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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 18 - Part 1 我的中国之行—第18天-第一部分    

By Barry Pittman
6104 Views | 29 Comments | 7/5/2014 8:10:36 PM

The crashing of doors startled me awake.  I glanced at my watch – it was just after 3.00am. “Damn!”, I cursed to myself, “Inconsiderate people!”
It was day 18 in one of the Jiuzhaigou Valley hotels.  Obviously not a particularly high class place, as it seemed to be full of drunk people talking loudly and slamming doors!
I looked at Tina, who was sharing the double bed with me.  As usual, she was sleeping heartily, absolutely oblivious to the noises outside.
“Gosh, I wish I could sleep as well as her!”, I mused to myself.  All through this trip, Tina had been able to sleep like a log, no matter how loud the disturbances were around us.  I guess this was because over the past twenty plus years, she’d occupied a ground floor unit in a large apartment block and had become fully accustomed to noise.  Lucky her.  I’d always been cursed by being a light sleeper.
Before being so rudely awakened, this past night had been a troubling one for me.  I’d been plagued by a succession of vivid and rather unsettling dreams involving things I could no longer quite remember or put my finger on, yet I knew they weren’t particularly pleasant.  Hopefully though, now that the ominous thunder rumbling down the Jiuzhaigou Valley mountains had stopped, so would the disturbing dreams.  The previous day on the coach up to here had been a challenging one -  downright annoying, actually.  It had put me into a bad mood and I hadn’t been my normal pleasant self with Tina.  She’d noted that I was “very trouble”, a reference to my surliness.   What a wonderful impression to give to someone you’d been hoping to impress.  I hoped the rest of the trip would be better.
在这样被粗鲁的惊醒之前,这半夜对我来说也不舒服。一长串的生动的却让人很不安的梦一直在烦扰着我,我却一点也想不起来到底梦见了什么,然后我知道梦见的这些事不会让人很舒服。那些不详的九寨沟山峰中的隆隆作响的雷呜声已经停止了,希望这些让人烦恼的梦也一样。坐大巴来这里的一天非常挑战人,事实上完全令人烦恼。这使我心情很差,我不再是那个跟TINA在一起让人愉悦的我。她也已经发觉到我是个“非常麻烦”的人,发觉了我的粗鲁。我给她留下了多么“棒”的这个印象啊,而我一直希望能给她留下美好的印 呢。希望接下来的旅程一切都会变得好一些。
The hotel we were in offered free breakfast to its guests.  This sounded good, so around 6.45am, Tina and I strolled up to the nearby shop where the breakfast was being served.  We were up early because the bus taking us to the heart of Jiuzhaigou Valley was leaving at 8.00am sharp and we knew the bus terminal would be crowded with tourists.
“Omigosh – what’s this!”  “天啊,这是什么啊!”
I looked at the free breakfast being offered to us.  It was a bowl of rice gruel with a couple of bread rolls.  Absolutely bland and tasteless.  I may as well have eaten wet cardboard.  I gave up eating it in disgust but yet Tina enjoyed it.  “No wonder it’s free!” I thought wryly to myself.  My food tastes were slightly more discerning than hers, it seemed.
I noticed also that this morning was a little cold, around four or five degrees Centigrade.  Yet it was mid summer.  The high elevation obviously meant cool temperatures.  I was told it snowed heavily in winter here.  I bet this area looked really beautiful in the snow.  Even now, the place where we were staying was ringed by scenic mountains and was immediately adjacent to a fast flowing stream of chilly looking water.  Quite picturesque, like something out of a postcard.
Finishing breakfast, we quickly walked to the Jiuzhaigou Valley entry gates.  A couple of hundred or so people were already waiting in queues there. The plan was that we’d pay the entry fee  - rather expensive at 320 yuan per person  - then jump aboard one of many buses that raced the twenty minute trip up to the top of the Valley.  At certain places along the route, the bus would stop and one had the option to either jump off or stay with the bus to the next stopping point.
Both of us were wearing waterproof coats due to the light rain that was falling, as well as the cold temperature.  I was told the park had a quota for the number of visitors allowed into it per season, regulated by a government body that managed the whole area.   As a tip, anyone visiting here would be well advised to do it during a non-holiday period and mid week, not on a weekend, to avoid crowds.  Hotel accommodation rates doubled or even tripled during these peak periods as well.
