1-3 March 2002
The Hash Charabanc pulled away from Jawalakhel shortly after 1pm on Friday 1 March - earlier than most people preferred, but necessary to beat the curfews. It arrived five hours later in glorious warmth and flatness at the edge of Chitwan's tiger and crocodile infested jungles. The newly arrived infestation got off the coach to be blindfolded and bundled alongside countless boxes of beer into several clapped-out jeeps. A drive at breakneck speed along unmarked and unmade tracks brought them to the secret hash training camp at the Safari Adventure Lodge.
On arrival all participants, including those who had come Club Class in the Tegmobile and Grumblewagon, were briefed on the weekend's do's and don'ts. It was explained how all of those who had volunteered, and were even paying for the privilege of taking part, would be on a special diet of beer and dhal bhat for the next two days. This, along with three arduous and rambling runs should help to build everybody up to peak condition. The lack of hills need hardly have been pointed out; everyone was looking forward to the novel experience of 'hashing on the flat'. A murmur of pleasant anticipation ran round the circle.
2 March 2002
Location: Jungle to the west of Badreni, Sauraha, Chitwan Hare: Rotter
The first run was set by Rotter on Saturday morning in the jungles to the west of the hash barracks. News of the hash's coming must have leaked out; the only wildlife encountered in this internationally recognized biodiversity reserve was a couple of buffaloes and a group of local belles out about their agricultural duties. During the weekend the endless shouts of 'on-on' and 'lost paper' and 'what the ****' proved not to be conducive for getting close-up to the timid lesser Himalayan warbling hash harrier, or any other inebriated wildlife.
An early river crossing saw a bunch of hash skivers, led by Bengt and Hurry Krishna, commandeering a local ferry to avoid getting their feet wet. Then God only (in the absence of the His Advisor to the HHHH) knows where the run went as there were tracks leading off everywhere. Anyway, paper was eventually located amongst the jungle undergrowth. A few of the 11 checks later a nice false trail led out onto the grassy river plain where true paper was eventually picked up again on a long sweaty trail going back to the river. Overheated hashers Towed and Jedi took respite by plunging in and pulling in others. In the fracas Sideways lost his glasses in the water and then, amazingly, found them. Another false trail along the bank and then an easy run back to the hotel, except for those who were almost run over by 69's jeep, in which he had set out from Kathmandu that morning.
The debriefing took place shortly after at the purpose built 'hash pit' (see photo below). People got down-downs and somebody got the Hashit. The GM opined that a suitable hash name for Bengt would be Bango Tingo, which means bent in Nepali. He also started worrying for his life as the improperly executed drink-downs were making the tiled floor of the pit difficult to stand up on.
2 March 2002
Location: North of Sauraha, Chitwan Hare: Hurry Krishna
Having been appointed Live Hare for this outing an apprehensive Hurry Krishna spent lunchtime taking advice from all comers on the finer points of laying paper while running. The pack was jeeped to a spot a few minutes from the hotel where he was given the boot, and promptly hurried off to the northeast, his white shirt appearing through the trees a couple of times before he finally disappeared. At his heels followed one of the hotel guides who had been persuaded to give help. After an interminable fifteen minutes an impatient pack set off in chase.
From Hurry's point of view the run was well set, with plenty of paper - except that it was only laid on the false trails. The Right Way was pretty bare, forcing navigation by trial and error, and jumping up and down in front of the locals with fingers pointed (which, when the locals pretended not to understand, were turned in a different direction). This kept Hurry well in front. The course wound its way on the edge of the jungle, then along open tracks, across grassy areas, back and forth across a river, and finally through Sauraha village for a long run in.
The hare maintained his advantage throughout the run, as the the first of the chasers arrived about 15 minutes after he did. A somewhat bedraggled Rotter stumbled in 10 minutes after the rest of the field after getting hopelessly lost early on. At one point he had got to the Tadi-Sauraha road to be told by the locals that everyone had got into a taxi and driven off! Unusually, he was not taken in by this, and managed to get back onto 'paper'.
After the Hare's down-down (when he said that his biggest problem had been getting his 'guide' to keep up!) the circle got straight down to the urgent business of making rules to bring the catching of a live hare within the realms of possibility. In future it's going to be much less than a fifteen minute advantage, and the hare will have to throw down a detectable quantity of paper at intervals of no more than 25 metres (perhaps verified by a 'live measurement' team?).
Other people were mugged, for instance Nils got one for looking cool and another for looking even cooler. He was only posing in front of friend and newcomer Robert. Richard received his due for coming so quickly from Kathmandu in the morning. This certainly must have required breaking the speed limit, not to mention forcing buses into the river, and running over policemen at checkposts. The hashit was awarded to ** for **ing.
3 March 2002
Location: Bis Hajar Tal Jungle Hares: Sideways, Kate and Emily
The beginning of the second day saw the lunatic fringe of the hash up at the crack of dawn to, ahem, mount elephants. The first event for most people was a fantastic run along the jungle tracks and grassy clearings of the Bis Hajar Tal (20,000 lakes) Jungle. The area is about to be made a protected area as an internationally important habitat for the marsh mugger crocodile. The hares thankfully set the run away from the main crocodile breeding areas. Nevertheless, some excitement was had amongst the leeches at holding check three.
The run soon settled into a rhythm of cantering along narrow jungle tracks to a check on the edge of a clearing. The next paper usually took a while to find but inevitably led off through more sub-tropical forest to the next check at the next clearing. Were the hares going for the whole twenty-thousand? The humidity was tempered by occasional rain showers making things just right for running.
It seems that the hares had lost interest, for a lot less than twenty-thousand lakes later the trail arrived back near the starting point where a home arrow pointed back down the road to the jungle entrance gate about 4 km away. The run-in seemed endless and some of the victims mumbled about having had a first hand experience of what the last 6 miles and 385 yards of a marathon feels like. Photos below are at the finish line.
In the circle later Sideways was awarded the Hashit for setting such a preposterously long home run which, we believe, the other hares avoided by using the hotel jeep, although Kate may have called a taxi. The run scored an unprecedented 9.95 for being set through some great jungle landscapes with cooling showers laid on at just the right time. Zeppelin and Rotter were thanked in the traditional way for organizing the training camp. Jodi announced that, to mark the auspicious occasion of International Women's Day, next week's hash would be a gender bender hash and all of the men were required to dress up in women's clothing. At this, a quiet descended upon the circle as the male section slunk off.
On the coach back as the GM's beer intake increased he got more and more excited about the prospect of dressing up as a woman. At least this took his mind off the constant assault on the ears of Towed's seemingly inexhaustible repertoire of hash songs.
Again, big thanks to Wendy, for organizing the transport and the hotel, got at a bargain price. Also to Lynda for elephant-mounting management (there must be a hash name in this), the hotel guides for helping many of the hares, and Leyla, for her now-to-be-expected attempts to turn the hash into a cocktail party replete with imported delights. At the end of the first day only her tequila prevented 69 from being beheaded during the Tharu stick dance.
Keeled Over and Rotter