Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Last Wednesday we went to the Dragon Boat Races.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a national holiday and people often watch the races on TV.
We were invited to go to the races with a foreign teacher from upstairs who is married to
a local Chinese girl. Sean said that he had done the research on the races.

It was a hot day and we left in the morning for the metro ride to the Pearl River. There were
many people on the site, but after about an hour we could tell that this wasn't the race venue.
We did see dozens of and maybe a few hundred dragon boats row up the river. Finally
it was concluded that this was a pre-race parade. It was fun to watch.

Every boat was a sleek, long boat in varying degrees of repair. Some were very fancy and others
must have come from nearby villages. Every boat had a large drum in the centre and a drummer or two.
It looked like there were 3 categories, depending on the length of the boat. Some of the crews
were in matching outfits and looked very fit. Others were just having a good time and were manned
by people of all ages. All the crews were enjoying this parade and were shooting off firecrackers held
in cages on long poles. Even though we didn't quite see the races, it was a fun time.

A certain kind of rice ball that is stuffed with nuts, fruit or meat and then all wrapped in bamboo leaves is the
traditional food for this festival. You steam the treat and everyone enjoys this. Don was given some
homemade morsels and the office staff gave us a bag of these steamed treats. (I don't really know
how to describe them. They could be called dumplings but that is not quite right.)

In some ways this experience represents the vagueness that is often found in China.
No one really knew where the races were or when. Even the office staff and students were
surprised the we knew. In the end, we didn't either.

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