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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 19 Part 1 我的中国之行---第19天第1部分    

By Barry Pittman
6171 Views | 30 Comments | 7/11/2014 2:43:00 PM

Tina woke me at 6.30am.  I was still weary from the big eleven hour hike we’d done the day before.  Dog tired, if the truth be known.

早上6点半,TINA把我叫醒了。但是,我仍然很疲倦,因为昨天我们昨天整整走了11个小时。如果说实话的话,那真是真的是累死了。

“Barry, I’m going to have breakfast – do you want to come?”

Barry,我现在准备去吃早餐你想要一起去吗?“

I declined gracefully.  The free breakfasts that this hotel offered comprised mainly of a flavorless rice gruel dish with some bread rolls.  This was in stark contrast to the normally very flavorsome food found in China, one of the best places to eat in the world.

我有礼貌的拒绝了。宾馆提供的免费早餐主要是淡而无味的粥和一些面包圈。这和在中国发现的其他一些非常美味的实物实在是完全不同,中国可是世界上饮食美地之一啊。

Whilst Tina disappeared to have a meal, I dragged myself out of bed and had a shower.  Clumsy me, I accidentally broke the clip holding the shower fitting to the wall – an auspicious start to the day indeed.  I was blessed though that the toilet here was a pedestal type, not one of those terrible squat down affairs, where unless you were a highly skilled yoga practitioner, were almost impossible to use.

当TINA离开去吃饭的时候,我把自己拉起床,冲了个凉。笨拙的我,不小心弄坏了把喷头装在墙上的夹子---这可真是一天好的开始的预兆。好运的是,厕所是坐式马桶而不是蹲式的,那些蹲式厕所可难用了,除非你是一个非常娴熟的瑜伽修习者。

I finally woke up fully after making myself a strong cup of coffee.  I’d been smart enough on this China trip to bring a full medium sized can of my favorite coffee, plus six kilos of long life, powdered skim milk.  I never used sugar.  Why spoil a nice coffee  flavour by sweetening it up?  As a coffee afficianado, I really appreciated the ability to make myself a cup of decent flavoured brew wherever I was, as opposed to the strange varieties of sugary, prewhitened coffee or insipid tea (coloured water) so commonly found in China.

喝了给自己冲的一杯浓咖啡后,我终于彻底的醒过来了。这趟旅程中,我实在是非常聪明,带了一整罐中尺寸的我最喜欢的咖啡,外加6公斤的脱脂奶粉。我从来不放糖。为什么要加糖破坏掉一杯好的咖啡味道呢?作为一个咖啡爱好者,我非常感激无论何地都可以有能力能够为自己泡一杯上好的佳品。而不是那些在中国非常普遍的淡白的,充满奇怪糖味的咖啡,也不是那些非常清淡的茶(有颜色的水)。

By the time Tina had returned, I was dressed and ready to go. Today we were to visit the Goddest Lake, another beautiful part of the Jiuzhaigou Valley region.  Leaving the hotel into the bracing morning air, we walked briskly to the pick-up point.  A few minutes later, the bus arrived.  It was a smaller sized, fourteen seat mini bus. We were told it took about ninety minutes to reach our destination, winding our way up and then traversing across a mountain to reach Goddest Lake, an apparently lovely place to visit. 

TINA回来的时候,我已经穿好衣服准备出发了。今天我们要去参观神湖,九寨沟的另一个美丽的区域。离开宾馆走在清晨的空气中,我们欢快的走到的发车点。几分钟之后,一辆公车来了。这是一辆小尺寸的,14座的迷你巴士。我们被告知到达目的地约需要90分钟,盘旋向上,而后穿过一座山到达神湖。很显然这是一个可以参观的美好的地方。

A motley collection of ten or so tourists were present in the bus, mostly from China but a few from other countries as well.  For example, there was Laming, an Algerian man who introduced himself to us. He freely told me that he’d taken two weeks off on sick leave from his building construction job in Algeria to travel in China. 

