Thanks to Ed Slater of Trinity College: This article is taken from a blog by Ed Slater of the Trinity College eight. A year ago, Chengdu, a city located in the heart of China, became victim to the “Great Sichuan Earthquake”. The quake measured a 8.0 magnitude and claimed the lives of nearly 70,000 people.
Known for their ultra spicy take on Chinese cuisine, a laid back atmosphere, and some of the best tea houses in the East, the people of Chengdu have spent a good part of the year recovering and rebuilding. Now, as we approach their annual Dragon Boat Festival, Chengdu is working to begin a new day by drawing in cultures from around the world and hosting the “Longhu Cup” International University Regatta.
Trinity College has received the distinct honor to be Invited to race along with Yale, Oxford, Milan, Otago, Sydney, Peking Tsinghua and Shanghai Jiao Tong Universities.
Once in Chengdu, we began to be truly thrown back by the graciousness of our hosts. Flowers at the airport upon our arrival.
As part of the festivities all eight rowing teams were invited to a ‘concert” – as you can see from the following blog by one of Ed Slater’s crew mates – it was beyond ” spectacular”.
Up to this point Ed has been doing an excellent job keeping the blog fresh with our many adventures in China. That being said I thought that a different perspective might be fun (also I know it will keep him awake at night fretting about what libelous filth I will pen!). Also this would have been posted yesterday but I have been informed other oarsmen are stealing all the bandwidth….
Tonight we were the centerpiece of an absolutely amazing concert/performance put on by our Chinese hosts. The scope and scale of the extravaganza were well beyond anything the team was expecting! The festivities opened with an amazing performance by approximately every child in a ten mile radius. As they banged away on a wide assortment of drums we lined up and were shortly thereafter were paraded onto stage with the 7 other rowing teams.
Soon thereafter the performances began in earnest. It was different to say the least. We bore witness to amazing dancing and unique singers. As we were very close to the stage we found ourselves staring down a speaker bank that was several stories high. While this likely allowed the members of the audience sitting nearly half a mile away from the stage to hear it meant that our hair was being tossed in the wind generated by the speaker subs! The performances were amazing and included a magnificent bit of opera from the Italian team and two Haka’s performed by the oarsmen of New Zealand. That being said at hour 3 (as a motley crew of 4 gentlemen who struck you as a rural Chinese version of the Back Street Boys was performing their second number) we were informed that we had just passed the half way mark!
As a rower the whole experience was completely surreal. We were being applauded by thousands of spectators (none of whom were our parents!), and we were beset by a constant stream of people hoping to get either autographs or pictures. So a pretty standard day of fame, fortune, and adoration, which is really the hallmark of rowing. Be assured that our adoring fans all got their autographs as the Trinity oarsmen were very obliging in sharing their time with our gracious hosts. That’s all for now. -MG