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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 ChinaTrip Day21, Part 2 我的中国之行,第21天第2部分

By Barry Pittman
8342 Views | 52 Comments | 10/19/2014 9:03:17 AM

Day 21 in China dawned – I couldn’t believe how quickly time was passing.  I’d been here three weeks already yet it felt closer to just half this time.  My return home to Brisbane was inexorably drawing closer, I was already feeling subtle pangs of regret knowing I’d have to leave this fascinating country soon.  Why does time invariably pass by so quickly when you’re having fun?  Yet pass by so slowly when you’re not!



在中国的第21天,天亮了,我无法相信时间过得如此之快。我已经在这里有三个星期了,然而我却觉得象是刚来没多久。我回去布里斯班的家的时间也无情的临近了,我已经开始感觉到了阵痛,很遗憾的知道我将很快的就要离开这个迷人的国家。为什么当我们过得开心的时候,时间总是飞快的流逝,而当我们不开心的时候,时间却过得很慢呢。



Following on from the whirlwind Jiuzhaigou trip, Tina and I spent a quiet day in her home town of Shawan.  I guessed this place had a population of about ten thousand people, quite small by China standards. 



在旋风般的九寨沟旅程之后,TINA和我在她的家乡沙湾度过了很平静的一天。我猜想这个地方有一万的人口,相对中国的标准来说,是一个很小的地方。

Despite being well out in the countryside (two hours bus journey from Chengdu, the largest neighbouring city) and ringed by marvelous green hills, Shawan nevertheless unbelievably had a pollution problem.  Walking down the main street on most days alongside the river that lazily snaked its way through town, one could see photochemical smog hanging limply in the air.  One didn’t need to look far to see why this was so – around the outskirts of the town lay several large factories, belching out heavy black smoke and no doubt other contaminants, twenty four hours per day.  “What a shame!” I mused to myself on more than one occasion, witnessing this.

尽管这里很偏在乡下(离最大的领近城市成都有两个小时的车程),并且四周环绕着美丽的山坡,沙湾仍然令人不可置信的有着污染的问题。很多天以来沿着静静穿过镇子的小河的主要街道行走,总会发现空气中飘浮着光化学烟雾。无需看得多远就会知道原因—小镇的四周坐落着几座大型的工厂,每天24小时不停歇地向空中喷出黑色浓烟,当然毫无疑问地同时喷出其他污染物。“多么令人羞愧啊!”看到这些的时候,我不止一次不自觉地喃喃自语。

But this is the story of a huge swathe of China.  As beautiful and as fascinating as the country is, its environmental standards are low by world standards, meaning most of its (and apparently not-so-large) cities have a pollution problem.  A hugely widespread urban blight that needs to be taken seriously, if not for the environment, but for the hapless innocents being forced to live with it for all their lives.  Babies, children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to its slow, invidious health effects.  Come on, Chinese government – do something about this!

然而,这是中国相当多的一个故事。跟这个国家一样美丽和迷人,但是,它的环境超标准却低于世界水平,这意味着大多数的城市(很显然不是很大的城市)有污染问题。如果不是为了环境,而是为了那些运气不好的被迫在这里生活一辈子的无辜人们,就要认真对待大量的四处分布的城市枯萎问题。婴儿们,孩子们和老人们尤其容易受缓慢的令人反感的健康问题影响。来吧,中国政府—为此做点事情吧!

On a more positive note, one of the terrific highlights of China is the beautiful cuisine freely available on the street.  Dining places are everywhere.  China’s national pastime seems to be eating!  Prices mostly are extremely reasonable. For just twenty to forty yuan per head, one can eat quite a reasonable meal at a street side café.  No doubt higher prices would occur in the tourist areas.  I’m referring to traditional China here, away from the big cities.  As a general rule, the further you get away from these large, sprawling metropolises, the more authentic and interesting will be your experience.  Visitors would all do themselves a big favour if they ventured out into the countryside - the further out the better, to savour and become immersed within the REAL China.  The obvious problem being though that one needs to be with a translator or multi-lingual friend.

