Dragons, Roller-coasters and Machine Guns: A weekend in HK

This weekend has been absolutely crazy - let me sum it up for you.

Friday
In the early morning, I woke up for Biochemistry at 8AM, to go to class at 9... I'm not too pleased about that, but it's gotta be done. After about an hour into the 2 hour class, I decided that I didn't really want to review basic things about carbohydrates that I learned in year 1, so I decided to leave the class halfway through to get some maccas breakfast.

At 11 I met up with some people who were hiking the Dragon's back trail, a long 8 kilometer hiking trail on the Hong Kong Island. We jumped on the MTR, caught the train to the island, and then caught a bus around the back, where it let us off at a stop in the middle of nowhere, which a stone staircase leading up the mountain into the woods... why not?

The hike took about 3 hours, and was actually really fun. We had some stops along the way to take pictures of the amazing views of Shek O (a small beach village) and the southern part of the island. The trail was called the dragon's back because it moved from mountain to mountain, moving up and down like the back of a dragon... It wasn't a difficult hike by any means (as there were stairs) but it did have some fun moments.

Later on in the hike it was all a shaded area, basically like a walkway, so after taking about different things, my friend Karma (not the thing, the person!) took the time to explain to me the situation with Israel and the disputed territories. History is far more interested when it's told in the form of a story - why wasn't it like that during high school? I would have payed attention...

Anyways, the hike eventually started declining, until we happened upon a smaller beach village known as Big Wave Bay. After grabbing some ice cream and speaking about ourselves in the third person, Ryder and his friends decided to go to the beach.

The waves weren't too large, and the water was cold at first, but boy it was a fun time. We spent the time body surfing the waves as they came in, and diving into the bigger ones. The sun was setting, and everyone started walking back into the shallow shore, while my friend Inez and I stayed out in the deeper area to dive into one last wave.

The 6 foot wave swelled about 30 feet before us. I was 20 feet behind Inez, and she was running to dive into the wave, as I followed suit. All of a sudden, before the wave crashed in the swell, these three (I kid you not) meter long fish appeared swimming inside the wave, right towards Inez. I yelled out her name, but she had seen them, screamed so loud, and was booking it towards the shore. I ran initially too out of fear, but after that couldn't stop laughing at the sight we had just seen. It literally looked like aquarium tank quality, these three fish swimming towards us in a huge wave, it was horrifying, but also a really cool experience... Needless to say we stayed out of the water after that.

Saturday
I woke up with a pretty bad cold, which was strange, but I sucked it up and met my two friends Karma and Francesca to head to ocean park - Hong Kong's Canada's wonderland - to make our recently purchased season passes count.

After a long MTR ride, missing three busses, and the bus stop by a good kilometer, we had arrived, and caught the cable car into the other side of the park. Karma and I being veterans at this place knew where we were going, so on a surprisingly hot saturday, we decided to check out the raft ride first. This is the kind of ride where you sit in a circular raft, and you go down a water channel (very similar to the one at Wonderland for the Canadian readers). The sign at the ride said "You will get wet, you may get soaked"... I got the latter.

To dry off, we went on a couple roller coasters, including Hair Raiser, which is my favorite (similar to top gun, but hurts you less). After that, we checked out the drop zone, which scares me every single time, and a couple more rides. By that point my cold was getting to me, and I wasn't feeling it, so we came home, hung out with some people, and had a chill night in (as everyone else went out to the warehouse party).

Sunday
Just got back from Wargames... Absolutely crazy. I was a little confused as to what it was at first, but it's basically airsoft guns (which look incredibly like real guns) with no orange-tipped ends, or safety regulations on power, shooting plastic BBs, that looks like a heavy duty machine gun.

We started the day by waking up at 8 (which my cold did not appreciate) but in the end, absolutely worth it. We got some quick breakfast, and then headed to Yau Ma Tei, where we were met with a crowd of gun-carrying, camouflage wearing, backwards-colourless american flag bearing wargames enthusiasts. They go absolutely all out, like, all the gear is there. I was a little weirded out that people took it that seriously, but whatever floats your boat.

We boarded a minibus and took it on an hour long journey into the new territories, and after driving through a dodgy area, arrived at a bunker filled with guns, and lots of war equipment. We took 30 minute to unpack, get ready, and put on all our coats, camo pants, load our mags, and try shooting our guns... then we went to war.

