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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 17 我的中国之行—第17天    

By Barry Pittman
8661 Views | 41 Comments | 6/24/2014 3:10:05 PM

Western men have bigger penises than Chinese men” giggled Tina. Why Tina would blurt out such a statement is beyond me.  We were having an early meal at a sidewalk café near the bus transit centre in Chengdu, ready to catch the tourist coach to Jiuzhaigou Valley, one of China’s most beautifully scenic areas.

“That’s a funny thing to say whilst we’re having breakfast, Tina.... it must be that big salami over there that made you think of such a thing!”

We both laughed out loud and continued eating our egg and tomato omelettes, finished with a few prunes.

On a more serious note, today was going to be a big one.  We had an eight hour bus journey in front of us.  I’d never done such a long bus trip before and wondered how it’d go. Knowing how dangerous the roads were in China, I felt nervous, certainly not particularly relaxed and happy. The coach was scheduled to leave Chengdu at 8.00am and arrive at its destination around 4.15pm.

7.45 arrived, so we made our way to the transit centre.  There lay our coach, with plenty of activity around it.  It was quite a large vehicle, taller than most normal buses, allowing plenty of luggage carrying capacity in the lower level beneath where all the passengers sat.  Because of its super size, I felt a little better.  If we were going to have an accident in it, there’d be a reasonable chance of survival.  Or so I hoped.

You’re joking!” I exclaimed to Tina.

We were on board the coach and unbelievably the numbered coach tickets supplied to us the previous day had Tina and I sitting in different areas of the bus – and neither of us had window seats.  Tina’s bus driver in Shawan had purchased the tickets on our behalf the previous day and obviously hadn’t given two hoots as to where in the bus we were to sit  -  nor even if we were to sit together.  We attempted to change seats so that we could sit beside each other, but no one wanted to give up their positions.

“Thoughtless bastard!” I mumbled to myself.  “How could a bus driver supply two tickets for a pair of good friends undertaking an all day journey where they’re not even sitting together!”

Unfortunately the bad situation became even worse.  Because as it turned out, I ended up sitting next to a middle aged Chinese lady who was traveling in a group with other ladies who were seated nearby, all of whom were jabbering and nattering to themselves in loud voices.  Several times during the trip, I managed to doze off, only to then be awakened by this garrulous cow sitting next to me, talking in a raised voice to her bored friends who were sitting in other seats.

To say I was not amused nor pleased with this situation was to put it mildly.  For the first time on this China trip, I was genuinely annoyed.  I became a little short tempered with Tina, whinging to her about the situation.  In response to my grumbles, during one of the rest stops, Tina approached the coach driver, complaining to him about the loud chatter amongst some of the passengers.

“Okay, I will remind everyone over the intercom to respect people’s sleep and stop making so much noise”.

 But he never did.  Why was I not surprised?

“Barry, why are you annoyed over a little thing like this?”, Tina asked me.

“Well, not only do I not have a window seat on the bus that you know I prefer, but for most of today I have to sit beside a loudly talking blabbermouth talking to her other blabbering friends who are even more of a blowhard than what she is!”

Tina was disappointed in my demeanour’s turn for the worse.  For most of that bus journey, I was in a rather foul mood.  Even during the rest stops, I didn’t feel communicative and went off by myself, standing alone somewhere, away from Tina.  I just didn’t feel either happy nor sociable.

This situation beautifully illustrated the differences between Tina and I.  On many levels, we were quite compatible.  But when push came to shove, on some aspects, we weren’t.  I was a more proactive, outspoken, upfront sort of person.  Not so patient.  Tina had a more laid back, reactive, “she’ll be right” personality.

As I sat for eight long hours in the bus beside this annoying, middle aged Chinese chatterbox, I couldn’t help but to reflect again, “Maybe I’m too rough and tumble for Tina, too assertive?”  These feelings had been plaguing me almost since day one.  Tina was like a gentle and delicate flower, I was more akin to a rolling, desiccated tumbleweed!

But it’s an ill wind indeed that blows no good. Two incidents during this tortuous bus trip did really brighten up my day, to the point where I almost died laughing.  Oh, the joy of it all!  Even thinking about them now puts a smile to my face.

