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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 9 我的中国之行—第9天    

By Barry Pittman
5016 Views | 18 Comments | 6/3/2014 11:05:30 PM

I lay alone on the hotel bed contemplating the last week or so of this adventure I was on, this China trip. Many things were flashing through my mind. I felt a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude that I was in a position to meet such a wonderful Chinese woman as Tina and undertake such a remarkable journey. So many folks wouldn’t have been able to do what I was doing, for one reason or another. Many others simply were unaware of sites like and the potentially enormous rewards that could be achieved throughonline Chinese or Asian dating.

I mused inwardly about my relationship with Tina. Things were going smoothly, despite one or two miscommunication problems, where for several minutes we’d been at a total loss of what the other was saying or meaning and had given up in frustration.  This was simply to be expected from time to time.  No big deal.

Each morning that we met however, we were both happier than before and we both were constantly smiling at each other during the day. Was this simply good friendship? Or something more than this?

Laying on the hotel room bed, I also reflected upon the lunch we’d had yesterday in Fuhu Temple, just before leaving Mt Emei. I was privileged enough to have shared it not just with Tina, but with a long term female Buddhist monk friend named Yi Xing. Like Tina, she was fond of long solitary mountain walks and this is where they’d first met, many months before.

Upon learning that Tina was to meet a “Western man”, Yi Xing had kindly invited the both of us to her temple where we’d shared a lot of dialogue between us. This was one of those occasions when I really wished I knew Mandarin. This lady monk possessed a lot of esoteric knoweldge, speaking about subjects that ordinarily I'd have lapped up hungrily.  I'd always been interested in this area of metaphysics.  There's certainly far more out there than immediately meets the eye.  Just ask Professor Stephen Hawking, whose multiverse theory postulates the existance of huge numbers of cohesive, intermeshed dimensions of existance all around us.

Over the next hour and a half, I was able to ask the Yi Xing many questions. Her English was poor but Tina acted as a translator between us. Like all monks, both male and female, her head was shaved. I asked why this was so – she replied it helped remove the potential for personal arrogance or conceit. For example, a lady monk with long hair may possibly become proud of her hair, distracting her from more important spiritual matters.

This was also the reason why all monks wore simple garb. I asked if she ever became bored, leading such a quiet, monastic life, with no radio or TV. She said no, her scriptural and other studies, together with other monk duties such as tending to the community vegetable garden, never allowed time for tedium or monotony.

She’d been a monk for nearly seventeen years, after having joined at age 25. She believed she’d remain one forever. Neither of her two sisters were monks, though both supported her decision to join the order.  Buddhist monks are respected here;  their vows of chastity and charity are both understood and appreciated by normal Chinese.

I queried her thoughts on why she was the only one of three children to have entered the monkhood.

“Each of us are on our own personal journeys”, was her reply.

Yi Xing went to bed at ten o'clock every evening, arising at either 4.30am or 5.00am. She said this was one of the larger temples in the area, containing forty female monks. She said not all monks who applied were accepted into the order. If ever a monk felt the need for a physical relationship - sex - they were free to leave the monkhood whenever they liked. She said this occurred from time to time.

Lying on the hotel bed, my musings about the previous day were interrupted when Tina rang me. She jokingly told me not to be lazy and that she’d be at the hotel within the next hour.

I quickly showered and dressed, happy to hear her sparkling voice. Soon we were sauntering down the main street of Shawan.

It wasn’t a big city, containing only a few thousand residents. It was dominated by the large, government run hydroelectric company that supplied power to the whole region. This was where Tina and many others in the town were employed. She was assured of a job for life, plus an apartment that was sold to her cheaply by the company.

Tina has an amazing job.  For six months of the year, she doesn't need to work, yet receives full pay.  Occasionally she gets called in for the odd meeting or two, but that was about it. This is because during the long summer months, her duties as a maintenance engineer at the local hydroelectric dam were simply not required.  The dam runs itself.  Her work unit was only required during winter to perform scheduled maintenance.  This was why she was able to spend so much time with me right now.

I noticed that many Chinese in the street were quite interested in looking at me, some quite flagrantly. Being a small town, Westerners were uncommon here, particularly 188cm tall, gangly looking ones like me. In fact, I hadn't seen a single other Westerner in Shawan. I jumped on a bus earlier today that happened to be full of school kids  They all gazed in amazement at me, never having seen anyone like this before.  I may as well have been an alien from outer space, the way they were happily laughing and pointing.  I smiled at them.

Though I strike the same reaction from some adults here, who swivel their heads looking at me as they walk or peddle past.  It's something I'm becoming accustomed to, being the object of interest or curiosity for so many people.

