Monday, April 23, 2012

My Earth Day

Earth Day in Beijing was marked by "very unhealthy" air all day, the kind you can see and that stings your eyes when you're out in it.

And boy, was I out in it.
I was back at Houhai, the Beijing lake that back in January gave me an instant cure for jet lag. Now, of course, the lake is no longer frozen -- spring even comes to places like Beijing -- and a Sunday afternoon brings out boaters of all stripes. Including dragon boaters.

I am now a dragon boater. I went out with a boat of ten rowers in a long boat with painted dragon scales on the side and a pontoon on the end. We raced from one end of the lake to the other until my shoulders felt like they were on fire. And even though my hands are blistered and my lungs feel a little tubercular, it was a fun day.

We were mostly westerners in the boat, a fact that caused great hilarity to the Chinese people spending a day in the park. Why were funnier than the older Chinese men in Speedos swimming across the lake is beyond me. When the Chinese ventured out on the lake, it was in paddle boats with a cigarette in one hand and a camera in the other.

A good time was had by all.

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