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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 ChinaLoveMatch.net 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?



我一个人躺在酒店的床上,寻思着我这一个星期以来的冒险活动,我的中国之行。我的脑袋中闪现过各种各样的事情。我心里充满了深深的感激之情,感谢我能有机会来见象TINA这样的一个女人,感谢我能够有这样一次不同寻常的旅程。出于这样或那样的原因,有好多人都没办法有能力来做我现在正在做的事情。而好多其他的人则根本就没有意思到象chinalovematch这样的网站的存在,也根本没想不到通过中国或亚洲的网络交友会带来怎样的回报。



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。



然而,每天早上我们再见面的时候,我们两个人都比之前感觉更开心更快乐,一天下来,我们都会一直彼此微笑。这难道仅仅是友谊吗?还是比友谊更进一步呢?



躺在酒店的床上,我也回想起了昨天就在离开峨嵋山之前我们在伏虎寺所吃的那餐午餐。我非常荣幸地不单单能和TINA一起,而且还和Tina的一个朋友,一个修行了很长时间的尼姑一起分享了这餐午餐。跟TINA一样,这个尼姑也非常喜欢爬山。很多个月以前,她们就在这里第一次相遇。



听到TINA会见一个“西方人”,她非常友好的邀请了我们两个一起去她的庙中去,在那里我们一起聊了很多。好多时候我都非常希望我能够懂中文,这就是其中一次。这个尼姑懂得很多深奥的知识,我们谈论了好多通常我非常渴望和爱听的话题。



在那一个多小时里,我可能问这个尼姑很多的问题。这个尼姑的英文不是很好,但是TINA充当了我俩之间的翻译。跟所有的僧侣一样,无论是和尚还是尼姑,她的头发也被剃光了。我问她为什么为这样。她回答说是这样有助于帮助他们消除潜在的自大和狂妄。例如,如果一个尼姑留长头发的话,她可能会以头发为傲,影响她专注于更重要的精神活动。



这也是为什么所有的僧侣们都穿着简单的衣服的原因。我问她是否曾经会感到无聊过着这样一种平静的修道生活,没有广播没有电视。她说不会。她说念经和学习,以及其他的僧侣的诸如管理菜园等责任工作让她从来就没有时间觉得枯燥或单调。



自从25岁出家以来,她已经当尼姑差不多有17年了。她相信她一直做尼姑。她的其他两个姐妹都不是尼姑,但是她们非常支持她当尼姑。在这里佛教僧侣非常受尊敬。普通老百姓非常理解和感谢他们对贞洁和仁慈的誓约。



我问她为什么三个孩子只有她一个想要过僧侣的生活。



“每个人都有他自己的人生旅程”这是她的回答。



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。



躺在Jinyi酒店的床上,TINA的电话打断了我对前几天发生的事情的沉思。她开玩笑的跟我说,让我不要太懒,她一个小时之后就会到酒店来了。



我马上快速的冲凉穿衣服,非常开心可以听到她闪亮的声音。很快我们就在沙湾的主要街道闲逛了。



这不是一个大城市,只有几千个居民。这里主要有一个大型的国有企业,一个为整个地区提供电力的水力发电站公司。这也是TINA和这个镇好多其他居民工作的地方。她被保证一辈子都有工作,另外公司还以非常低的价格卖给她一套公寓。



我发现街上的好多中国人都在饶有兴趣地观看我,一些甚至是明目张胆是盯着我看。在这样一个小镇,西方人非常少见,更不要说是象我这样一个高188CM的瘦长难看的西方人。事实上,在沙湾我从来没有见过其他一个西方人。今天早些时候,我跳上了一辆公交车,正好车上坐满了小学生。他们都极其惊奇的盯着我看,他们从事从来没有看到我这样的人。他们对我指指点点,开心的笑,好象我是一个从外太空来的怪人。我也朝他们微笑。



虽然我也遇到一些成年人的这样的反应,他们路过我时,总是不会转头来看我,但是,我慢慢习惯了,慢慢习惯了成为很多人感兴趣或好奇的焦点。



在这里的一条老街上,TINA带我去参观一个一百多年前非常有名的中国知识分子,诗人,作家的故居。沙湾可能是个小地方,可是,作为一个很有名的学者的出生地这一点可以让它很出名。



让人失望的是沙湾这里的空气污染真的是非常显然的,虽然这地方很小。你可以看清300米左右的东西,但是,比这稍远一些,视野就会变得越来越模糊。同时空气中有一股淡淡的味道。还好,至少没有我上次在南京的时候那么差。



我问TINA沙湾这种情况已经有多长时间了。她回答说“已经好多年了”。实在是让人失望的事情。我非常真心的希望这种环境没有危害到她的肺和身体健康。



小镇本身座落在一条河边,那里有几个老人在钓鱼。



 “我不会吃从这条河里出来的任何东西的”,我苦笑的跟TINA说



下午的晚些时候,TINA带我在沙水湾附近的郊区快走/慢跑了大约一个小时左右。通常一年中的每一天她都会来这里走90分钟到2个小时。除非是她坐车去了峨嵋山,在那里她会走6个小时左右,每个星期都会去一次。这也就解释了她的健康。跟我一样,她喜欢一个爬山。因为直到目前为止我还没发现有哪个人可以跟得上我,我总是得时不时的停下来等他们。很多人行走只是为了找乐子。而我的例行快速行走却仅仅是为了做运动。



沙湾被很多山路和小草场环抱着,星星点点的分布着很多很有趣的农屋或是菜园。是一个非常完美的爬山的好地方。我现在可以明白为什么TINA这么喜欢这里了。这里有一种质朴的迷人的气息,这是无法用静止的相片可以准确的捕捉得到的一种迷人的气息。



今天我非常惊奇的发现我可以比TINA走得更远也同时走得更快一些。然后,就在几天之前,就在几千个台阶之上的峨嵋山上,她显然比我厉害好多倍,就算是在她背着比我的背包重很多的背包的时候,她也比我厉害。这一点让我稍稍恢复了一点自尊。我现在知道了我在家里在跑步机的辛苦的那几百个小时并没有白费。



在这场旅程中,到目前为止我一分钱还没有花。TINA付了所有的费用。几天之前,我就试图让她带我去银行去兑换一些人民币。但是她总是不带我去,让我不要担心。我下定决心,明天我一定要去银行。



今天,我仅仅又见了TINA的女儿WENDY一面。晚上9点20分,就在我准备离开TINA坐三轮车回去宾馆的时候,WENDY刚刚从学校回到家里。我现有仍然无法相信这里的学生们得要多刻苦努力。早上大约7点wendy就去上学了,直到晚上9点20分才会回来。对于小朋友来说,真的是不可思议的辛苦啊。如果西方的孩子们能意识到他们的学校生活是多么的轻松就好了。



那晚离开TINA家后,我又得提心吊胆坐在那个咯吱咯吱响的只有一个转动装置的三轮车上横穿整个沙湾回到酒店去。这些三轮车黑黑的颜色,没有任何反射镜之类的,我根本无法相信在晚上,它们在路上和一些小车开在一起,那些小车毫不疑问,有些司机是喝醉了的或是打瞌睡的。这得是一件多么危险的事情啊。



回到JINYI酒店后,我把自己丢到床上去。由于爬巍峨山引起的大腿的酸痛仍隐隐约约的存在。我很快就熟睡如泥了,做了很多的梦,梦里的事情虽然都不再记得起来,可是梦境里一切可都是栩栩如生的,而且有些让人不安



这会是一个预示吗?接下来会发生什么呢?


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 18) 1 2 More...
#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 Chinalovematch.net. 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

@JohnAbbot

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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