Saturday Surprise — A Trip to Hong Kong!

YAY!!!  It’s the weekend again!!!  Some might ask what difference it makes to me, since I am retired and every day is pretty much the weekend.  Well, yes and no.  Every day I get to waken on my own with no alarm clock, and I set my own schedule, but I have to tell you … I work harder now than I ever did when I was an accountant working 12-14 hour days!  I am busy from the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning until usually 3:00 a.m. or so, when I tumble into bed to read for an hour or so.  Weekends, however, are special because unless she is at a band thingy somewhere, daughter Chris is home, she and Miss Goose do the house chores, and we have family day on Saturdays whereby we go out to eat and usually for a trip to my favourite place, Barnes & Noble.  So I do still look forward to weekends!

A ‘feel-good’ story crossed my path today, and it led me on a journey.  I came back to get you all and take you with me on a journey to … Hong Kong!!!  We are going to Hong Kong to see the Dragon Boat races and to meet one very special team of racers who I think will really impress you!  Don’t worry, you’ll be back in time for whatever is on your Saturday docket.dragon-boat-carnivaldragon-boat-carnival-2.jpgThe Dragon Boat Festival takes place every year on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month, normally in May or June in our calendar.  This year it was on June 18th. The festival is best known for its colourful Dragon Boat races where teams of paddlers race the long narrow boats accompanied by the beat of the drum down to the finish line.  The drumbeat is to keep members of the team in time.dragon-boat-1.jpgAccording to one popular legend, the Dragon Boat Festival has its origins in the old man Qu Yuan, an official that was so disillusioned with his country’s government that he drowned himself in protest by jumping in the river. The locals rushed to the site, paddling on their boats and banging drums, gongs and everything they could find to scare away anything that might harm Qu Yuan in hopes to find and rescue him but they were not successful. They also brought offerings of rice to calm the old man’s spirit. The pilgrimage with the long boats, the drumming and the rice evolved into massive and colorful events and the dragon boat races and competitions that characterize the festival of today.dragon-boat-2The races last for three days, and every year, thousands compete.  This year, though, was special for there was a new team on the block called the Darkness Fighters. Their mantra is “Challenge the impossible.”  You see, this team is special for they are all blind and most are well beyond retirement age!  For some, it is their first time competing in any organized sport. Darkness Fighters-1.jpg“I’m really happy to be here today because I didn’t think I would be able to do things like this,” said Tsang Jau Rung, 72, who began losing her sight 16 years ago and joined the Fighters this year.

“It is a group effort,” said Annie Wing Chee Lo, 60, who steadily lost her sight over the past 10 years. “It requires our utmost focus and perseverance for us to do well.”Darkness Fighters-2.jpgFor the blind paddlers the race has its own sensory delights: the thrum of the drum, the spray of the water, the crowd’s cheers. By the end of the race, they are sopping wet, exhausted and beaming with pride. They placed fifth out of eight teams.

“We were all on point with our rhythms and didn’t mess one another up,” Mr. Lau said. “That alone is a win for us.”

Now wasn’t that a fun journey with which to start the weekend?  I hope you all enjoyed the trip to the Dragon Boat Festival and enjoyed meeting the Darkness Fighters!  Have a safe and wonderful weekend!dragon-boat-3

49 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — A Trip to Hong Kong!

  1. Oh boy… you are very busy for a retire person.. up from early morning and go to bed at 3am….. gosh.. I would be very sleepy:) I need my beauty sleep – at least 8 hours per day:)
    Your dragon boat photos are great and it is nice to read blog about Hong Kong.. which bring back good memory.

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  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 23rd July 2018 – Irene Arita, One Spoiled Cat and Jill Dennison #International food and travel | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. The Dragon boat races in Hong Kong
    Include rowers who sit in boats very long
    Some teams are blind
    Some teams are kind
    And all paddle the drum beat of the throng

    Nice colourful post Jill… I have been having some phone problems so missing at times… Sorry! ✌💕

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  4. Dear Jill,

    Thanks for the exciting Hong Kong trip. Placing in 5th place for a group of elderly blind competitors was no small feat. They prove that it is never too late to get int the game of life.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, a change of pace, a breath of fresh air, is a welcome relief, isn’t it? Yes, I try to be … some days I feel as if I am spinning my wheels, but overall I stay busy, and that keeps me happy! I would go insane if I just sat around like some of my retired friends, watching television all day. In fact, I haven’t watched an entire television show for at least 4-5 years!

