June 23 was Dragon Boat Festival in China. We had planned our trip to our friends’ wedding so that we would return in time to watch. There was no way I was going to miss it! We arrived home the week before it started and I was pleasantly surprised to see a dragon boat “parked” on the river across from our apartment. The joy didn’t last past the next morning though because at 7AM as they departed for practice they set off a bunch of firecrackers, continuously, until they were out of sight down the river! Normally that’s not a problem as I’m awake long before that but I was a tad jet-lagged.
Saturday came and we were awakened not only by firecrackers but drums as well. I was like a kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to get down to the river to see what was going on. Neither Anders nor I were even sure where the races were to take place on the river but we lucked out. The finish line was just across from our apartment complex!! I think. 😉 Like most things in China, it seemed to be organized chaos, heavy on the chaos, light on the organized. There were a few times that 2 or 3 boats came down the river and it was obvious that they were racing. Other times 2 or 3 boats came down and it looked like they were out for a leisurely ride on the river. And then there were times that a single boat came down with the occupants paddling furiously. This went on all day. I couldn’t begin to guess who won their heats, who was a serious competitor, or who was even trying to win. It didn’t matter one bit, it was exciting even without having a clue.
At lunch time several boats pulled up right in front of us and their support team either helped them out of the boat to get lunch or they dropped lunch into the boats for those that didn’t want to climb the ladder. I have to say, their lunches looked and smelled quite good. Of course, it was also prime time to get those smokes in. Lunch was over, back in the boats and they were off for more non-racing. 🙂
Around 3:00 the skies opened up and it started to rain. I held out as long as I could but then it started to pour and there was a thunder-storm. I left and evidently so did the boats. Even the Chinese respect the power of lightning and water. (I’ve seen on more than one occasion, people welding without safety gear AND a cigarette hanging out of their mouths!!!)
Some how, some way, some one was able to figure out who the heat winners were and the finals were to be held last Saturday.Unfortunately we had a typhoon warning last weekend and they were cancelled. It was the typhoon that wasn’t because we experienced wind, blue skies, and gorgeous clouds. My very reliable source informed that they are to be held tomorrow. Not sure I’ll make it for the final but I might mosey over to the other side of the island (grand total of about 1/2 mile) where they have grandstands set up. Only VIP’s get to sit there and I ain’t no VIP. I suspect it will be more organized chaos but on a bigger scale.
Next post will be about the history of the Dragon Boats. There is a story for everything associated with the holiday and its origins date back to 278 BC. Of course food is involved!
5PM – 97°