Dragon Boat Festival
The county town was currently congested with traffic and people. Su Mu drove at a slow crawl, and she turned the car back towards the entrance of the town. Here, there were noticeably fewer people and cars.
She wiped the sweat off her forehead with her hand and sighed softly, “There are so many people here to watch the dragon boat race today.”
It had been a long time since Su Mu had personally experienced such a lively atmosphere, and she had underestimated the situation.
“It’s like this every year. You’ve been studying outside for a long time, so it’s normal not to be familiar with the situation,” Father Su explained.
The sun was rising, and the car’s air conditioning was on, keeping everyone relatively cool. However, they still needed to find a parking spot quickly. The dragon boat race was scheduled to start at nine o’clock, and if they were late, they would miss out on the excitement.
Su Mu caught sight of the residential buildings on both sides of the town entrance. There was a large open space in front of those buildings!
She slowly drove the car to a spot not far from a household and said to her parents, “You two wait in the car for a moment. I’ll go and ask the homeowner if we can temporarily park the car here.”
Father Su stretched his neck to look outside the window and reminded her, “Be polite, and offer them a little compensation.”
“I know.” Su Mu unbuckled her seatbelt and got out of the car. She headed straight for the entrance gate.
She knocked on the door and called out, “Hello, is anyone home?”
“Coming, coming!” A response came from inside, and Su Mu patiently waited at the door.
A young girl came out of the house. Su Mu felt that she looked familiar and took a closer look at her face.
The young girl also seemed surprised and said, “Su Mu?”
Since graduating from high school, which was just over five years ago, Lin Li naturally remembered Su Mu. However, Su Mu’s memories had been extended by several decades. Even if she had a great memory, she wouldn’t be able to recall the name of the girl in front of her.
Perhaps noticing the confusion in her eyes, Lin Li spoke up, “I’m Lin Li. We were in the same class in high school.” Back when she was in school, she had a quiet and introverted personality, so she hadn’t interacted much with Su Mu. It was understandable that Su Mu didn’t recognize her.
Su Mu felt a bit embarrassed and said, “My memory is not very good; I didn’t recognize you.”
“It’s okay. How about coming in for a while?” Lin Li warmly invited.
Su Mu waved her hand, “No, thanks. I’m mainly here to watch the dragon boat race today. However, there are no parking spaces in the county town. Can I park my car in front of your house for a while?”
Lin Li smiled, “Sure, drive your car in. It’s not a problem.”
After expressing her gratitude, Su Mu returned to her car and parked it in front of Lin’s house.
After Father and Mother Su got out of the car, they expressed their gratitude to Lin Li. Due to their previous classmates’ relationship, Su Mu didn’t feel comfortable giving her parking fee. She thought that next time she came to the county town, she could bring her some homegrown vegetables and fruits as a gesture of gratitude.
The family of three reached the bank of the Left River. By the shore, there were already crowds of people. Su Mu led her parents to a spot with a good view but fewer people.
This place was a discovery from her time studying in the county town, and very few people knew about it.
The dragon boat race had been held in the county town for several years and was well-received by the locals. Therefore, holding a dragon boat race during the Dragon Boat Festival had become a tradition.
“Last year, it was the Long Steel team that won. I wonder if they can defend their championship this year,” Mother Su said excitedly. She came to watch the dragon boat race every year and was quite familiar with the participating teams.
Father Su calmly stated, “I don’t think so. The Sea Dragon team has a better chance.” He had heard that the Sea Dragon team had a young and strong new member, and the strength of the young man was sure to surpass that of the Long Steel team for the championship.
Mother Su gave her husband a stern look. This old man was always contradicting her.
Su Mu suppressed a smile. She hadn’t expected her parents to be fans of different teams. This was going to be interesting.
As the clock struck nine, the gongs and drums signaled the start of the race.
The participants were dressed in either red or yellow attire, and the dragon boats were adorned with large red silk. It all looked very festive.
The spectators along the bank erupted in cheers, cheering on their favorite teams.
Both Father and Mother Su had faces red from shouting. Su Mu felt as if she was in the midst of a large-scale fan gathering; it was incredibly lively.
Caught up in this atmosphere, her anticipation had reached its peak.
When the gongs and drums sounded, the dragon boats shot forward like arrows, swiftly leaving the starting point. The boats kept neck and neck, and the distance between them remained close.