在车上有大约有来自不同国家的10个人,大多数来自中国,也有几个人来自其他的国家。例如,Laming, 他来自阿尔及利亚,他主动跟我介绍了他自己。他告诉我他在阿尔及利来的建筑公司工作,请了两个星期的病假,来中国旅行。

“At home my workmates all think I’m sick – little do they know I’m enjoying myself on the other side of the world!” he cheerily boasted to us.  He spoke three languages, Arabic, English and French. “French is useless to me” he complained however.  “The only places I need it are in certain parts of my country or in France itself.”

在我家那边我的同事都认为我病了几乎没人知道我正在地球的另一端享受假期呢!”他很开心地向我们吹嘘。他说三门语言,阿拉伯语,英语和法语。“对于我来说,法语根本没用。”然而他抱怨道,“我唯一能用到法语的地方是我的国家的某些特定的地方或是在法国。”

You speak mainly Arabic in your home country then?”, I queried.
“那么你在你的祖国主要是说阿拉伯语?”我问道。
“Yes, though more and more people are starting to speak English.”
“是的,虽然越来越多的人开始说英语了。”
Why do you travel so far from home by yourself?”, I asked.
“为什么你自己一个来这么远的地方旅行呢?”我问道。
Because I love traveling – but it’s too expensive for my friends, they choose to spend money on other things like buying a new car or whatever.  I prefer to see the world!”

“因为我爱旅行但是,对于我的朋友来说,这太昂贵了,他们选择把钱花在其他事情上,例如买一辆新车或什么。而我宁愿去看看世界!”

About half an hour into our journey up the mountain, the young Chinese lady who was our tour guide started talking into her microphone, describing various points of interest that we were passing.  As usual, I felt frustrated not knowing what was being said.  Occasionally Tina would tell me something of interest that had been mentioned.  To my surprise, a bit later the young lady through her microphone started singing a song.  She then passed the cordless microphone to another passenger to also sang something.
在我们往山上的旅程大约一个半小时的时候,年轻的中国女导游开始对着她的迷你话筒说话,介绍我们所经过的各个不同的景点。跟往常一样,我觉得很受挫,因为我根本听不懂。TINA时不时会告诉导游刚说过的一些有趣的事情。让我吃惊的是,不久导游开始对着她的迷你话筒开始唱歌。然后,她把话筒交给另一位乘客,这位乘客也唱了一下。
“This reminds me of a karaoke night back home!” I mused to myself.
“这让我想起了在家里的卡拉OK之夜”我自言自语。
Does anyone else want to sing a song?” asked the tour guide in Chinese.
“还有其他人想唱歌吗?”导游用中文问道。
Would you like to sing something, Barry?”, Tina asked me.
“BARRY,你想唱什么吗?”TINA问我。
Yes, I’ll give it a go!” I shouted out.  Tina was sitting beside me and looked quite startled.  Obviously she’d been expecting me to say no thanks but the older I get, the more I realize one must actively embrace life, rather than be a mere spectator.  People meeting through online Chinese dating can be full of surprises!

“是的,我来试试!”我喊道。TINA坐在我旁边,看起来有点吓坏了。很显然,她期待我跟她说不,谢谢。 但是,随着我的年纪增加,我就越来越意识到要主动的拥抱生活,这远比做一个旁观者要好。通过中国网上交友所认识的人们,可是随处都可以发觉惊喜啊。

Grabbing the microphone, I then launched into a rendition of the “Home On the Range” song, the first one that had come to mind for some reason.  It seems I’d watched too many Gary Cooper cowboy movies when I was younger!
抓过话筒,我开始唱“Home On the Range”, 由于某些原因我第一时间想起的这首歌。看起来,我年轻的时候看了太多的 Gary Cooper的电影了。
“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam

Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.”

“啊,请给我一个家,在那里水牛在漫游,在那里鹿和羚羊在玩耍,在那里很少会听到让人泄气的话,在那里天空也不会总是乌云密布”

 The sheer incongruity of this didn’t evade me.  I mean, where else in China on that day would someone be singing a cowboy song in English whilst driving up a mountain in a bus full of Chinese tourists!