The first incident occurred about half way through the trip.  Tina had brought along a couple of plastic containers of yoghurt, purchased the previous day.  Because they hadn’t been refrigerated however, the yoghurt had begun fermenting, akin to a pressure cooker building up steam inside the plastic tub.  Feeling hungry though, I decided to try one out.  Whilst sitting in the bus as it rolled down the highway with its horn constantly blasting at everything that moved, I held the yoghurt up high in front of me and carefully began to unpeel its seal at the top.  Suddenly whammo!   The tub of fermenting yoghurt exploded, covering my face in it as well as the middle aged, chattering Chinese parrot lady sitting beside me!

I couldn’t help myself  - I exploded in loud guffaws of laughter, so noticeable that the passengers sitting around me all turned to look at me – even the bus driver turned around to see what had happened!

Tina came running down the aisle to see what had happened.

“Barry! Barry!  Are you okay?” she quizzed concernedly as she looked at my face covered in yoghurt.  I couldn’t answer her however, I was beside myself with laughter!

I was laughing not just for myself, but the fact that I’d covered the annoying woman beside me in yoghurt also.  Oh, there is such a thing as karma, after all  - in one fell swoop, this prattling pest had received her come uppence!

As I kept on cackling, Tina soon said, “Barry, please stop laughing.  You should say sorry to the lady” as she was handing tissues to the both of us.

But I couldn’t utter a word.  I was in an uncontrollable fit of convulsive laughter, like endless waves upon a sandy shoreline.  It was the funniest thing that had happened to me in years!

“Barry! Barry!  Please say sorry to the lady!”

Tina could see the lady wiping the blobs of yoghurt from her face, whilst all I could do was to continue chortling and guffawing.  Finally however, I was able to control myself and with Tina’s help, managed to say an insincere  “Sorry!” to the lady, who mumbled something indecipherable to me.  Within  seconds though, I was back to laughing uncontrollably, with Tina telling me to please stop it as she could see the lady was getting increasingly agitated with my unbridled snickering and sniggering about what had occurred!

The second incident of high merriment occurred a couple of hours after this.  The coach stopped for a toilet break for everyone.  We ran to the toilet block where an aged man was collecting one yuan from everyone for the privilege of using his toilets.   Tina shoved two yuan into his hands to cover us both.

When I went to the male section of the toilets, I was slightly disgusted.  In it lay a row of squat toilets, with a eighty centimeter high partition separating each one.  So you could basically see the top of each person’s head as they squatted.  And the smell and fumes within the room were quite offensive.

“This is ridiculous, not acceptable!”

I turned to walk out but only made it to the entry door, before turning around again and hesitatingly heading back to one of the vacant toilets.  I was busting to go, due to the prunes I’d ingested for breakfast that morning, in combination with the curdled yoghurt I’d eaten on the bus, that had continued fermenting in my stomach, that was now feeling rather bloated.

“I have no choice, dammit – I have to go!”

 As I pulled down my pants and squatted, to my shock and horror, the loudest and longest series of involuntary rolling farts erupted from my heaving backside that you’ve ever heard!  It sounded like Louis Armstrong, playing a long low, bass melody on his vibrating trumpet that reverberated around the entire room.   I ducked my head in shame, attempting to hide.  The loud farting went on and on, potently fuelled by prunes and fermenting yoghurt!  Yet at the same time, the absolutely priceless, gut busting hilarity of the situation made me want to burst into guffaws of laughter. I had to bite my lip, to stop doing this.

If you can imagine the situation,  pants down in a room full of squatting men, letting out the longest series of deep, rumbling farts that you’ve ever heard - the scene was hysterical, like something out of Monty Python! 

I wondered later what the Chinese men must have thought about Westerners and their outrageous bowel habits, after this appalling yet hilarious episode!

Two fits of almost uncontrollable mirth in one day  -  totally unrelated  -  I couldn’t remember when this had last happened to me.  Maybe when I was a pimply teenager, forty years ago now!   Was all this Chinese online dating making me go mad? 

In any case, having finished my business, I furtively scuttled out of the public toilet back to the bus, hoping no one knew it was me that’d let out the enormous rolling farts, yet being inwardly aware that every Chinese man in that toilet block must have known who it was that had been so rude!

On a more serious note, the journey itself to Jiuzhaigou Valley was downright dangerous.  My fears felt earlier that morning were comprehensively validated.  At one stage I remember crying out to myself, “No! No! No!” as the bus attempted to overtake a slower moving truck close to a blind corner.  Just as we passed the point of no return, sure enough, another bus came round the curve with horn blaring, missing us by inches. 