In one of the back streets here, Tina took me to the historical home of a well known Chinese intellectual, poet and author of about a hundred years ago. I can't even recall his name right now, but that's unimportant.  It was interesting to see his living quarters and home that are now permanently preserved and on display.  Things were so spartan back then. Shawan may be a small town but this is one claim to fame that it has, to have been the birth place of this acclaimed scholar.

It was disappointing to see that air pollution in Shawan was quite apparent, despite its small size. One can see for about three hundred metres, but further than this, visibility increasingly becomes more and more obscure. Whilst there is a slight odour in the air, at least it isn’t as bad as the last time I visited Nanjing.  But still, any odour at all is unacceptable, when babies and elderly people are forced to breathe it in, month after month, year after year.  One wonders what toxins may or may not be slowly and insidiously accumulating in their systems.

I asked Tina how long Shawan had been like this, she replied “Many years”.  Disappointing stuff.  I truly hoped it hadn't jeopardised her long term lung or body health.  Widespread and deteriorating pollution is the single worst blight on China at the moment, such a shame for an otherwise magnificent country.

Shawan is located beside a river, where several old men were fishing.

“I wouldn’t eat anything that came out of that water”, I wryly remarked to Tina.

In the late afternoon, Tina took me for a fast walk/slow jog for an hour or so in the countryside around the town. She normally goes for a ninety minute to two hour walk in this area just about every day of the year. Except when she catches the bus to Mt Emei, that she walks around for up to six or so hours, once every week. This explains her incredible fitness. 

Like me, she prefers to hike alone.  The reason I do this is because until now, I'd never found anyone who can keep up with me, I was always having to constantly wait for stragglers.  So many people walk to enjoy themselves.  I routinely power walked simply to exercise.

Shawan is surrounded by hilly trails and paddocks, with many interesting little small farmhouses or vegetable gardens dotted here or there. A perfect place for hiking. I could see why Tina loved it so much.  It held a rustic charm that couldn't properly be captured by still photographs.

Curiously I noticed that today I was able to jog for longer than Tina and walk faster as well. Yet just a few days earlier, she’d clearly been the superior athlete up the thousands of steps at Mt Emei, even whilst carrying a heavier backpack than mine.  I knew now that the many hundreds of arduous hours I’d spent on the treadmill back at home hadn’t been wasted. 

Though some would say that I should slow down a little and simply hold her hand?   I do this often enough anyway  -  I don't want to appear overly mushy with Tina.  It'd be easy to do this, after all. Remember though, my thinking is that I''m trying to currently portray the real me, not a romantic, kissy kissy false version of myself.  I don't want to win her hand by pretending to be someone that I'm not.

So far I’ve spent absolutely no money on this trip. Tina has paid for everything. I tried many days ago for her to take me to a bank where I could exchange some foreign currency – she declined to do this, telling me please don’t worry. I resolved that tomorrow, I’ll insist upon going to a bank.

I briefly met Tina’s daughter’s daughter Wendy again today. She was arriving home from school at 9.20pm, just as I was leaving to head back to my hotel in the three wheeled pedicab. I still can’t believe how hard the school kids here have to work. Wendy leaves around seven in the morning and doesn’t get home until 9.20pm. Incredibly hard for young kids, surely?  If only Western school children realized how relatively easy their school lives were.

After leaving Tina's place that night to return to my hotel, another heart in mouth journey across Shawan in the creaky, one gear only, pedicab followed. Being of a dark colour without any reflectors or lights whatsoever, I can’t believe how dangerous these things were at night, sharing the road as they did with many conventional cars, some no doubt with intoxicated, sleepy or otherwise hopeless drivers.

Arriving back at the Jinyi hotel, I threw myself onto the bed. The muscles in my legs were still aching a little from the Mt Emei climb. I fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of things that I no longer can remember but that were quite vivid and somewhat disturbing at the time.

Was this a premonition of things to come?


我在心里琢磨着我和TINA的关系。事情进展得非常的顺利,尽管有那么一两次沟通交流的的问题, 那么一两次好几分钟里,我们根本不知道对方在说什么,或是想表达什么。我们完全被挫败了。不过,这样的情形仅仅是偶尔会发生的。所以,不是什么大不了的事情。









Yi Xing每天晚上10点睡觉,第二早上4点半或是5点半起床。她说这间是这个地区最大的寺庙,一共有40个尼姑。她说不是所有申请的出家的人都能被接收。如果僧侣们感觉到有生理需要—性—如果他们愿意无论在什么时候他们都可以离开寺庙。她说这种事情时不时会发生。



















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#2014-06-10 13:50:50 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, this is a very nice description of a small town in China, at least small by China standards. That's something that most foreign visitors to China just aren't going to see unless they move to China for an extended period. I'm assuming that the ever present American chains one will find in all the major cities, such as KFC, McDonalds, 7/11 and Starbucks were noticeable only by their absence. If so, no doubt that was to your delight

I'm really interested in the photo of Tina watching a game of cards being played and visiting. Can you tell us about that picture, who the people are, how that visit went, etc.

