I started hashing in Ankara in Turkey in 1987. I had absolutely no idea what hash was, but in Ankara at that time, it was almost the only organised social activity amongst the small English speaking community. And no public swimming pools, public tennis courts, squash clubs etc.
Over the years, it has become a reasonably good point of first contact when arriving in a new place. I now realise how stupid I was when I worked in the Sultanate of Oman in the mid-80s. Yes, there was an active hash group but no, I didn’t even know what it was. Would have made a nice break from living in a pre-fab hut located under the end of the international airport runway !
Time check – now. I am in Brisbane doing full-time language training with the brain doing overtime trying to keep up with all this new information being jammed in. Need physical exercise. Need mental diversion. Know (almost) no-one. So where is hash ?
The Royal Exchange Hash operates from the same location every Wednesday. Ye Gods ! The Royal Exchange is THE hotel just up the road – about 7 minutes walk. Every time I look on the internet for another hash, the location is miles away. Too easy.
So I go to RE Hash. Interesting. Same starting point every week. No marked trail. No checks. No false trails. Flat out run for an hour. I am buggered. My body was never optimised for this. I realise my body was designed for drinking beer in front of the TV. Do it anyway.
I am left in the dust by the local athletes. I struggle to keep up with 60+ year old who plods on and makes me feel real bad when he surges past me at the same pace up steep hills. A kind-hearted soul drops back to make sure I don’t get lost. Hash was never meant to be like this. Bastards !