Feature: Chinese students from quake-hit regions embrace Black Sea

2008-07-23 13:51:48 GMT       2008-07-23 21:51:48 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

TUAPSE, Russia, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Walking on the beach, Chen Sai, a boy who had just had his first swim in the sea, wiped off the water on his face and said to his friends happily: "It's so salty, the sea water!"

About 200 students from China's quake-affected areas were sent to Russia's Krasnodarskiy Kray for rehabilitation. On Monday, they went to the beach near their rehabilitation center and saw for the very first time in their lives the massiveness of the Black Sea.

Chen, a grade-eight student from Pengzhou City in China's southwest Sichuan Province, told Xinhua that he only swam in a swimming pool before, and "it is just amazing to swim in the sea."

In the past, these children from China's quake-affected areas could only see ocean from pictures or on TV. This time, their Russian teacher led them to a real one. After arriving at the beach, some couldn't help but taking off their shoes immediately to step on the soft and warm sand.

All the students were divided into seven groups. On the beach, some of them were collecting conches, others making sand sculptures, while still others playing football or volleyball.

Those who were in the first group to swim in the sea were the most excited. They stood in a line, rushing toward the Black Sea from the golden sandy beach, cheering aloud.

The students swam and played in the sea, exhilarated by the fun that they had never experienced before. Those with relatively poor swimming skills could even learn the right way to swim with useful instructions from their Russian teachers.

Zhu Rui, a junior-two student from Chongzhou City in the province of Sichuan, called home with Xinhua reporter's cell phone. The overjoyed child said to his mother: "Mom, I am just by the Black Sea now! Hear, this is the sound of it!"

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