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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 2 我的中国之行—第二天    

By Barry Pittman
6199 Views | 29 Comments | 5/30/2014 10:08:43 AM

7.00am arrived with a polite knocking on my door.  Shaking myself awake, I crawled out of bed and slowly cracked open the door. It was Tina, with a big smile on her face.



"Barry, did you sleep well?"



"Yes, xie xie, I slept very well thank you, Tina"



"We must get ready to leave, if you do not mind?"



"Okay", I replied, "I'll have a shower and get ready"



I'd slept like the dead last night, due to the terrible night's sleep I'd experienced the evening before on the plane. The only thing I didn't like about this otherwise nice room was the squat type toilet.  I know these are de rigeur in most rural parts of China, so foreigners travelling in these parts unfortunately need to expect them.  Westerners with their longer legs tend to have more difficulty using the “squatters” however.  Chinese not only tend to have shorter legs, but most also have been brought up from childhood easily being able to assume the squat position.



Carrying my fully loaded backpack from the airport the previous day, I grudgingly realised it was too weighty to carry up a mountain.  Tina also had brought a lot of goods with her, way too much to carry for several days.  We mutually decided to go through everything and take only what was essential to the mission.  I thus offloaded bits and pieces of gear, reluctantly including the treasured can of coffee that I'd brought from Australia.  It looked like this trip was going to be caffeine free, for the next several days at least.  Plus my travel tube of Vegemite was abandoned as well.  Ask any Aussie living overseas what food they miss most – the chances are Vegemite will be nominated.  Other Westerners simply don’t understand the strange affinity that Australians have for this traditional foodstuff.  It's an acquired taste.



The hotel was gracious enough to keep our non-essential goods in their store room.  We'd return there in a few days to recollect everything.



Setting off around 9.00am, Tina and I strode confidently onto the trail.  Our packs were still heavy, yet blissfully a few kgs lighter than they were the day before.



These were the lower foothills of Mt Emei.  The trail wasn't hard dirt, grass or stones as I'd anticipated, but cement. One simply had to follow the yellow brick road, or more precisely, the concrete pathway, with plenty of steps going both up and then down as we traversed onwards ascending and then descending various foothills.



After about ninety minutes of fairly pleasant walking, we came across a monk planting vegetables in a small garden beside his monastery.  Because Tina had hiked these areas by herself at least once per week for several years now, she and the monk were familiar to each other and exchanged some pleasantries.  The monk knew a few words of English and smiling to me, said "Welcome to China".



By this time I needed to go to the toilet and through Tina, politely asked the monk where it was.  He pointed out a small timber shack set up on poles.  Walking into this, I gazed around, looking for the toilet.  Initially I couldn't see anything.  To my surprise however, the penny finally dropped.  I saw a rectangular hole cut in the timber floor.  Peering through the hole, I saw a two metre drop to a pile of excrement mixed with kitchen leftovers such as cabbage leaves, carrots and bits and pieces of other organic materials.  I'd never encountered one of these "compost toilets" before.  In theory, over time as the material decayed, a phosphorus rich fertiliser would be formed.



This was an example of ultimate recycling.  What went into your mouth and then duly excreted through your body, would sooner or later, pass back into your mouth again via the fertiliser used to grow the food you were eating.



I couldn't help but be a little repelled by the dirtiness and lack of hygiene of the toilet however, as around the rectangular hole the wood was filthy, obviously hardly ever receiving any sanitation or cleaning.



Upon leaving this small temple, half an hour later we came across a young Chinese couple on the trail.  Tina jabbered to them in Mandarin with a lot of head nodding and gesticulating.  It was decided they'd accompany us on our journey, as they also were heading up Mt Emei.  Stories abounded about the "wild monkeys" higher up on the mountain and it was recommended by the authorities that trekkers walk in groups, rather than in pairs.



I was striding along quickly, faster than the others, reveling in the solitude; the clean mountain air; and the appealing prospect of soon conquering this mighty yet somewhat unkown peak I'd heard so much about.



