Last Saturday we went hashing for the first time in Beijing. I'm going to assume the bulk of you have never heard of the Hash House Harriers, so here's a quick summary. Hashing is a "drinking club with a running problem." The idea is two hares get a fifteen minute head start to lay a trail with flour. The pack of hounds (all remaining hashers) try to catch the hares by following the trail. Along the way, the hares lay false trails and decision points to throw the hounds off the trail. Hilarity ensures. At the end, everyone is rewarded with cold beer followed by a circle where they sing lewd songs and make each other drink. Established hashers get a name, which is generally funny or perverse and relates to their occupation, a scandalous escapade, or a personality trait. My name is Tubed Meat, as in, i don't eat them. Hashers without a name are referred to as "Just (name)" or "No name (name)." Kennel's exist all over the world and every major city likely has a few. More information on Hash House Harriers can be found on the intertubes.
This was Just Therese's first ever hash run and my first outside of the Boulder Flatlanders HHH. Beijing actually has three different kennels, but the Boxer Hash is the only one that leaves the city. After meeting at Tim's BBQ and meeting some hashers, we boarded the bus and headed north. Our destination was north of Huairou and actually fairly close to where we camp at the wall.
The hares for the day were Kiss My Maple Leaf and Stick Massage. Almost immediately, it was obvious this would be a legendarily crappy trail. The trail started by leading the pack through trash. Twice.
For the bulk of the trail, we were lost on a newly tarred highway with rock slides on each side. We were high from the pollution and fumes of fresh construction. It wasn't long before tragedy befell us. I slipped down a landslide and a rock cut up my right hand, while Artsy Fartsy got himself attacked by one of the many dogs lurking in the village.
We cleaned ourselves up as best we could, but Artsy was worried about rabies. And rightfully so. I can think of no place to worry more about a dog bite than in a dirty, rundown, rural Chinese village, surrounded by garbage dumps and construction. Artsy and Mini Me found a minibus to take him to the nearest hospital for shots. ELEVEN of them.
The pack pushed on. However, the full crappiness of the trail would soon be evident, as it doubled back on itself, leaving us contemplating an infinite loop. Were we running the trail forward or backwards? There was no way to know. Only by calling the hares on a cell phone (after 45 minutes of searching) were we able to continue the trail.
For hours, we cursed the hares, one botched checkpoint after another. More phone calls were made, dogs were avoided, locals got concerned. We even tripled back over our infinite loop from before. Dry Hole and Silky Fag were heroes to us all, leading the pack to safety. Truly, it was the best trail ever. Eventually, it even felt like it. The last two miles were a beautiful run through the forest with a clean trail, obvious checks, a steep uphill, and some cool terraces.
Just Therese, just happy to be out of the construction and garbage.
The post-hash bash was at a pristine riverside location with a beautiful location for circle.
Some circle notes:
- Hairy Crack, who just received his MBA, was presented by Dry Hole a copy of "The 10-day MBA", which sells for $16.95.
- Just Therese and Bunzilla were appointed the beer lackey's for the circle.
- Tripod and Breakfast Included tried to survive the circle unnoticed.
- Tubed Meat went back across the river, around the restaurant, and up the hill back to the road where the van was to retrieve Just Therese's tequila, before realizing there were stairs leading directly from the circle to the bus.
- The Hares were allowed to sit in chairs which were an appropriate metaphor for their crappy trail.
- Since Kiss My Maple Leaf wasn't drinking that evening, he had to abide by the age-old tradition of "If you don't drink it, you wear it." And since he was a hare, he wore a lot of it.
There were also ducks and a great dinner. Artsy Fartsy returned from his inoculation and mild surgery just in time for dinner and a lot of beer.
Maybe Just Therese's hash name will be Quack Massage someday? But probably not.