我并没有发现这个完全不合适宜。我的意思是,在这一天,在中国的某个其他地方,会有人在一辆载满中国游客的向上爬山的公车用英文演唱一首牛仔歌曲吗?

As the bus ascended, a heavy fog enveloped us.  The road ahead became almost invisible, a tricky situation given its winding nature with its many switchback corners and blind curves.  Plenty of rock falls were evident, with loose boulders strewn around the edges, damaging the steel armco railing protecting it.  Evidence of vehicles colliding with the steel or concrete barriers was apparent also.

当公车往下走的时候,浓浓大雾笼罩着我们。前方的路几乎看不见,由于盘旋路本身有很多Z字形角还有看不见前方的转弯,所以,现在这个状况很危险。有大量岩石倒塌的痕迹,边缘松散的巨石散落,破坏了钢铁护栏。随处可见车辆碰撞钢栏和混凝土障碍的痕迹。

The minibus driver didn’t help matters by driving too quickly for the conditions.  Being an experienced (and safe) driver myself, I innately knew when someone was going too fast – as in this case.  He wasn’t driving smoothly either, lurching on and off the brake and accelerator pedals. No seat belts were in the vehicle – if we went over the edge, we wouldn’t be walking away.  Of course, he was making liberal use of the horn, honking at everything that moved.

对这种状况迷你公车司机开得太快可一点帮忙也没有。我自己作为一个有经验(和安全)的司机,有人如果开得太快的话我马上就会知道—就跟现在这个状况一样。他车也开得一点也不平稳,不停的乱踩刹车和油门。车里也没有安全带,如果我们走过边缘的话,我们会被甩出去的。当然,他可是在自由自在的使用喇叭,对着任何可移动的物体狂响一通。

The fog obscured my vision but I could see the countryside looked quite pretty.  Finally we broke free of the low hanging mist.  Magnificent views of the valley below were then seen.

浓雾迷糊了我的视线,但是我可以看得出外面的景色非常的美丽。最后,我们终于摆脱了低垂着的薄雾,看到山谷里迷人的景色。

An hour into the trip, we bus stopped for a toilet break.  Thank heaven!  My anxiety during the journey had caused my bladder to become a bit weak.  Being a bus passenger in China was a nerve wracking experience.  People with weak hearts should stay at home!

开车一个小时之后,我们的车中途停车上厕所。谢天谢地!旅途中的紧张让我的膀胱有点虚弱。在中国坐一名公车乘客是一种让人崩溃的经历。胆子小的人最好呆在家里。

Soon we were off again.  The tour guide started chattering through her microphone in Chinese, describing certain landmarks.  Once again, Tina would tell me in English bits and pieces of what was being aid.

很快我们的车又开动了。导游开始通过话筒用中文聊天,介绍各种景点。再一次,TINA会用英文告诉我她听到的一些信息。

Our driver amused me by sometimes using the horn a little too late, for example, after an approaching vehicle had already passed.  Almost as if he said to himself, “Oops, I forgot to honk – I’d better do it now!”  I’d seen a similar thing to this before – on one occasion traveling on a bus from Nanjing to Hangzhou, the bus driver would honk from time to time despite there being absolutely nothing on the road.   Almost as if he needed to do it to keep himself awake, a most comforting thought indeed!

有时候,我们的司机让我觉得很好笑,喇叭总是鸣得有些晚。比如,另一辆车靠近的时候没鸣,却等那辆车已经经过了才鸣。几乎象是他跟自己说“噢,我不记得鸣喇叭了—我最好现在鸣一下。”之前我就见过类似的情景—在一次从南京坐公车去杭州的时候。那个司机会时不时的鸣喇叭,尽管路上根本什么都没有。几乎就象他得做点什么来让他保持警醒,真是令人安慰的一种想法。

Finally we arrived at Goddest Lake.  Phew, I was glad of that!  We all leapt off the bus and started following the tour guide around.  She was in her mid twenties, quite a friendly and personable young lady.  Yet surprisingly she knew no English.  If I was the manager of a tour company hiring employees, one prerequisite would be that all guides be multilingual, surely not such a difficult ask in modern day China?  So many young Chinese know at least some English these days, it was disappointing to see our guide didn’t have this ability.

