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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 7 我的中国之行—第7天    

By Barry Pittman
4576 Views | 18 Comments | 6/1/2014 9:51:46 PM

Today was a rest day. My legs were a little sore from the big effort we put in yesterday descending the mountain. Even Tina admitted to having slightly sore legs, something that she had't expressed so directly to me before.  I learnt that her body weight hovered between 51 and 52 kgs, so she was even lighter than what I'd thought.  

Imagine someone of this diminutive size carrying a 20kg backpack down a mountain without a single word of irritation or complaint.  What a gem of a person is this amazing Chinese woman!  This highlighted the sterling character she possessed, her steely mental resolve almost as case hardened as the muscles in her cast iron legs.  When I reflected back on all the ladies and girlfriends in my past life, NONE of them would've been capable of such a feat, without an annoying abundance of bitching, berating and bellyaching, God bless 'em all!

We were residing in a farmer's hotel located near the Qingyin Pavilion. We'd been in the same hotel on day two of our journey.To our chagrin, we learnt this was a "long weekend", What this meant was that the usually quiet Mt Emei tracks were overflowing with Chinese tourists. All manner of people were evident - the young, the old; the fat, the thin; the smiling and the frowning.  

Thus the tracks and trails around here were cluttered with double the number of tourists as normal.  To any folks reading this considering a trip to Mt Emei, my advice is to if possible, avoid weekends and holiday periods.  During these times, not only do the hotels raise their room rentals, but it's way better to be able to breathe in the serenity and absorb the poignancy of a thousand special moments without being jostled or interrupted by others.

I hadn't seen many foreigners on my journey so far.  Only a small handful of Westerners had been sighted, perhaps illustrating how relatively unknown the alluring Mt Emei region is to anyone outside Sichuan Provence.

Some things continue to interest me no matter how many times I see them. Today I marvelled at how hard working the Chinese porters were who carry paying Chinese tourists on bamboo poles, resting on their shoulders. We spoke to one porter who said he can earn around 500 yuan per day doing this back breaking work in the peak season, but only a fraction of this in the off season (winter).

Tina giggled at me when I pointed out the people carrying porters to her, saying,

"You notice Barry, it's only the fat Chinese who use them!"

Today we had a leisurely two hour saunter through an "ecology monkey zone" located just a few kilometres from our hotel. As we approached the more active monkey area, Tina declined to accompany me, telling me to go ahead and she'd wait at the checkpoint for me. She was dead set scared of the monkeys.  She was a ballsy lady in many respects, yet in others, a little timid.  I tried to assuage her fears by saying,

"Please don't worry, Tina - I'll protect you from the hairy apes!"

But to no avail.  Probably for the best, as despite my heroic superman words, I wasn't quite sure what I'd do, if jumped upon by a BIG monkey, rather than a cute little juvenile.   Remembering that weight for weight, the muscles in a primate were some nine times stronger than that of a human.  So despite their small size, these fellas were powerful, if ever their primal instincts kicked in!

Though ever since the juvenile monkey had leapt onto my arm near the Mt Emei summit and I felt his soft, prehensile toes gently clasping my skin, I felt an overall  kinship with them.  The juveniles were simply adorable.  So cute and hairy, better looking than many humans their age!

The older, fatter ones did look somewhat intimidating.  This is why in the photos, you'll often see Tina and I carrying bamboo poles.  Vendors by the dozen sell these to tourists and hikers in the Emei area, warning that they're needed in case you get attacked by an ape.   

I carried a pole over half way up Mt Emei.  Though in the top quarter of the mountain when my energy was down to rock bottom levels, I discarded it, thinking to myself "What do I need this damn thing for!"  Even though it was light to carry, at that wearying stage, even carrying an extra half kilo was half a kilo too much.

Seeing this, Tina immediately ran back to me, saying

“Barry! Barry!  You've lost your bamboo!"

To which I quickly replied,

"I didn't lose it, Tina - I threw it away!"

Tina was horrified at this, thinking that now I was helpless, soon to become a tragic victim of a frenzied monkey attack.  A fear that of course, never eventuated.

In the "monkey zone" to my delight, on two separate occasions, two young chimps jumped onto the top of my head! As this occurred, the Chinese ladies around me would cry out as if I was being attacked by a vicious Great White shark. This was highly amusing to me.

