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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 21, Part 5 我的中国之行 – 第21天,第5部分    

By Barry Pittman
3933 Views | 17 Comments | 1/4/2015 10:02:23 PM

Tina and I had a two hour trek back to home.  Probably a lot longer than this, due to the fact we had no light or torch to help guide us through the treacherous scrub.  Hiking in the dark hills around Shawan on a pitch black, moonless night was certainly not for the faint of heart.  Especially when out of the blackness, a low rumbling noise mysteriously appeared, causing both Tina and I to suddenly feel quite frightened. 

Whilst I wasn't the bravest of men out there, neither was I the most cowardly.  Upon hearing the strange noise, involuntarily I had a flashback to when I was a child, when on more than one occasion, I’d been badly scared by unseen dangers. Just a part of the sometimes difficult growing up process, I guess.

Wise men say we should fear the thing most that fears us the most, as this only makes it more cunning and dangerous.  I hoped like hell we weren’t going to be meeting a savage animal out here in the dark.  If the worst did occur however, I knew I’d throw myself in front of Tina, as I intuitively sensed she'd be no match for anything larger than a porcupine.  Courage was nothing special, it was simply the ability to hold on for mere seconds longer than anyone else and I realised I could hold on longer than dear Tina who bless her, wasn't the most fierce, brave or strongest of persons out there.

After so many interactions with monks during this trip, I clearly believed also that death held no particular dread or apprehension for me.  It was simply the next link in the chain;  the next segment of the cycle; the next great adventure, after all.  All my life, I'd never been afraid of dying and felt vaguely surprised when I met someone who was.

I’d always been of the view that paradoxically, only those who feared life were the ones who most feared death.  Because death was simply an inherent part of life;  so how could someone who fully embraced life, fail to equally embrace one of its most important components, its termination?  How could someone afraid of dying ever be fully satisfied and at peace with living?

Nevertheless, despite my philosophical, relaxed opinion on all of this, given the mysterious noises in the blackness that were now becoming louder and louder, I could see the screaming headlines now in the newspaper back home.

“Heroic Australian attacked and eaten by giant predator whilst hiking in China  – manages to save his  gentle sweetheart who was savagely mauled but still alive  - Chinese government to issue bravery award to dead Aussie for saving one of its citizens!”

Just as abruptly as the quaking fear had struck me however, it disappeared.  I felt a little foolish when I realised that the strange rumbling I’d heard was actually my empty stomach, protesting vociferously at being ignored for most of the day.  It was true, I’d barely eaten the whole time and finally had begun to feel the deleterious effects of doing this.  Or more accurately, to hear them.  I’d never heard my depleted stomach make such loud and annoying grumbling noises before.

This whole trip in fact had caused me to lose a lot of weight.  This wasn’t because Chinese food isn’t delicious  - as it is  - but  was due more to the fact that when constantly traveling, I was either not hungry or felt too busy or excited to eat.  Tina always carried a portable knife and spoon set in her bag for me, so I never needed to bother using chopsticks.

To any Westerners out there interested in quickly shedding some kilos, my advice is to take an overseas hiking tour.  You needn’t exhaust yourself as I'd been doing, but simply travel around and see the sights wherever you are by foot as often as possible, rather than car or public transport.  You’ll return home looking tight, taut and terrific! 

Tina often mentioned to me that I needed to eat more – maybe she was right?  Judging by my ribs sticking out, I reckoned I’d lost at least six to eight kilos over the past three weeks.  I’d been slim before this trip had even started – admittedly now I was looking downright gaunt.  She’d recently taken some photos of me with no shirt on, but they looked so unappealing I rather shamefully deleted them. 

What Tina physically saw in me, I had no idea.  I could barely look at myself in the mirror without subconsciously grimacing at the unsavoury sight that was appallingly reflected back to me.  They say love is often blinkered or short sighted but in my case, it was totally and comprehensively blind!

In any case, on this evening Tina and I continued our slow trek home.  We could barely see each other in the darkness and in some sections, there was genuine danger in taking a wrong step and potentially falling down the steep, unforgiving hillside. On several occasions, Tina let out a cry as she stumbled over a hidden obstacle.  I occasionally did the same thing as I stubbed my toe or caught my foot on an unseen obstacle. Oh, the joys of Chinese online dating – how on Earth did I find myself in such a risky situation as this?

One unusual event that stood out for its sheer incongruity is something I’ll remember for a long time.  As Tina and I were trekking stoically through the dark, the narrow path we were following took us at one point close to a farmer’s dwelling. A lot of the tracks we walked along in this region ran right beside some occupied farmhouses, many of which had no boundary gates or fence lines.  As we approached this house, I could hear music coming from it that slowly became louder and louder.  As I drew closer, I thought I recognized the tune.  “Surely it can’t be!”, I thought to myself.  "No way!"

