One day in Beijing I cut a twenty-five-mile swath with my bicycle, through tiny lanes and monstrous boulevards, to meet a friend at the university. I didn’t have a bell, so instead I just cried out, “Ling Ling! Ling Ling!”
With all the people and bikes, cycling in China is a challenge and I “Ling Linged!” steadily for 5 hours. I chose Ling Ling! from the other options—beep beep, honk honk, toot toot—because Ling Ling! sounded like a more Chinese way than the others to clear the path ahead of me.
The following night at dinner, I told some Chinese friends about the bike ride and said I wished I’d had a bell so I didn’t have to “Ling Ling!” so much.
I didn’t see why that was so funny, until they caught their breath and explained that I had been shouting “Vagina! Vagina!” clear across the city.
Read more of my adventures cycling in Beijing.
LOTS ABOUT MARRIAGE, RELATIONSHIPS, BIKING AND MORE IN MY NEW MEMOIR . . .
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The perfect book for worrywarts or anyone who enjoys a “neurotic, hilarious, poignant,” deeply personal story.