Twenty minutes later I stopped and waited for the stragglers to arrive.  By this time however, Tina had added yet another young Chinese man to our entourage.  He was about twenty years old and had set out by himself to climb the trail.  He was only too happy to join our little group, also as a safeguard against any wild monkey trouble.  Whilst he and Tina and the other young couple all bantered together in Chinese, I accelerated away again, finding myself alone, breathing in the solitude.   This is how the vast majority of my walking had been performed in the past  - alone.  This was in fact, how I preferred it.  Most people walked too slowly for me.



Another thirty minutes passed by and I suddenly found myself walking up to a small group of Chinese ladies who seemed to be waiting for something.  They started talking to me but I had no idea who they were or what they were saying.  I kept smiling politely and pointing back down the trail to where Tina and our new found friends were somewhere in the distance.  After a few minutes, Tina finally arrived and then the situation became clear.



The ladies were waiting for hikers who had booked ahead into their hotels.  Each lady was a hotel employee, meeting and then guiding trekkers to their establishments, that sometimes were otherwise a little obscure for strangers to locate.



Fairly quickly, Tina, myself and our new found Chinese friends were following one of the Chinese ladies down a rather winding and tricky path through the bush for a kilometre or so, until finally we arrived at the farmer's hotel we were to stay at that night.



Many farmers supplement their income through building accommodation for travelers such as us.  Sometimes the structures are quite complex and large, resembling a conventional hotel, housing up to twenty or so separate units.



Checking ourselves in, I was disappointed to again find one of the squat type toilets in our room.  "Oh well", I thought to myself, “I’d better get used to this.  I always knew I had to do more practice on my yoga techniques!”



By this time it was around three in the afternoon.  We decided to take a walk around the area.  Unfortunately the maps we had were all in Chinese, so I can't tell you precisely where we visited, but it was around the Qingyin Pavilion.  One part of it had some intriguing sculptures carved into the hard granite of long dead historical figures.  They looked to be many hundreds of years old, possibly over a thousand. 



I marveled at the craftsmanship on display here.  The stonemasons of old who with relatively primitive tools, were able to perform seeming miracles in stone.



Suddenly a lot of commotion appeared on the trail, where many Chinese tourists were walking.



"What's wrong?", I queried.



"It seems like someone has stolen this lady's bag.  She left it unattended for a few mintures and now it's gone", Tina replied.



"Why would someone leave a bag alone?" I asked.



"Yes, I agree - the lady should have taken more care - she should not have left her bag by itself."



As nice as China is, one must constantly be aware of the small percentage of tricksters and thieves around, driven et al, by poverty. A man needs to feed his family, one way or the other.  So visitors to China intent on fulfilling their Chinese dating dream need to not become too starry eyed or complacent during their travels.



In any case, an interesting couple of hours sauntering through this area ensued.  Finally though it was time to head back to the hotel.  Our room was a twin share with two single beds.  I had assumed Tina and I would be sharing the same room, unlike the previous night where we had separate rooms.  At the last moment however, to my surprise Tina said,



“Goodnight Barry.  I will see you in the morning.”



With that, she gave me a peck on the cheek and she was gone. 



I was alone again, naturally. 



早上七点整,门上响起了礼貌的敲门声。我把自己摇醒,爬出被窝,啪拉的打开门。是TINA,面带大大的微笑地站在那里。



“Barry,昨晚睡得好吗?“



“是的,我昨晚睡得非常的好,谢谢你,TINA”



“如果你不介意的话,我们现在得准备出发了。”



“好的”,我答道“我冲个凉,然后出发”



昨晚我烂睡如泥,因为前晚我在飞机上度过了一个可怕的精疲力竭的夜晚。这个旅馆的房间很好,唯一一点我不喜欢的是那个蹲厕。我知道在中国大部分的农村地区蹲厕很普遍。所以,所有在这些地区旅行的外国游客都非常不幸运,必须得用它们。然后,对于有着大长腿的西方人来说,使用它们很困难。中国人不仅仅长着小短腿,而且自小练习,非常容易适应这种蹲着的姿势。