终于,我们到达了神湖。我太开心了。我们全部下车,跟着导游到处逛。导游大约20多岁,挺友好的,是品貌兼优的一个年轻女孩。然后让我吃惊的是她竟然一点英语都不会。如果我是旅游公司的经理的话,招聘录取员工的一条必须的条件就是所有的导游都必须是会多门语言,这在现代中国肯定不会是一个非常困难的任务,对吗?现在有这么多的中国年青最起码都会说一些英文,所以,看到我们的导游没有一点这样的能力让人很是失望。

“Wow, that’s amazing!” I said to Tina as we ventured into the lake area.  A series of beautiful ponds were present, each contained within what looked like off-white calcified or limestone walls.  Some of the ponds were clear, some were a glorious turquoise green-blue.  Absolutely delightful.  I’d never seen anything like this before.   The words that best described these ponds or pools were delightful and charming.  It was just a shame one had to risk one’s life with a maniacal bus driver for ninety minutes along a treacherous mountain road to reach them.

“哇,真是太神奇了!”当我们逛到湖区的时候我跟TINA说。看到一片的美丽的小池塘,每个里面都有看起来是乳白的石灰或是石灰岩墙。有些池塘非常的清晰,有些是非常辉煌的宝石绿色。绝对的让人愉悦。我以前从来没看见过这样的景象,描绘这些池塘的最好语言是让人愉快和迷人。让人惭愧的是,你得跟一个疯狂的巴士司机一起冒着生命危险,沿着危险的山路,坐90分钟的车来到这里。

I’d never been on an organized tour group before and was pleasantly surprised how quickly we all made friends with each other.  Apart from Tina and I, four others spoke English  -  two Chinese from Singapore;  one Chinese from Beijing;  and our Algerian friend.  It really is a universal language.  Hence my continuing incredulity that the tour guide herself had no ability in this area.

在这之前我还从来没有参团旅游,非常开心了吃惊的发现,非常快速的我们团员之间彼此成为了朋友。除了TINA和我之外,还有其他四个人说英语 – 两个新加坡来的中国人,一个北京来的中国人,和阿尔及利亚朋友。英语真是全球通行的语言。因此我不断的怀疑导游她自己竟然没有英语能力。

As our small group traversed the area, we all helped each other out by taking photos of each other and engaging in friendly banter amongst ourselves.  My new Algerian friend Laming told me he was a Muslim.  He said that prayers were given five times per day.  The ninth month of the Muslim calendar was called Ramadan, a time of fasting, one of the so called Five Pillars of Islam.  Its purpose was to help make people more aware of those less fortunate than themselves.   During this month, Muslims could only eat or have sex between the hours of 8.00pm and 4.00am.  Laming advised that radicals committing terrorist acts in the name of Islam were deplored by most normal Muslims, not supported or admired.

当我们的小团队穿过这个地区时,我们互相帮忙给彼此拍照,彼此友好的开玩笑,我的阿尔及利亚新朋友Laming告诉我他是个穆斯林。他说他们每天做五次祈祷。穆斯林日历的九月叫Ramadan,是斋禁的时间,是穆斯林教的五大支柱之一。它的目的是帮忙人们更加清楚的了解那些比他们自己本身更不幸的人。在这个月里,穆斯林每天只能在下午8点到凌晨4点吃饭或是过性生活。Laming说用主的名义从事恐怖活动的激进分子被大多数穆斯林所谴责,而不是支持或是敬佩。

For those who are interested, Laming said Algeria was an oil rich country, yet beset by corruption.  He had to bribe his doctor in order to gain a two week sick leave certificate that had enabled him to do this trip.  Then he had to bribe someone else, in order to obtain foreign currency.  Then another bribe to get a visa for his passport. If one wanted something to happen in Algeria quicker than at a snail’s pace, bribery was simply part of the process.  De rigueur.

