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27 June 2009

HHH (hash house harriers)

well, the rumors are true. the thursday night before last, i drunkenly and accidentally joined a running club, or more precisely, "a drinking club with a running problem". it's a bunch of rogue ex-pats that are a part of the hash house harriers (click for more info). i was talking to a welsh couple, TheGeoff and TheJanice, that TheMech and i had met at ThePortugueseClub (ThePC) a while ago. i told TheJanice that i'd taken up running every other day out of boredom and trying to get fit, and she told me that was wonderful because they had recently resurrected the local hash. i was 10-feet tall and bullet proof so i excitedly told them i'd meet them at ThePC the next day at 3:30PM for the run.

soon after, the guys i was with (plus one wife) and i decided to go check out the belly-dancing at "paradise" in agami. i'd gone several months before and had fallen in lust with a dancer named TheSabrine. excellent dancer and gorgeous. it's about a half-hour drive, but luckily one of the guys we were with had a car and didn't mind chauffeuring. we got there a little after 12AM and waited for the dancing to start. there was a girl there in street clothes that looked like TheSabrine but she was just sitting on a bench like any other customer. i'd told the wife we were with that i know a dancer named TheSabrine from before, and i thought she was very attractive. not too long after, the girl who looked like TheSabrine came over to the wife we were with, they spoke, and the wife told the girl (who was TheSabrine) that i thought she was hot. so in my embarrassment, i told her "i love you" in arabic (making her laugh was my only hope to get out of this unscathed... and it worked). she laughed, they talked, we sat and drank until the dancers came on around 1AM. at first there were two asian looking dancers that i wasn't to keen on. the rumor was that these girls were the owner's new favorites. as far as i was concerned, he could have them. i hadn't noticed, but i'm guessing around 2:00AM, TheSabrine disappeared to get ready. she came on around 2:30AM and put on a fabulous show. she tried to get me on the dance floor once but, i refused. my vast experience from strip clubs taught me it's RARE you are allowed on stage so it's almost in my genes (TheT!!!). a few more beers later, i was coerced into getting up and dancing with her. guys "make it rain" with LE 1 (1 egyptian pound notes = ~$0.18). i know it's a cheaper society, but i feel it cheapens the whole experience, though one of the guys i was with could resist doing it to me and TheSabrine. i gave her LE 200 later that night in big bills, hoping she could palm one. there's TheMoneyMidget that runs around scrambling up the small bills on the dance floor. i handed this money directly to her hoping she could show TheMoneyMidget one and keep the other for herself, though i'm not sure if we were that smooth. i was pretty hammered by the time and starting to fall asleep, so we all decided to split. i got home around 4AM, updated things on facebook telling everyone i was running the next day, and then i hit the bed hard!

the next day, i dragged myself out of bed around 1PM dreading the run. i zombie-walked around the room to my computer and checked my facebook. i had many congratulatory and pep-talking comments on my run. i'm guessing when i had updated my status on facebook the night before, i was preventing myself from handicapping my way out of running. now that i had all this positive support, i HAD to run, no matter how i felt. so... i crawled back into bed until 3:00PM, when i had beaten myself up enough that i KNEW i had to run. i threw on some clothes, grabbed my iPod and rocking bluetooth wireless iMuffs, and grabbed a cab to ThePC.

we had a pre-run beer at ThePC then were on our way to the egyptian farmland. it was maybe a 5-10 minute drive on the agricultural road toward work then we turned off into the fields, parked the cars and talked about how the run works. the night before the run, the "hares" go out and mark a trail with balls of shredded paper. if you (the followers are called the "hounds") see a ball of shredded paper, you are on the path and you yell "ON ON!" to the people behind you so they know. you run this trail until you come to three balls of paper in a triangle (since this is the delta hash club). this is a checkpoint where the path can diverge. once there you look around for the continuation of the path. this give time for the walkers to catch up to the runners (i'm a hybrid runner/walker). but beware, because the hares have laid traps. at the checkpoint there is one correct trail, and several possible false trails. so everyone spreads out, finds a trail, and starts running it. soon someone will come across TWO balls of shredded paper which denotes a false trail and they have to go back to the checkpoint to find the correct trail. i have an uncanny knack for finding false trails which means, in the end, i run/walk further than most with all the backtracking.

