I’ve given over the reigns of my blog to Ryan to write about the Boat Racing Festival from this past weekend. As you can see by his absence in the photos he was behind the camera all day.
The Luang Prabang boat festival didn’t bring the tourist crowds that we expected. But locals showed up from provinces all around to join in the festivities. The Nam Khan River is only two blocks from our house and that is where it was all going down. The river road was set up like a street fair. They had everything: helium balloons, grilled meats, grilled not-meats (like chicken feet and tails) and airsoft guns for the kids. We spent the morning watching the open boat parade and a few of the first races. Between the events on the river we indulged in some of the mayhem going on along the road.
With a lot of people visiting from “the countryside” we ended up attracting a lot of attention. When I say “we” I’m really talking about the girls. No one really seemed to pay me any attention.
The girls really wanted to do something “fun.” All the attention they were getting wasn’t cutting it for them. So, we let them pick out a helium balloon. Problem solved. An eagle and Cinderella.The girls dressing themselves like twins that morning didn’t help the amount of attention we attracted.
After some warm up laps, all 31 boats competing in the race paraded down the river. I guess I could go out on a limb and call it a regatta.
Some teams even had a couple ladies that joined them for the parade. Not to worry, they won’t get a sunburn. Precautions were taken. After the boats paraded downriver, they all had to go back up river for the races, so we wandered the streets a little more to see if we could attract some more attention. This (above) is my “Where’s Waldo” photo. Finally, the races got underway. Teams race head to head with between 35-40 paddlers. We watched a couple races before lunchtime rolled around and then took the kids home.
The novice monks had a birds eye view of the races from up on Mount Phu Si.Although Melissa and the girls were back at home gearing up for naps, the day was far from over for me. My soccer team had a boat in the race and I went over to the other side of the river, where we had a tent set up to cheer our guys on. After winning the first race by a good lead, we were feeling pretty good. Everyone’s looking pretty chill paddling back up river for race number two.
Between races the party boats would pass by. Some of them seemed to really know how to have a good time. As one of them passed by my friend leans over to me and says, “We should do that next year.” My response: “Definitely!”
I had fun snapping photos of the colorful teams and of this guy who got dumped off his boat on its way back up river. These guys must have been hoping that the #1 on the back of their shirts would bring some good vibes.
My friends discussing the bracket. I studied the brackets for a long while and couldn’t make any sense of them. Some people came more for the selfies than for the boat racing.
Our team made it into round three and was up against the Heineken boat. By the time they were passing us I knew that it wasn’t looking good for us. Yep, not good. We lost in the third round. It was a good day anyways. A 100% authentic experience. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll work myself onto a team.