Sunday, September 21, 2014

Olympic rowing

Today was the perfect day for rowing. I've never actually been rowing, so I didn't know for sure, but it was overcast and warm. Our coworker, Rich, got in touch with the Korean Rowing Association and set up a time when we could use a boat. The boats are located in a park that was built for the rowing and kayaking races of the 1988 Olympics and, we found out today, also for the 2014 Asia Games. The park is really nice with lots of green space for playing or picnicking.

We walked through the gated off area for the athletes practicing for the Asia games to meet up with the rowing association people who had a boat ready for us.

This says "Doping Control Center" 
Boats, tightly wrapped up

Jim reading his kindle as we wait for everything to get figured out
 Here are some guys on the Kyrgyzstan team getting ready for practice. They got in and just glided away. They really made it look easy.

 Here's our boat. I was really intimidated to see this. We rowed with our shoes off, just incase we tipped. I was relieved to take my shoes off because when I saw this boat, I was sure I would tip it just getting in. Rich assured us that this was a very stable boat and perfect for beginners.
ahhh, look at our boat and the water waiting for us!
our boat
boat selfie! (still at the dock)
My view for the whole ride. This guy never smiled, I think he was a little
worn out by the very, very novice team we'd assembled. He was with the
rowing association and he served as our coxswain.

And we were off. I was so nervous, the boat felt wobbly and Rich was and our coxswain were the only two who knew what they were doing. We started off going two people rowing at a time (with the other two just resting the oars on the water) and then occasionally would attempt all four of us rowing together.
The coxswain kept singing "row row row your boat" really loudly. Just
kidding. Our coxswain didn't say anything at all. He didn't speak English.
Ruby helped us by taking a lot of these pictures. She also took a video of us. For the record, the coxswain told us to turn around. I know that earlier I said he didn't speak English, but he got the point across that it was time to turn. I don't think he anticipated how long it would take us to do so because we got right in the way of a kayaking team-an official kayaking team, an official Korean kayaking team. They appear around 1:30 in the video. Also note that the videographer is 7 years old, so the quality is terrible.

Hey! In case you were wondering about where this place is, here's a little map. We were rowing where the little blue dot is. See the rectangular blue space? That's the rowing part of the park. In the bigger picture, we are east of Jamsil. 

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