When I peeled my sun scorched eyes open this morning, it was with a profound sense of relief that I was in my own bed, in my own house, on my own. Whew. Decided on Friday afternoon that although I still can’t paddle, the fun and games of the Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival was too much to pass up, so messaged my team to say I’d be over on the first ferry Saturday morning, with plans to return around 5:30pm when racing was done. Well it’s sort of worked out that way . . .I did go over on the early ferry . . .
It was a gorgeous hot sunny day when I arrived in the Nanaimo and the team had a fantastic day of racing. Two strong second place finishes seeded them into a good division. Sitting on the sidelines all day can get long, but it was brightened considerably when I arrived for the first race and met my replacement steersperson – well done girls, you got a Gorging Dragon to steer for you!! Awesome. So what if they just competed at World’s. . . and Trev looked like it . . .I wasn’t impressed, no really, not impressed at all. And I’m willing to bet having that hunka hunka on the back of the boat pushed everyone to paddle like they meant it.
I could have been a good, sensible teammate and rested in the shade and drank neutral fluids like Gatorade, but what fun would that be? So instead I packed along a few of my fav Rock Creek’s and starting putting those into my water bottle early on – it was after noon, maybe only just but it was after, I swear. The team was in the very last race of the day, so I had a long afternoon to amuse myself and I guess maybe somewhere in there I forgot to reapply sunscreen. I feel like a crispy taco today, lips all burned – although they do have an awesome poutiness that would cost a fortune in botox, so it’s not all bad. Years of hot weather training growing up in the Land of Oz means it will all turn to a lovely tan by tomorrow. Sweet.
Despite the wind and difficult conditions on the water the races ran on time and last, but not least, we got into the beer garden with the festivities already in full swing. Being a stalwart bunch we threw ourselves into the partying with a vengeance and made up for lost time. There was some great dancing, great schmoozing and all sorts of craziness going on. The theme this year was “Caribbean” and more than a few of the teams did the costumes up in style, Carman Miranda fruit headpieces and all. Any suggestions about leaving were promptly shut down and I sure didn’t lack for offers of places to stay . . . those were interesting!! I should have known the plan to be on the 5:30pm ferry home was doomed for failure – I have all the backbone of a jellyfish when it comes to leaving a good party early . . .so I didn’t make the earlier ferry and was convinced (like it was really hard) to stay for dinner and the Paddler’s Party. No change of clothes, no toothbrush, no anything, , but you know, you just make do.
And while the party was fun, at some point in the proceedings a modicum of common sense kicked in and I decided to hightail it for the last ferry. One thing I have learned is that what seems like a great idea at night after a bunch of drinkies can be a whole lot less fun in the cold hard light of morning. Not everything mind you, but some things . . . and I had a hankering for home.
As luck would have it, however, my day was not yet over and I had saved the best for last. While waiting for a bus on the other end a really . . . interesting . . . .guy decided to strike up a conversation with me. So there I am, it’s midnight and I”m sitting on the curb at the Horseshoe Bay bus stop and this guy felt the need to share that the reason he was going to Vancouver was that he’d broken up with his “old lady” and had to put his stuff in storage and was currently homeless . . .but at least he didn’t have to worry about getting to work . . . he’d been on disability for quite some time . . . .it didn’t pay much but he was sure that any day now “they” were going to buy him a house for everything they had put him through. And if another woman “looked at him with love in her eyes” – that’s a direct quote – he was f**ing out of there. Oh yeah, and he loved Vancouver because he had such good memories of his first time in rehab there. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. WTF – why me I was thinking with head in hands. Thank god the bus came and saved me from that purgatory.
When I woke up this morning I realized that maybe there was a reason this charming stranger thought to strike up a conversation with me . . .not only was I sunburned and somewhat disheveled, I’d forgotten that in an enthusiastic moment I’d been stamped all over with little pussycat paw prints – a gift from one of the other teams. Body stamps, like tattoos, are a “thing” at paddlers parties . . . and I have a somewhat vague memory of helping one of the pussycat paddlers stamp up the six-pack of a Navy guy . . .damn, that was no fun, none at all. And I had bar stamps up and down my arm from the beer garden, dinner, paddler’s party. . . .I guess I must have looked like a real fun lovin’ sort of gal.
I’d post up some of the fantastic pictures I took over the weekend . . . .except I seem to have misplaced my phone. Had a few frantic minutes Sunday morning as I tossed out my pack and realized it was simply not there. Thankfully it’s been located and will be back in Vancouver tonight – it had a restful night in a hotel in Nanaimo.
It’s not all fun and games though, we paddle as hard as we party and the team ended up winning silver medals in their division and are headed home tonight with hardware – that just rocks. Another Nanaimo festival in the bag – island life is the best. I’ll post up the pic’s when my phone makes it home. Paddles Up.