So, today I did my first hash!
Basically, a hash is a run through the jungle. Kind of. (Read more here.)
It's more to it than just the running, there are loads of rules and traditions surrounding hashing. The Womens Hash here in Brunei was the world's first women's hash, founded in 1966. One of the co-founders - Glamour (all the hens have different code names) - is still running! She is 75+ something old, still going strong.
Today the run was at a site called Diplo. It is on different locations every week, and every week two "hens" are chosen to be "hares" and lay the trail the rest of us will follow.
The more seasoned "hens" were all equipped accordingly, with "waterbackpacks", whistles and flashlights (in case you get stuck or lost, when it goes dark). At least I had proper hash-shoes, which basically are football shoes made out of material, but with big rubber pegs on them, to get a good grip in the jungle.
Everybody signs in (and when they get back out they sign out so everybody is accounted for):
Your first time, you have to go "with" someone who is already a member. I got signed in by my friend Amanda, and she was also responsible for me all throughout the hash today. She had to walk with me, never let me out of her sight, and make sure I made it all the way around.
17.15 the horn went off, and we set off out into the jungle - exciting!
(And no, we didn't see any scary animals - they don't hang around when 40-50 loud, laughing, talking women power on through..!)
To know where to go, you have to follow the paper trail. It's a bit like orienteering. (Well, you can also just follow the people in front of you, but do stick to the paper as well, you might not go by the same pace, and all of a sudden those people might be gone faster than you.)
People keep calling out throughout the jungle "on on" which means they are still on track, "head" if there is f.e a branch really low, or "trip" if there are loads of branches or other things on the ground.
Along the trail there are 3-4 checkpoints, the forerunners will find them first, and call out "check ahead". Sometimes they have a hard time finding where the trail continues after the checkpoint, then you will hear "checking checking", until they find it - and go "on on paper".
I took a moment to pose on a log, crossing a stream. Grateful this was a dry crossing, as I had heard a few horror stories.
"In the jungle, the mightly jungle"... *Singing*
Taking a pit stop after having climbed a huge hill. We had to stop up to drink water, otherwise we would have tripped over. Not really a clean path we were walking on, no, quite the opposite. I'm really getting into it though, see my red face?
Here we are, trekking away. Up and down the hills...
Another piece of paper. Actually there were laid out with about only 2-3 meters in between, so no chance of missing any. The "hares" had taken three hours the other day "rekking" for the trail, and another 2 hours today laying it. Hard work.
I'm sorry this next picture is a bit blurry, but I just had to put it in anyway. It shows Amanda going through the deepest stream of the run. She is slightly shorter than I am, so she had to get in quite deep - I just got the water up to just over my knees luckily. Still made my shoes go all "slurp, slurp, slurp" afterwards, when doing the very last part of the trail... Yuck.
YES! Here I am - on my way out of the jungle, after having climbed the last high hill, in soggy shoes... It took us 1h15 to get around, which was pretty good. Really good exercise with all this climbing up and down huge hills, over and under trees and branches, over stock and stone etc. I'm so proud of myself for finishing! Now I just have to get fitter, so I can pick up the pace!
After the hash itself, there is always a shout-up.
Today I got introduced and rewarded with a down-down (a Tiger beer and a special song) being a guest and first-timer. I have to do two more times as a guest, before I can become a member, and be trusted to go about it on my own.
There was some singing and some speeches and also delicious food and drink - all quite sociable and nice. It's a good mix of different people that I normally don't meet, so I'm looking forward to next hash already!