从一个更为让人乐观的方面来说,中国的一个非常好的焦点是街上随时提供的美味的饮食。到处都是吃饭的地方。中国全国性的娱乐好象就是吃饭!大多数的价格非常的合理。每人只要20到40块钱,就可以在街边的咖啡厅中吃到相当合理的一餐饭。当然毫无疑问在旅游景区价格会高。我现在说的是远离城市的传统中国。作为一个基本原则,你离大城市,繁华的都市越远,你就越能经历真正正宗的有趣的生活。观光者们如果将冒险历程深入到农村,他们就会帮了他们自己一个大忙,去得越偏远越好,就越能融入到真正的中国中来。然而,很显然的一个问题是,你得带着一个翻译或是一个会多门语言的朋友跟你在一起。

On this day, Tina and I sauntered along one of the streets near her house before sitting down and enjoying a beautiful meal of fish and vegetables.  I was lucky Tina hardly ate any red or white meat. Even though she wasn’t a full vegetarian like me, in deference to my beliefs I never actually saw her eat any chicken or steak.  It was small things like this that helped cement our overall compatibility and attraction to each other.

今天,TINA和我在享用一餐美餐(鱼和蔬菜)之前一直在她家附近的一条街上溜达。我非常的幸运,因为TINA几乎不吃任何的红肉或是白肉。虽然她不是跟我一样的100%的素食者,跟我的信仰一样,我从来没有看到她吃鸡肉或牛排。正是这样小小的事情,加强了我们俩之间的适合性和对彼此的吸引力。

As we were eating, a Chinese man crossed the street and in a jocular manner, started pointing to me and nattering to Tina.

在我们吃饭的时间,一个中国男人经过街道,用一种打趣的方式,指着我开始跟TINA瞎扯。

“What did he say?”, I enquired of her after the man had left.

“他说什么了?”他走之后,我问TINA。

“He was remarking how tall you were – he guessed you were at least two metres!” Tina giggled.  This type of thing had happened to me before.  At 187cm in height, I clearly towered over most indigenous Chinese, some of whom were less than 150cm, particularly the ladies.  To them, I must have indeed seemed like a giant!

“他在谈你有多高 – 他猜你至少有2米高!”Tina咯咯的笑。这样的事情已经发生过了。身高187CM,我显然比大多数本土的中国人高很多。他们有些人身高还不够150CM,尤其是女士们。对于他们来说,我真的看起就象是一个巨人。

This Sunday afternoon, Tina's sixteen year old daughter Wendy attended her weekly English lessons, taught by a Filipino teacher who lived a half hour’s bus trip away.  Wendy and I got on well together; she was an extremely conscientious student who I knew would end up as a well paid employee in whatever professional career she ended up choosing.  At her age, I also had been an industrious student, so I empathized closely with her.  I felt her pain; I sympathized with the long, gruelling hours she spent studying.  Virtually every waking moment, Wendy had her head down reading and learning.  When I was her age, I remember developing the habit of setting the alarm clock at 3.30am every week morning, so I could cram in a few extra hours of study before school.  Wendy now was exactly the same type of pupil as I was back then.  I remember my father in those days repeatedly tried to get me away from my books, thinking I was on the way to a nervous breakdown, such was my (to him) obsessive diligence. 

这个周日下午,TINA的16岁的女儿Wendy会参加每周的英语课程,由住在离这一个半小时车程之外的一个菲律宾老师主教。Wendy跟我相处得很好。她是一个非常认真的学生,我知道她会是一个收入不错的好员工无论她选择在哪个领域工作。在她的年龄的时候,我也曾经是一个非常刻苦的学生,所以我很能理解她。我能感觉到她的痛苦,我很同情她,要经受那么长时间让人折磨的学习时间。在每个清醒的时刻,Wendy都会低着头阅读或是学习。当我在她的年龄的时候,我记得我养成了一个习惯,每天我会去放闹钟在早上3点半把我闹醒,以便我可以在去上学前多学习几个钟。Wendy现在跟我以前一样是同一类型的学生。我记得在那些日子里,我父亲总是试图让我远离书本,认为我这样下去可能会崩溃,他认为我是过度用功了。

Thus it went without saying that if Tina and I ended up together permanently, then I’d do my utmost to both encourage and support Wendy through this tough period of her life.  I’m cognizant that she has years of hard study ahead of her, hopefully culminating in a Masters degree at a good university.  Who knows, perhaps even at the same place I attended all those years ago – Queensland University.  I’ll bet though that she’ll never end up as I did, on the university soccer team! Though I’m sure stranger things have happened in life.