Wargames is basically paintball, but with airsoft. People take it super seriously, and it's done on an honour system, so if you get hit - you throw your hands up and say that you're out. I didn't think the honour system would work, but even though the BB's weren't painful, it still was not pleasant being hit with them.

The first game was an absolute diaster. They basically dropped us into a forest, and we had no idea what we were expecting. Ryan, Kristine and I were wiped out all at once in the first 5 minutes while hiding in a bush. That was probably the worst we all died, because who ever got us out would not stop shooting despite us yelling stop in Cantonese. I got hit all across my hands, face (I had a mask) back, arms, chest, etc.

The next game we were more ready, but still got taken out by a sniper that snuck around the back... The third game in that forest was the best though. We had gotten a bigger team, and I basically army crawled through the forest with Kristine. I lasted till the end in that game (about 15 minutes) which was awesome. I almost got shot at the end, but I got my first kill (I think...). I'm still not sure about any of my kills.

The next area we went to was a lot scarier, as it was basically a field with long grass, a bunch of broken cars, and metal barriers. The sound of the BBs off the barriers was horrifying. I was terrified at one points, but once again found my courage. It was in this arena we learned to work as a team - and even took the other team completely by force within the first 2 minutes of the game - communication was the key.

We broke for lunch (which was provided) and afterwards were ready for a last two areas. In the first, I never saw the enemy, only heard the pellets whizzing past my head as I ducked. At one point Kristine and I were full on scaling an incredibly steep dirt hill as we were taking fire - amazing. I spent most of the time in this arena hiding in long grass, and firing widely into the forest.

The last arena seemed the biggest, because it was half on higher ground, half on lower ground, with a series of very deep trenches (I could walk upright with no problem). In one game I got completely owned by a guy in bushes, but I took him apart in the next game by sending a good 40 rounds ricocheting off his face.

Overall an absolutely amazing, fun, and very exercising experience. I'm covered in cuts from the bushes, and sore from jumping down into trenches, army crawling through bushes and rolling to avoid automatic riffle fire, but I'd definitely do it again.

I've got class tomorrow - got to give a presentation on wheat, so interesting I know. I'm gonna be having Wargames PTSD during the presentation.

Anyways, until next time!
Life's too short... Travel the World!: Dragons, Roller-coasters and Machine Guns: A weekend in HK

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Dragons, Roller-coasters and Machine Guns: A weekend in HK

This weekend has been absolutely crazy - let me sum it up for you.

Friday
In the early morning, I woke up for Biochemistry at 8AM, to go to class at 9... I'm not too pleased about that, but it's gotta be done. After about an hour into the 2 hour class, I decided that I didn't really want to review basic things about carbohydrates that I learned in year 1, so I decided to leave the class halfway through to get some maccas breakfast.

At 11 I met up with some people who were hiking the Dragon's back trail, a long 8 kilometer hiking trail on the Hong Kong Island. We jumped on the MTR, caught the train to the island, and then caught a bus around the back, where it let us off at a stop in the middle of nowhere, which a stone staircase leading up the mountain into the woods... why not?

The hike took about 3 hours, and was actually really fun. We had some stops along the way to take pictures of the amazing views of Shek O (a small beach village) and the southern part of the island. The trail was called the dragon's back because it moved from mountain to mountain, moving up and down like the back of a dragon... It wasn't a difficult hike by any means (as there were stairs) but it did have some fun moments.

Later on in the hike it was all a shaded area, basically like a walkway, so after taking about different things, my friend Karma (not the thing, the person!) took the time to explain to me the situation with Israel and the disputed territories. History is far more interested when it's told in the form of a story - why wasn't it like that during high school? I would have payed attention...

Anyways, the hike eventually started declining, until we happened upon a smaller beach village known as Big Wave Bay. After grabbing some ice cream and speaking about ourselves in the third person, Ryder and his friends decided to go to the beach.

The waves weren't too large, and the water was cold at first, but boy it was a fun time. We spent the time body surfing the waves as they came in, and diving into the bigger ones. The sun was setting, and everyone started walking back into the shallow shore, while my friend Inez and I stayed out in the deeper area to dive into one last wave.

The 6 foot wave swelled about 30 feet before us. I was 20 feet behind Inez, and she was running to dive into the wave, as I followed suit. All of a sudden, before the wave crashed in the swell, these three (I kid you not) meter long fish appeared swimming inside the wave, right towards Inez. I yelled out her name, but she had seen them, screamed so loud, and was booking it towards the shore. I ran initially too out of fear, but after that couldn't stop laughing at the sight we had just seen. It literally looked like aquarium tank quality, these three fish swimming towards us in a huge wave, it was horrifying, but also a really cool experience... Needless to say we stayed out of the water after that.