But it was!  Booming out of the farmhouse window was Gene Kelly of all people, belting out his famous “Singing In the Rain” song from the 1952 musical romantic comedy of the same name. 

“I'm singing in the rain

Just singing in the rain

What a glorious feelin'

I'm happy again

I'm laughing at clouds

So dark up above

The sun's in my heart

And I'm ready for love

Let the stormy clouds chase

Everyone from the place

Come on with the rain

I've a smile on my face

I walk down the lane

With a happy refrain

Just singin',

Singin' in the rain”

For those with access, it can be seen here

The extremely odd things you suddenly experience in the most surprising of places!  Who on Earth would’ve expected to hear a classic old movie tune in English, blasting out from a remote farm in the dark, in the far hills surrounding an inconsequential town in the middle of China!  It was small, riveting curiosities like this that stuck in my head on this astonishing trip, sometimes more so than other, supposedly more important events. 

This China journey was head and shoulders better than my previous two trips here, mainly because this time I’d left the big cities and was thus able to breathe in and fully experience the REAL China.  I just loved it.  It was better in so many ways to my home town of Brisbane in Australia.  I could easily envisage myself living here.  The main problem though was the terrible language difficulty I constantly experienced, dammit. 

I’d studied French at high school and was familiar with bits of German and Latin also.  But Mandarin to me was unfortunately absolutely incomprehensible.  I may as well have been on Mars listening to the Martians gossip, such was my bewilderment as what was being said around me most of the time.  Usually it was impossible for me to pick out even a single word in any Chinese conversation that meant anything at all to me, except maybe for “Hello” or “Good bye”. 

Thus increasingly, I developed more and more respect for those people who could properly master two languages.  I don’t mean easy languages like French or German, but something more challenging like Russian or Chinese.  As a bit of trivia, I heard somewhere that Icelandic, Mandarin and Arabic were three of the more difficult languages on Earth to master. A discomforting thought indeed, for those amongst us with a vague yet seemingly impossible dream of someday learning Chinese.

Why on Earth are there so many languages anyway?  Why can’t there be one main  language, with simply local dialects or variances on this one universal language?  It’s sheer madness, having so many completely different languages in the world, surely? 

For that matter, why do some countries drive on the left side of the road – and other countries on the right side?  Don’t governments know how much unnecessary road trauma must occur each year through tourists either maiming or killing themselves, simply because of this senseless difference? 

And why do so many people fight or blast hell out of each other because of religion?  Isn’t religion supposed to be based on prayerful goodness and LOVE, rather than grotesque intolerance and HATE?

Is the whole world mad?  Or is it just me?  Hellooo?  Is anyone listening out there?  Is anyone hearing what I’m saying? 

To be continued – Day 21, Part 6, entitled “Will This Long and Strange Day Ever End?”







“为救一命中国人而牺牲的澳大利亚人被中国政府授予英勇奖励--在中国徒步旅行遭巨型食肉动物攻击并吞食--期间设法营救其斯文女友--受严重攻击但幸免遇难 !”


 其实整个旅行中我的体重倒有所下降。这并不是因为中国菜不好吃 -它是美味的 - 但由于不断的旅行,我要么不觉得饿要么觉得太繁忙或太兴奋而吃不下。蒂娜总是在包里携带一套刀叉给我备着,所以我从来不担心要用筷子。


 蒂娜经常说要我多吃点 - 也许她是对的?看着凸出的肋骨,我估摸过去三周里我掉了6至8公斤。旅行前我就挺瘦的,不可否认现在的我是彻头彻尾的憔悴。她近期给我拍了一些没着上衣的照片,但看起来实在没吸引力我宁愿惭愧的删了。



有件不协调的不寻常事,我不会很快忘记。蒂娜和我坚忍的在黑暗中跋涉,我们脚下的狭窄小道把我们引到一处农舍。我们所经过的这片区域的很多小道旁边有些农舍,其中好多没有大门或栅栏线。我们渐渐走近这所房子,里面流淌出的音乐听着越来越大声。最后,我以为我认出了它的曲调。 “这不是真的!”,我心想。 “不可能!”

是真的!农舍的窗口传出的正是著名的Gene Kelly的名曲“雨中曲”,来自 1952年的同名音乐歌舞剧。 

“ 我在雨中唱歌






















同样地,为什么有些国家规定车往左开- -其他国家车往右开? 难道政府不明白,就因为这些毫无意义的差异,每年造成多少不必要的马路悲剧--游客伤残或致死?