因此不用说,如果我跟TINA最后真正在一起了,我会尽我全力去鼓励和支持Wendy度过她生命中最困难的这段光阴。我意识到她还有很多年的学习历程,希望她能能够在一个好的大学得到一个学士学位。谁知道呢?说不定她甚至会跟我多年以前一样在同一个地方上大学—昆士兰大学。我敢打赌她永远都不会跟我一样,最后参加了大学足球队!虽然我认为那是一生以来最奇怪的一件事情。

I believe that God helps those most who help themselves – and Wendy through her diligence was well on the way to an ever blossoming, bright future. This starkly contrasted with other young people that I know, who were more intent on partying and enjoying themselves than almost anything else.

我相信天助自助者 ¬¬– 刻苦努力的Wendy毫无疑问正在行进在通往美好未来的路上。这明显的跟我所认识的其他一些花费他们大多数时间在PARTY,享受他们的娱乐的年青人不同。 

But back to the story at hand.  After finishing lunch, Tina and I sauntered around the shops in Shawan for a while.  All the time I was being closely stared at by many locals, some of whom by their reaction, I’m sure had never seen a Westerner in the flesh before, especially a tall one.  We then headed back to her place, where Tina lay down to have her usual half hour nap.  Unlike the West, these are common in China.  A regular as clockwork afternoon siesta.  I generally kept active during these nap periods however, as mostly I never felt tired enough to sleep.

但是回到我们的故事中来,吃过午饭后,TINA和我在沙湾的商店里闲逛。在这所有的时间里,我都被很多当地人死死盯着。从他们的反应来看,我肯定他们其中一些人从来没看到过一个西方人,尤其是一个跟我一样高的西方人。然后,我们回到她的住处,TINA跟往常一样躺下睡她的午觉。跟西方人不同,在中国睡午觉很普遍。然而,通常我在这个时段都会保持警醒,因为我从来都不觉得累和困能够睡得着。

As we approached her bottom floor apartment,  I felt forced to secretly smile.  I always felt a little amused when I saw Tina’s washing line – the branches of a medium sized tree.  It grew beside the public walkway near the entry to the apartment.  Without giving it a second thought, she’d throw her damp washing over it, whenever she wanted to dry something quickly.  This did the job better than simply hanging the laundry near an open window in the apartment proper.  I assumed that thieves generally had better things to steal than well used clothing.

当我们走近她的位于第一层楼的公寓时,我忍不住偷偷的笑。当我看到TINA的洗衣线 – 一棵中等尺寸大树的树枝时,我总是忍不住觉得很好笑。大树长在公寓入口处的人行道处。当她想要快速晒干某件东西时,她总是想都不想就把她的潮湿的衣物丢到树枝上面。这确实是比把衣物挂在公寓里一个窗户处效果好得多。我想小偷们总是会偷比一件穿过的衣物更好的东西吧。

Another practice I noted in Shawan was that many of the shops opened seven days per week, often till rather late at night, even on a Sunday.  Heaven knows how poorly some of the hapless retail assistants toiling within them no doubt would be paid.  Trade unions would have a field day in China, if only they were allowed!

在沙湾,我发现的另外一个规律是,很多商店每个星期营业七天,而且经常都开业到晚上很晚的时候,甚至是周日晚上也不例外。天知道哪些不走运的营业员是如何是那里辛苦工作。如果允许的话,商会在中国一天可是有得忙的。

Another ubiquitous feature in many parts of the country that I’d noted over the past several trips were the abundance of watermelons being sold during the summer months.  Melon venders were everywhere at this time.  This then begs the question, where do the fruit sellers go or how do they earn a living during the bleak winter months? 