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  5. Great blog. Love being retired myself, getting to do whatever I want. Best is not getting up early in the morning…My day starts whenever and doesnt stop all day. Never thought I would have so much to keep me busy. Love your trip to Hong Kong -especially since my son and family just moved there. Must tell them about the Dragon Boat Races.

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    • Thank you, and WELCOME! I agree … I like that not getting up early, or if I do get up early, it’s because I CHOSE to! Glad you liked the trip to Hong Kong! Perhaps you should plan to go visit your son and his family during the Dragon Boat Festival next year! 😉

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  6. You certainly know how to work but I’m curious as to why you have a schedule especially as you are retired . I have no schedule and no fixed activities and I’m so glad to be free of work ; the chance to be free of the daily grind is wonderful.
    Being curious I looked up Barnes and Noble only to learn they are on the decline even with the Nook. In the UK the high street is dying due to on line transactions and the government do not know what to do about it.
    I notice this colourful festival is based on the Lunar month the old Moonth shows the link to nature when men looked to the seasons to measure their lives.

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    • Ah well … the work I do these days is joy to me … well, mostly anyway. I might not consider laundry, bathroom cleaning and washing dishes a joy, but they have to be done. Daughter Chris works 12-14 hour days as a nursing supervisor, so the housework/laundry/cooking/marketing/bill-paying falls to me, and I don’t mind … it’s my contribution. But this blog is my main ‘work’ and source of joy, and while sometimes I set goals for myself, it is still fun and if I didn’t enjoy it, but also feel I was doing something good, I would give it up. So yes, I have a schedule in a way, but it is self-imposed only so that I can make sure things get done when they need to, but it is flexible, too. I don’t set an alarm, nor force myself to bed if I’m doing something I want to be doing until 5:00 a.m.

      Yes, B&N is on the decline, as Amazon is fierce competition and has already run one major competitor, Borders Books, out of business several years ago. I think Barnes & Noble will hang in, though, but they will need to make some changes. I like the store, for it has a Starbucks within, and I can spend hours in there perusing books, reading, and sipping coffee. My idea of a dream day! 😉

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  7. Thanks for sharing, thoroughly enjoyed the adventure!!… calendars are for doctor’s appointments, payday, etc ( I know people who have a job that thinks every day is a weekend 🙂 )… in life there are no such thing as weekends, it is a period of time that life has given you in this mortal world and what you do with that time is what is important… 🙂

    “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

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    • You are so right. Time, as we know it, is a contrivance of man to satisfy his need for order. I agree with Lincoln’s quote … or to paraphrase, it’s not how many years you live, but what you do with those years. I try to make every day count for something. And I know there will never come a day that I say, “okay, I’ve done everything I intended to do”. Keeps life interesting, don’t you think? The word “bored” simply is not in my vocabulary and I’m always amazed when I hear people say they are bored. How can anybody be bored when there are books?

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  8. There are many lessons to be learned from the Darkness Fighters, one of them…impossible is just a word, possible is a better one. Though they came in fifth, they are the true winners. This was a delightful trip. Thank-you!

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    • Oh yes … even if they had come in 8th, they would have been winners in my book! They can stand as an example for us all, when we are tempted to say, “I’m too old”, “I’m too tired”, or “I just cannot”. Glad you enjoyed the trip! Give Benjamin a hug for me!

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    • Thanks Hugh … glad you liked it! I loved the boats and would love to see the races in person someday. They have it in New York and Boston, too, but I’d prefer the local flavour of Hong Kong, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We have Dragon Boat Races in Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge every year, probably in other Canadian cities too, though I don’t know for sure. Nobody cares who wins the race, except possibly the winners, but the paddlers all rejoice because everyone is a winner just for doing this. It is wonderful to watch, and even if you are a spectator on the shore, you feel the drums inside you, and your body rocks to the beat.
    Thank you for the journey, Jill. I had never heard the Qu Yuan story before, and that adds even more meaning to a very fun time.

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