for speaking out against the powers that be.  I wondered how his hapless family of three daughters and wife would’ve survived back in those turbulent times, with the breadwinner suddenly gone?

Tina’s mother said nothing much during the meal.  She looked slightly uncomfortable, I thought.  Maybe I was wrong?

Wendy was the best English speaker in the room, apart from myself.  She reveled in acting the role of translator from time to time, as we all shared pleasantries amongst ourselves.  Tina’s English ability was fair at around a five out of ten level, but there were some words or phrases she simply couldn’t comprehend.  From time to time, she’d drag out her big screen cell phone, that had a Chinese/English translation app installed into it.  Over the course of my time here, this had proven invaluable at odd times, when Tina simply had no idea of what I’d been trying to say.

Sometimes Wendy acted a little mischievously, laughing at her mother’s slightly lower English ability, saying something like,

“Barry said the meal’s very nice  -  he didn’t say what you thought he said!”

Finally it was time to go.  I shook hands again with the parents and they were off. They’d hardly said a word to me during the lunch, but that was to be expected, I guess. Different languages, different cultures.  I inwardly wondered though what they really thought about me?  Were they concerned perhaps, that this strange man may be taking their prized daughter away from them to a distant land?  With just a minimum of communication between us, did they have any idea really of who I was or what my real character was like?

As these reflective misgivings floated idly through my head, suddenly Tina gave me a peck on the cheek, saying she thought things went well.

“Please don’t worry, Barry.  I’m sure they like you!”  

In the late afternoon, we headed up to the foothills around Shawan.  The town itself has an interesting character to it. Let me explain a little.

The character of my home town, Brisbane Queensland is that it’s rather flat, friendly and featureless, unless one’s near the city centre where a pleasant river runs beside a bunch of glassy skyscrapers .

I once lived for two years in Denver Colorado.  The character there revolved around the Rockies.  Wherever you were in the city, on one side lay an imposing range of magnificent snow capped mountains.  Roosevelt had famously once described them as a national treasure that “bankrupted the English language in trying to describe its beauty”.  And he was right.

The character of Shawan is that on one side, a tree covered set of mountains exists close by, yet none so high to have snow.  And on the other side of the city, lay a wonderful array of bushy hills covered in many tracks and trails.  A truly great training ground for serious bushwalkers and hikers.  I instantly saw how and where Tina’s legs of iron had become so steely and well developed over the past ten or so years she’d frequented this region, nearly every day.

Tina and I hiked around this hilly area late this afternoon.  One had to cross over the Shawan Bridge in order to reach it.  I began jogging and soon enough left Tina behind.  The same thing happened in the bushy foothills – with my long legs, I was able to regularly outpace her.  Yet the mystery remains that on the steep Mt Emei slopes a few days earlier, she’d made me feel like a fifty pound weakling, as I choked on the dust left by her fast moving, centipede-like feet!

In this area, I was particularly enthralled by the small vegetable gardens and ancient looking farmer’s houses hidden away from the roads.  At one stage I passed a few Chinese men, one of whom started jabbering furiously and pointing to me.

“What’s that man saying?”, I asked Tina.

“Oh, he’s telling his friends how strange it is to see a Westerner up here!”, she laughed.

During this exercise time with Tina, my mind wandered back to how this all had come about.  My experiences with Chinese online dating had proven one thing to me.  The fact that one must persevere.  Through two separate stints on the website, over a period of months, I’d brushed up against literally hundreds of ladies. My emotions during this time were like a roller coaster, up one day, then down the next.

Sometimes I’d felt like quitting, wondering if all the effort was worthwhile.  Meeting one’s supposed soul mate was way more difficult than I’d imagined.  Sure, there were beautiful Chinese and Asian ladies everywhere.  But I was searching for more than skin deep, superficial charm.  This is where Tina came in.  Her true quality cannot be captured by still photographs. It lay much deeper than her skin.  She possesses an inner beauty  - an elusive harmony of both soul and spirit  - that’s quite unusual and difficult to fully describe in mere words.

Outer beauty fades over time. Inner beauty doesn’t.  In fact, rather than evaporating, often it grows and matures ever more gracefully and powerfully with the inexorable passing of the years.

This is what was most important to me, the elusive golden fleece I’d been searching for all my life.

Had I at last found it?





























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#2014-06-22 13:10:08 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, basically I'm starting to think you've just been teasing us.

First, you made a pretty revealing comment yesterday. Most people maybe didn't see it because it was going back a few parts of the series, but I couldn't miss it.

Now you tell us that you've met the family (parents) and Tina assured you that all went well. That doesn't leave much doubt about her intentions towards you. So what's all this fuss about your having your doubts?

To make matters worse you tease us with that pic of you at an ATM, and leave us to wonder if you finally did the good deed (no Paul, I'm not talking about sex) and paid Tina her expenses or not.

