It was early morning when I started to  prepare for my day out of the dormitory. I was relieved to at least do something different than the usual, that is to study and study. The professor  of Research and Evaluation had arranged for us to go along with some of his friends to the Dragon Boat Festival  and from what I had heard it should be a “wow” event.

They were already waiting for us in front of the Post office and immediately my friend and I got acquainted with the  jovial Taiwanese couple who would became the best tour guides for the outing that day.

The first  historical anecdote  about the dragon  Boat festival , was that of a good Chinese king, who was loved by the people.  A day came when this loved King who  had a passion for the river died accidently, he was drowned  in the river and could not be found. The dedicated followers searched for their king but could not find him. To make things worse, in the river there were  small fishes  that were voracious feeders and  would consume in minutes anything that appeared to be a  meal for them. However, for these fishes not consume the king who remained unfounded in the river, the people  on a daily basis would throw food, including rice into the river that these fishes would feed on  and leave the body of their king . Each year, therefore they celebrate with his favorite river activities because it was certain that his body was not consumed by the fishes and that he was ever present to share in the joys of the occasion.

 

Well , the story was finished before we arrived at our destination. Yes, we caught first the train then a bus before we reached the riverside. It was a good trip , more so because of the interesting story. By this time the sun was hot over our heads and we immediately looked for  a shady spot to  sit and look at the races. There were partaking in the preliminary races when we got there.

 

The boats were like a long sleek snake in the water with  the head  and tail of a dragon. The boats were colorfully painted and all around us was  filled with joyous laughter and  much movement . Children were playing with their parents and  dogs accompanied their owners. So, these  long slender boats were manned by about fourteen people. Each sitting next to each other and  each with a paddle as they row and dig their paddles in the water in unison and dexterity. At the end of the boat there was one person  who steered the boat. In the front there was the drum player whose beating on the drum controlled the tempo of the paddlers. I saw that in the boat every one was important and had to work together to  win. I guess it was not so much the size of the boat that mattered but  rather the unison by which people shared the work. Each time they dug their paddles into the river they shouted in unison. Hua!!! Hua!!!.

 

There was one group that I observed were the best among the others. I was told that they were from the Orchid Island. They were robust and strong and I was told by my guides, that they practically lived on the water since they were mostly fishermen and  that they knew the secrets of the boats. These men won all their  races. Though I think they were not only experts in rowing the boats, but they had learned to work together as a team and that was why their strength paid off.

 

What was exciting about this trip was the opportunity we got to participate in a race. Meaning, we got into one of the boats and actually did some rowing ourselves. For me I suddenly became as strong as the men from the Orchid Islands and I wanted to win. My team lacked the cohesion to win but I gave my best shot. I will show you the picture  so that you see  how we were doing . That was a good trip , richly historical that even though I may not have gotten all the details of the history in the right places, it was a pleasure to be part of this historical occasion.