Boating With the Dragons

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So.  I got it into my head that my husband and I should learn something new together – that it would be good for us to have a new activity to do.  So when I saw Groupon had a 4-week intro class for two in dragon boating, I jumped on it.

We started the Friday before last.

Now, let me first say some things about Vancouver.

Winter here is hard and long.  It’s not hard like the rest of the country where you might lose fingers if you go out in it for too long.  But it’s hard on your soul.  Winter is approximately nine and a half months of rain.  Sometimes it’s fairly temperate rain.  Sometimes it’s freezing rain.  A lot of the time, it’s a consistent and passive aggressive drizzle.  It is bleak, my friends.  And grey.  So very grey.  There is a lot of concrete in Vancouver.  The ocean reflects the sky.  So you look down and the ground is grey and the water is grey, and you look out and the buildings are grey, and the sky is grey.  Yes, the mountains have snow, but they’re mostly covered by the clouds.  We also have a shocking number of crows.  They look picturesque against all the grey, but also gloomy.  There are days when I wake up, look out, and feel physical pain at the sight of all the grey.

But.

Then there is summer.  And some scattered sunny days throughout the year.  And I think they, and the memories of them, are what keep people here.  Because when the sun comes out, Vancouver is something else entirely.  Because we have water – open ocean and inlets and straits and the bridges that go with them.  The water is a thousand colours at once.  We have a neat skyline in a city that you realize is made entirely of glass.  We have mountains that you can suddenly see and that are kind of gorgeous.  We have forests.  There are flowers and trees everywhere.  And when the sun comes out, it is beautiful.

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Now, take one of those beautiful days and go down to False Creek.  The water glitters.   Get in a long boat with nineteen other people and someone tells you when to paddle and when to stop.  You work on rhythm and you work on speed.  It’s a bit of exercise and a bit of fun.  You go past the city on one side and the green and the rocks of Olympic Village on the other.  You pass the shiny globe of Science World.  Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a more perfect way to unwind after a day spent at a desk.

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