This past weekend I found my favorite group of people in China so far. Having just moved over from Beijing, I was really keen on making local friends and heard to my great delight that there is a pretty enthusiastic group of Hashers in Haikou!
For the readers who don’t know what a Hash is, it’s basically a bunch of strangers who get together at specially appointed times each week to run and drink beer together, sometimes at the same time. We follow a trail laid out by the weekly “Hares” who run ahead of us to mark whatever crazy path they’ve determined. Only house rules are: we don’t use our real names, we don’t talk about our backgrounds, and we don’t talk about politics.
I ran Hash a couple times back in DC and was curious as to how the Haikou Hash would be like. I discovered that although the languages spoken and paths run are different, the 自由精神 (free spirit) of the Hashers and their sense of humor is the same both in America and China. It appears that regardless of where a Hasher comes from, we all love joking about poop and penises…. 😛
I almost didn’t get to meet up with the Haikou Hashers because I was running late and couldn’t find the meeting place, Red’s Bar (红吧), but thankfully I caught them right as they were boarding the bus. The bus drove us to a rural suburb (郊区) of Haikou that was basically some kind of giant fruit/palm tree plantation, which this week’s Hares have selected as our Hash location.
The Hash that proceeded was like no other Hash I’ve ever been on. When I ran Hash in DC, we stuck strictly with urban areas, running through different neighborhoods, mostly on paved roads, and we only ran for about 1-2 miles each time, with a beer break in the middle.
The Haikou Hash, however, is at minimum a 5-mile long trek through rice patties, coconut groves, pig farms, and just straight up wild rainforest. The ground was often muddy, slushy, and uneven – you were never sure if you were stepping into soil or a giant steaming pile of water buffalo doo-doo. And the worst part? ….. you don’t get beer until the very end. So run little rabbits…. run…. or else NO 啤酒 FOR YOU!
Beer never tastes as sweet as after your just ran 8-10 KMs through poo-ridden terrain to get it. But alas the Hash is not over until the 法官 (Hare Boss) says so —– and in Haikou that means someone’s going to have to 坐冰 (sit on ice). The Hare Boss gets to choose his victims freely and you never know whom he chooses to punish. The only certainty is that if you are a Hare or if you are a newbie, you have to 坐冰. When it was my turn to sit on ice with two other newbies – one newbie had no shoes on so they made him put his feet on ice too. Two giant cups of beer later and suddenly I find myself performing the Gangnam Style horse-riding dance for everyone. (Hat Tip 北京电视台for teaching me the dance) The night ends with a delicious dinner and many more bottles of Anchor 加力 beer (which is the Hainan version of Tsingtao).
What an amaze night! I thought on the bus ride home, listening to the drunken crooning of my fellow rabbits as they sing traditional Chinese children songs with wildly inappropriate revised lyrics about malfunctioning bananas. Thanks to the H3 Hares for a great time! Looking forward to a great year of Hashes with you all!