在过去几次旅程,我注意到的另一个有特色的普遍现象是,在这个国家的很多地方,夏天的时候,很多很多的人在卖西瓜。在这个时候,到处都是西瓜小贩。问题来了,在冬天的时候这些水果小贩去哪了呢?或是他们在冬天靠什么营生啊?



Tina advised me also to wash the outside of a melon before you cut into it, preferably with clean bottled water, as opposed to the potentially dirty tap water.  I’d been told this before by others also, in the early days of this Chinese online dating process. If ever the current Ebola epidemic gets a foothold in this country - heaven forbid – millions would tragically perish.  Sanitation standards simply wouldn’t be adequate in many areas to defy or overcome such a terribly infectious plague.  Security at the Chinese ports and borders needs to be ever vigilant for such a menace.  I certainly hoped they were up to the task. God help us all, if ever Ebola ran riot in this densely populated, fascinating country.



TINA建议我在切开一个西瓜的时候,也要先洗洗西瓜的表面,最好是用干净的瓶装水而不是有可能会被污染的水管水。有这之前,其他人也曾经建议我这么做,在我开始网上约会中国女士的早些时候。 如果目前埃博拉这个传染性病毒沾足这个国家的话—但愿不会如此—成百万人会很悲剧的丧命的。在很多地方,公共卫生标准很明显就不足于抵抗或战胜这个可怕的传染性瘟疫。中国港口和边界的安全必须更警觉才能对付这样的威胁。我当然希望他们能够完成任务。愿上天保佑我们所有的人,如果埃博拉涉足这个高人口密度的迷人的国家的话。



To be continued – Day 21, part 3



待续 – 第21天,第3部分



 




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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 52) 1 2 3 4 5 6 More...
#2014-10-22 15:21:41 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, I am disappointed at a couple of levels, but excited at another.

First, at the lowest of levels, I am disappointed that you have failed, not for the first time, to regale us with your now near legendary descriptions of blasting off from the base of a squat toilet.

At a slightly higher level I am also disappointed not to get anymore description of your now steamy physical coupling with the lovely Tina.

But I am excited (for you) that things seem to have settled into a good place between you and Tina; one that seems to promise your lives are from now on going to be intertwined.

Good work, my friend. Good work!

#2014-10-22 16:21:28 by destiny1 @destiny1

也许在你去九寨沟的时候我也在那里。
文章不错,记录你在中国的某一天,关键是记录了你们感情发展的过程。祝你幸福!(sun)

#2014-10-22 17:59:07 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

"things seem to have settled into a good place between you and Tina"

Thanks for your good wishes, John.

They say that genius is ninety-nine per cent perspiration and just one per cent inspiration.

In similar fashion, a successful relationship between two people often involves a high degree of mundane trivialities that constantly occur in routine, day to day life. With a small proportion of more exciting activities that sparkle from time to time.

Whilst I would enjoy writing more about the physical relationship between Tina and I, it seems that the Chinese authorities who monitor foreign websites that are available in mainland China may take a dim view of such scribblings, even if they're based on truth and not meant to be deliberately provocative.

Thus sadly my articles henceforth may be forced to adopt a relatively mundane posture, without much in the way of sexual content, even though Tina and I have now progressed to this level of intimacy.

So the challenge is upon me to not make my articles so boring that readers start to fall asleep; yet not so titillating that government censors may start raising their eyebrows.

So apologies in advance to anyone out there who may be waiting for something to be written here that's in any way steamy, apart from simply a description of boiling some rice on the stove. (think)

#2014-10-22 20:52:18 by Barry1 @Barry1

@destiny1

"the key is to record your emotional development process"

Thank you for this, Destiny1.

Yes, describing a relationship is much more than simply writing down a travelogue of what happened and when. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions and ideas are all equally important.

