Cheerio from Kunming!
On Saturday, June 30th at 2:00 am, 10 students—strangers to each other—arrived in rural Beijing. They settled in a small guest house off the Great Wall. Along with 3 cunning instructors and passion like a lion, these brave youngsters began a new chapter. This is our story.
The sun was low over the humble village of Xiangshuihu when the group set out on their journey up the Great Wall of China, forehead-torch in hand. Dragons instructor Long Yun led the students up a newly paved road for what they perceived to be a “walk”. The quiet dusk light almost seemed to be pushing the eager group to the start of their adventure as they slowly made way to the summit of a mountain. As the students started the trek upwards, instructor Ian, wilderness first responder and all-around beast, panicked and began to rummage through his pack, longing to feel the thick plastic casing of our med-kit. When he did not, Ian threw a quick word at the rest of the group and began a sprint for the guest house, needing to make double time in order to catch up with them safely with the med-kit.
The group continued up the mountain, slightly more weary of the hike to come. Although intimidating, the jagged terrain did not hinder the speed of these lustful wanderers for they had one goal. A goal that could not be held back by flip flops or Birkenstocks. Deep into the hike the innocent travelers suddenly stoped, dead in tracks. It seemed a fork had arisen in the path, and although confident Long Yun knew exactly which road to travel by, Ian, who was still MIA, did not. The group stood idle for minutes. Finally someone came up with a solution to help poor Ian find his way.
Earlier that day each student had received a bracelet made of eye-catching string in firetruck red, its purpose to protect the students from forbidden mode of transportation—like pigs. The selfless group unraveled the knots tied by their peers and organized the lines of string into an arrow pointing to the much less traveled route. Now without superstitious protection, how would the travelers bear against the rest of their journey up the mountain to the Great Wall?
Each step was planned out as the group continued up the mountain. Total examination of the their surrounding was necessary to keep them out of harms way. As they carefully weaved through the venomous centipedes and ankle-twisting boulders, they heard an ear-clenching yelp as a member of the iconic group sunk into the rocky soil.
“Ahhhggaaaaaagahhgggaaaaa”, she shouted, grabbing her tense stomach and spazzing around in the dirt. Everyone turned around, desperately confused, trying to relive her.
“Breath slower!”, they said
“Rub your stomach!”
But nothing could cease her untimely illness. Who could last long like this halfway up a mountain, miles away from the nearest heals?
Unconscious of the environment around them, the group stood uneasy around their knocked teammate. Time was running out for her and the worst part was their was nothing they could do. Squad leader Will leaned over to ask her how she was doing. However, when it came time for her to respond, he couldn’t hear a word she said. No, the only thing Will could focus on was the intense buzz lingering in the air. Will heard it get stronger and stronger, until he realized what was happening.
“Lookout!”, he shrieked, as ginormous bears emerged from the sky, fuzzy as heck. The team panicked and sprinted in a small nearby cave, unable to defend themselves, allowed the 4 suppressing, villainous creatures to corner them. The downed girl crawled desperately, as fast as she could to group up with the rest of the squad.
At 12 health they screamed at her,
“Don’t look back!”
“You can do it!”
But courageous Will knew that she couldn’t. He had seen far too many teammates lost in situations like this. There was no hope.
The inhumane sky bears closed in on their fight-less prey, the group unable to watch. Feet away from inevitable reality, the bears cocked their arms and leaned in for the kill. Suddenly, a smoldering thumping noise began to vibrate the ground. The bears turned around to see Instructor Ian arriving behind them and whipping out the grey smg. Two seconds later, the threat had been eliminated and Ian revived the girl, 4 health. After being patched up by the much needed med-kit, she joined the now iconic team. She could literally trust them, with her life. Victory Royale!