背着前日从飞机场出来的装得满满的背包,我不得不承认这个背包实在太重了,根本没办法背着爬山。TINA也带了好多东西,不可能背着爬几天。我们俩决定好好检查每一样东西然后只带最基本的必须品去爬山。因此我拿出了好多东西,包括很不情愿的拿出了我从澳大利亚带过来的那几罐珍贵的咖啡。这看起来象是一趟无咖啡因的旅程,最起码接下来的几天是如此。同时我的旅行装的蔬菜酱也被拿了出来。无论你问哪一个生活在海外的澳大利亚人,他们最想念的食品是什么— 大多数时候他们都会说是疏菜酱。其他的西方人基本上无法理解澳大利亚人为什么会这么痴迷于这种传统的食品。总之,它是一种必备的味道。



旅馆很宽敞,可以将我们的东西存放在他们的储物间里。几天之后,我们会回来这里领回我们的东西。



大约早上9点左右,我们出发了。TINA和我自信满满的大步迈上登山小道。我们的背包仍然很重,当然跟几天前相比,他们已经轻了好几公斤了。



这里是峨嵋山脚下的一部分。登山路并不象我想像一样的困难,脏乱,长满杂草或到处都是石头。相反这是一条水泥路。只要沿着黄色的砖路,或确切的说,是沿着有着许多台阶的混凝土路上上下下就可以了。就如我们一样穿行于往上又往下的各种山路前行。



经过大约90分钟令人愉悦的之后,我们遇到了一个和尚,他正在他的庙宇旁边的小花园里种菜。因为在过去的几年里,TINA几乎最少一个星期会在这个地区爬山,她和和尚非常熟悉,他们互相问候说笑了一会。和尚知道一些英语单词,他微笑的对我说“欢迎来到中国”



当时我想上洗手间,我通过TINA很礼貌的问那个和尚哪里有厕所。他指了指筑在几根柱子上的一个小木屋。我走了进去,四处张望找马桶。一开始我什么都没看到,最后我很吃惊的发现,在木地板上挖着一个方形的小孔。从孔里望下去,我看到了大约两米深处有一堆粪便混合着白菜叶,萝卜,和其他一些有机物质的厨房垃圾。我以前从来没遇到过象这样的化学厕所。理论上来说,随着时间的推移,这些物质将腐烂,诸如磷肥之类的化肥将生成。



这是一个简单的回收利用的例子。从我们嘴里吃进去的东西,经过我们的身体,或迟或早将通过用来浇灌食物的化肥的形式,重新被吃进我们的嘴里。



然而,这厕所的脏污及不卫生的头部却使我控制不了的难受,方形孔四周非常的污秽,很显然,这里很难进行清洁保持卫生。



离开这间小庙大约半个小时之后,我们在路上遇到了一地年轻的中国夫妇。TINA用中文对他们对话,不停的点头打手势。最后决定他们加入我们,因为他们也是来爬峨嵋山的。有好多有关山上面的“野猴子“的故事,政府也推荐爬山者最好一群人在一起而不只是一对对的爬山。



我沿着山路大步的走得很快,比其他人都要快,完全沉醉在野外的山林中;山里的空气非常的清新;这座我久闻大名却又不是很了解的马上就要被我征服的大山的景色是如此的迷人。



20分钟后,我停下来其他的“落伍者”。然后就在这个时候,TINA已经将另外一个中国人加入到了我们的队伍中来。他大约20岁左右,自己出发来爬山的。他非常高兴能加入我们的小队伍,而且充当了我们的保镖,保护我们免受猴子的骚扰。当TINA和他以及年轻的夫妇用中文互相逗趣的时候,我又加快了速度,独自在这深山中深深的呼吸享受这宁静。此时就如同在过去岁月我的大多数时候的步行一样,独自一人。事实上,这也是我所喜欢的。大多数人对于我来说,都走得太慢了。



半个小时又过去了,我突然我发现自己正走向一群中国女人,她们看起来在等什么人。她们开始对我说话,但是我一点都不知道她们是谁也不知道她们正在说什么。我只是礼貌的微笑,然后指向我后面。TINA和她新组成的朋友们正在不远处的某个地方。过了几分钟,TINA终于到了,情况也清楚了。