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#2015-01-12 15:32:36 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, it is great to see you back in print! And especially to see that your bizarre but delightful sense of humour remains intact. Who else but you could draw us on for so long, fearful for your very lives, as you describe the threatening "low rumbling noise" that had scared you and Tina so. And then waxing on philosophically on the meaning of courage, only to ultimately reveal that it was your own grumbling empty tummy that had caused all this angst. What fun that was! (rofl)(clap)

While I am left to wonder why you were frightened by the sound of your own belly growling in hunger, I have no doubt why poor Tina was so frightened. I'm sure she was left in absolute terror that she was about to be subjected to one of your now infamous volcanic farts. I hasten to add that I am delighted for both Tina and us that such was not the case, and we were all spared another adventure in that vein.

On a serious note, though, I am afraid we have lost LadyMonika as a translator of your series and I apologize for that. If any of you other Chinese readers are prepared to take on translating Barry's blogs your help would be most appreciated. Please write to me at and let me know.

Great post Barry, one of the best yet. I really enjoyed it.

#2015-01-13 13:10:47 by Barry1 @Barry1


"I am afraid we have lost LadyMonika as a translator of your series...... Great post Barry, one of the best yet "

Thanks for your kind words, John.

It helps enormously when I write my stories to sit back and reflect carefully on exactly how I felt at any given time and pen these thoughts down, rather than merely glossing over them as I tended to do for the first eighteen days or so of this series.

As for losing LadyMonika as a translator, this is a shame as she was good and was in fact the second translator to have wearied of my long and winding blog series. It seems I can really wear out the ladies! (giggle)

Losing a translator won't worry the Western men who read my articles. It'll be the Chinese ladies interested in the blogs who have difficulty reading English, who will miss out. My apologies to them.

Though as one wag cheekily suggested to me, "They won't be missing out on much, will they!" (rofl)

#2015-01-13 14:08:58 by YinTingYu @YinTingYu

Hellooooo B.
I hear very well...I am listening...I AM HERE.
You are not Mad because your perceptions and writing are clear but, maybe you feel frustrated and angry. It's entirely understandable.
Your particular curious extension of Universal consciousness has directed you to make certain observations that are not always noticed by many. I share the same quality.
When this happens one sometimes feels a "separateness" because one begins to see the in-congruences. You are not alone.

Joseph Campbell has called this the "Shamanic Experience" where by an individual has an experience or a series of experiences that move the consciousness to a different level than what is considered normal(?).
The adjustment to the new perception is not always easy. I think you know but, it can be achieved.
There is no reason to "throw a rod" just when you begin to reach your "prime stride" from anger and frustration. Face it Bro,...your in it now.

"Why on Earth are there so many languages anyway"?
Ah,...I am immediately reminded of that story about the "Tower of Babel".
Not to get too biblical on you but apparently, if the story is true, there was a time when a common language was spoken.
A certain king (Nimrod) gathered the people to make a tower that would be able to place him higher than God. A big storm or earthquake came reducing all to rubble and also, language was divided.
This is a poor analogy but, it seems that when Universal (Divine?) Truth / Order is challenged, there are consequences. I see we experience this today and it could be corrected but, so many are not aware. Sadly, we are not taught to perceive it but, it is so simple, just look to nature and it will reveal. I'm talkin' bout galaxies to blades of grass and all points in between.

Now,...this religious thing. I recall asking Mom, a Baptist woman minister(!), Unity, and eventually, Divine Science when I was searching.
"Mom, what is Spiritual Truth"?
Reply: "Take all the religious and philosophical doctrines you can read and what ever is in agreement with each, that is Spiritual Truth but,...beware of Dogma.
"Mom, what is Dogma"?
Reply: "Take the kernel(s) of Spiritual Truth out of the writings and what you have left over is Dogma".
Well,...I found there are big ole' thick books of Dogma!!

How all of this Dogma gets handed and fed to us is a very complicated issue. The "web" is interconnected in various and insidious ways. I sense the Dogma is perpetrated by folks who are in spiritual disharmony and whose percepts are founded on greed, fear, and control for self interest instead of love, understanding, and compassion. All one really can do is to find their own integrity and Live It. In this way we each make a contribution.

Ah,...the mirror.
It is hoped that you are able to accept the thing you call "yourself" as an extension of Divine Source and have a chuckle when you see it. Then maybe you could even learn to love it.
I think it could happen. Shucks,...Tina already sees it, warts, scars, funk and all.
Now it's your turn "dogonnit" !!

Hey,... I need to git.
Please tell Tina I said "howdy".
Really happy for you both.
Great post.

