This past Saturday in the DiSCOVER 2013 program, instead of sitting in the classroom in our usual Mandarin class and business/Chinese culture workshop, we went out to the lake shore and did a 2-hour crash course on the wonderful water sport of dragon boating. I’ve seen people dragon boat many times and ate those lotus-wrapped rice balls during Dragon Boat Festival but never had the inkling to try it out for myself. We spent the first part of the hour warming up, doing stretches, and jogging on the boardwalk. It was a really cool and gloomy morning.
We were a group of around 15. With lifejackets on and paddles picked out, we did a little exercise on the beach where Ray and Simon taught us the basic strokes for paddling in the water. Terms and commands like “A-frame position”, “let it run”, “hit”, “ready ready”, “check” were learned. Then we all
jumped slowly descended one by one into the boat.
We sat in even numbers on each side of the boat and gradually learned how to paddle in sync. That was actually the hardest part of the day — keeping in sync with the rest of the paddlers as a team. Another difficult part was when we did a “series” where the strokes were very fast and demanded a lot of energy. The paddlers in the first section of the boat were called “pacers”, the ones in the middle were called the “engine”, and I was in the back of the boat called the “pacers”. After some segments of 5, 10, 15, and 20 strokes where we tried to perfect our strokes and coordination, we stimulated a 200 metre race. It was exhausting towards the end of the last couple of strokes. Needless to say, through this experience, I now have a bigger appreciation for those who actually dragon boat in races. It requires correct form, strong core muscles, and a strong team ethic to paddle together in sync.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was the perfect weather that morning to go dragon boating since it wasn’t too sunny or windy. We all got a little wet when our paddles didn’t quite exit/enter into the water as cleanly, but it was all fun and dandy. My legs were a little sore as I got out of the boat and I hope I worked out the correct muscles without injury.
We rewarded ourselves with a yummy lunch at Sunnyside Cafe on the patio by the lake at noon. It was just really good weather to eat outside and I’m glad my allergies are finally dying down after an unusually extended period of springtime allergies this year. I had their portobello burger. It was a very generous portion and I was very satisfied with the burger patty. The fries that came with it weren’t that great though.
I’ve been having a lot of burgers this summer for some reason. Usually I only have 3-4 per year. I’m pretty sure I’ve exceeded that number just during the past two months. I usually don’t order burgers from the menu since I think they’re all mostly the same — meat patty with condiments and various toppings. I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some pretty delicious burgers as of late, which is why I guess I keep ordering them.
The DiSCOVER 2013 program is slowly drawing to an end. There are approximately 2 weeks until we leave to go to China as part of the culminating event of the program. Two weeks! Can you believe it? It’s almost time for me to start packing my suitcase for the momentous trip (I’m a procrastinating packer). Until then, we will be finishing up the Mandarin course with a couple of lessons and a final oral presentation. We’ll also have one more business seminar and a pre-trip session to get everyone ready for the trip. We’ll also find out who we’ll be rooming with. Lots of stuff to do for me personally until I hop on that plane, however. I’m excited though for all the changes. 🙂