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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 10 我的中国之行—第10天    

By Barry Pittman
5152 Views | 30 Comments | 6/4/2014 2:21:50 PM

As I awoke this morning in my hotel room, something was different.  What was it?



Ahh, it was raining.  In fact it was pouring heavily.  I'd been lucky so far - this was the first day of any significant rain that I'd struck so far on my journey.



Tina had warned me about this, making sure I brought two pairs of walking shoes with me.



We were to spend the day in Shawan, her home turf.  A town of just a few thousand people, it wasn’t over run by a multitude of car horn blowing cars and frantically moving people so evident in larger cities.  Yet there were still enough to wake me up each morning.   Chinese drivers just love to toot their horns at everything that moves  -  and some things that don't!



Three wheeled bicycle driven pedicabs were common here and for just a couple of yuan, one could be chauffeured from one side of town to the other.  During the day, I loved riding in the pedicabs, feeling like a king.  But at night time, I considered them to be death traps, with nil lighting or reflectors to highlight them.



As the late morning arrived, so the rain cleared to a beautiful day.  Or so I thought.  Because soon enough, I smelt the unmistakeable scent of photochemical smog in the air, as an atmospheric inversion layer resultant from the rain, trapped all the smokey air in the town from escaping upwards.  So all the fumes from the many factories in the region were pumping their pollution directly into the town.



Shawan thus typified all that was good about China – and all that was bad. On the good side, it was a smallish town full of charm and character, with many traditional buildings and a seeming simple lifestyle for most residents.



On the negative side, the town suffered from a pollution problem, there was no doubt about it.  Clear visibility on a good day was just a few hundred metres, before photochemical opacity began to intrude.  What a shame.



“I wonder what long term effects this must have on the residents?”, I mused to myself.  Of course, I was more concerned in particular about Tina, who’d spent the past twenty-five or so years here.  Wendy her daughter had spent the entire innocent sixteen years of her life here also.



I had read recently that China was to crack down more heavily on polluters.  But like anything you hear about in China, one never really knew if it was true or not?  Graft and corruption was rife  – I can imagine a few bureaucrats could easily be swayed by the passing of money from the big polluting companies, to give a tick of environmental approval to them, no matter how many noxious monoxides their factory chimneys routinely belched out.  Money equates to power in China.  Big money means big power.



In the early afternoon, Tina and I decided to go for a hike in the foothills around Shawan.  This was the training area where nearly every day for the past ten or so years she’d trekked around, unless she took the one hour bus trip directly to Mt Emei to walk, which she did once per week.



Walking across the bridge over the river flowing through Shawan soon saw us in the foothills.  Though they were low by Mt Emei standards, they nevertheless provided a solid workout for our legs as we power walked up and then down them.  Many interesting small fields of cultivated vegetables were seen, perhaps just five metres by ten metres,just enough to support a family.  Wild chooks and roosters ran around;  some very old farmers’ cottages were dotted here and there; the odd gravesite or cemetery was also seen.



“What a scenic, wonderful place to work out!”, I thought to myself.



No wonder Tina’s legs were so strong.  She told me that she rarely took a day off from her fast walking exercises that lasted each day usually for an hour and a half up to two hours.  Or six hours,  when she went to the Mt Emei area.



Surpisingly few people were seen in the Shawan foothills, that surprised me, given they were literally on the doorstop of the town.  Only a few farmers, with the odd walker, is all.



As we fast walked past one group of farmers who were nattering to themselves, Tina laughed aloud, saying,



“Barry, they’re talking about you. They’re surprised to see a Westerner in these parts!”, she chuckled.



The relationship between Tina and I was a little puzzling.  I knew that she liked me.  I in turn very much liked her.  Yet no formal words of a possible permanent relationship had been seriously discussed. No real talk about where my trip was ultimately leading to.



“I won’t be able to stay here forever!”, I wondered, “Maybe I should initiate some sort of discussion with her?”  



Chinese dating was still a bit of a mystery to me.  As were Chinese women.  Come to think of it, ALL ladies were a puzzle to me!



Should I say something or was it too premature to do this?  If I did say something, would it be taken the right way?  Or would I possibly be seen as being too forceful?



