Monday was Dragon Boat Festival here in China. Sunday night we got a text from a Chinese friend asking if we wanted to go to the Dragon Boat races. “Sure!” we responded having no idea what we were getting ourselves into. No response from our friend. Hours later…around 11:30pm…we got a text “Great! Meet at the bus stop at 7:20am.” It was at that point that my friend Emily said “Prepare yourself for a very ‘Chinese Day’…you never know what might happen.”
And was she exactly right.
We met the group at the bus stop at 7:20. Two buses clear across town later and waiting for friends to join us along the way, we finally made it to East Lake for the races around 9:00am. What happened next is still not exactly clear to any of us but the next thing we know one of our Chinese friends asked if some of the group would race one of the boats for a friend of a friend of hers. What?!
Long story short: the competition has been going on for a month, rounds of races, & Monday was the finals. How this Chinese man had a boat in the final race & no team to race it is still a complete mystery to all of us. End of story: some of our group jumped in and, along with 2 older Chinese women, our Chinese friend trying her hand at the drum to keep everyone in sync, & one Chinese guy who looked like he knew what he was doing, raced this stranger’s boat in the finals of the Dragon Boat race competition. Needless to say they got last place but it was well worth the crazy experience that was Monday morning. And they won 1,000RMB for getting last place so of course our new friend had to take us all out for a celebratory lunch after the race. Around 1:30pm we parted ways likely never to see him again.
Post Dragon Boat festivities & lunch we headed back to a friend’s apartment to make a Chinese feast, traditional Dragon Boat festival food & all. It was most definitely a “Chinese Day” but such a fun experience.
The team heading to the start of the race
The winnings :)
A traditional percussion performance. Just a small part of the myriad of festivities happening.
…the food just kept going & going. 3 hours of us all washing, peelings, chopping, dicing, slicing, & smashing.
But all of the colors in the food selection were fun.
Making zongzi – the traditional food for Dragon Boat festival
zongzi – rice “dumplings” wrapped in leaves of some sort stuffed with whatever you wish & boiled or steamed
Chef Ivy at work. This girl can cook! The food was awesome!