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Cord Houle: Tianjin day 11

Today was one of the best days I have ever had in Tianjin, we started out with the usual lecture. The lecture was good but the trip to the karaoke bar was the initial highlight of the day. We drank some beer and sang a lot of American music to our Chinese student friends. Am a terrible singer but I really enjoy singing to songs I know and making a fool of myself so this was great. The students like Gracie and Miao Miao showed us up by singing some local music amazingly. Not to be undone we sang some classics like sweet Caroline and some Beatles songs.

What made today one of the best experiences I had the whole trip was I allowed to go biking in Tianjin. Miao Miao, a friend from Nankai University, was brave enough to allow me to ride her bike. She even trusted me enough to ride on the back! I learned that biking should be considered an extreme sport within China. With Tianjin having the highest population of bikes in China it makes the already congested vehicle traffic even crazier. I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to ride a bike through the madness. We were told by Dr. Li that by letting us ride their bikes it meant we considered friends and we should be honored. Before I was told this I even felt honored as it must have taken a lot of trust to let us ride their bikes without a lot of experience especially with them riding on the back.

We ended up biking to the TV tower in Tianjin, the second highest tower in China. Here we discovered you could rent roller blades. Not to miss out on any experiences we leapt at the opportunity to rent the blades. I was clearly out of practice but had a great time none the less. On a couple occasions we had some curious people ask for our pictures. While some get embarrassed by all the attention I don’t mind it and gladly take pictures with curious locals. Interestingly, Miao Miao had never bladed before so we got to spend some time teaching her the ins and outs. By the end she was grinding rails and doing stalls! (not really, but she did great) After bladeing we decided to head back to the hotel. So we got back on the bikes and headed back. It was a great experience to travel with experienced bikers in Tianjin. It was one of the more real experiences I had while in china so I will always remember it fondly.