对于那些感只趣的人,Laming说阿尔及利亚是一个富有的石油国家,然后却被腐败所困扰。他得贿赂他的医生以拿到两个星期的病假证明,使他能够进行这次旅行。然后,他还得贿赂另外的人,以便能换到外币。为让拿到护照,他也得贿赂。在阿尔及利亚,如果你想要让某事尽快的完成而是慢吞吞的象蜗牛一样的速度完成,那最简单的就是贿赂。

To be continued in Day 19 - Part 2  待续

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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 30) 1 2 3 More...
#2014-08-04 15:46:54 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, I can't help get homesick for Canada when I look at the pictures you keep posting about your sojourns into the mountains. Most of your photos could easily have been taken in the Canadian Rockies or the foothills leading up to them.

And when it comes to the pics in this article, there must be scads of Americans and a few Canadians saying "WTF, what's Barry doing at Yellowstone National Park". This is a park in the USA just south of the Canadian border, and it is loaded with the same scenery you've pictured here. Missing in your pictures are the famous geysers of Yellowstone, waters spouts that erupt naturally and frequently in the area as as the pressure from all that steam underground escapes into the atmosphere. The most famous of the geysers was "Old Faithful", dubbed so because it could be counted on to erupt on a very fixed schedule.

I traveled with my parents to Yellowstone twice as a child and twice more as an adult with friends. Not only does this article have me wanting to see the part of China you're picturing, but also craving for another trip to Yellowstone.

Nice work.

#2014-08-04 17:08:04 by Belle77 @Belle77

Hi Barry, it is interesting to read your articles

Flavorless rice gruel as you said, i guess the rice gruel they offered is actually for you to drink like water, when we eat the dry bread, normally we need something to drink, and rice gruel is for you to drink as water, hahah

I live in guangdong, it is very hot here in summer time, so rice soup is very popular, and i have to say, rice soup can taste very nice if we cook it well, it need some kind of tricks to make a tasteful rice soup, also the quality of rice is very important

and sometimes we make rice soup with some nice things like seafood, meat or vegetable etc., and the rice soup could taste very delicious, here there are restaurants which just serve nice rice soup

Also for the tea, it is the same, if you make tea with good tea then it is very enjoyable to drink it, and again, to make good tea need some tricks, heheh

I am just curious, does Tina like to drink coffee? or she drinks tea?

#2014-08-04 19:25:20 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

Thanks for this, John.

I actually know a lot about Canada from all those "Ice Road Truckers" and "Yukon Gold" type of shows on cable TV. A beautiful country indeed. I also know a lot about Yellowstone National Park from avidly watching Yogi Bear as a child, which is where Yogi lived, as I remember. :)

I'm surprised though that you haven't visited the Jiuzhaigou region. It really is a "must see" part of China. Just as Nevada's infamous "Area 51" where the aliens landed and Elvis' "Graceland" are, for visitors to the USA. (giggle)

By the way, I notice you said,

"there must be scads of Americans and a few Canadians saying "WTF"

For the benefit of all the dear Chinese ladies and the other innocents out there, could you kindly enlighten us what "WTF" actually means?

Thanking you in anticipation, John. :D

#2014-08-04 21:47:56 by Nekko @Nekko

@Barry1
You write: The sheer incongruity of this didn’t evade me. Barry just you being there with 188cm tall body with eyes like diner plates is enough to scare some smaller Chinese I would suspect.

No, you make the situation worse by actually singing or should I say trying to sing. I bet you give the rest of us westerners a bad name by doing that. What did Tina say to your attempt to sing? or demolishing the shower?

When you say Tina is pointing to some fish...........look closely there are goldfish in the water. Towards the centre left. Have another look. I can see 2 small fish.

Barry what gives the water this unusual colour? Are you allowed to swim in the water?

Any progress on the romantic side? We know the full story anyway, but tell us in your own words. Like 50 shades of grey, if you know what I mean. Travel plans to Australia are made? Visits are planned?

The photos are great. Thanks Barry. Quite good shots for an amateur.

