Paintbawlin in Beijing

I’d never gone paintballing before, and frankly was pretty terrified of the idea, but my friend Dave loves it. And Saturday was Dave’s birthday. I was initially relieved that we had decided on paintballing instead of the famous shooting range in Beijing’s suburbs, but once we arrived and I saw the field splattered with white and orange globs of dried paint, laser tag seemed the way to go. Although some of my female companions agreed, we soon realized the only option we had was to suck it up and slap on some camo.

Apparently in the States, paintball courses can be as complex as studio-set castles that extend across acres of woods, where teams exceeding 50 people skirmish all weekend. There, players usually arrive geared up, ready to go for at least four hours. The course we went to here didn’t have a castle, but it was populated with makeshift outposts and just enough room to almost always have an opponent in sight without stepping on each other’s toes (although the Olympic Sports Center Paintball Strike Range boasts 10,000 sqm, that measurement is definitely the combined size of its laser tag and paintballing fields). Little known fact, in China it’s just plain offensive to pass up the opportunity to dress in camo and exercise gear, so although we had already strategically donned layers of protective clothing, our instructor insisted that we cover ourselves in their camouflage gear, complete with protective S.W.A.T. vests.

On the field, however, you wouldn’t have known safety was even a concern. Take the “green zone”, for example: in the States it would be protected by nets and possibly Plexiglas; whereas here all we had was an old Beijing Olympics belt barrier. As expected, the flimsy cloth belt didn’t stop stray bullets from whizzing pass the lounging losers.

Against all odds and previous fears, it turned out to be a hell of a time. I even got in a few choice Rambo moments, one of which involved blindly shooting my gun into an (as it turns out, empty) tent.

*Photo provided by Amy Mathieson.

2 Responses to “Paintbawlin in Beijing”
  1. Natalya says:

    Hi, I found your article while looking for places to go paintballing in BJ, all the websites seemed to have copy/pasted the same info about this place… I was just wondering about how long the 30 or 50 paintballs last you and if you vaguely remember the prices? (on a budget, want to make sure it’s worth it!)

    • 3rdCultureKidBetweenWorlds says:

      We definitely had to re-up a number of times on paintballs, which certainly makes it less economical if you’re on a budget. That said, I haven’t heard of better places in Beijing in terms of space and service. Have fun!

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