Dragon Boat Holiday is coming around the corner, meaning a little three-day holiday for us. This will be my seventh Dragon Boat day in China but I have a little guilty confession: I have never seen a dragon boat race.
In Hangzhou the closest race was too far away an in Xiamen they actually have the dragon boat races long before the holiday because everyone is gone during the actual holiday. So they hold it early. This past weekend in fact.
And I finally went!
And lordy, lordy what have I been missing?! If I knew the guys were that hot I would have made it a point to go every year. I mean, these were gorgeous, gorgeous men and so many together in a relatively small area? Heaven.
Dragon boat races happen in long wooden boats, with two rowers sitting side by side. In the front is a drummer to keep pace and in the back a rower to keep the boat straight. They don’t have far to race, just 200-3000 meters depending, but they have to be strong and fast to win. And the Xiamen Dragon Boat races are a big to-do here and many teams come from all over southern China and Taiwan to compete.
So that means a lot of guys. A lot of hot guys. And it was blistering hot and humid, so shirts were very much optional.
I watched the 500 meter races. They were quick and moved briskly. All the rowers use the same 18 boats. Six are loaded and ready as the other six are racing as the other six are heading back to the wharf for the next teams. So there isn’t much down time between each race. Just boat after boat of hot guys getting ready to race. (I don’t want to be totally sexist. There were women’s teams too, and those ladies were strong! But Im’ma focus on the men right now, kay?)
One of my friends taught one of the teams so we got to go into the competitors section to hang out with them. It was us in a sea of hotties. I was taking stealth pictures of guys when another friend, a guy, criticized me for objectifying men.
“They’re people Becky! Not pieces of meat!” He said to me jokingly.
“They like it,” I said. “Why else would they wear these tight shirts and pants, getting all wet and flaunting their hot bodies? They want me to take pictures. They like it. Honey! Give me a smile,” I yelled to no one in particular.
I like turning the tables on objectification.
The actual festival went on for two days and they had races of varying length and even some fun races like “tug of war” (a rope is tied between two boats and each one paddles furiously in the opposite direction, trying to pull the other one towards it).
But it was really hot, I got sunburnt being out just a few hours, and I had gotten what I came for. So I left early and sat the rest of the races out. (Though they were close enough to my home I heard the constant banging of the drums.) I thoroughly enjoyed my first official dragon boat races in China and already looking forward to next years races! What can I say? I’m a fan of traditional Chinese culture.
To find out about the other traditions and cultures behind Dragon Boat day, check out this post.