It's one thing I'm missing, but so far I couldn't help it: I never played paintball. I would love to, I've been willing to do it for many years, but for some reason I never did. However, back in the village days, when the world moved slower and the days were longer, my friends and I managed to do something of the sort. Of course, paintball is an expensive sport, and none of us had money to even dream of acquiring a marker. But inventive as we were, we managed to have fun in our own peculiar ways. East of the village there was - and still is - this wide forest area, spanning over several hills covered with tall eucalyptus trees and low, dry bushes of many sorts, for such trees never allow for an exuberant flora. We knew the forest tracks as the palms of our own hands, for we had covered it all on bike; and in no time we start using the area as our own battlefield. Lacking the markers, we used plastic tubes, usually found in construction sites; and with paper, we crafted special darts, that we'd blow through the tubes. At first, each of us used only one tube; but as time went by, our arsenal became more sophisticated. I, for example, had a double-barrel gun (a crafty weapon made with two parallel tubes and duct tape); a friend had a square gun with four tubes; and a neighbour went even further, and with the help of some extra materials, managed to craft an eight-barrel gun, that looked like a Gatling Gun and fired paper darts just like one. Once everyone had weapons and ammunition, we'd split through different teams, run to the forest... and start the war. We could play it in many ways. Usually one team would go first, and the other would hunt the enemies down. Usually this ended in ambushes - my team was usually outnumbered, but we had better weapons and, truth be told, the best players, being the older guys around. Once, for example, we went to a crossroad in the middle of the forest, and made quick hideouts with broken branches and leaves; laying down under the dry foliage, we locked and loaded... and waited. They had to pass there while searching for us. And eventually they did, the whole lot of them, seeking protection in number. None of them saw us, but we saw them all - and once we burst out of our hiding places, they were all "dead". In the game, of course. There was another occasion when both teams met in a low area by a lake, and for over one hour a fierce war went on, with people hiding behind bushes and stones. But after a while, our favourite sport became an "assault on the fortress" game. There was this hill without trees or high bushes, and the ruined walls of an old house on the top, its ceiling collapsed years before. Once, my team was finding a hideout, and we noticed the ruins. Once inside, we could wait within the protection of the old mortar walls. The other team couldn't spot us up there, so we had to make sure they saw us; and once they came swarming uphill, the fight began. They were defeated, of course, and cursed us for being protected; so we asked them to stay there, while we would be the ones invading. Which we did with great success, for shortly after our rush none of them was "alive". This was our rural warfare, our own way of killing time during the weekends, and even during the long and hellish-hot summer holidays.
Eventually we quit the game, but it was one thing that I've always missed doing it. Rural warfare seems an appropriate way to describe what we did.