I honestly think, yesterday we had the best block activity ever. It was an amazing experience: a combination of outdoor bonding, physical challenge and lots of fun. We had organized a hike on the legendary 8.5 kilometer ‘dragon’s back trail’ from Shek O to Tai Long Wan, which basically consists of a couple of hills that you walk up and down. The Time Magazine had declared the trail the best urban hike in Asia in 2004 and I must say it is perfect to catch a break from the busy life with the IB!
The trail started in bamboo groves and a wood-like environment.At some parts we literally had to climb over gigantic roots and stones sticking out of the middle of the path. It felt a bit like being a small child again, having an outdoor adventure and climbing anywhere except for the path … except for that fact that this actually was the path. Later on the winding trail brought us into the described hill area. We could look down the mountain on both sides, seeing fisher villages at the coast on one side and the bay that we were heading for on the other. It was beautiful! From time to time some of us students took a run, sprinting from hill tip to hill top, jumping over rocks and roots, stretching our hands to the sky and screaming of joy. We spent the time talking about anything except school: food we miss, our home countries, places we want to travel to and the plans for our future.
We took a break at Shek O Peak at the height of 284 meters and enjoyed the stunning view: mountains and hills as far as we could see, small, colorful villages snuggled up against their shore, the waves silently breaking at the cliff … the wind was enormous and I felt like I could be blown off the peak at any moment.
The trees and bushes around the trail often formed a sort of roof over the path so that we were protected from the sun. However, the pollution was so intense, that the sky was all grey, the air stuffed and thick, and the sun barely visible. On a website I had found before the activity I had read that it would take around 5 hours to do the hike; and the signs along the trail indicated a durance of 2,5 hours for two kilometers. Of course, we were by far not as slow as that, especially as we ran parts of the hike, and so we finished the whole hike in about one and a half hours, arriving at a beautiful white beach just in time for lunch.
While our boys started rolling around in the amazingly clean sand over a rugby ball, most others ran to the water, sprinting into the waves. There were great trees to climb on around, and the big waves – after all this was the Big Wave Beach! – were perfect for all the local and oversea surfers who populated the shore. The waves were about two meters high, perfect for diving, letting yourself float on their top and building human walls and pyramids in the attempt to withstand the force of the water. We also played this game where two persons, one on the shoulders of the other, create a team and have to fight the other teams in form of making them crash into the water. Everybody was screaming, laughing and shouting…
It was a wonderful atmosphere. The air was warm, spiced with a slight breeze, and the water was nice and cool, like the Baltic Sea, with waves as big as you would imagine them in the Caribbean. Everybody was cheerful, enjoying this relaxing day that felt like a vacation and forgetting about all the essays that were still due this evening. At the end of the day, when we took the bus back to campus, everybody fell asleep in their uncomfortable seats – exhausted from swimming, sore from hiking and endlessly happy about having spent the day this way. This was really the best block activity we ever had and I absolutely loved it.