On the way up the mountain in the bus, a tour guide jabbered away in Chinese, pointing out all the interesting spots that we passed.  Frustrating for me, not understanding what was being said.  The buses were all traveling fast.  “Why don’t they slow down a bit!”, I wondered, as we hurtled up the winding highway, with me hanging on for grim death.  The road was narrow with plenty of sharp curves with mirrors on some of the corners, helping the drivers to see what was around the bend. A layer of fog hanging heavily over the ground didn’t help visibility, yet the bus driver continued to act as if he was Michael Schumacher blistering around the Le Mans grand prix circuit!  As we ventured ever higher, my ears started popping.  The Valley was certainly at a higher altitude than I’d anticipated.
I tried to take a photo of the nice looking Chinese tour guide at the front of the bus but as soon as she saw my camera, she waved at me to stop and then quickly turned away, so I ended up getting a great shot of the back of her head.  Thanks for that, ma’am!  If one is a public tour guide on a public bus wearing a nice colourful uniform, shouldn’t one expect that people may wish to take a photo?  I would’ve thought this would’ve been simply a part of the tour guide duties, to have annoying people like me take your picture?
“Let’s go, Barry!” Tina shouted to me at one point when the bus had stopped.  I didn’t really know where I was or how the day was to pan out, so I simply followed Tina, who had a map (in Chinese) of the area.
We were with a group of about fifty others, all of whom had their umbrellas open, as the light rain continued to fall.  Chinese just love to carry umbrellas!  My light weight waterproof nylon jacket had a hood, so all was well.   I’d made a point of liberally spraying it with a waterproof silicone spray before I left Australia, for exactly this type of scenario.
Trying not to be poked in the eye by the myriad of jostling umbrellas around me, we followed a wooden pathway from the bus stop into the wilds of the national park itself.  Within a couple of minutes we were suddenly immersed within the most glorious scenery I’d ever seen, that set the awe inspiring tone for the rest of the day.
Magnificent fast flowing streams, waterfalls, placid lakes, tall stately trees – Jiuzhaigou Valley had it all.  Yes, it was as scenic and beautiful as everyone said.  For any Chinese folks reading this who haven’t yet visited the area, I’d recommend it.  The same goes for any Westerners traveling to China.  If you have the time and the resources, spend two or three days in Jiuzhaigou Valley.  There are several striking areas to visit here, not just the particular place where we were today.  Avoid winter though, as it’d get very cold. 
The best strategy for visitors is to take the bus in the morning up to the furthest point away from where you started, then simply walk down the meandering wooden pathways all the way to the bottom.  Should you feel tired at any point, you can jump on a bus at a bus stop and let it carry you down for a while.
As the morning wore on, the fog and the drizzle lifted.  Tourists were everywhere, merrily clicking away with their cameras.  On two or three occasions, Chinese ladies stopped and asked if they could have their picture taken with me.  I happily obliged, feeling like an egocentric movie star. 
“It’s a bit crowded here, Tina”, I mentioned to her as I was being pushed and jostled by a thousand multicoloured umbrellas on the walkways.
“No Barry, by China standards, this is not crowded, just normal!” came her quick reply.
Fortunately we’d carried a bunch of food to nibble on during the day  -  nuts, chocolate bars and bread rolls -  plus a ubiquitous bottle of water each.  This kept us going. When you’re feeling tired, there’s nothing nicer than chomping into a chocolate bar. Forget about the diet!
Time after time, I was blown away by the sheer beauty of the area, as was Tina.  We kept walking and walking and walking.  As lunch time passed and then mid afternoon approached, the numbers of tourists around us mercifully dwindled.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  And the weaker people fall by the wayside  - or jump on a bus!