“Damned if I do and damned if I don’t!” were the wry words floating around in my mind.



Towards the end of our walk we jogged across the long Shawan bridge. I felt happy that Tina had to stop half way and I was able to manage the full distance.  But then again, my fleeting feelings of superiority were quickly quashed when I recalled my dismal performance on the Mt Emei ascent.  There Tina had given me a walloping as far as physical stamina was concerned.  She was one strong babe, even if I could beat her in a longish jog on flat ground.  Hell, my legs were a lot longer than hers, after all.  But to counter this, she was a decade and a half younger than me.  So on paper, everything balanced out.



That evening, we took an hour’s stroll around Shawan.  But it was approaching 9.20pm, the time that her daughter Wendy returned home from school. She returned home at the same time every week night, driven by the same elderly man in his ancient, monogeared pedicab.  Some things in a small town never change and this was one of them.



Soon after returning home, Wendy arrived there also. 



Hello Barry” she said with a smile on her face.  “Did you have a good day?”



Her English pronunciation was better than Tina’s.  This Chinese girl had the lovely looks of her mother, only being a little taller and skinnier.



What a great looking little family this is!”, I silently mused.“I wonder if it’s my fate to become a permanent part of it?”



The countdown was on to make a decision, one way or the other.  Time waited for no man  -  the rumbliings I heard were not from the storm clouds wafting idley above, but from vague troubles within my mind.  I sensed something was afoot.  Something wasn't quite right.



But what?



 



今天早上我在宾馆房间是醒过来的时候,感觉好象有些不同。发生了什么事了吗?



啊,原来是正在下雨。实际正在下大暴雨。到目前为止我都很幸运这是我开始这趟旅程以来的第一天下大雨。



TINA已经警告过我了这个情况了,让我一定得带着两对跑步鞋。



今天,我们准备在沙湾,她家附近活动。这里仅有几千个居民,不会象大城市里那样,到处都是呜着喇叭的车子川流不息,繁忙的人们四处奔走。



在这里三轮单车很普遍。只要花上两块钱,就可以被载着从镇子的这头穿到镇子的那头去。白天的时候,我非常喜欢坐这着三轮车,感觉象个国王。只是夜晚的时候,我却觉得它们实在是太危险了,没有任何照明灯或是反照灯,人们根本无法注意到深棕色的它们。



这个早上的晚些时候,雨停了,带来了美丽的一天。或只是我所认为的美丽的一天。因为很快,我就很确认无误的闻到了空气中光化浓雾的气味。雨水所带来的大气层的反向运动困住了小镇中的空气,空气无法向下运动。这个地区附近所有的工厂所排放出来的污染直接泵进了这个小镇中来。



沙湾是中国非常有代表性的一个地方,在这里你可以看到中国所有的好处,也可以看到所有的坏处。



好处是,这里是一个非常迷人的有特色的小镇,有很多传统的建筑,也很明显这里的大多数居民生活都很简单。



坏处是,毫无疑问,小镇随着污染的痛苦。在不透明的光化物质开始入侵之前,在明朗的天气的时候,可见度只有几十米。



 “我很想知道这样情况长期下来会对居民们产生怎样的影响?”我自己沉思着。当然,我更加关心的是TINA的健康。她已经在这里生活了25年了,她的女儿WENDY整整16年也全在这里生活。



最近,我读到报道说中国开始对大力度的治理环境污染。但是,就象你听到的任何有关于中国的事情一样,你永远都无法知道那是真的还是假的。这里贪污腐败很普遍我可以想像得到,那些污染的大公司们是多么的容易就可以用钱把那个几个官员给贿赂了。



下午比较早的时候,TINA和我决定去沙湾四周的小山岳去走走。那里是TINA训练的地方,在过去的10年左右的时间里,她每天都会来这里快走。除非是她直接坐1小时的车去峨嵋山爬山去了,而那里她每个星期会去一次。