I can advise all CLM readers that should a monkey ever jump onto your head, there's no need to panic.  Simply stand calmly and let it do its thing. It's probably only curious and being intelligent creatures, I reckon they do this only to help relieve boredom on their part, with no harm intended.  The strong recommendation however to everyone is that when in an active monkey area, don't carry either water bottles or food of any form, unless they're concealed deeply within your pack.  These only tempt the greedy chimps into becoming thieving little rascals, frightening those unaccustomed to such interesting, albeit momentarily alarming, events.

I saw one elderly Chinese lady carrying a cardboard bag full of sweets and breads have the bag violently ripped open by a monkey, that after quickly grabbing a couple of bags of food, then scampered back up the nearest tree.  All in the space of a few seconds.  The horrified lady almost had a heart attack and so did I, due to my loud guffaws of laughter at this amusing spectacle, the kind and sympathetic person that I am!

Another funny episode occurred a little later.  Whilst walking along a trail, somehow a big hairy caterpillar landed on the back of my hand. Tina jumped away in fright and then started belting and punching at my hand as if I was being attacked by a moray eel. I had to quickly pull away in order to protect the harmless caterpillar. Other Chinese ladies nearby saw what had happened and they also started crying out. I couldn't see why a small creature like this could cause such consternation?  Maybe a monkey jumping on someone's head potentially deserves such a reaction - but a poor caterpillar, even if it was rather large and hairy?

Our sleep that night back at the hotel wasn't the best.  The beds were lumpy and not at all comfortable.  The internet was intermittent and trying to pen this article late at night proved to be an arduous exercise in frustration.  I remember writing these words out nearly in full, then pressing a button and whammo!  The entire article somehow disappeared   -  I presume because of a faltering and intermittent internet connection.  An impersonal casualty to the wilds and wilderness of Mt Emei.  So be it.  Such things need to simply be accepted.

Through all of this, I admired this slender lady accompanying me more and more.  Tina never complains about anything;  she's steadfastly sweet and kind, often smiling; and most perplexing of all, she seems to genuinely like me. 

Millions wouldn't.  But she does.  "Why?", I wondered idley to myself.

One concern I have is perhaps she's TOO gentle a person for me?  I'm not a beer swilling, vulgar redneck by any stretch of imagination, but despite this, perhaps my somewhat rough-and-tumble Western upbringing will prove to be my ultimate downfall?  Maybe when push comes to shove, Tina's delicate disposition will prove to be too fragile for someone like me?

Online Chinese dating is fraught with potential problems such as thiis.  It's easy enough to find a  beautiful Chinese lady, because elegant ladies are everywhere in China.    They're a good looking race of people.  It's also easy enough to venture over and have a pleasant meeting and holiday with your chosen Chinese lady.  But it's NOT so easy to find someone who's truly compatible with you over the long term.

This is exactly why I'm doing my darndest to act more or less naturally whilst I'm here.  It'd be simple for me to act like a charmimg, romantic Don Juan.  But this is not the real me.  Under no circumstances do I want Tina to believe I'm someone that I'm not.  I don't want to lure her to a Western country, only for her to then find out that my real persona is not the one I artificially or capriciously adopted with her in China.

So whilst I'm acting quite politely, kindly and considerately with Tina, I'm NOT going out of my way to act all mushy or "kissy kissy".  I'm also telling her to please don't spend too much money on things, thus I'm subtley indicating to her that I'm not some sort of sugar daddy or spend thrift.  If she decides to be with me, she'll know how or where the land lies.  She'll know my inherent true character and this is exactly my intent. 

I submit this is perhaps one area where Western men visiting their chosen Chinese darling may fail;  I believe many men probably come here in grand style, spending up big in front of their lady and putting on airs and graces that perhaps doesn't truly and accurately reflect their genuine persona.  Just saying.  

Another big test will be tomorrow, when we end up back at Shawan, Tina's small home town in Sichuan.  There I'll be introduced to Wendy, her 16 year old daughter.  I know for a fact that a mother places great importance on the feelings of a child toward a potential partner.  

Will Wendy give me her approval?  Or will she be a little distant and jealous, as had happened previously to me in an almost identical situation as this, where the son of a Chinese lady I'd been with, proved to be rather jealous and distant toward me.

The steps to a final determination of our potential relationship were now set immutably in motion.  Time was quickly passing by, like falling sand in the hourglass.  Tomorrow was to be an important milestone, one way or the other.

