Friday, June 6, 2014

In Which I Live the Story of Snakes and Storms

I’ve reached a point in my life when I no longer feel the need to do something just to be able to say I did it. 

When you’ve eaten dog intestines and ant-filled eggs, when you’ve climbed volcanoes and bungee jumped from towers, when you’ve back flipped from cliffs (in younger, limber days) and munched on scorpions, you eventually reach a point when you’ve done enough crazy things.  You have enough stories to tell.    

So when a friend said, “Let’s go sleep on the Great Wall!”  I whimped out and said, “Uh…how about we find a hotel near the Great Wall?”  I was promptly told that would defeat the whole point. 

Well, then. 

Eventually I gave in and signed up to go.  My friends are very persuasive. And I like them enough to spend my one night away from the kids getting the opposite of a good night’s sleep.  I must really like them.

So we’re sitting by the fireside, eating dinner (I do LOVE a campfire dinner), when Kristi says, “I hate to say this, but there are ... snakes right over there.”

I look over, expecting to see a couple little garders.  Suddenly I’m yelping, “Oh, my word.”   There, not a stones throw away, are two very large snakes (4 to 5 ft long and thick as a baseball bat). 

We have no idea if they are poisonous or not.  A quick google search says the chances are 50/50.  Splendid. 

We circle closer round the fire, keeping a weary eye and ear on the snakes that are romping quite vigorously in the bushes.  They are very … into each other.  We yell, “Get a room!”  And they pay us no mind. 

I’m debating how wise it is to sleep with not more than a few yards and a tent between me and couple of rambunctious serpents.  I start scheming how we can pay a couple of local village boys to come and be our hired hit men.

But my plans are interrupted by frantic texts from my husband.  “Are you ok??” 

I think, “How does he know about the snakes?” But I answer, “Yeah, why?” 

“It’s storming like crazy here.  The worst storm I’ve ever seen in Beijing.  It’s heading your way.  You need to take shelter now!”   

Our van dropped us off and won’t be back until the next day, so we have no choice but to scurry to our tents. We pull out the rain covers we said we wouldn’t need because there’s no forecast for rain.

We hear the thunder start growling in the distance.  It’s clearly moving fast. Within minutes the rain starts pelting, the wind whipping.  We dive into our tents, giggling with adrenaline fear.

Broken branches thunk against our tent.  Rain drives in sheets.  Lightening illuminates our tent.  A large tree right near our campsite uproots and blows clean over.  It was a long night.  

We awake damp at dawn with achy backs and creaky limbs, but glory, we’re alive.   I promptly remind everyone it was my idea to stay in a hotel.

But then we climb to where the Great Wall, a wonder of the world, crowns the mountains around us. 

We climb and breathe, life coursing through our veins.  And I think, “Well, I’ve got another story to tell.”

Photo Credit: Liu Shuquan via Compfight cc

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an experience this sounds like! I would have been jogging down the mountain after seeing two snakes that big, how scary! Glad this ended up being a beautiful experience + a story worth sharing :)