Sunday, January 15, 2012

Broke Bike Island

Crossing the river to the island
Brandon and Brendan were nice enough to loan us their bikes while they were away in Taiwan, so Kevin and I have been exploring Nanjing by bike for the last few days. We’ve been over and around, learning the rules of the Chinese road, going down main roads and side roads, and almost getting hit several times (yay, China!). We’ve perfected our calls for people to get out of the way (Kevin’s is an old man’s sound that scares most people into moving, mine is an middle-aged woman’s way of saying “ wei or ‘way’” that I heard when I got stuck behind her while going on a side street.

That's part of the Nanjing wall, built into the mountain.
It’s been fun to yell at people, ranging from 灯”or ‘red light!’ because bikes don’t really follow traffic lights here, to straight up cursing at people when they cut us off of cars drive down the bike lane (which has happened so many times, I’m trying not to fall into the stereotype of thinking that all Chinese people are terrible drivers, but come on!).
On Saturday we decided to go on a short trek that Brendan told us about to an island in the Yangzi River. It was a quick bike South and West before we were on the bridge to the island, and then we got some nice leisurely biking up the coast until Kevin hit a crack and the bike frame went SNAP.

"avoid blood breathe bug illness, please don't contact river water"
Brandon had gotten his bike for playing bike polo (look it up, both Brandon and Brendan do it, it’s awesome), and it was a free bike that a friend of theirs had put together. Being for bike polo, that meant that it was pretty beat up to begin with, as many bike poloists crash into things or fall off of their bikes. At that crack this one, with it’s frame joint rusted almost completely through, had snapped. So we started to walk.

Think that's ice, think again!
We decided to walk until we hit the peak of the island where the Yangzi breaks off, and then walk back to the bridge. We saw a guy playing an African drum on the other side of the river, a woman washing clothes, and then a sign that read “to avoid blood born pathogens, do not come in contact with the water”. Good warning, and glad I can read Chinese!!

We came up to a floodgate, turned around, and walked down the same quiet coast that we went up and meandered our way home. Good trip, albeit an unfortunate twist in the road. Oh well, I suppose it’s better for Brandon’s bike to have snapped now rather than after he had lugged it on the 48 hour train ride to Yunnan. That would have sucked.

An old ship, I think people live in it now.
Sad face, my butt had almost gotten used to hard bike seats again. Ah well, now we have Brendan’s bike for the next week or so for errands, and I suppose we were riding on borrowed time/luck anyhow. Chinese roads are scary on foot, let alone on two wheels. 



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