once the directions were given, the hares started the run. on occasion, they will intentionally take a route they know is wrong, to give the newbies an idea of what to look for in a false trail and how it goes. early on in the run we were running along a path next to a tiny irrigation ditch. the water reeds were pretty thick pushing us to jump across the ditch for about 20 yards then back on to the path. just as i was going to jump over the ditch my foot slipped INTO the ditch, covering my lower extremities in mud and, in turn, tweaking my already-bad ankle. i walked most of the rest of the way, carefully testing my ankle with short jogs here and there. after about 50-60 minutes of running around the egyptian farms like lunatics, having the field workers laugh at us, cheer us on, and offer us tea, we were back at the cars for "the circle". "the circle" is a bit like hazing. the newbies are brought into the circle and made fun of a bit, they have to sing, the have to down a more-than-likely warm and flat beer from the ceremonial mugs, jokes are told, stories about the day's run are exaggerated, regulars are given hash names if they don't already have one (one of the driver's was named TheScrewDriver and his daughter was named TheDirtyGirl), the next run is announced and then it's "ON IN"... back to the bar to socialize. this 1-hour run turned into an 8 hour event. good times!

the next day my ankles were killing me, but it was worth it. i've realized i need to strengthen my lower back because running on actual terrain as opposed to a treadmill makes my lower back ache in just a few minutes. i went again yesterday for my second run (hash #7 for the club this year), again had the back problem, but it eased up a bit. the hare who laid the course got us lost a few times. he blames the locals for burning his markers but i think he just got turned around. either way it was all good fun. that the hash update so far.

oh yeah, about TheConfederationsCup... now i'm not big on soccer, but if it's a social event i'll check it out. last sunday, USA was playing egypt and the one of the bartenders arranged for a TV for the bar so myself and a few other americans here could watch the match. as far as i know, the USA isn't really well known for their soccer team, and i HAVE seen egypt play, and i have to say they are pretty good. there were two guys (one kuwaiti and one egyptian) sitting on a couch next to us asking why we were routing for USA to which we replied that we were americans, so we were showing our pride. he explained to us that even if the USA won, it didn't mean anything because they'd lost such-and-such already, so they were out of contention so we should route for egypt. that seemed like a complete fallacy of an argument, a win is a win, so we continued routing for the US, and took great pleasure in watching him sulk when the US beat egypt 3-0. so, the next day i read that the US WAS playing for something. on the off-chance that USA scored 3 more goals that egypt and brazil beat italy by 3 goals, then we were still in... and that's what happened! i haven't YET seen TheKuwaiti to gloat a bit, but if i do see him, i will.

so, on wednesday, TheEweTrollop (hash name), formerly referred to as TheGeoff, had a going away to do for his wife, TheCallGirl (formerly known as TheJanice). she comes to visit for 5 weeks then goes back to wales for 5 weeks, then he goes to visit her for a bit. during her farewell party, the spain-USA match was on. again, everyone kind of figured spain would wipe the pitch with us since they were going for some sort of 36-game win streak record or something like that. during the game, i was getting excited to see that we were winning and got in the way of a guy sitting behind me who asked me to sit down... so i sat down in the chair next to him rather than my own seat. TheAbdullah, as i found out his name, is a professor of pharmacology at the local college. i then found out he got his bachelor's degree at TheOhioStateUniversity in the late 70's. for some reason, that made me say something along the lines of... so, around the time when i was just being birthed, you were partying like rockstar on high street in columbus, like 2 hours from my house, and now, 31 years later, halfway around the world, we cross paths?! i think my mind was blown a bit more than his was. long story short, USA beat spain, the big enchilada, 2-0, and we are moving on to the finals with brazil tomorrow. i'm actually excited for THIS game!

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Blogger themom said...

You can tell a story so well. All the way to the end and Abdullah. I hope your back and ankles are better - and the workouts are "working."

5:06 PM, June 27, 2009  
Blogger adhyapaka said...

I'm glad you went back for another week of HHH. Have you gotten your name yet? Hope you have fun at the game!

10:47 PM, June 27, 2009  
Blogger slyght said...

TheMom: my back recovers quickly, even during the run, so i just need to strengthen it (or lose the gut). the ankles are just always shot but recovering faster.

TheAdhyapaka: i've not gotten my name yet. i'm guessing next week or so, i think it's your 3rd or 4th race. go USA!

2:50 AM, June 28, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the Portugeese Club.

Please please join my Facebook group and post some pictures if you can. I'd love to see what it looks like these days!!!

You'll know the group when you find it. Just search on carlos, or Alexandria, of centro de portugal.

Some Nobody

5:55 PM, June 29, 2009  

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