Things are gettin' weird here in Hangzhou.
By weird, I mean normal.
It is Chi.na, afterall.
Today when I was biking to meet a friend for ice cream for dinner, there was a large screen outside a newly built conference center playing a Backstreet Boys music video circa 1998.
Reason #7847593728844 I love this crazy place.
Yesterday was rainy and cold which was awful, but today was clearer than normal with sunny skies thanks to the rain washing away the smog! This sunset greeted me as I biked by West Lake.
Gorg. I love this town.
In not so gorgeous news, Chin.ese people still hate foreigners. (generalization much? ha.)
Yesterday at the gym, I was sweatin' it up on the elliptical sans headphones (I need to think and not listen to music) and a 20-something year old Chin.ese girl got on an elliptical two machines over, leaving an empty machine between us. Normal, right? Until her friend showed up and she says to her, "you have to go by the foreigner!" Her friend replied, "I don't want to go by the foreigner!"
These girls didn't think that I understood. I didn't say anything to them (as much I wanted to) because I was in too good of a mood to ruin it. I just felt sad for them for being so....Chin.ese.
In positive news, I got my bike back! The day before I left for India, I somehow lost my bike key off my keyring between locking it outside walmart and coming out of walmart. I searched and searched to no avail and decided to just leave the piece of junk there and deal with it after the holiday.
I told some friends about it and they responded that they would move my bike for me while I was gone so it would be safe. Lo' and behold today I found my spare bike key to my bike that was waiting for me parked outside my dorm when I returned from India. A few guys went to walmart, found my pink, rusted transportation, and biked her to my dorm on a three-wheeled trolley they happen to own. I feel taken care of and blessed by this kindness.
In this crazy, weird world, I am not alone. You are not alone. Goes for all of us.
I'm still trying to figure out how to tell my India stories. I've been meeting with friends and they all ask, "How was India??" and I spurt off a random assortment of adjectives like, "inspiring, amazing, colorful, fabulous, dirty, awesome...." and then choke on my tongue and smile like a goober. My eyes probably gaze over as I dream of curry and naan bread.
Since I still don't have cohesive stories, here's an India video. It's from the Wagah Border of Pakistan and India. This is the nightly border closing ceremony where soldiers high-kick, salute, and bring down their flags to the cheers of their countrymen.
We are seated in the foreigner section on the India side (obvi). The two gates that are open are the India gate and the Pakistan gate (with their country's names written on them.) The people in the stands across the way are Pakistani citizens - segregated by gender since Pakistan is an Islamic state. The Indian soldiers are in tan with red head pieces and the Pakistani soldiers are in black. The whole thing lasted about 40 minutes, with different marches, back and forth chants, and the eventual bringing down of the flags at the same time. This video was taken as they are preparing to bring down the flags of the two warring nations.
It was here that I learned two of the three Hindi words I would learn over 3 weeks time...Hindustan Zindabad! Long-live India.
BSB videos, gym crazies, acts of kindness, and India memories...let the weirdness continue.
walk slow. xoxo.