Monday July 21 2014

There was a large group of kids on the side of the pool, gathered around an instructor with their water wings pushed up to their armpits, all swinging their arms in circles as the instructor attempted to teach them the theory of how to do front crawl. We’d met up with the Jinan foreigners crew at the pool around 4:00 pm. This is the same pool that was turned into a fishing pond in the fall. It looked clean enough now, but the water didn’t go up to the filter line, meaning none of the crud could drain out… so I decided to keep my head up! 

There were a lot of people in the water, but nothing too crazy. Ive seen some pretty packed pictures of pools online. Supposed to be from China or Japan I think. I was very amuzed by the swimming lesson going on I’ve taught swimming in the past, and teaching theory of swimming without getting in the water and actually trying the strokes is not very useful, in my experience anyways. Also I’d like to add that water wings are the worst swimming aid ever. They encourage feet down position (ie. the sink position), and they slip off easily. Of course when the group of children got in the water their practiced movements turned to floundering as the water wings held their arms high in the water and prevented them from getting proper arm movement (I encourage you to go try and do a front crawl wearing water wings, and you’ll see what I mean). When I taught swimming lessons we used to literally chuck kids into the water and encourage them to splash around in the shallow end for the first couple of lessons. Most of them would get a basic doggie paddle down just from messing around. These kids were being taught front crawl when they didn’t even know how to front float!


Sonya walked in right as we were in the middle of discussing Nate’s crotch. He’d picked up these tight little black swim trunks, one step up from a speedo, from Yangshuo, and we’d just realized that the word “sexy” was right over his crotch. Sonya is pretty reserved for the most part, so I felt the need to apologize for the awkwardness she’d walked in on. Katrina grabbed the brand new swim suit she had in her hand, tags still on, “How cute, of course you’d get a one piece,” she commented. Katrina had actually just gotten through bugging me about my sports suit. It seems she is very concerned about up-keeping an American appearance.

I had told Sonya I’d teach her how to swim. She said she used to swim with her dad when she was a kid, but didn’t remember how. She could do a kind of half stroke doggie paddle, and sprayed water with her feet just like the kids in the water wings. I thought about how bad of an idea it was to have so many poor swimmers with low body fat (sinkers as we called them when lifeguarding) in one pool.

After we got out of the water we met the newest member of our group, a praying mantis that had been found on the side of the pool. Someone had scooped him up and put him on our table, where he ran laps around the outer ring. He liked to climb onto people for some reason, and he was really fast, so whenever you picked up a drink or something from the table you often found that you had gained a praying mantis on your arm!

Went back in the pool with Sonya, and by the time I came out disaster had struck! Andy had murdered Katrina’s beetle friend that she had been trying to get to fight the mantis. Katherine sought comfort by cuddling the very scraggly dog that hangs around the pool.

Apparently Carl had decided posted all over the internet about how terrible Chinese BBQ was, so we all went to get BBQ without him. There’s some sort of Jinan foreigners group chat that Katrina and Ray have been really getting into lately. Apparently Carl starts tons of shit on it. After a few hours of eating and drinking watery beer Katrina pulled out her laser pointer. She’d bought it in Quan chen square. It was a gimmicky thing meant to cast patterns on the ground, but when she took the cover off the laser behind it was so powerful it could hit the buildings as far away as we could see. Katrina claims it can even hit clouds!

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