Various other driving incidents like this occurred.  We had several near head-on crashes due to maniacal overtaking manouevres by either our driver – or the driver of an oncoming bus or truck that almost ran us off the road.

Thus one has a choice to make when traveling in China.  Do it the safe and efficient way and catch either planes or fast trains that run on their high speed rail network, that cruise along comfortably and smoothly at around 300 km/hour.

Or else take your life into your own hands and catch a bus or drive a car on the roads.  This has the advantage that you can see a lot more, experience a lot more along the route -  yet the decided disadvantage that you may end up in either hospital or the morgue!

As a foreigner, I wanted to see as much as I could of the real China.  You can’t really do that on an aircraft or very fast train.  Too sterile. Remember that often it’s not the destination that’s most interesting, but the journey to get there.  So what does one do?  Accept the risk of a serious road accident on a car or bus, in order to maximize one’s experiences  -  or have a safe albeit boring journey on a train or plane?   It’s a tough call actually.  A hard decision for someone like me, who really does appreciate seeing the real China that many fearful foreigners must miss out on.

Another funny incident occurred on the bus at a rest stop when it left without several passengers, who were still using the toilets.  Once some passengers cried out, “You’ve left some people behind!”, the coach stopped about half a kilometre up the road, waiting for the missing people who soon were dropped off by another bus.  These people looked pretty sheepish when they reboarded our bus, knowing they'd held everyone up.

About 4.20pm the coach finally reached the small township where we were to stay at Jiuzhaigou Valley. I was so glad to get away from the annoying lady next to me.  My foul mood soon dissipated as Tina and I checked into the hotel.  In one way, I was glad she’d seen me like this, acting like an immature fool.  She realized I wasn’t always the charming chap that hitherto I’d tried to portray.  She’d now seen both sides of my checkered personality. 

Were the cracks that were finally beginning to appear in this relationship an ominous sign of things to come?  Was my sometimes temperamental demeanour the worrying trumpeting elephant in the room that I’d been vaguely sensing for so long now, yet not quite been able to put a finger on?

This Jiuzhaigou getaway had started badly.  I can’t blame my surliness on the irritating woman I’d been forced to sit with for the past eight hours.  The buck stopped with me.  I can be a moody bad ass sometimes and at last Tina had witnessed this.  “You are very trouble!” she’d said to me in exasperation at one stage during the trip, referring to my bad mood.  “Why let small things bother you?”   

I somehow sensed that despite everything that’d already passed between us, this trip was a make or break one for us.  So far, it was unerringly tending towards the break side.  My dreams that night in the hotel were the most vivid and disturbing ones I’d so far experienced in China.  I felt the trumpeting elephant was about to make his grand and mostly likely, highly unwelcome appearance.   Get behind me, Satan!

The sound of menacing, distant thunder rolling down the mountains in the mysterious Jiuzhaigou Valley provided the perfect backdrop for my plummeting mood, that was now at its nadir, its lowest ebb so far on this trip.   My left eyebrow started twitching, a sure sign that something sinister was afoot.

Oh joy!”, I mused sarcastically to myself.  “What next!”

I lapsed into a fitful sleep, tossing and turning continually.  Tina lay beside me, as usual in a deep slumber, completely and happily oblivious to the world. Yet I felt the forces of evil around me were raising their shields, ready to do battle.  The growling dogs of war were restless and straining, frightfully baying for blood. 

Was it just the fact that the moon was full on this night, that caused such consternation within my soul?  Or were my foreboding premonitions of impending trouble soon to be confirmed correct?

“西方男人的鸡巴比中国男人的大” TINA咯咯的笑。
“我别无选择,可恶的-- 我得上洗手间。”
一天里发生了两件完全无法控制却又很好笑的事情,而且完全没关的事情, 我想不起这之前在什么时候曾在我身上发生过这样的事情了。难道是所有这些中国网上交友的事情让我发疯了吗?

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2014-07-17 11:29:24 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - As amusing as this leg of the journey is in your well painted word picture, and as revealing as is the opening dialogue between you and Tina, it is the pictures that have really grabbed my attention. In every picture of you and Tina together it is abundantly clear that you are a couple, and a very close and happy couple at that. So happy in fact, that I'm surprised you are still trying make us believe there is any doubt at all about your success in reeling Tina in to your net.