走过横跨在流淌过沙湾的小河的桥梁之后,我们就到过了那些小山丘。和峨嵋山比起来,它们实在是太矮了,但是事实证实它们仍然是一个很好的训练场,我们可以沿着他们不停的上上下下。可以看到很多小菜园,大约只有20米乘以20米,仅仅够一个家庭使用。野鸡和公鸡们四处跑动,随处可见一些看起来就很老旧的农舍,也可以看到很多公墓陵墓。



总之,沙湾周围的山丘真的是非常迷人和让人舒服的地方。在这里也还能闻到淡淡的空气污染的气味,但对跟小镇里比起来就明显少了很多。



“这是一个风景多么优美,多么适合心情愉悦的运动的场所啊”我自己想法。难怪TINA的腿会如此的强壮。她告诉我她很少会有一天不来这里快走运动,通常每天都会来走上一个半到两个小时。或者当她去峨嵋山的时候,她会走上6小时。



可是让人吃惊的是,在沙湾的这些山丘上却很少看到中国人,这实在是出乎我的意料。因为这些山丘可以说就在小镇的门口。这里只有几个农夫和几个奇怪的路人。



当我们快步的走过一群吱吱喳喳聊天的的路人时,TINA大声的笑,说道“BARRY,他们在说你呢。他们很吃惊会在这些地方看到一个西方人。”她咯咯的笑。



TINA和我之间的关系让人困惑。我知道她喜欢我。我呢也一样喜欢她。然而,我们却并没有正式地说过任何有关于有可能的长期关系的词言。没有谈论我这次的来访会有怎样的结果



“我不可能永远呆在这里!”我想道“也许我应该开始和她谈谈这些问题。”



对于我来说,中国网络交友仍然是一个大谜。中国女人也一样。当想到这里的时候,所有的女人对于我来说都是一个谜。



我应该说些什么吗?还是时机还太成熟?如果我说些什么,会使事情往正确的方向去吗?还是我可能会被认为太强迫了?



“我是说了该死呢还是不说该死呢!”我的脑子里反反复复都是这些想法。



我们走到快到尽头的时候小跑的通过了长长的沙湾桥。让我有些小开心的是TINA中途得停下来休息一下,而却一直跑完了全程。然而当我回想起我在峨嵋山爬山时凄凉的表现时我刚刚涌上来的优越感顿时消失得无影无踪。在那里当谈到身体体能的时候,TINA可是大大地将我挫败了。就算我可以在平地的长路中打败她,也也是一个强壮的。天啊,毕竟我的腿可是比她的长多了。但是如果算上这个因素的话,她可是比我年轻了15岁啊。所以理论上来说,我们势均力敌。



那个晚上,我们在沙湾逛了一个小时。但是快到晚上920分的时候,她的女儿WENDY就会从学校回家来了。我得再告诉你一次,这里的小孩所忍受的学校时间可真是太长太可怕了。



当我们一回到家的时候,WENDY也回来了。



“你好,BARRY”她微笑地对我说“你今天过得好吗?”



她的英语发音比TINA的好多了。她遗传了她妈妈好看的面孔,只是更好一些,更瘦一些。



“这个小家庭的人真的是好好看啊”我心想道“我很想知道我会注定成为这个家庭的一员吗?”



该做决定的倒计时到了,结果不是这样就是那样。时不待人啊我所听到的轰隆隆的声音不是来自头顶悠闲漂浮的雷雨乌云,而是我脑袋中模糊的麻烦事。我觉察到有事情在准备着。



但是到底是什么呢?




Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 10 of 30) 1 2 3 More...
#2014-06-11 19:37:56 by cloudjockey @cloudjockey

HI Barry,

This is my first post on this site although I have been a member/lurker for a while.

I find your story very interesting and from personal experience I can relate to most of it. Sadly for me I never managed to encourage my body to the dedicated exercise regime that has paid off for you but at the same time I do not go climbing mountains with a full pack either.

Anyway on to my thoughts. Something I have learned from my nearly five years living in China is that by and large Chinese ladies do not often initiate things. They can be very direct, almost painfully so at times but rarely have I seen one take the lead in relationship matters. China is still a mans domain although it is changing, quite quickly in big cities, slower on less populated areas as one would expect.

