Up above, there is heaven; down below, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.

Let me tell you a story of a little girl who once fell off the bike. Her aunt just told her how thrilling it is to ride a bike down the slope, and as she watched her cousin flying down the hill, she followed him. Unfortunately, she forgot to brake and landed on the gutter. That silly person of course was me. And after that, I never biked again.

When I came to Hangzhou with my friend, I was expecting to sit behind her wheels and let her bike me around (what a good friend I am…)

But nope, the rental bikes here are not built that way. I must face my fear and bike on the crowded streets, full of zooming motorcycles, buses, and pedestrians. Here came my internal struggles … should I walk (which we only had time to go halfway) in the blazing sun, or should I bike (which would take only 3 hours to go the whole way, assuming I wouldn’t be killed)?

I chose biking, and it was the best decision ever made.

Well at first, I was screaming the entire time, but an hour later, I threw my caution out the window and let my pedals do the work as I rolled down the hills. The wind felt so good, and every now and then we stopped to breathe in the Xihu (西湖)air, be part of the buzzing crowd, and enjoyed the refreshingly cool popsicles.

To be honest, the lake wasn’t as pretty as the poems had described it when we read it in class all those years ago. I guess the commercialization had killed the natural habitat a bit. Nonetheless, I could see why it was once the heaven on earth.

HZ1

HZ2

HZ3

Traffic congestion was awful on our return. We almost passed out on the bus because how jam packed it was. I think I once saw a guy’s face squished against the window.

We didn’t take too many pictures. And the next day, I could barely walk, but I love biking again!

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