SUZHOU, DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL: Day 167, Monday June 02 2014

It’s my 25th birthday! When we walked into the hotel lobby we were surprised to see a pack of blond haired pail skinned girls gathered in the corner. “Maybe they know where to go,” I suggested.

“Excuse me,” I said walking up to them. They all stared back like “who’s the girl.” It was eerily like high school, only much blonder, and was completely opposite of the “foreigner starved” expressions of the Jinan crowd. “We’re trying to find the dragon boat festival, do you know where to go?”

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“That’s where we’re going too.” One girl replied. “We don’t know, we’re going to check out moon bay, it’s like two stops away.”

Times Square, where we got off the subway, had food as well, so it was pretty much everything we needed. We bought breakfast at Subway, and managed to find a listing of city events! The dragon boat festival was listed, we had come to the right place!

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We walked into the thick crowd of people and tents at the bay. Surprisingly we found a great place to watch!

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And then found out why no one else was there- it was right next to the drums. We moved before we got deafened.

After watching some races we went in search of the washrooms, and checked out the overpriced souvenirs in the tents. There was a whole bunch of dances and performances in between races, and a big screen that proved easier to see what was going on from.

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There was even a pole dragon dance! And I got to get a picture with the dragon!

The following is a bit of a photo/ video journal of the Pole Dragon Dances:

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It kept raining on and off, and every time it rained, as if controlled by an automatic switch, every umbrella would open at once. One man kept running back and forth to cover and then uncover the speakers only to cover them again! The cover didn’t effect the sound much so I’m not sure why he didn’t just leave it on.

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There were a long line of girls wearing caked on makeup who were holding the awards. They ended up using the presentation checks as umbrellas, holding them over their heads!

One winning team got a little too excited when they crossed the finish line, and their boat tipped over! They were still cheering in the water, and one rower climbed onto his upside down boat to do a victory cry.

We left during the award ceremony, as we couldn’t make sense out of it anyways. Nate bought KFC and I bought some gelato as a birthday treat!

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Back to the hostel for a nap, and then in the afternoon we headed out to explore old town, the section of town that still consisted of the canals that earned the city the name “Venice of the East”. We got dumplings for lunch (good but greasy and small portions), and then went looking for somewhere to get drinks. One place had a golden retriever and kittens! So adorable!

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We ended up drinking at a loft bar, sharing a slice of mango cheesecake. It was ok, but nothing like cheesecake from home.

Bought a bunch of really awesome hand painted fans for my bridesmaids!

Back to the hostel to freshen up, and then off to bar street. It was dead, and Nate wasn’t feeling well, so we called it an early night.

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