From what I have read both of you are interested in each other although Tina has openly and honestly told you that you have serious competition. While I would never presume to tell you how to proceed with a lady when I have never met either of you I would suggest it is time for the how we feel about each other and the relationship talk, in private of course. Find a restaurant, or a quite place out in the countryside and have a good long discussion about where each of you see the relationship going.

I have been guilty myself of thinking things are going well and putting of the discussion with quite unhappy results. If Tina is waiting for your lead... The man is the head of the household and decision maker.... then you need to step up and initiate it. If you do not she may think you are a really nice guy and enjoys your company but without that leadership and making her feel safe and secure in the family unit and future she may just choose the other guy.

I do not presume to know the mind of Tina, or any other lady for that matter, what man does after all, but I sense that this is something you need to do and very soon. Do not wait until the last day or two of your trip. Take the plunge, get in there and see where the dust settles. It might just be all that is needed to solidify you in Tina's life. Of course it may also bring on the I am sorry Barry you are nice and I like you speech, which will probably destroy the rest of the trip but I think it is a bit overdue to find out where you stand.

Perhaps Tina is waiting for you to show her how important she is to you and that you truly want her in your life . You also mentioned that you could never tell a lady you loved her without ever meeting her in person. Well, now you have met her, spend some good times and trying times together formed a bond, but can you call it love? If the answer is yes then Barry, I suggest you tell her how you feel.

Time waits for no man as they say, especially one with a timetable and a ticket to return home and leave her behind.

Anyway, as I said these are my thoughts and suggestions from someone who has been in your position, so take them as you will. In the end I hope that things work out for both of you and hopefully together. She is a remarkable lady and her daughter sounds like she likes you and approves of you. I bet Tina and Wendy have a a good talk about you as a potential husband/ dad so why not you and Tina?

Regards and good luck to you,

Brian

#2014-06-11 21:11:48 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

OOH..... I LOVE a cliffhanger !

Bazza me old mate, I'm on the edge of me seat waiting with baited breath,bitten finger-nails and gritted-teeth - As I am sure are half the population of CLM !

Come on man - spit it out !!!!

#2014-06-12 00:00:30 by YinTingYu @YinTingYu

@ Barry 1
Hello Barry.
Ah,...I have been occupied lately and could not respond.
Many things to attend with first of month "statement/ bills".
All is in order now.

I want to say that CLM does not really offer all things I need to say in "profile".
I have not "complete" understanding of 4 languages.
OK,...I am natural mimc with pronunciation.
Does not matter the sound or inflection,... I can imitate easily.
With two degrees in music I have had to study the European "speak".
Was necessary to be able to understand the written language in music scores.
Is interesting,...when I read "old treatises",...takes about 5-10 minutes to understand complete (hehe).
When speaking,...I still have to go through mental process.
I'm sure you understand.
Chinese language is a tad more challenging.
I cannot read the "Chinese characters" good yet but,...keeps trying.
Has the desire to understand and be understood.

I wish to say that Gary Cooper was an actor that I have appreciated.
"High Noon" is a classic film,..."dog gonni't" !!
But there have been so many others that I allowed to have influence !!!!
Good grief, "African Queen", "Casablanca", "The Good Bad and the Ugly", Two Mules for Sister Sarah", Notorious", "How The West Was Won".. the list goes on add infintum.
Is just part of my life experience.

But look,...your last post says you have thought that,... "something may be afoot".
Hopes you remember "bro" that it surely is your own mind that causes concern !!
Really,...there is much deep information I am willing to share.

I just wish to give reminder from "Joel Goldsmith" please,...
" Our purpose in life is the unfolding of the (Universal Source) Spirit Within".
This I feel is the basis for all.
Does not matter which religion or philosophy.
When one encounters the "stuck" point,...remembers this please.
Ah,...get in a quiet space for a few minutes, gets brain out of the way, feels the heart/God(?).
Then gets the understanding that most of what is perceived is illusion.
Ah,...heart answers.
Will be mostly in chest/heart area first to be felt,...then may move to head.
I say,..let the head area go!!!

You and Tina have found each other,...beautiful !!
Just allow the relationship to unfold.
All will be good.