Yet I felt strangely at peace.  My mind was quiescent and calm.  What will be, will be.

Had my pacifying experiences with the serene Buddhist monks up on the mountain somehow helped mentally prepare me for the emotional challenges ahead?  Or was I subconsciously already aware of what was to come?














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#2014-06-08 14:38:18 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I've been having a bit of fun with you while you're writing a new article everyday, teasing you a little and making some (hopefully) humorous remarks somewhat at your expense. I hope you know that it is all meant entirely in fun, and not disparagingly in anyway.

But now I'd like to drop the humour for a moment and ask you a serious question. Barry, are you and Tina getting a little action out of this trip or not?

I am kidding Barry, really. But on a serious note for real, you've made a lot of fans out of this series, by proving yourself to be both a scholar and a gentleman. And while I'm sure we all hope that Tina will choose to keep you around permanently, if by chance she makes the mistake of not doing so I'm sure there are a bevy of beautiful Chinese ladies on CLM now who'd be happy to step into Tina's shoes.

Hell, if I wasn't so happily married to my beautiful Chinese wife, I might tie the not with you myself. (rofl)

#2014-06-08 17:51:38 by Grace172 @Grace172

Hi, Barry, Tina is a gentle and soft mother, I believe her daughter is a very sweet girl. She will give you her approval as long as you promise and show her that you will give her mother happy life forever.
Best wishes to you and lovely Tina and her sweet daughter Wendy!

#2014-06-08 22:01:57 by Barry1 @Barry1


"I hope you know that it is all meant entirely in fun"

Fear not, John - I know everything you say is meant in good humour.

You also asked,

"are you and Tina getting a little action out of this trip or not?"

Yes John, we're getting HEAPS of action, ranging from climbing mountains, hopping in cabs driven by maniac taxi drivers; getting pounced on by wild monkeys - you name it, we've experienced it. I couldn't ask for any more excitement than this if I tried!

"I'm sure there are a bevy of beautiful Chinese ladies on CLM now who'd be happy to step into Tina's shoes"

Thanks for your good wishes, John, but somehow I doubt this. As Sybil Fawlty once disparagingly referred to her obsessive husband Basil,

"Do you really think that any half decent girl would want an ageing, brilliantine, stick insect like you!"

#2014-06-08 23:39:24 by anonymous10317 @anonymous10317

Barry, as far as the monkeys go, I would have no problem with them frolicking on my head. However, the hairy caterpillar? I would have jumped around and screamed like a little girl. All manhood would have been lost at that point. Just being honest here. I can't stand creepy crawly things. You are very brave.

#2014-06-08 23:50:39 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

It all sounds promising. You are very fortunate in that very few Chinese girls are as outdoorsy and adventurous as Tina. I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of Chinese girls I met in 4 years in Chengdu who would do that backpacking trip. This is always a big problem for me as I love hiking and camping. So congrats, you have a very special woman.

#2014-06-08 23:50:42 by anonymous10319 @anonymous10319

Barry, don't get the impression that Tina (or any Chinese woman) is "too gentle". Every person will show their true nature at some point. But I am willing to bet that she will be more reasonable than a lot of the western women you may have dated. In my experience, I have found Chinese ladies to be practical people. They will work with you on things. Yes, they get mad like all people do, but I have yet to meet one that has gone psycho loco over small stuff, like the majority of western women out there.

#2014-06-09 06:57:14 by JianadaYangGuizi @JianadaYangGuizi

You can Google "10 Beautiful But Dangerously Toxic Caterpillars" ...

Actually I doubt that any caterpillars are dangerous. Squat toilets on the other hand ...

#2014-06-09 07:50:27 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

Not sure you grasped the kind of "action" that John was referring to mate

We all want to know - (rofl)

#2014-06-09 13:35:41 by anonymous10329 @anonymous10329

I would be really sad if Barry and Tina do not tie the knot. They have become an iconic couple through this winding tale, and dare I say it, they have reached legendary status in the annals of CLM. Barry and Tina 4EVR!

#2014-06-09 21:55:56 by Barry1 @Barry1


"Tina is a gentle and soft mother, I believe her daughter is a very sweet girl."

Thanks for your good wishes, Grace.

Yes, the more and more that I'm learning about both Tina and her daughter, the more that I'm liking what I see.

Though this story I feel has a lot further to travel, before a final determination is made.

What will happen in the end, I wonder? :^)

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