You are toying with us my friend, toying with us. (headbang)

However, having said that, I want to clarify for you, and more importantly for others, that I realize and so should everyone else, that you're an intelligent and adult man with a good heart, so I have no doubt that by now you have had frequent discussions with Tina about paying her, that it is all worked out between you, and that we can probably all relax on that issue and get on with other more important things.

Like satisfying Paul and Grace172's (@paulfox1 and @grace172 ) unquenchable thirst to know if you and Tina have done the dirty deed yet? (Yes Paul, this time I am talking about sex.) :)

#2014-06-22 21:04:51 by Barry1 @Barry1


May I respond to a few things you mentioned?

"I'm starting to think you've just been teasing us."

The answer to this is no, John. I haven't been playing silly games with anyone here.

You also said,

"So what's all this fuss about your having your doubts?"

The answer to this may be revealed in upcoming episodes. I can't say too much at this time because this is an evolving series, a moving feast, if you will.

You also mentioned,

"I have no doubt that by now you have had frequent discussions with Tina about paying her, that it is all worked out between you"

The answer to this is both yes and no. That is, I've mentioned the issue frequently but the situation is not yet fully resolved.

You asked "if you and Tina have done the dirty deed yet?"

Please let me defer to one of the answers above and say this is an evolving series and an answer may (or may not?) be revealed in due course. (wasntme)

#2014-06-22 23:32:49 by prana @prana

Barry, you and Tina's parents met, and this is good news, do not worry.
However, if Tina was the only child, you might be doing inserted down the door of the son-in-law.
Tina is a nice lady, I congratulate you!
I believe that if you love one another, cultural differences are not a problem.

#2014-06-23 06:45:13 by anonymous10627 @anonymous10627

Barry, unless I have lost all my internal instincts and the function of my chickdar, you have been hooked, reeled in and landed my friend! I also mentioned in a comment on your day 12 episode you made a comment that I think most people aside from myself and John did not pick up on.

It sounds like Dada approved of you and Mama may have some doubts still, but you do not get to meet Mama and Dada unless Tina is serious about you as a partner and potential husband and you have proved your worth in "all" ways.(rock)

Some women here will say it means nothing but we all know it is very big step in your relationship......unless you are trying to pull the proverbial wool over our eyes?? (party)

All as I can say now is good on yuh mate and I am green with envy........

#2014-06-23 14:44:42 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - Hmmm, all those responses sound a lot like you're teasing us ;)

#2014-06-23 15:45:53 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

So now the important question (which is related to John's "dirty deed" question): who paid for lunch? You needed to pick up the bill, my friend, so I hope you found some way to, and if you did, your experience would certainly be helpful to other Westerners who will invariably find theselves in a similar situation. You (and other members) may think this is much ado about nothing. But it is no small matter who pays the bill in China. A sign that an issue is important is how much people fight over the issue. And people fight like cats and dogs in China about who pays the bill because what's at stake is the all important issue of face.

#2014-06-23 17:58:52 by Barry1 @Barry1


”Tina is a nice lady, I congratulate you!“

You are also a very nice lady, Prana - please never forget this.

I feel like refueling sometimes also. So I understand what you mean when you say this.

Best wishes to you, Prana. :)

#2014-06-23 18:16:19 by Barry1 @Barry1


"you have been hooked, reeled in and landed my friend!"

Thanks for your discerning attentiveness to my story, Anon10627. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving. This may be discussed down the track a little in my evolving series.

You also said,

"All as I can say now is good on yuh mate and I am green with envy"

Thanks so much, Anon10626.

But you know what they say........

"It ain't over till the fat lady sings" (think)

#2014-06-23 18:56:13 by Barry1 @Barry1


"all those responses sound a lot like you're teasing us"

I'm treating this journey as a serious one, John. In turn, I hope the articles reflect this. So teases, lead ons, baits and tantalisations are not part of my aim.

This in fact may be part of the reason why I've suffered so much gratuitous personal abuse in this series. Because everything I say is the truth as I see it at that moment. I'm not trying to cover things up, ameliorate or sugar coat them.

Perhaps now may be the time to address all the armchair critics out there.

If you think you can write something better or present yourself more favorably than my warts 'n all, honest account here has so far done, then why don't you do it? Rather than snidely sitting on the sidelines, taking cheap shots and offering unwarranted insults or other disrespectful, demeaning comments, where they're not appreciated, asked for - nor wanted?

This is particularly directed to those gutless wonders who do this under an "Anonymous" pseudonym.

If you don't like what I'm saying - then DON'T READ IT. Buzz off and annoy someone else.

It's all very simple really, isn't it?

#2014-06-24 15:31:42 by Barry1 @Barry1


"who paid for lunch"

Tina paid for the lunch, Woaizhongguo.

Upon reflection however, I can see that you're quite correct in your statements. I should have paid for it. 20/20 hindsight, eh?

I urge all Westerners reading this to follow Woaizhongguo"s good advice. Pay for lunch with the extended family. Don't do as I did. It showed a disrespect - or at the very least, an ignorance - of the cultural torts and norms here.

Thanks for your comments, Woaizhongguo - I won't make the same error again. (y)

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