Dunno what to make of it. Cute and quaint, bit heavy on the “traditional”, lots of mentioning of The Other Side.
Some quotes had me scratching my head:
[quote]On the lakeside, festive stalls had taken root; families were sitting stolidly on stools under umbrellas, the best spectator spots long taken. From time to time, the parents dispatched their children to fetch bags of tiny shellfish, spatchcocked squid from the grill, malodorous ‘stinky tofu’. The teams waited their turn; 14 alarmingly fit young men from the local fire brigade, whose spectacles and general air of thoughtfulness gave them the semblance of intellectual revolutionaries, went through their rituals.
‘Esther! Esther! Esther!’ they chanted, their arms about each other’s shoulders. Another team, on the jetty, jerked their torsos back and forth in synchrony, as if in high-speed Islamic prayer. The waiting teams getting a pep talk stood relaxed and confident, their bare feet apart, shouting ‘Ha!’ from time to time. This was a serious business. ‘Who is Esther?’ I asked. ‘I think they’re saying “Extra”,’ my guide said.
See it for yourself if interested:
bbc.com/travel/feature/20110 … -dragons/1