“We may not be the fastest boat in the race, but we will surely be the best looking one”, said Jeff after he completed the construction of the decorative Chinese dragon head made out of fiberglass that will be mounted on the bow. Jeff went on to say that if they could get some good rowers, that they may even have a chance of taking first prize. Jeff purchased a tape of drummers playing the tanggu, the traditional Chinese drum from the 19th century, hoping that this beat would keep the demons away while he was building this. He was not going to be one of the rowers, but he would be a spectator cheering for them and he planned to film the event.
Building this dragon boat involved a division of labor, as other craftsmen were responsible for making different parts. Bill another fiberglass fabricator built the ship’s tail, which would be mounted on the stern, while Ted a carpenter worked on the body. Every part of the boat was designed with purpose, and the keel (a large beam along the underside of a ship’s hull running from the bow to the stern) that formed the dragon’s back needed to provide strength, stability and prevent sideways drift of the boat while it is in the water, keeping the boat steady and allowing it to be steered, was probably the most essential part. Jeff knew that his portion was merely ornamental, but the dragon boat would not be ready to race till it was installed.
They assembled all of the parts together and the dragon boat looked awesome. Jeff’s wife Sue Ling was making rice dumplings which would be stuffed with a variety of fillings, and tightly wrapped in bamboo leaves, in a triangular shape for the event, and this was his favorite part. Making these treats was a tradition to honor the beloved poet Qū Yuán, as they were thrown into the water to keep fish away and stop them devouring his drowned body. Jeff enjoyed eating them with dark soy sauce and sugar and he would probably toss a few in the water for good luck.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #399 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Sal Witchells.