If you have certain considerations about life in China with Tina and her family,...you already know that you will be good man for her despite other family considerations.
Main thing is,...you show up "true" to the plate and give your best.
This is all you each can do.

Is really no question.
I just remind each of you to find the "quiet space".
Feels with heart first.
Sees the "Great Good " in front of each.
Then,...hopefully,...moves forward.

Ah,...Peace and Blessings to you both,
Yin Ting Yu (a.k.a.) Gongji

#2014-06-12 05:36:18 by anonymous10367 @anonymous10367

Barry, great story so far! I have noticed that many of the women I have chatted with on cam here have a slight cough and have to clear their throats a lot, sure signs of the smoggers cough...very sad. You mentioned many small veggie patch's along the hiking trail in and around Shawan, with all the pollution there it makes me fear for the water supply as well. How toxic are the veggies coming out of the ground....

Yes Chinese women are confusing, but I find their quick wit, sense of humor and ease of laughter so refreshing. Being from the west I am not used to a woman actually caring about what I have to say, or treating me with the utmost respect. Western women can learn a lot about being a real woman from our Chinese sisters here on this site.

Barry I envy you meeting such a wonderful woman like your Tina, I truly hope you and she end up together in a very happy marriage.........

Proud of you mate!

#2014-06-12 15:17:47 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, first I want to apologize for the fact that 2 of the pictures you posted with this blog went missing. Please send them to me by email and I'll get them up.

Next I want to comment about 2 of the photos that are posted here.

The top one is seeing its second tour of duty on this series, and even the first time I thought the two of you looked pretty darn cozy together for a couple who had not decided if they are a couple yet. Seeing it posted here again just makes me doubly suspicious that you're holding back on us, Barry boy!

And finally, the second photo of Tina has finally provided the evidence I needed to see before I could be convinced she really is Chinese. Just the very fact that she loved hiking, and trudging around on Mount Emei every weekend caused me grave concerns, because most of the Chinese women I know prefer to do their trudging in the local shopping malls.

But there, in this photo, is the ultimate evidence that she is definitely a Chinese woman. That being the umbrella she is carrying when there is no sign of rain. And it not only proves she is Chinese, but also serves to bring our attention to the fact that she has very white skin in spite of hiking around out in the sun everyday,which leads to the final conclusion that she must carry that umbrella with her on all her hikes, something you have failed to bring to our attention. How delightfully Chinese she is Barry, good for you friend.

#2014-06-12 16:15:25 by Grace172 @Grace172

I agree with paulfox1
Barry, spit it out !!!!

#2014-06-12 20:46:06 by Barry1 @Barry1

@cloudjockey

Thanks so much for this great advice, Brian. You sound like a really decent bloke.

I'm going to take you up on it, In think. I'll wait for just the right moment.

I really appreciate you spending the time to tell me your story.

Hopefully you'll read in one of my upcominng articles how everything pans out.

Bye mate (y)

#2014-06-12 20:48:14 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

Paul, things are not going here as routinely and as smoothly as one would hope.

I'm taking nothing for granted. This relationship is certainly not a "done deal" at this moment.

Let's see how things pan out, I guess.

Cheers Paul. (y)

#2014-06-12 20:59:35 by Barry1 @Barry1

@YinTingYu

Another very interesting and heartfelt posting, YinTingYu. Thank you so much.

I'm sorry I don't have more time to respond to you but time's tight over here. I barely have time to write the blog articles these days, let alone respond to good hearted people such as you who comment on them.

Yes, something's afoot over here. But I'll describe more of this in my upcoming articles.

Once again, I appreciate everything you've said to me, YingTingYu. Your words won't go unheeded as they are so interesting to me.

Bye for now.

Best wishes
Barry

#2014-06-12 21:14:06 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous10367

Thanks for your comments, Anon10367.

Yes, it wouldn't surprise me if all the veggies are slightly contaminated here. It's a real shame, as Shawan is a nice rural little town yet's surrounded by belching heavy industries.

So many of my male friends are now considering online Asian or Chinese dating. A lot of Western ladies are simply too arrogant, is the general consensus., so I guess they have no one but themselves to blame.

Good luck with everything, mate. (y)

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