Once my gut told me to stop and my brain told me to go. My heart said nothing, it was beating too fast to give impressions. A few moments later I was sliding on the asphalt. Close but no cigar. Cycling always gave me a rough ride. 

Dragon boat rowing

Every now and then my university in Guangzhou, Lingnan College (Sun Yat-sen University) offers us to do something out of the ordinary.  I enjoy breaking the routine and do it every time.  Last month I went to promote my school (IAE de Toulouse - UT1 Capitole) on the Zhuhai campus and it was quite some fun.  On Saturday I was offered to go Dragon boat rowing. 

With nothing planned for my week-end besides a heavy duty party on Saturday night to celebrate Alejandro and Aaron's birthdays I promptly agreed to participate.  Here is a photo of the party just in case you're more of a party person than a Dragon boat person.  We'd have something in common in that case.   

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Photo bombing gotta be the best thing since sliced bread. 

Back to the boats, with Dragons. 

The origins of this specific water craft are precisely from where I currently live: the Pearl River Delta.  First made of teak imported from Indonesia, they are now made of carbon fiber or fiber glass as mine was, for competitive (weight) purposes.  A drummer sits on the front and paces everyone.

The boat I rowed in had no dragon though.  I really wanted to have a mystical creature protecting me on the bow!  I was given a life jacket instead. 

Scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. the course was bound to be longer.  We took the subway and went to my university's East Campus on the Educational Mega Center Island.  An island in Guangzhou with roughly 100 000 inhabitants and 10 different universities.  We stretched and warmed up in the parking as we waited for the oars to be brought by someone else.  I hopped on the boat at 3:27, no joke!  

We had two boats, one exclusively for girls as shown on the picture and a second one where we mixed up which I was on.  

After we all got on we got a quick (Uuurgh) 15 minute speech on security measures and how to row.  

The girl who offered me to join for the day, let's call her Rainbow, was quite impressed by my rowing skills until I told her I spent 10 years on a sailboat roaming the seas. 

Then she was in love.

Now to make things clear, I'm not calling her Rainbow for the purposes of entertaining you as you read this blog!  It's her chosen "English name" to make communication easier for foreign students.  Others chose Candy, Eleven, Jasmine, Flower or Bee.  Rainbow chose to be a rainbow, and that's awesome. 

We had several small training sessions where out of the 12 pairs of rowers only 2 to 3 would paddle for 70 to 150 strokes at most.  Perhaps it's thanks to the fitness I developed as I cycled for 5 years but when I stepped of the boat I didn't feel more tired than I do when I walk to school in the morning. 

We also had a race with the girls, that was fun! 

Don't let this picture trick you, they are only ahead because of the head start they were given!!  We obviously annihilated them, because "We are only girls."  They said it themselves, not my words! 

Having a good time.

Speaking with my hands to make things clear! 

 

Chinese people love selfies so at the end we gave it a round. 

Although I didn't get the workout I was expecting at this beginner's training it was interesting to spend some time with Chinese people and see how they enjoy themselves when they don't have their phones handy. 

I got to chat with several students on my way home and it was quite hard for me to get an enjoyable conversation.  It's often "Hi, my name is X, where you from?"  To which I always answer "I live in France."  Someone who is really listening, focused and interested will say "Oh, but where are you from?".  They score a point.  Others will say "Oh I love France it's so romantic!" or "I've been to Paris!".  They get a cookie. 

The culture differences and interests are so strong between me and local students that it's often difficult to actually enjoy social time with them.  We don't click as they say. 

I wish I could be a Rainbow as well... 

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