It seemed that the participating teams this year were evenly matched. The victory couldn’t be determined until the very last moment.
The sound of drums and the shouts of the participants echoed, and the audience’s cheers were deafening. Su Mu finally understood the significance of the dragon boat race: it was about relentlessly moving forward, striving bravely, and contending for the first place.
Being in this environment, she couldn’t help but feel a surge of enthusiasm.
No wonder she had seen many parents bring their children to watch the race earlier. Experiencing this kind of atmosphere was indeed an excellent opportunity for motivational education for kids.
As the dragon boats were about to approach the finish line, everyone held their breath in anticipation.
Mother Su sighed, Father Su cheered, and in the end, the Sea Dragon team won by a small margin.
The three of them followed the crowd away from the riverbank. As the crowd dispersed, the traffic pressure eased. Su Mu linked arms with her mother and consoled her, “In competitions, there are wins and losses. You shouldn’t feel too regretful.”
Father Su chimed in, “That’s right. Last year, you supported the winning team, and I’m not that sad about it.”
Without even looking at him, Mother Su said, “That’s because you didn’t support them enough!”
“Hey, how could I…”
As they spoke, they started bantering back and forth, neither willing to back down, behaving like children.
Seeing this, Su Mu looked left and right. At this moment, consoling either of them would be wrong. To stay out of trouble, she chose to stay silent.
“Mom, victory and defeat are common in life. I’ve learned that,” a young family of three walked past them. The clear voice of the child successfully embarrassed the two bickering adults, making their faces flush.
In no time, Father and Mother Su had made up.
After watching the dragon boat race, they didn’t head straight home but started strolling around the county town.
Expecting heavy foot traffic today, street vendors had prepared plenty of goods. The entire street was filled with the aroma of various types of food.
As Su Mu looked around, her eyes were dazzled by the variety of choices, including stinky tofu, pancakes, barbecue, steamed corn, and other types of snacks.
Unable to resist, she walked up to a stinky tofu stall and bought a serving. The stinky tofu here was different from the kind in Hunan Province. First of all, the color was a beautiful golden yellow, but the strong smell hadn’t diminished at all. Secondly, the size was different. The stinky tofu in Hunan Province was larger, while the one in front of her was smaller and delicate, perfect for popping into her mouth.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
The stinky tofu was sprinkled with scallions, chili powder, and cumin, and a spoonful of special sauce was added. Su Mu took a bite with great anticipation. She remembered that during her middle and high school years, she loved this particular stall’s stinky tofu the most. She used to buy a portion every week on her way home from school, using the money she had saved up through hard work.
But now that she was tasting it again, she wasn’t sure if the taste had changed or if her preferences had. She furrowed her eyebrows, not entirely satisfied.
Seeing her daughter’s expression, Mother Su took a bamboo skewer and tasted a piece of tofu as well.
“Hey, I ate this just over two months ago and thought it was delicious. Why does it taste different now?” Mother Su also sensed something was off.
Father Su wasn’t interested in this type of snack, but he knew the reason behind it.
“It’s mainly because the natural flavors of the dishes at home are good. When we eat a lot of our home-cooked food, we naturally find outside food less appealing.” He cited the recent wedding banquet at their relative’s place. He used to really enjoy the dishes served at weddings, but that time, he hardly ate anything.
Later on, he privately pondered the reason behind this situation and concluded that his palate had become spoiled.
Su Mu didn’t finish the stinky tofu, so she tossed it into the trash bin.
With this incident, her enthusiasm for shopping diminished. She bought a few sets of clothes for her parents at the mall and got some meat from the market. They declined Lin Li’s lunch invitation and headed back home.
Upon arriving home, Su Chen had already prepared lunch. He put away the purchased items in the kitchen and then set the table for the meal.
After lunch, they began preparing the dishes for tonight’s dinner. The Dragon Boat Festival dinner was an important meal, prepared with the same significance as a New Year’s Eve feast.
Chicken, duck, fish, and meat were a must. However, the last duck in their house had been given to Fu Da as a festival gift. The ducks being raised in the lychee forest hadn’t matured yet, so they had to buy one from their fellow villagers to fill in.
For Peking duck, the duck used for stuffing has strict weight requirements, but for homemade preparations, they didn’t need to adhere to such strict guidelines.
The Su family wasn’t making Peking duck; they were making roast duck.