Yao Tao Beach, just north of Jinzhou.
So, after a hell of a start to the week I’ve capped things off with a nice trip to the beach. It was Doris’ idea to get a bunch of the foreigners and a bunch of the Future School staff out for a party at the beach… only Freddy and I showed up to fill the foreigner quota – but the Chinese girls were there in force. Doris, Serena, Maggie, Annie and her daughter Tracey all came with.
 A rare photo of the lovely Maggie.  Serena playing hide-and-seek in her towel.
Chinese beaches are a bit weird in that you generally find a spot in a covered pavilion (read: someone’s shack of a home) and pay 20-50 kuai to sit there. It was a bit funny for Freddy and I, who were quite content just to park it on the sand, but the Chinese seem to have a healthy fear of the sun, and dirt (which sand resembles a lot).
We chilled at the beach for a few hours and I finally followed-through with a promise I had made Maggie months ago that I’d attempt to teach her to swim. I don’t know if you’ve ever considered what it means to teach someone to swim… from the beginning, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. I just assumed everyone had the natural ability to not swallow mouthfuls of water when they put their head under the water – and I certainly would have guessed most everyone could tread water. After a few near drownings Maggie got to the point where she could swim from Serena to me and I was happy enough with that. The lesson was a bust, but spending time with Maggie in a social setting was kind of nice. We’ve had a friendship going for about 5 or 6 months but never done anything together outside of school. Figures we choose 3 weeks before I leave to start.
 Me, Maggie, Tracey, Annie, Freddy and Serena.  Freddy and Doris flanking some guy that seemed thrilled to share his beer with two lao wai.
After a bit of BBQ lamb on a stick we packed it in and headed back to Jinzhou for some karaoke at a KTV. Freddy and I worked our way though some Bob Marley, a bit of Stevie Wonder and a tad of Lionel Richie while the girls impressed us with their renditions of various Chinese songs I didn’t know or understand – with the exception of Super Star.
The girls all headed home, but the night was young for Freddy and I so we headed down to our local BBQ place for some more meat on a stick and some draft beer. Matt joined us and we made an evening of it… with all of us waking up this morning (well, Matt at like 3pm) the worse for wear.
 Annie and her daughter Tracey – no idea who the floating head is.  The coast north of Jinzhou is actually quite scenic with lots of green hills.
 Freddy throwing some freestyle over top Doris’ KTV pick.  And a beautiful voice to match.