Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dragon Boat Festival

Yesterday, Sean and I met up with Sarah, Valentin, and Pavel at the Dragon Boat Festival at Festival Beach on Town Lake that was held by the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin. It turned out to be a beautiful day -- the night before, some crazy storms rolled through Texas (we got spared the hail and really gusty winds, though).

The dragon boats were neat. I'm a dragon freak, so I loved their heads and tails. We watched one round of races. Sarah found these boards you can stand on, for a good view. The boats would race from the start line to near the I-35 bridge, then turn around and row back to the loading dock, re-load, and do it all over again.

Sarah, Sean, and I went to the ticket table and got in the food line, and Valentin and Pavel went to sit in the shade. After getting our sticky rice and sesame balls, Sean and I got distracted by the taiko drummers playing by the stage. What impressed me the most was that it was a mostly girl taiko drumming group. I don't know if that's common or not, since I don't know much about taiko...although it looks like fun :)

We watched a few more performances -- Korean dances, Tae Kwon Do by Tiger Jung's Martial Arts, and an Indian Dance by the Natyalaya School of Dance where the poor girls were burning their feet on the hot black stage.

Korean dance

Tae Kwon Do

Indian dance

We didn't see these girls perform, but they were just so cute

Sarah came and got us to tell us that one of the boat teams had asked Valentin and Pavel to row with them, since they were short two people. That was pretty exciting and random, so we went to join them.

Pavel and, they weren't on the APD team...just thought it was funny

Dragon head on the boat

While we were waiting around, I saw Aaron ride up on the trail, so he joined us for a while. We waited quite a while...they weren't sure exactly when they were going to have their turn. We met the lady who owned the dragon boats. I didn't get her name, but she was 71, I think, and was such a good spirited, happy lady. She said that her son owned Adventure Alliance, which is the team that Valentin and Pavel were rowing with.

Valentin had disappeared off somewhere for a while. Then the boys were up! Sarah went running to find Valentin. They waited a few minutes, then were a bit paniced, so they asked Sean if he wanted to row. He was going to sit in..then all of a sudden, Valentin runs up, throws a life vest on, and gets in the boat. It was actually pretty exciting with them on the boat.

Where's Valentin?

Valentin and Pavel in the boat

Sean held our purses as Sarah and I ran to scope out the race. Their boat won on a judge call that they had started behind the other teams (at the finish line, a boat just beat them by a little bit). Post race, we met up with the boys, who were both wet on one side where they were rowing.

We ended up hanging around for a few more performances...Hawaiian performances,, Shaolin Kung Fu, Chinese and Japanese dances. Here are some pics for entertainment value.

Sean doing the ALOHA dance

Shaolin girl with swords

Action shot of Shaolin performers

Japanese folk dancers

Sarah and I ended up participating in a Japanese money dance, which I couldn't get until the! Then we called it a day.


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