Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dragon Boat Festival and Library Day

These days I am so busy, it's hard to find time for sleep. Not busy in a bad way, of course, quite the reverse. The days are full of interesting learning and experiences.

Saturday was Duanwu jie 端午節, the Dragon Boat Festival. Despite being really pretty tired from the whole week of classes, I joined our school's fieldtrip to a nearby river park to watch the boat races. There were all kinds of different teams, and each had its own special preparation. My eye was particularly caught by the team of our sister school, Shifan daxue's Mandarin Training Center. Our school doesn't field a team, for whatever reason, but theirs does. I think they look quite fierce!

I also noticed what I think was a Philippines team, wheeling around doing exercises and stretches.

There was also a large and lively team that sported bright red t-shirts. Here I think they were cheering for some of their teammates (there were several different categories of races).
Meanwhile, our school provided an audience team. Well, every contest needs an audience, right? Ha ha. These are some of my classmates, photo taken by me so obviously I'm not in it.

The races were reasonably exciting. Here is a picture of the staging area where everyone got into their boats. The starting line is in the distance.

Here is the Mandarin Training Center team starting off. They went on to win their heat:

They were really fast.

Here's another team on its way back from the race. You can see the drummer who keeps time. The person even further forward in the boat is the flag grabber. Their job is to grab the flag at the finish line. If they miss the flag, the victory doesn't count! Sadly, I failed to get a picture of the flags. I'm not sure what I was thinking.

There was also a big food court area with many snacks. Amongst them, this very interesting spiral snack. I have no idea what it was. Maybe a potato? Maybe a type of cookie?

You might wonder why I didn't buy one, and I have no idea. It just didn't really occur to me? They look more interesting in the picture than they seemed on a meltingly hot afternoon? I don't know.

One thing I did try was stinky tofu. It tasted fine. When it's in your mouth you can't even really smell it. (Of course when you walk by it on the street, it smells like dogshit soup.) As I was eating it, though, my stomach did keep telling me I was eating something sketchy. It tasted fine, but I lost my appetite. I ate it all anyway, just to be macho, and felt no particular ill-effects beyond feeling mildly unsettled. On the other hand, there was also nothing particularly exciting about the stinky tofu either.

Here is the overall view of the big bridge under which they start the races:

I couldn't really make it through all the races. It was just too darned hot. I went home in early afternoon.

Sunday I spent most of the day in the library. I read some stuff in Chinese and some stuff in French, and worked on my manuscript. I know that's not a very interesting story. However, I did see this GIGANTIC spider along the way:

It's well camouflaged, but it is (scarily) close to my left foot.

At lunchtime, I discovered a great thing: a cafeteria/buffet (pay by weight) right across from the library. So many choices! so many vegetables! The food pictured here cost less than $2!

Later, just as I was on my way home, there was a sudden downpour. And me stupidly without my umbrella. I took refuge under the front of one of the buildings and waited it out.

(Sorry, it's hard taking a picture of oneself with an iphone camera.)

Not much else to tell. Here are a few more sights from along my walk home. First, a kind of pond in a little schoolyard park. Lushness of greenery...

Finally, I saw a lot of these branches on different buildings. I am betting it had something to do with the Dragon Boat Festival, but I'm not sure.

Have to run now--more soon I hope.


Anonymous said...

The spiral thing is like a big potato chip. The branches are ai4cao3, a kind of mugwort I guess, which wards off evil on Dragon Boat Festival. --SG

ZaPaper said...

Okay, I'm glad it was a potato chip and not something more exciting. Thanks as always for your knowledgability about things local!! I am glad my guess about the branches was right. It's a nice name. :-)