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From the events of July 30th, 2014

Even though I’m supposed to be studying for my first medical school exam on Friday morning (August 1st), I took my sister to Hersheypark for the second time as a belated Eid present.

Our misadventure carried us through afternoon breezes infused with chocolate and freshly-baked churros, corkscrews suspended hundreds of feet in the air, and a near-miss encounter with a real tsunami (overflow from a dramatic waterfall ride).

Fahrenheit at Hersheypark. The roller coaster takes its passengers up a 90 degree “incline” into the sky, and then drops them at an angle of 97 degrees. Braving this ride was my idea.

Storm Runner at Hersheypark. This ride accelerates its riders from 0 to 72 mph in 2 seconds.

If you are inclined to obtain a front-row perspective into the insanity of the Storm Runner coaster, you may find the following video particularly enlightening. (I did not take this video.)

After riding five of these coasters, I felt strangely drained. Later in the evening, I accompanied my parents on a sunset trek to the hills behind my medical school.

It was a striking change from the chaos of crowds, to the idyllic hills where you can actually hear your own steady breathing…

Which experience is truly more exhilarating – to be strapped to a metal contraption that drops you out of the air like a hapless mouse from an owl’s clutches –

– or to gallop up a hill of freshly mowed grass, and soar gently down from the sky with on your own two legs, feeling the currents of air sweep underneath your arms, just as a sparrow would feel underneath its wings?

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The back-door view of our medical school. Standing at the top of the hill, we are at about the height of the fifth floor.

Perhaps the answer is obvious. I prefer the hills.