这些女人们正在等登山者,那些提前预定了他们的旅馆的登山者。每个女人都是某个旅馆的工作人员,等候并带领登山者去他们的地盘,某些时候外人很难自己找得到他们。



很快,TINA,我和我们的新组成的中国朋友们跟在一个中国女人的后面走下了一条相当绕的路,穿过灌木处走了大约一公里,最后到达了我们今晚将会住宿的农家旅馆。



很多农民通过为跟我们一样的旅行者提供住宿来获得额外的收入。有时候这些建筑相当的复杂和宽敞,就象是一个便捷酒店,可以容纳大约20个左右的房间。



这时候大约是下午三点,我们决定在周围散散步。可惜的是我们拿的地图全部是中文的,所以,我没办法准确的告诉你们我们参观的是哪里,大概是在清荫亭附近。在一些地方有一些非常迷人的雕塑,雕刻在坚硬的花岗岩上的一些历史久远的一些人物像。他们看起来有几百年的历史了,也可能超过1千年了。



我对这里所展示的技艺感到非常的惊奇。这些古老的手艺者用非常原始的工具却能在石头创作出如此奇迹般的作品。



突然走满中国游客的路上一阵骚乱,



“发生什么事了?”我问道。



“看起来象是有偷了这位女士的包包。她不留意的把包包放了一边,放了几分钟,现在包包不见了。”TINALK回答道。



“为什么会有人把包包放一边不理的呢?”我问道。



“是的,我也觉得是这样—那个女士应该更小心一些,她不应该把她的包包放一边不管它。”



中国挺好的,但是你也必须不断的小心防备周围一小部分的骗子和小偷,有些人是因为穷变成骗子和小偷的。一个男人必须某种方式来养家糊口。所以想到中国来完成约会梦想的到访者们在他们的旅行中不需要打扮得非常耀眼或是太自得。



无论怎么说,穿过这里的几个小时的有趣的散步还是非常安全的。最后还是到了该回旅馆时间了。我们的房间是有两张单人床的标间。我一开始以为TINA会和我住在同一间房里,而不会象前一晚一样住在不同的房间里。然后到最后,让我吃惊的是,TINA说,



“晚安BARRY,明早见”



说完,她在脸上亲了一下,然后就走了。



很自然的,我又是单身一人了。


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 29) 1 2 3 More...
#2014-06-03 02:49:00 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - I think you have pulled off a real first for online dating Barry, laying out your first meeting with Tina over the course of time, as it develops. It really is fascinating. I greatly admire both of you for your courage in doing this. Hopefully it helps glue you together for life.

Cheers to the two of you! (d)

#2014-06-03 08:48:33 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

Thanks for your kind words, John.

If I'd known online Chinese dating was this much fun, I'd have done it a long time ago! :)

#2014-06-03 09:00:28 by anonymous10189 @anonymous10189

"Tina jabbered to them in Mandarin with a lot of head nodding and gesticulating." Hilarious! It's as if you have landed on some distant planet and you were observing the aliens communicate with one another! :D

You are such a great writer man. You need to sell books. You had me rolling with laughter at your adventures. I love these nuggets...

"Whilst he and Tina and the other young couple all bantered together in Chinese, I accelerated away again, finding myself alone, breathing in the solitude."

"I suddenly found myself walking up to a small group of Chinese ladies who seemed to be waiting for something. They started talking to me but I had no idea who they were or what they were saying. I kept smiling politely and pointing back down the trail to where Tina and our new found friends were somewhere in the distance."

And I love the offhanded observations...so random yet packed with humor...

"They looked to be many hundreds of years old, possibly over a thousand. "

Keep going with this...this is your best stuff yet.

#2014-06-03 13:39:00 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous10189

"You are such a great writer man. You need to sell books."

Thanks so much for this compliment. I've found the secret to writing is to keep it simple; don't bullshit; and write down words just as if you were speaking to someone opposite you.

I must say it's a little hard on Tina though. I'm trying to keep this daily journal so things remain fresh in my mind. If I left it to the end, then so many little anecdotes and occurrences would become lost.