I will try to include these more into my future articles. Thank you for your advice, Destiny1. (y)

#2014-10-22 22:24:25 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Barry1

Bazza, me old China.....lol.....Once again you have hit on a lot of good points

Firstly, China is undoubtedly a fascinating country on many levels, but the pollution stinks (no pun intended)

It always amazes me how they just......'cope'..... with everything, I mean..... Like the tree for the washing line for example, they just get on with life as it suits them - 'simple' in many ways

So by your own admittance, you are a lanky vegetarian who believes in God ?

Oh how I hate you on so many levels (haha)

I'm with John on this - no squat toilets - haha

China is 100% totally different to western countries. I guess that's 99% of the intrigue ?

#2014-10-22 22:41:28 by lanzi76 @lanzi76

他在谈你有多高 – 他猜你至少有2米高!”Tina咯咯的笑。这样的事情已经发生过了。身高187CM,我显然比大多数本土的中国人高很多。他们有些人身高还不够150CM,尤其是女士们。对于他们来说,我真的看起就象是一个巨人

真心忍不住了,中国人身材未必真是如此?不知这是哪个世外桃源了。请多去中国的很多地方走走吧,现在一百八十几的身高在中国也不是那么稀罕了,我们稀罕的确实是两米的身高。看这位亲的一些文章里,很多观点都透着点井底之蛙之感。请不要想当然,有些事情是需要多去体会的。不足的地方每个国家都会有的。

#2014-10-23 06:59:38 by Barry1 @Barry1

@lanzi76

"Please go to the place a walk, height 180-something in China now is not so rare"

Thank you for your comments, Lannzi76.

Yes, I understand now that the average height of Chinese is now increasing. Your comments will help alert everyone to this fact. Thank you for taking the time to point this out to us all. (wasntme)

#2014-10-23 13:59:44 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

"China is 100% totally different to western countries. I guess that's 99% of the intrigue?"

Thanks for your comments Paul.

I don't know anyone who's visited China who didn't like the place. Through the articles that people such as both you and I submit here - and this whole burgeoning website in general - hopefully the message will increasingly get across to people .

Paradoxically however, many native Chinese would love to get out of the country. But why? No doubt a whole book could be written on this subject.

The major drama Westerners have with China is the language barrier. I strike problems in this area all the time myself. On the other hand, if such a major point of difference between China and the rest of the world didn't exist, the mystique and attraction of the place would no doubt fall.

In any case Paul, I'm looking forward to your next blog article. Perhaps about the last relationship you had with a Chinese lady? Please get on with it! :)

#2014-10-23 14:00:19 by anonymous12356 @anonymous12356

Barry, once again very interesting episode. The picture of Tina makes her look quite petite. I really like the picture of the older farmer having his lunch, he seems to be quite content with his meal. (y) I am curious as to why the Chinese government would be concerned about what you write here? Or are you once again pulling our proverbial chains? lol

I did not know that Vegetarians ate fish? My daughter is a vegetarian and eats no meat or fish. Have you had any issues eating at the small roadside eateries stomach wise? I have read many articles warning western tourists to be very careful in this matter.

Well done with Tina!!!


Cheers....

#2014-10-23 18:01:18 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous12356

"I am curious as to why the Chinese government would be concerned about what you write here?"

The answer to this is simple, Anon12356. In my article Day 21, Part 1, only half of what I wrote was published. The site management here informed me that much of what I wrote was too graphic for the Chinese censors. So sadly my articles henceforth will need to be of a more moderate tone in the area of sexuality.

You also asked about vegetarians. A VEGAN is a strict vegetarian who eats no meat (or eggs) at all, fish included. A vegetarian however does eat fish and eggs, but no chicken, pork or steak. So I guess your daughter is a vegan. Good on her, she must have a strong social conscience.

You also asked,

"Have you had any issues eating at the small roadside eateries stomach wise?"

The answer to this is I make a point of NOT eating at such places. Whilst I'll eat at a small restaurant or street side cafe, I avoid eating anything from smaller, mobile operators, unless there's no good alternative. Better to be safe than sorry.

If I am hungry though, what I sometimes do is buy half a watermelon and simply eat it whilst walking down the street or sitting under a tree. Is there anything nicer than fresh, sweet watermelon, after all? (wasntme)

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