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  • Writer's pictureLiz Totton

How to Tame A Dragon Boat

Dragon Boating, Abu Dhabi, Al Bandar dragons, races

Dragon Boating? Yeah, I did that in Abu Dhabi. #bucketlist

It’s no secret; I love to try new things. I think I love trying new things more than I love the food, air or anything else so prosaic. Patterns and routines are more loathsome to me than any new adventure or challenge you could every throw at me—unless your challenge involves a big, jumping spider or is in the form of hurtling off a bridge with a rope on my one legfuhgeddaboudit; I’ll stick with air & water in that case. I will say life in Abu Dhabi regularly presents the expat with so many things to do—it’s mostly what I love about it here. This is a place to try new things. You know your activities will never be rained out. It will never be SO cold that you can use that as an excuse to stay home and binge watch a season of whatever. It might be too hot here and there to do stuff, but that’s all right—a girl’s gotta rest some time. And most of us have already split town when that time comes anyway. So, what is there to do in Abu Dhabi, you may ask? Well, lots of everything, really. I’ll start with this past weekend: How to tame a dragon boat.

Abu Dhabi is a funny place–funny in a variety of ways. First of all, it’s just got the best name ever, hands down. When do you stop loving to say “Abu Dhabi”? Never, I tell you. It’s also funny because Abu Dhabi has a less than medium-sized population, for a city—nothing compared to other major cities like New York or Beijing, but still sizable. People advertise and promote events all over town in a myriad of VERY CLEVER ways and, still, no one ever comes.

WHY, people, why?

Selfishly, I should just repeat and never lose sight of the mantra “you snooze, you lose,” but karma impels me to share these events with other Abu Dhabians and to remind them to just get off your duffs and come out to things when you chance to notice them posted—it’s not like they are not advertised. Come because: They are usually FREE. Some, like this past one, even fed us dinner. No where in the USA was there ever a Free event that you bothered to go to because:

  1. There is NO PARKING.

  2. They are SO CROWDED.

  3. The stuff you will have to buy there is SO EXPENSIVE. There is no such thing as a “free lunch” in the ole U.S. of A., right?

Dragon Boating, Abu Dhabi, Al Bandar dragons, races

Now, this is a dragonboat, right?

This past weekend, Al Bandar Marina offered a Dragon Boat clinic. What’s a Dragon Boat? I didn’t know really know either. My thoughts went “Lunar new year.” I pictured exotica: dancing dragons, resplendent color, feasts of the senses, I was going to learn how to tame a dragon boat. And then, all I saw was this long, white boat and very few other people there to row it.

Dragon-boating, Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi

So, this is a Dragon Boat? not what I expected.

But, don’t be discouraged this lackluster, long white boat was full of fun—I just couldn’t envision it, which is what adventure has always been about, right? Adventure is the experiences that you cannot even imagine–those that test your imagination’s limits. If that boat says boring, thank god there was someone there to say “Un uh, get in. Boredom is NOT allowed here,” and there were….lots of them, thankfully.  Al Bandar offered this event in collaboration with The Al Bandar Dragons, the Abu Dhabi Stand Up Paddlers and some other Kayaking group this past Sunday. It went a little like this.

They offered a brief, albeit sufficient, lesson into the mechanics of dragon-boating. No history, I might have liked that as a history nerd–but whatever; often those who can instruct a sport, cannot also adequately break down its history. I get that. There were ample encouraging experts around to guide you through any of the three activities you wanted to try. The evening commenced in a Dragon boat race, which my boat won. #Winning–Charlie Sheen has nada on me lately. Seriously, I have a post (in my head :/) to come about winning stuff in Abu Dhabi. Al Bandar even provided a catered, boxed dinner from Caesar’s at Al Raha Mall, because dragon-boating makes you really hungry, right?! I left the event wanting desperately to be a dragon boater. I just may.

To say it was fun is an understatement. I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but please do look into all these local groups. They are just there waiting for you to come.  [lg_slideshow folder=”Dragon Boating/”]

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