At times however, Tina is asking me to please go out and do something with her, whilst I'm glued to the computer in the middle of an article. So I'm doing a bit of a balancing act at the moment, attempting to write more quickly than otherwise is my habit, but of course, my budding relationship with her must come first.

Thanks again for your kind words. (y)

#2014-06-03 22:36:12 by girlsummery @girlsummery

I'm still a new one, not sure there will be a miracle occurred.. .. Yes, not easy that he/she caught a glimpse of her/him in the crowd, then lead to marriage . I think that probability is very low...... But seems there is still hopefully to met a Intimate Lovers .
Congratulations to you both!

#2014-06-03 22:49:37 by prana @prana

We're sorry, the toilet makes you feel unpleasant.
However, I do not like to use clean water to flush toilets.
The day before yesterday, my one sister told me,
In them there, and these days without water.
China's many rivers have dried up.
Very curious Tina's age, she looks only 20 to 30 years old.

#2014-06-04 03:35:27 by YinTingYu @YinTingYu

@ Barry1
Hello Barry,
I wanted to write you private but, you have made your profile "invisible" so,... must go public.
I hope this reaches you before you leave China.
Really is great to know that you meet someone for possible partner!!!
I have been on CLM for 2 years and thinks I have found someone as well.
Has taken a lot of "weeding" (ha!).
Anyway,...the pictures you post of each are so lovely.
Looks like a good thing for both of you.
I applaud !!

Have followed your blog/thread posts for some time.
I like your witt although sometimes approaches the "jackassinine" but,...I think I get it. HA!
Wants to remind you, as a native Texan, that the only "Injuns" at the Battle of the Alamo were forced to join with Santa Anna's Mexican army.
They were from interior of what we now know as Mexico.
They wore the Mexican uniform (hehe).
Still,...last man standing for a cause,...greatly admired!!!

OK,...I think of you a little bit as (sort of) a "world connected" brother.
Good grief,...drops the coin and takes the risk of China trip (applause for both) !!!
But, I want to respond from what I remember you write about "giving up" if all does not work out as hoped for with Tina.
Brother,...DO NOT GIVE UP !!!!!
When your visit comes to a close I want you and Tina to listen to certain song please.
Is older Bob Dylan (Zimmerman) tune.

"I Threw It All Away"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww1gt6MHJRA

Lyrics:
I once held her, in my arms...
She said she would always stay....
But I was cruel, I treated her like a fool...
I threw it all away.

Once I had mountains...
In the palm of my hands...
And rivers that ran through, every day...
I must have been mad...
I never knew what I had...
Until I threw it all away.

Love is all there is...
It makes the world go 'round...
Love and only love...
It can't be denied...

No matter what you think about it....
You just won't be able to do without it...
Take a tip from one who's tried.

So if you find someone, who gives you all of their love...
Take it to your heart don't let it stray...
One thing's for certain...
You will surely be a hurtin'...
If you throw it all away...
If you throw it all away...

Just sends as reminder for those last parting hours.
Hopes all works out good for you both.
Peace and Blessings,
Yin Ting Yu,...aka. Gongji

#2014-06-04 12:04:46 by melcyan @melcyan

Hi Barry
As long as you don't get diarrhea you will get used to the squat toilets fairly quickly (if you are squatting properly, it doesn't matter how long your legs are). What water are you drinking? This would be one of my biggest concerns if I was doing your trip. I admire you willingness to share your adventure of unknown outcome with us. I could not do that and even if I was willing, my partner would not let me share details. Wishing you all the best.

#2014-06-04 12:27:22 by huang2014 @huang2014

Recently,I have heard the Australian Goverment made people very hard to marry a foreign wife, a marriage visa need wait for four years.

#2014-06-05 21:45:24 by sandy339 @sandy339

"If I'd known online Chinese dating was this much fun, I'd have done it a long time ago!"
Ok, really, it sounds so tired to me,
it is not my style for meeting, I enjoy quiet chatting time and a little bit walking for the first time, it sounds too tired for me. But you two seem enjoyable, that is so great...:)

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