Saturday
I woke up with a pretty bad cold, which was strange, but I sucked it up and met my two friends Karma and Francesca to head to ocean park - Hong Kong's Canada's wonderland - to make our recently purchased season passes count.

After a long MTR ride, missing three busses, and the bus stop by a good kilometer, we had arrived, and caught the cable car into the other side of the park. Karma and I being veterans at this place knew where we were going, so on a surprisingly hot saturday, we decided to check out the raft ride first. This is the kind of ride where you sit in a circular raft, and you go down a water channel (very similar to the one at Wonderland for the Canadian readers). The sign at the ride said "You will get wet, you may get soaked"... I got the latter.

To dry off, we went on a couple roller coasters, including Hair Raiser, which is my favorite (similar to top gun, but hurts you less). After that, we checked out the drop zone, which scares me every single time, and a couple more rides. By that point my cold was getting to me, and I wasn't feeling it, so we came home, hung out with some people, and had a chill night in (as everyone else went out to the warehouse party).

Sunday
Just got back from Wargames... Absolutely crazy. I was a little confused as to what it was at first, but it's basically airsoft guns (which look incredibly like real guns) with no orange-tipped ends, or safety regulations on power, shooting plastic BBs, that looks like a heavy duty machine gun.

We started the day by waking up at 8 (which my cold did not appreciate) but in the end, absolutely worth it. We got some quick breakfast, and then headed to Yau Ma Tei, where we were met with a crowd of gun-carrying, camouflage wearing, backwards-colourless american flag bearing wargames enthusiasts. They go absolutely all out, like, all the gear is there. I was a little weirded out that people took it that seriously, but whatever floats your boat.

We boarded a minibus and took it on an hour long journey into the new territories, and after driving through a dodgy area, arrived at a bunker filled with guns, and lots of war equipment. We took 30 minute to unpack, get ready, and put on all our coats, camo pants, load our mags, and try shooting our guns... then we went to war.

Wargames is basically paintball, but with airsoft. People take it super seriously, and it's done on an honour system, so if you get hit - you throw your hands up and say that you're out. I didn't think the honour system would work, but even though the BB's weren't painful, it still was not pleasant being hit with them.

The first game was an absolute diaster. They basically dropped us into a forest, and we had no idea what we were expecting. Ryan, Kristine and I were wiped out all at once in the first 5 minutes while hiding in a bush. That was probably the worst we all died, because who ever got us out would not stop shooting despite us yelling stop in Cantonese. I got hit all across my hands, face (I had a mask) back, arms, chest, etc.

The next game we were more ready, but still got taken out by a sniper that snuck around the back... The third game in that forest was the best though. We had gotten a bigger team, and I basically army crawled through the forest with Kristine. I lasted till the end in that game (about 15 minutes) which was awesome. I almost got shot at the end, but I got my first kill (I think...). I'm still not sure about any of my kills.

The next area we went to was a lot scarier, as it was basically a field with long grass, a bunch of broken cars, and metal barriers. The sound of the BBs off the barriers was horrifying. I was terrified at one points, but once again found my courage. It was in this arena we learned to work as a team - and even took the other team completely by force within the first 2 minutes of the game - communication was the key.

We broke for lunch (which was provided) and afterwards were ready for a last two areas. In the first, I never saw the enemy, only heard the pellets whizzing past my head as I ducked. At one point Kristine and I were full on scaling an incredibly steep dirt hill as we were taking fire - amazing. I spent most of the time in this arena hiding in long grass, and firing widely into the forest.

The last arena seemed the biggest, because it was half on higher ground, half on lower ground, with a series of very deep trenches (I could walk upright with no problem). In one game I got completely owned by a guy in bushes, but I took him apart in the next game by sending a good 40 rounds ricocheting off his face.

Overall an absolutely amazing, fun, and very exercising experience. I'm covered in cuts from the bushes, and sore from jumping down into trenches, army crawling through bushes and rolling to avoid automatic riffle fire, but I'd definitely do it again.

I've got class tomorrow - got to give a presentation on wheat, so interesting I know. I'm gonna be having Wargames PTSD during the presentation.

Anyways, until next time!