Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival 2008

Some of you might remember the great Yichang Dragon Boat Festival that I loved so much last year. Well, this year I was really looking forward to going again, but this year there was some major mafan (trouble)...

In April I got an email from some friends in Shiyan saying they would like to come to Yichang for Dragon Boat Festival. For some reason, I thought May Holiday (1st week in May) was Dragon Boat. After trying to find tickets, I found out that May Holiday is Chinese version of Labor Day. Dragon Boat is in June.

About 3 weeks ago I started asking about tickets for the races again. Nobody seemed to know anything. But who can blame them? I mean the Olympic Torch was coming to town! ;) I thought after the Torch would come through, I would definitely hear something. Last year all we heard about was Dragon Boat Festival for weeks before!

Torch comes and goes... still no news of the races. Finally, a friend in the FAO office prints out this handy little sheet for me. Apparently, the races we went to last year are every other year. Disappointment. However, there would still be races close to the Dam. She gave me buses, English and Chinese instructions and I had full confidence that we would finally get to see some Dragon Boats again.

Jaime and Andrew come to town on Saturday. We all go to bed early Saturday night because we have to get up at 6am on Sunday to catch a bus. Sunday morning comes and it is pouring! We ask around and everyone said to go on. Brad and I wear our Pearl Market/Columbia rain jackets and the Hills have their nice umbrellas... All set...

We take a bus for about 40 minutes and then the driver tells all the foreigners to get off. Nobody gets off with us. The sheet did say it would be a 20 minute walk. We stop and ask for directions along the way. About 10 minutes into our walk Brad and I discover that our jackets are not waterproof. Upon our arrival, there are no boats to be seen. The last woman we ask says "it's raining" with a look expressing that she thought we were idiots.

We did get to see a barge of trucks unload! ;)

(somehow we look amazingly dry in this picture!)

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