I'm asking because I think that photo is almost like a painting, and a very fine painting at that. You might well find an artist in Chengdu who could take the photo and render a very fine painting for real, and likely at a cost that would stun you, meaning very inexpensive.

If you were in Shenzhen you could choose between thousands of such painters, but I suspect in Chengdu there are also plenty of them.

If not that photo, choose another one, but whatever pic you choose, the painting makes a great reminder of your trip, your meeting with Tina, and your entire experience that will last you a lifetime.

#2014-06-10 16:00:34 by sunrise68 @sunrise68

Through the picture, Tina and her daughter are just like sisters. I am sure the good traits in Tina Barry describes in the series can make a great many western men attracted to her, not just you, Barry:).

#2014-06-10 16:17:14 by yinanancy @yinanancy

hello, Barry, I just regestered in the I began to know the website from your blog and Imi's. Long story but I'm really touched by them. Wish you and Tina have a better understanding for each other. Maybe the most problem between a Chinese lady and a Westerner's dating is culture's difference. May you two have a wonderful time!

#2014-06-10 21:27:22 by Barry1 @Barry1


Yes, you're right, John.

Shawan has no Western junk food or coffee shops at all. The place is traditional Chinese, which suits most people just fine.

Thanks for the comment about the picture showing people playing cards. I'll tell you the story behind it in an upcoming article.

I asked Tina about getting a Chinese artist to paint a picture for us, but she appeared totally disinterested in this idea unfortunately. I'm with you though, I reckon it's a great thought. Were I in China for longer, I'd pursue this project.

Besides taking still photos, I'm taking plenty of dynamic video camera ones as well, that also record sound. Between this and the multiple camera shots, hopefully this trip will never be able to be forgotten.

#2014-06-10 22:29:29 by sandy339 @sandy339

"Was this a premonition of things to come?"
haha, what is that? hmmm and hope so:)
yes, I agree with John your blogs are so valuable and interesting both for you and for readers... Thanks for sharing it with us:)

#2014-06-11 13:34:59 by zhangdaisy @zhangdaisy

I read barry's story for some days, I appreciate Tina, and feel good especially those pictures, mountains, small town even village, and Tina's smile and slim shape, good energy when 44 years old...

9 days or 2 weeks maybe can not bring a final result, and there are too many subject need to be discussed between 2 persons from different cultural background, but sincere attitude, similar life style/hobbies, more understanding & support for each other are enough(No one is perfect), then just let time prove all, and time is always shorter than we imagine.

As a new gold member on this website, I hope can get my happiness, and best wishes for all real & sincere people.

#2014-06-12 05:42:38 by anonymous10368 @anonymous10368

@sunrise68, I would have to assume many men will be or already interested in Tina as she is a lovely woman. But I only hope that she falls in love with Barry and no one else....

Maybe I am selfish........

#2014-06-12 21:07:58 by sunrise68 @sunrise68

@anonymous10368 , why you say you are selfish? Are you Barry in anonymous or another man who have special relationship with him because you admire him, such a gentleman?

#2014-06-13 07:03:41 by anonymous10384 @anonymous10384

sunrise69, no I am not Barry :) I respect Barry for stepping forward and making the trip to see Tina...I am a hopeless romantic and I really appreciate a good loving happy relationship. As a western male trust me when I say this....we do not get the opportunity to meet western women who are as classy and respectful as a woman like Tina or many others who are on this site as classy western woman are few and far between....

I hope this answers your question......(y)

#2014-06-13 14:08:13 by yueming @yueming

In a friend's tips, I found this series of blogs, I really doesn't like Barry, this travelogue series is wrong on the site,
1 open Tina and Tina's daughter and mother's photo, not a gentleman's behavior
2 Barry travel does not account for all expenses, not a man of action
3 is too trivial to see Barry character, very careful about their feelings, he will not give Tina happiness
I suggest that Tina really did not hesitate to love her, to give her and her daughter to care and warm man
In Chinese, woman is the vine, man is the tree, I recommend Tina or rattan, find their own tree!
This site good man many, if you see the beautiful Tina, please Tina to hold out the olive branch!

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