I always enjoy reading your story. I can appreciate, you tell us how it is. No sugar coating and fancy words. Just the facts, good or bad.

Thanks.
Nekko

#2014-08-05 04:14:47 by anonymous11317 @anonymous11317

I see the old Barry has crept back into this episode, a little bit of crankiness I do detect!

Excellent photos once again! I do agree with John, these could be from the Canadian Rockies or Yellowstone park...

I see that you skillfully omitted the reaction on the other passengers of the bus as to how your rendition of "Home on the Range" was received, in tune or out of tune? 5 stars or no stars? C'mon spit it out man, fess up, they did not throw you off the bus so it could not have been that bad, was anyone plugging their ears? (rofl)

Good on yah mate!

#2014-08-05 13:09:36 by anonymous11320 @anonymous11320

What was Tina pointing at in the picture?

#2014-08-05 14:00:16 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - regarding Yogi Bear, I almost mentioned this lovable bear that I also watched as a child, but decided not to as I realized that would simply remind everyone else how old I am. Yogi actually hung out in JellyStone Park if you think back on it. I grant you that this was a thinly disguised imitation of Yellowstone however.

To the best of my knowledge WTF stands for "What the Frick" but you may feel free to correct me if I got that wrong. ;)

#2014-08-05 14:46:06 by anonymous11324 @anonymous11324

WTF stands for "what the f...ah fuged aboudit!

#2014-08-05 16:12:25 by meilin66 @meilin66

您好!barry
感谢你把“中国行游记”准确翻译成中文分享给我们。
你以一个外国人的视角,诠释旅游中的所见所闻,也让我们中国女性见识了你比较有个性的思维方式:)不知道这样的思维方式是否具有(西方人)的普遍性?
这篇游记提到的“神湖”,是中国非常有名的风景区叫“黄龙自然保护区“。20年前黄龙的水较现在丰富,水色也更为多彩。这个景观是因多年的钙化形成。土耳其的“棉花堡”也有同样的景致,客观地讲他们要保护得好些。
中国酒店4星以上的早餐比较美味,部分3星酒店也能够达到标准。一般无星级的宾馆或者农家乐肯定就不言而喻。无论在国外旅游或国内旅游,价格高低决定了吃住行的品质。游记中我们不难看出你此行体验的是一次中国60%百姓旅游的方式,受了那么多波折实属正常。因为中国70%的百姓就是这样一个无从改变的生活模式。
自2008年四川的汶川大地震后,九寨沟沿途就被破坏了,山体滑坡在夏季是常事,在这之前的路况其实还不错,08年以后我是不敢也不想再去九寨沟。
中国导游懂各种外国语的不少,但一般都被安排在国外旅游和国内外国旅游团。在国人旅游占多数的旅行团,配备一名懂英文的导游可能旅游公司会觉得是浪费资源(giggle)。如果参团前有提出你的要求,估计旅游公司还是会提供的。
19篇游记我非常认真的看完,其中对中国人公共场所喧闹,交通混乱,景区卫生条件差,环境污染严重等的写实,与你同感!我也长期困惑为什么部分中国人就不能改变那些陋习。不过其他人怎么做,我除了无奈还是无奈。:)唯有规范自己就OK.
喜欢看值得思考的文章。再次感谢分享!

祝你们一切开心愉快!

#2014-08-05 17:16:05 by Nekko @Nekko

@Barry1, @JohnAbbot

if my grasp of the English language serves me correctly, and I am sure it does, WTF stands for : " Watch this fruit". This phrase was used at the turn of the century when
natural fruit was a luxury only enjoyed by the richer people. (except farmers)
Therefore the phrase was to remind someone to keep an "eye on the fruit." This of course, is also a phrase dating back to the pirates. This was a time when a pirate could loose one eye in a sword fight and therefore only had one eye on the fruit.

The English language is a rich basket of phrases and idioms.

If you need any more clarification on any other phrases just ask me. I make up the
explanation suit the listeners. Sounds pretty clear to me.
Cheers
Nekko

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