Sunday, 19 May 2013

Kazakhstan – The first paintball

May 18

Hello everyone!

Paintballing on the steppe – not much protection…


Kazakhstan has a proud military history. The army parade through the city each Constitution Day in August, and the country celebrates Victory Day, the defeat of Nazi Germany, each May. Though the country also has a history of denuclearisation, their people are proud of their army defending their country.

The people also like to have fun, and I would certainly class paintball in that category. This was my first experience of the paint-splattering pistol game, but I had a vision in my head of what it would be like. Trees to hide behind, trenches to take cover in, stations for snipers both high and low. A place where it would be very difficult to be spotted by your enemy.

Of course, there is one flaw in this plan: this is Kazakhstan. Things are done a little bit differently here. We arrived at the site to find a small building, with the ruins of another adjacent to it. It soon became clear that the latter building was the main part of the paintball arena, save for a few tyres dotted around its crumbled walls.

 My thoughts immediately took me 70 years back in time to the Battle of Stalingrad, and how soldiers approaching the city knew that they might never leave. The place had an aura of no man’s land about it, particularly with a strong wind blazing a trail across the steppe. That made attempting to shoot accurately a pointless activity.

Once we were suited up and had had the instructions translated by our colleagues, we divided up and started to fire. The lack of protection resulted in fairly frantic games of great fun.

It seemed to me that our local staff were handy with their handguns. One of the teachers told me later that she used to get shooting practise when she was at school. It gives you some idea of the relationship between Kazakhs and their weapons. Maybe our school should introduce a new activity next year…

 A very ‘Kaz’ day – often bizarre, overwhelmingly brilliant. I just hope a real gun doesn’t get fired at me before the end of the school year!


Love you all


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