Wednesday, July 09, 2008

On! On!

A friend that I made here through Ultimate Frisbee happens to be, from what I have witnessed, the mascot for the local Hash House Harriers group, he’s been doing it since he was a young kid. That, and the fact that my dad was pretty active in the local Hash group when I was growing up made it only a matter of time before I started hashing. For those of you unfamiliar with the group; the lore tells us that it was started in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by a group of British ex-pats in 1938 as a way to run off their weekend hangovers. For each weekly run, a different path is marked through different neighborhoods by intermittent symbols and splotches in chalk or powder. Some of the intersections contain false directions so when the front-runners (front-running bastards) discover the path is false, they double back and warn everyone that it’s the wrong way. There are also hooks that require the FRBs to double back until they reach the last runner and then start back on the forward path. There are check points where everyone meets up for a few minutes, maybe sings a vulgar song or two, rests a little and then continues on together. I’m actually still getting the hang of the rules but by the time I get baptized with my “hash handle,” the alias that each person gets after they’ve run several hashes, it should be all good. I should also be in great shape; if I haven’t mentioned it already, Kampala is situated on seven rather large hills, this means that no hash is truly complete without a monster climb or two. Following each run newcomers are introduced and made to chug a beer, whoever invited them is made to chug a beer, “sinners” are made to chug a beer, and many people are sprayed with beer or water for one reason or another. This “drinking club with a running problem” has been active in Kampala for quite a while, the runs that I have done so far are numbers 1258-1260 so by my calculations of weekly Monday hashes with once-a-month Saturday hash, that makes about 21 years of hashing here in Kampala. I’m sure I’ll enjoy my 1.