Sunday, November 2, 2008

"We're a drinking team with a running problem" - Coach Moyer this ones for you.

So in a country such as Thailand ex-pats are just as common as noodles.  I learned this rather quick.  They vary in origin, the US, Australia, Canada, France, the UK, have your pick.  While I never under estimated an ex-pat's ability to out drink me, being that most of them (in my mind haha) are jolly, hefty old white men, I did under estimate their running abilities.  

My first day I mentioned to Thomas (the manager of my hotel) that I was looking for somewhere to run.  He quickly invited met to join him (Danish) along with some of his other buddies who belong to a group called the Hash House Harriers, a running group that meets every Saturday.  He briefly described it was a great way to meet people in Phuket and that they got together for a fun run which also included a lot of laughs and beer drinking - well hell, what more could you ask for?? Can't be that hard right??

Well folks let the under-estimation begin... I leave to head to the meeting point with Thomas and Kathy (a Brit staying at the same hotel - while trying to get papers to retire here), and was also told bring extra dry clothes.  The meeting point changes each week so let the scavenger hunt begin - we are look for signs that say HHH.  After arriving I am not too sure what I have gotten myself into, this cant be that horrible though... I think I am the youngest by 15-20 years! So it is quickly explained to the "virgins" (yep that includes me) that we are to follow the sprinkling of mutli-colored paper to find our way to the end - Hansel & Grettle style.  

Seem simple enough?  Oh there IS a catch - the colored paper is usually strategically placed in spots where you have choices in direction... left, maybe... right looks ok... straight, up a mountain... how about Door Number 3! Well have a go at it and if you find some more paper scattered further down the trail yell "ON ON" and keep running - otherwise come back and try again.

So the run begins - follow the Hash Horn they tell me and don't follow the french guy because he always gets lost.  OH WAIT!!! Watch our for the cows and buffalo they can be dangerous!... Excuse me?

So the first five minutes not so bad... then we hit it... the first mountain.  I wasnt quite sure it was going to end.  And let me tell you about half way up the only motivation to keep up is, that if you don't you are running the Thai jungle alone: Good Luck.  Some how I made it to the top, sweet its all down hill from here... yep straight into a creek.  Guess thats why you need the dry clothes.  

After that I figured it couldn't get too much worse - there I go again under-estimating the old white guys.  BAD IDEA!  And CRASH... right down in a ditch! Yes folks i think I fell about 3 times during the hour long run and then in addition ran through muddy water up to my thighs. At this point it was pure fear of getting left to the buffalo among the rubber trees that was keeping me moving.  God, I wish I had my camera with me.  

So 6k and 56 minutes later (not too shabby), we arrive at the end greeted with beers and food.  Things were looking up.  We all socialized, some people changed into their dry clothes. Me, I couldn't muster the energy to move from my seat to even think about changing out of my now mud covered attire and the just thought of moving my feet which now felt like bricks was exhausting.  So have a beer and relax! 

Then it was time for the circle.  Sort of reminded me of 4-H campfire but for adults.  Everyone gathered around the Grand Master for what seemed like an hour of crude language, jokes (on american politics), songs that sounded like they could be heard in Irish Pubs, inappropriate stories, beer chugging and INITIATION of THE VIRGINS. We were asked questions that my mom would not approve of then there was a beer put at our feet to chug, "get down on your knees, put your hands behind your back and DRINK!" WELCOME TO HASH HOUSE HARRIERS OF PHUKET!

I can't say I have experienced anything like it before - marathon participants, iron man competitors, religious runners, you have not lived as a runner until you have lost your HHH virginity. I have included the link to the Drinking club that I think has more than just a running problem, so you can attempt to imagine the experience.  There are groups world-wide that formed from a small group in Malaysia over 20 years ago.  I'll be back again next Saturday. Cheers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You always find the most interesting / entertaining things while on your amazing journeys! I'm glad I saw your link to your blog on your FB profile. It's been fun reading about all that you are doing on the other side of the world! Oh and while I'm typing I'll say something in regards to your prior post. If there is anyone I know that can do anything she puts her mind's YOU, Martina! When I met you in CR 4 years ago you said you wanted to travel the world and guess what you're doing it! I'm so happy for you and wish you the best in your endeavors! keep blogging so i can stay entertained. ;) hehe. Love ya & miss ya girl! Shannon (SMB)