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#2014-07-23 12:56:45 by yiyun2519 @yiyun2519

Cool......Jiuzaigou..i think i will also travel there soon....:)

#2014-07-23 13:16:18 by Nekko @Nekko

You wrote: I looked at Tina, who was sharing the double bed with me. As usual, she was sleeping heartily, absolutely oblivious to the noises outside.

“Gosh, I wish I could sleep as well as her!”.

I can tell why she was sound asleep. The activity with your trouser snake wore her out. Please be gentle with the little lady. Your quivering member made her quiver and ..........?

Free breakfast, now you know why this is free. No taste or substance or nutritional value. I have tasted the free breakfast in China. AAAARRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

You write: I happily obliged, feeling like an egocentric movie star. You could try and claim to be Clint Eastwoods younger brother. Some similarity in the face. Dry and weathered skin I guess. Eyes like dinner plates. Remember this description of yourself. I still have to laugh at that one.

I would like to see more photos of you and Tina together to be able to read the body language clearly. You however leave not much to the imagination these days.

Next time offer the tour guide in the bus some chocolate and you will get the photo you want.

Again I had an enjoyable read. Thanks Berry. Tell John I am ready now for the next instalment.

By the way, I knew that John gets to read them first. He usually is the first one to comment. He seems to have a dry sense of humour.

Glad you finally calmed down and were able to enjoy the scenery.

Live life in the moment. Be there then be there. There is only one now.
Enough of this. You know what I mean.

Keep them coming. I am going to tick a box now. Maybe interesting today.

#2014-07-23 15:14:11 by Barry1 @Barry1


"Jiuzaigou..i think i will also travel there soon"

Yes, I really do recommend this place Yiyun2519. The scenery there is awesome.

Avoid weekends and holiday periods though - too crowded.

And winter would be too cold.

Apart from that, it's a MUST SEE part of China! (y)

#2014-07-23 15:22:49 by Barry1 @Barry1


"The activity with your trouser snake wore her out."

Sorry Nekko, but animals are not allowed in the national park. So Tina and I carried no cats, dogs.... nor wriggling snakes. (giggle)

"You could try and claim to be Clint Eastwood's younger brother."

No one would believe me, Nekko. Clint as a young guy was far better looking than me. I also think that most Chinese wouldn't have a clue who Clint Eastwood was anyway! :D

"I would like to see more photos of you and Tina together to be able to read the body language "

I'll make sure to include a photo of us together in Part 2 of this article, Nekko,

"I had an enjoyable read"

Thanks for this, Nekko - cheers mate! (y)

#2014-07-23 19:38:27 by zqy2014 @zqy2014

Thanks Barry to insert all the Chinese translation back to each paragraph. It do help me a lot when there are too much new words. I did not read too much emotional part as expected and seems we still need more patient to wait for the end of the story...

As one person from Sichuan province, I have never visited Jiuzhaigou Valley before and would plan to go back hometown to take my mother with one of my elder sisters for a tour there in Sep or Oct of this year. We should do something to appreciate our parents before it is not too late.

From the latter series, I obviously feel Tina seems to be less sensitivity on feeling the other side's emotion & its change, properly react and make all necessary adjustment or improvement.She is absolutely a good person but not very good on interactivity that a relationship need....I am wondering if Barry have ever seriously talked about your emotion/feeling to Tina and expressed your expectation when you two are together? Or Tina has ever talked about that with you?

Thanks sharing especial those beautiful photos..

#2014-07-23 22:16:58 by Apinkapple @Apinkapple

I have visited Jiuzhaigou Valley in the summer in 2005. The scenery there was very magnificent and amazing. It's a pity that I stayed there only for less than 10 hours. In the future I will visit there once more and will stay longer.It's said that Jiuzhaigou Valley is much more beautiful in Autumn.

There are airlines between Jiuzhaigou Valley and Chengdu.

Enjoy yourself.

#2014-07-24 01:34:32 by anonymous11159 @anonymous11159

great photos, we have similar sites like that here where I live. Nekko is right with his words, be there then be there. Stop being such a gloomy old bastard with the complaining, you are doing something which only a very few of us get to put away the pout and let it all sink in and cherish your time with Tina!!

keep it going on mate!

#2014-07-24 11:54:57 by lydiawen @lydiawen

@Barry Pittman Thanks for you sharing your romantics China trip.(y)

I like to read the original English blog written by Westerner including you, I learned real authentic English & the Western culture & the way of thinking (happy)

I wrote down lots of useful sentences from your blog (bow)

Many blessing to you and Tina (f)(f)(f)

#2014-07-24 12:37:58 by Barry1 @Barry1


"It's said that Jiuzhaigou Valley is much more beautiful in Autumn. "

Thanks for your comments, Apinkapple.

Yes, most certainly I'd like to go back to Jiuzhaigou Valley. Next time I'll spend a minimum of three days there. Making sure not to be there on a weekend or holiday period though. And carrying plenty of chocolate bars to eat as I walk around. :)

#2014-07-24 12:41:29 by Barry1 @Barry1


"I learned real authentic English & the Western culture & the way of thinking"

I'm glad to be of assistance, Lydiawen.

It pleases me to know that you learn a few small things from what I write. This is the purpose of these blogs - information and entertainment. It helps me to know that I'm achieving some result, after all.

Best wishes to you, Lydiawen. :)

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