I went hashing this weekend. Not “that kind” of hashing. Hashing is a strange sport invented by crazy British expats so that they have an excuse to drink and maybe get some exercise.
I met a few other American grad students and we went by metro and taxi out to a strange suburban club for expats. People say I live in a “nice” neighborhood. I do. The ACE club is in a “very nice neighborhood”. About 30 people and 2 dogs rally up, vaguely find rides and head out. I thought this was a sorta casual suburban jog, and inappropriately wore my Chaco’s, which seemed like a less and less good idea the further out of town we went. Keep in mind that Cairo is like any other metro area with 14,000,000 people. It has extensive suburbs, and we were going out past the last one.
We missed a turn. “Ah! There is the marker” my driver shouts over what was either Nigerian music or reggae covers of pop. I also had missed the marker, which is understandable because it turns out to be a roll of plastic trash bags by the side of a wildly dirty and polluted road. Maybe a joke by the hashers, a group known for hilarity.
The car works its way up into a slowly growing suburban sprawl of some even nicer houses and apartments, with a terrific view of some lesser pyramids, and also about 25 brick factories whose smog shrouds the area in something more tangible than mystery.
We head off road. Or rather on a dirt track. I asked where it went, and was told “to the desert”. After about 15 mins going further and further where Chacos seem less and less a good idea, we stopped and people gathered together. I noted more than a few beers being drank.
The idea is to follow one of two desert routes from marker to marker. Originally hash marks on trees we have adapted this so flour or red lentils on the ground. What is problematic is that it can be very difficult to find one from the next so there is a good deal of starting and stopping. Add to this a some false trails. . .and you have a quick 100 min desert hike. I opted against the run, thinking I would wait until I had real shoes on, and was even remotely in shape. The entire event finishes with a rally at base with some odd “get to know the new people” moments, a beer, and suddenly Im in a Chinese buffet with 15 expats. Good food, kinda pricey, did not have the traditional desert.
The original constitution:
• To promote physical fitness among our members
• To get rid of weekend hangovers
• To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
• To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
If this doesn’t describe my life fairly well, I don’t know what does.
More information? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers