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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 22, Part 2    

By Barry Pittman
9233 Views | 63 Comments | 1/12/2015 1:29:05 PM


It was morning in Shawan.  Tina and I had just finished breakfast.  I had no idea what she gave me to eat each morning, it was some sort of noodle concoction that tasted somewhat bland yet was nice enough.  Back home, my breakfast typically consisted of a bowl full of almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and pecans.   Topped off with half a cup of mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds.



“Please don’t bother cooking for me, Tina” I often had said to her.  “I’m very happy to eat my own simple foods such as nuts, seeds and fruit.”



“No Barry, it is a woman’s job to feed her man.  I want you to remain strong and healthy.  It is my duty.”



God bless her, Tina was indeed a caring soul.  Yet she disliked cooking, I knew this. She may have forgotten that once or twice in our chatting on the internet over the previous year or so, she’d remarked how she felt that one of the tedious jobs in her life was cooking. So I hated making her feel obligated to do this for me.  Not every man likes to mow the lawn or do maintenance around the house.  Not every lady necessarily enjoys standing over a hot stove or sweeping floors.  Yet these were the supposed traditional roles assumed by the sexes.  “Bah, humbug!” I thought to myself.



For reasons such as this, Tina possessed qualities that I found unusual and quite endearing.  In many ways, they reflected back at me the same qualities as I in many ways had also.  Both of us were classical introverts, tending mostly to look INWARDS rather than outwards at things.  We disliked crowds; stayed away from loud people; and rarely if ever drank alcohol or went out on the town to socialize or party.



Introversion should never be confused with shyness however, they were quite different concepts.  Take me for example, one of my jobs was doing DJ work and acting as MC (Master of Ceremonies) at wedding receptions, where I danced around and often played extremely loud music, as well as needing to give speeches to large groups of people.  Yet I was an introvert, for Pete’s sake!  I normally felt much more comfortable sitting in a quiet room by myself reading a book than being out on the town. Psychologists would have a field day with me, I’m sure.



This introversion explains also why both Tina and I constantly felt drawn toward the hills and the mountains around her home town.  And why when in the presence of monks or visiting their temples, we felt instantly at ease, becoming spontaneously and happily immersed by the extreme silence, solitude and history associated with such people, such places.



I had always appreciated very much the words of the Desiderata.



“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.



As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.



If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.



Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.



Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.



Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.



Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.



With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.



Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”



Beautifully spoken words indeed.  I can add nothing further of value to them as they speak so elegantly  -  so powerfully -  for themselves.



Both Tina and I also believed in karma.  We knew that whatever happened in this current lifetime, both better and worse things were to follow.  Because in every life, every incarnation, LESSONS needed to be learnt.  Some of these were enriching and delightful, some however were anguished and bitter.  How else could one rationalize the appalling unfairness in life, where people of extreme wealth coexisted albeit somewhat restively, with those of abject penury and wretched squalor?



I would rather put a gun to my head and press the trigger, than believe that there was nothing more to this life than what we have, right here, right now.  I had also always sensed deep down in my soul that what you sow, so shall you reap.  If you act with selfishness or greed, then you’ll receive such attitudes back at you in like manner.  If you exude kindness and charity, then as surely as the tide comes in each day, sooner or later you’ll receive these in like measure, probably when you’re in the most desperate need for them.  I urge you friends, to please take heed of what I say.



I knew also that perseverance played a crucial role in life also.  No matter how rich you may be, or how beautiful or handsome you were, not all of life was necessarily pleasant or fulfilling.  Many parts of our lives were simply shocking.  Alarming.  Depressing.  It didn’t matter who you were.  Poor or underprivileged people simply had more of these terrible down periods. Well off or more privileged people had less.



Such caustic cycles happened to EVERYONE.  Every human on this planet needed to at different times, be able to eat a shit sandwich filled with unpleasantness yet still manage to somehow deal with it.  Those who couldn’t do this were those sad souls who made the tragic decision to prematurely leave this planet by their own hand, unable to bear any longer the sometimes immense pain involved with staying.  One such person who decided to leave early not so very long ago was the genius comedian and film star Robin Williams, whose death really shocked and saddened me and still does to this day.



Gareth’s recent passing had a similar effect on me, but in different ways.  I took comfort from the fact that he at least had passed away in bed, surrounded by the familiarity of his home.  I remember telling Tina about it on QQ webcam and felt a little embarrassed when she noticed some tears drifting slowly down my face.



 “Barry, why do you feel so sad?” she had said to me.  “You know he is at peace now and better things are in store for him?”



 Tina was exactly correct.  In many ways, I sensed that death wasn’t an ending, but paradoxically was a new BEGINNING.  A fresh awakening. A transition from one phase of life to another.  Yes, to me death was an important, very integral part of life.  In some ways, it could be argued it was just another form of existence, where the soul was liberated from the frustrating constraints, aches and pains of an organic body. 



My introspective reverie was suddenly shattered by Tina.  These arcane reflections of mine seemed to be becoming both deeper and more frequent as I grew older.



“Barry, I need to go shopping for a little while.  It’ll be quicker if I go by myself.  I know you love watermelon so I’ll make sure to buy some.  I’ll be back in half an hour.”



 Whilst I was waiting for her return, reminiscing upon how lucky I’d been to have found someone like her, quite unexpectedly my stomach started to feel strange.  “Ahh, it’s the breakfast I ate a little earlier,” I thought to myself, “I knew it tasted a bit off!”



 After a few minutes, my condition deteriorated.  A nauseous feeling overcame me and to my consternation,  my insides began rumbling and gurgling in quite an unusual manner.  Then over the next ten minutes, I was suddenly stricken with the worst case of gastric diarrhoea I’d ever been unlucky enough to suffer in my life.



My nausea became severe.  I ran to the bathroom.  Throwing down my pants very quickly and almost tripping over, I plunged my heaving backside over the squat toilet. What followed were multiple extraordinary bouts of projectile diarrhoea. I felt helpless to control it.



After a few minutes of involuntary bowel evacuation, the discomfort finally diminished.  My affliction settled down, almost as quickly as it had overwhelmed me.  Thank heaven, I felt utterly relieved that the gastric storm had passed.  For a while, I‘d been very worried I’d be a hospital case, assuming I was not to die in the meantime of food poisoning.  I wondered concernedly if Tina felt okay, as she’d eaten the same breakfast as me earlier that morning.



To my shock however, I alarmingly remembered the toilet wasn’t working. Tina had mentioned earlier that a man was due there later that day to fix it.  I looked down - it was overflowing.  “Oh no!” I exclaimed in horror.



Tina would be returning imminently.  I suddenly felt quite embarrassed.  I knew that somehow the mess had to be disposed of before her return.  It would be too awful if she saw what I'd done!



I glanced at the clock on the table. I swear the sound of its ticking was accelerating, almost in mocking fashion.  Time was speeding up!



I noticed a brochure lying on a nearby table. “Welcome to China!” it happily extolled in large lettering. “Yeah, right!” I thought wryly to myself.  I knew I had no more than about five minutes, before Tina’s return.



A cold sweat broke out upon my face. My left eyebrow started twitching.



What was I to do?



To be continued - Day 22, Part 3



















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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 63) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 More...
#2015-03-16 17:43:51 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, Barry, Barry, you are such a contradictory sort, wafting on in such philisophical splendor, enthralling us with your deep thoughts on future life, and then suddenly diving, and taking us with you, deep into a bowl of shit? I can almost see the look of glee on your face as you contemplate the shock your readers will go through when they find themselves suddenly fallen from the glories of heaven and landing thump into the bowels, once again, of toilet hell right there in the lovely Tina's bathroom.

I can well imagine the dread you must have felt when turning your eyes downwards to ascertain what horrors awaited your gaze in the toilet bowl you had filled. I can imagine it because I experienced a similar horror when confronted with your lengthy column of photos following this blog, and anticipated that any second one of them would scroll into site and disclose that gross and obscene mess you had created in Tina's toilet. It was with no small relief that I discovered you had spared us that painful experience.

Thank you for that, and do enjoy the shock you are creating for everyone who reads this blog.

#2015-03-16 21:04:08 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@barry1
Back home, my breakfast typically consisted of a bowl full of almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and pecans. Topped off with half a cup of mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
You're a parrot, right ?
Give me a good old fry up of bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomato, tea, toast, coffee, orange juice and a fag anytime lol!

I see we are back to the squat toilets again right? I'm getting worried about your fixation with them.
However, my short time teaching in China has opened up a whole new world as far as squatting goes
Essentially, they can squat and we can't - easy
I could write a whole blog on it.......maybe I will - lol
Get ready John (rofl)

#2015-03-17 09:06:10 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

" I can almost see the look of glee on your face as you contemplate the shock your readers will go through when they find themselves suddenly fallen from the glories of heaven and landing thump into the bowels, once again, of toilet hell"

Thanks for your amusing comments, John.

I quite often feel you have a more advanced sense of humour than I do, which is a great thing, most certainly no burden to carry. Life can be tough enough as it is and can be made so much nicer if one can laugh at oneself and one's actions, attributes that I hope are reflected in many of the articles that I write. (rofl)


#2015-03-17 11:44:31 by anonymous13112 @anonymous13112

"I was suddenly stricken with the worst case of gastric diarrhoea I’d ever been unlucky enough to suffer in my life."

You poor, poor man. I can totally relate. Been there, done that, will probably do it again tomorrow...(puke)

#2015-03-17 13:27:32 by anonymous13113 @anonymous13113

why didn't you get Tina a new toilet insteat of complaining about the squat one? just because it was not your own home? or you thought that it was none of your business?
Have to say that you should've done that if you do care about her! Action always speaks louder than words!

#2015-03-17 14:05:14 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13112

"you poor, poor man. I can totally relate. Been there, done that, will probably do it again tomorrow..."

This is one thing that travelers need to be careful of. Eating foods in strange places can have dire consequences. It's been on the news here lately that people eating a certain brand of frozen berries from Asia purchased in good faith through the large supermarkets, have ended up with hepatitis!

This is one reason why these days I'm very careful about what I eat, no matter where I am. Especially when I take a peek into the rear kitchen areas of the restaurants around the place. :S

#2015-03-17 14:11:40 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

"I see we are back to the squat toilets again right? I'm getting worried about your fixation with them."

I agree that I may have mentioned squat toilets once or twice previously in my articles, Paul. But really, what in China is anything more interesting than these? They provide an endless source of bemused fascination for me. So perhaps I may mention them once or twice again in the future - apologies in advance for that! (rofl)

I look forward to your proposed forthcoming article about them, to both reinforce and consolidate my own personal views here. (clap)

#2015-03-17 14:19:10 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13113

"Action always speaks louder than words!"

By jove, where have I heard this phrase before? I think a well known blogger on this site used to always end his articles with this famous phrase.

Now who was this blogger again.... let me think?

Can anyone remember his name? And if so, perhaps we'll learn the identity of this anonymous poster! :^)

As for your suggestion that I buy Tina a new toilet, this idea has one major disadvantage. It would mean that I'd have nothing further to whinge about in my articles, that would then all become rather boring and mundane.

I prefer to have something to whinge and complain about, sorry about that! (rofl)

#2015-03-18 06:28:21 by anonymous13117 @anonymous13117

Poor Lily. It's an old but energetic man enjoy playing with chinese kind women.

#2015-03-18 18:09:51 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13117

"Poor Lily. It's an old but energetic man enjoy playing with chinese kind women"

Thank you for your comments, Anon13117.

But because of their rather critical and defamatory nature, I'm afraid you are OUT of the running in the prize for a free membership GOLD UPGRADE.

Let me remind everyone again, anyone who writes at least a half-way intelligent comment in any of the articles pertaining to Day 22 of my series, is in the running for this prized and most worthy feature.

So far, the comment that I have enjoyed reading most is one written by John Abbot, where he exhibited a good deal of humour:

"Barry......... wafting on in such philisophical splendor, enthralling us with your deep thoughts on future life, and then suddenly diving, and taking us with you, deep into a bowl of shit?"


Somehow I think though that John Abbot doesn't really need a GOLD MEMBERSHIP UPGRADE.

Or maybe he does? (rofl)(dance)(beer)

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