Having said that, having read your fart story, I am uncertain whether the poor girl should suffer such a fate as spending an entire life with one such as yourself. It isn't that the event happened that raises these doubts, it's the joy you have taken in describing it to the world at large with such aplomb! (rofl)

I'm kidding, of course. I am a huge fan of Monty Python, and your little farting adventure does indeed have true Monty Pythonesque characteristics. In fact I am sometimes reading your blogs and picturing you as a member of that truly bizarre and whacky bunch.

Back to the original thought in my comment, I feel somehow that congratulations are in order, but I guess I should play along with your game, just on the chance in a thousand that somehow, after the taking of these pictures, you did manage to somehow blow it with Tina.

But I truly hope not, because you seem like a very vibrant and well matched couple, the kind we take pride on bringing together here on CLM!

#2014-07-17 12:40:12 by yiyun2519 @yiyun2519

IHey,Barry, like yogurt that part............(rofl) look like a very naughty big boy ..............:)
Soooooooooooooooooo funny...........:D

#2014-07-17 13:08:47 by anonymous11040 @anonymous11040

Is it true that "Western men have bigger penises than Chinese men"?

#2014-07-17 13:37:57 by Barry1 @Barry1


"In every picture of you and Tina together it is abundantly clear that you are a couple"

Thank you for this John, but in all reality, if I had a photo of Tina and I at loggerheads with each other, do you think I would show it? It's human nature that we all wish to show only our BEST sides, not the DARK side of ourselves.

So maybe, just maybe, this tale between Tina and I has a ways to go yet before it finally unravels.

You also said,

"Reading the fart story....It isn't that the event happened that raises these doubts, it's the joy you have taken in describing it to the world at large"

Everyone LOVES a good fart story, John. So I'm very pleased to oblige everyone's wishes here, if if some people will vehemently deny this! (rofl)

You said,

"just on the chance in a thousand that somehow, after the taking of these pictures, you did manage to somehow blow it with Tina"

Yes John, despite my apparently nice pictures, anything could - and probably WILL - happen!

"you seem like a very vibrant and well matched couple"

John, you'll have to keep reading my series to find out if your good thoughts and wishes ultimately will be confirmed.... or not. I can say nothing more at this point, sorry about that. :x

#2014-07-17 13:39:16 by Barry1 @Barry1


"Is it true that "Western men have bigger penises than Chinese men"? "

On average, I believe the answer is YES. (y)

#2014-07-17 13:41:31 by Barry1 @Barry1


"you look like a very naughty big boy"

Thank you, Yiyun. This youthful and somewhat cheeky attitude of mine illustrates perhaps why nobody in China believed I was 60 years old! :)

#2014-07-17 13:50:46 by Nekko @Nekko

Nothing grabs the reader like an opening line in this chapter. I thought I could ask how Tina would know this, but the answer is kind of obvious. I said this before that the picture do tell the story, of perfect sync between you two.

You have heard that opposites attract. You write " Tina had a more laid back, reactive, “she’ll be right” personality."

Tina is laid back. You are the opposite.
Tina is pretty. You are, well you are you.

Opposites do attract sometimes.
Remember that the laid back personality is fitting perfectly
into the Australian landscape.

Does Tina read the story you write and the comments?


#2014-07-17 14:00:57 by Nekko @Nekko

Yes this is true. When I was in Inner Mongolia last year we, my wife and I, went to the bathhouse every week at least once.
I was the envy of many Chinese man in the sausage department.

#2014-07-17 16:06:51 by Belle77 @Belle77

Hi Barry, very interesting story, thank you!
When i was much younger, i also traveled a lot, i can understand your scaring feeling in the flying bus hahah
I was several times in the bus which were flying around the mountains, very crazy indeed, and also I was climbing the mountains in those stone ladders, which is very narrow and steep, with loads of people, that is dangerous too as my friend reminded me later, if someone on the top of ladder fell down, all of us may fell down into the mountains

I wasn't realize these things are pretty dangerous at that time, but now i decide i won't take this kind of risk anymore, don't want to lose my life in this way

#2014-07-17 23:10:08 by Barry1 @Barry1

At the time of writing this, I noted that in the "Our Readers Say" voting boxes above, there was only one vote. It said, "I HATED THIS!"

Let me sincerely thank the person who voted this way. Because as soon as I saw it, I burst into laughter. What a hoot! Better to be despised than ignored or thought boring, I reckon!

Thank you so much, my hateful friend - you brightened up my day! (rofl)(y)(clap)

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