#2015-01-14 09:30:05 by Barry1 @Barry1


"one sometimes feels a "separateness" because one begins to see the in-congruences. You are not alone."

Thanks for the very interesting observations, Gongji. As usual, they were perceptive, intuitive and intelligent.

One of the reasons for the writing of my blog articles is to help divest myself of various thoughts and feelings that otherwise might never have seen the light of day. Doing such a thing provides a partial emotional release or escape valve, that I'm sure is more of a good thing rather than bad.

It's interesting also that you mentioned the "shamanic experience". Shamanism of course, relates to altered states of consciousness with the aim of interaction with the spirit world, something most thinking people recognise as a very real dimension of altered existence out there.

Thanks for the The Tower of Babel story. I remember hearing it in fact as a child, when it was being taught to us in one of our religious instruction classes. It was good to be reminded of it, even though I don't believe its veracity. It makes for an entertaining tale though.

Your words about spiritual truth and dogma were most enlightening. Dogma in particular can be highly dangerous, in that it can breed intolerance and trouble, for those who take it too literally. Spiritual truths are so much more enlightening than dogmatic fundamentalism, of whatever creed or doctrine.

As for the mirror, if the truth be known, I sense that most people don't really like as much as they should, what's reflected back to them in the mirror. Unless you're lucky enough to be born one of the "beautiful people" who I think represents less than ten per cent of the population.

But yes, I agree wholeheartedly our bodies are mere shells, the soul or the spirit within is far more enduring and important. This is certainly worth being reminded of.

Well spoken, Gongji. You are most certainly a well above average man, amongst many very average men! (y)

#2015-01-15 00:11:10 by ladymonika @ladymonika

Hey John,why do you think " have lost "me to translate? I did not say that right? But isn't it that Annie said she would take over the left of the series of Barry's blog? I am confused now,but I can still help if so far no one else .

#2015-01-15 13:44:14 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@ladymonika - I am sorry that I am confusing you, and I assure you that no one is more confused than me at this point, but I am very glad to hear from you. Thanks for responding.

The reason I said we seemed to have lost you for translation is because I have written a couple of emails to your registered email address asking about translating the rest of Barry's series but haven't had any response. Obviously you didn't receive them but I have no idea why not.

But could you please go check your registered mail for those messages, including maybe in your spam box, and reply to them if you find them.

If you don't find them then please write to me at and type "Attn: John" in the subject line and I'll get right back to you. Hopefully we can resolve all confusion and move forward with absolute clarity. (handshake)

#2015-01-15 16:12:06 by Barry1 @Barry1


"isn't it that Annie said she would take over the rest of the series of Barry's blog?"

Nice to hear from you again, LadyMonika.

As I understand it, Annie has taken over Paul Fox's blog articles about his "China Dating Via Thailand" series.

I agree though that it's all a little confusing about what's happening here as far as translation goes.

If you would care to translate any of my blog articles, you'd be very welcome. This would allow the many Chinese ladies out there who don't have a good grasp of English to know what's going on. Hopefully they then may become more involved in the blogs generally, rather than automatically passing over them.

One Chinese lady suggested also that reading articles by Western men helped her to understand better how men think - and Western men in particular.

Although as more than one person has told me previously, I'm not a particularly good example of an average Western man. If you'd care to translate any of my articles, I'm sure you'll find this out for yourself, soon enough. (rofl)

#2015-01-15 17:40:49 by ladymonika @ladymonika

Oh I am so sorry, I did not log in that email address for years, I can't even remember the password now. I have other email address that I would not check daily , I will send you message via that address.

#2015-01-16 00:13:31 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

Mate - you have really lost it this time!
Ask a Chinese person what is the hardest language to learn and they will say English

We are lucky because we can speak it
Imagine you were born in Fiji, Somalia or Greece - you are screwed unless you learn English!
Get out your Chinese dictionary and look up the word 'from'

English is easy - He comes from (spain) - oil comes from (the ground) he came down from (the roof)

Every time the word 'from' is used in Chinese, it has a different word!

You were married to a Chinese lady - you are just bloody lazy (lol)

#2015-01-16 03:21:46 by Anniehow @Anniehow


Hi Monika, welcome back!

When I didn’t see you speak a lot and didn’t see Barry’s blog with your Chinese translation, I was surprised too!

There must be some misunderstanding here .

It is true that I offered to translate for Barry’s blog in part 4. We both submitted our translation and John decided that I would translate some other articles and leave Barry’s blog to you. I think it is a great arrangement as I am impressed with your volunteerism (we know how time consuming it is) and this way neither of us has too much pressure, don’t you think?

I am very glad, as everybody else is, that you are back and please feel free to proceed. :)

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