Last weekend, Matt and I had the unusual opportunity to be able to go paint balling. Yes, paint balling. In the Peace Corps. This was definitely not something I ever foresaw myself doing as a lowly volunteer.
Alas, it happened. And it was awesome!
Seeing as this was my first paint ball experience, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Especially in the K. Would we have faulty guns? No gear? Crazy, off-brand balls filled with lead-based paint? A whole plethora of medical emergencies crossed my mind…
The paint ball club, ‘комбат’ or ‘Combat,’ is quite hard to find without a guide. Luckily we were invited by a local friend who knew the way.
Would-have-been My Best Directions: Get off the 225 marshrutka right before you go under a bridge. Then walk into some old warehouse buildings in front of you that look completely abandoned. Keep going past the broken down trucks on your left. Walk through an unmarked door that’s by those old pipes and then down a hallway that opens into an empty room with a chained door. Viola, welcome to Combat! That’s honestly as directionally specific as I can get. Truth be told, I was slightly sketched out throughout our little journey.
However, my fears subsided after actually entering the facility (give or take the first 2-3 minutes because they re-chained the entrance door once you entered - extra adrenaline rush from the creep factor?)
For 350 som (about $7.50 a person) you rent the entire warehouse for three hours, with all the necessary equipment, 50 paintballs, and brown, shapeless military-style garb, of which were tastefully dampened (hopefully on purpose). Suit up!
The people who work there only spoke Russian, so my poor local friend was asked to do the “translating” because she knows a bit of English. Well, the English instructions we got were something like, ‘And when you shot don’t…uh…yes, you know? And when gun makes…uh…don’t…yes, that’s no.’
And since this is my first time I’m sitting there freaking out, all like, “For the love of god don’t do what!?”
The instructor picked up on the lack of communication and started using more gestures. When someone points a paintball gun to their face and mimics their eyeball exploding, the message transcends all language barriers.
After being fully instructed, handed our guns, and loaded up with ammo, the battle began!
Remember those nice soppy suits we geared up in? Well, there was a light snow that day which dreamily fell through parts of the missing roof and smashed out windows, so after a few plays it became pretty miserably cold and damp inside the course. But hey, it just added to the intensity, right?
Overall, it was a great & surprising addition to the Peace Corps adventure.