***WARNING – CONTAINS SPOILERS. If you want to do a hash and have never done one before, please skip this blog.*** We’ve been hearing about hashes since we started cruising and everyone talked about the Grenada hashes. The first time we heard about it was in a Distant Shores episode. Paul went running/climbing uphill through lush vegetation. He made it look like fun but, at the same time that it made me want to try it, it also scared me off the idea as too extreme for whiny little me. I certainly wouldn’t run! The first time I heard the word, I was like, “Hash? Like in hashish?” The first time Kelly from Slow Flight heard it, she was like, “Hash? Like in hash browns?” Sure… to each his own. Not that I ever tried hashish, mind you, I just watched Cheech and Chong movies when I was younger. Anyone want to try some Labrador?
Anyway, Saturdays are hash days and we all decided to give it a try. We took Shademan’s (a local driver) bus with two other couples that were first timers and one guy that was doing his second hash. When we arrived, we signed in and were warned to sign back out after the hash. I figured this was so they wouldn’t send out a search party for us (but I was wrong). The end point was the same as the starting point and there would be food and cold beer for sale when we made it back.
All first timers were asked to gather round to have the general rules explained. Then another person explained the trails: “There are two trails today: a walking trail and a running trail and they both start here. Go!” I stood there waiting for the rest. That can’t be all. What about the granny walk? I wanted to start off with the granny walk. Not today. By the time I realized there was nothing more coming, at least ¾ of the people had already taken off at a run or a walk. I looked at Dave with fear and dread in my eyes. OMG! I have to do the whole thing? Me?
Dave looked at me and I just shrugged. I guess we go. This trail left from Florida, Grenada, and passed through farmlands. At the beginning were pigpens and the pigs were begging for food from the passersby. We saw tons of bananas, mangoes, papayas, nutmeg, and avocadoes growing everywhere. I’m sure there was more, but I was busy watching where I put my feet. The terrain was very hilly, muddy, and slippery after all the others already trampled through.
The scenery was gorgeous and the view fantastic as we climbed higher and higher. It was hard, but nowhere near as hard as the hike Dave and I did in Dominica. I just took my time and took care not to twist an ankle. It started to rain and all the walkers around us took shelter under some trees. Are you kidding? The rain feels great! Please wash the sweat off! It down poured for a bit and Dave and I just kept going. It felt great to cool down, but I was worried about the slippery mud getting slipperier.
Without dragging out the details, Dave and I made it to the finish line. All our friends already arrived and were enjoying the cold beers. Everyone was soaked and covered with mud on the bottom of their pants and shoes. My hands were also covered in mud as I went down the final very steep hill on all fours. It was either that or slide down on my bottom, which some people did. We bought some beers and we toasted to the completion of our first hash! It really wasn’t that bad.
All the new people were called to gather around again. They announced that we earned our certificates for being accomplished hashers and declared us no longer virgins.
As we posed to have our picture taken, a few guys shook up some beers and thoroughly sprayed us down.
It felt like we were being initiated into some fraternity. Needless to say, Dave loved it! We are all going to smell like sweat and sour beer on the very packed bus ride home. Lovely.
They called out people who took shortcuts. Hashers and trail watchers turned in these cheaters, who were made to kneel in the mud, drink from a bucket of beer…
… and then had beer sprayed all over them.
Various offenders of various slights, real or imagined, were called out and punished in like form.
One of the real offenses was not checking back in, so they called out anyone who forgot last week. It was hilarious. Dave wishes they’s have had one of these sleeves for his fraternity.
Not even the kids were safe from punishment. This boy is the son of the announcer and was accused of having too big an ego. Everything was done in good fun with music blaring, beer flowing, and laughter ringing out.
Official Harriers and Harriettes now, we can join any hash around the world and represent our “kennel.”
The After Party was fun. We visited with the other cruisers we met and listened to the local All Star Florida Steel Drummers. And drank more beer. After all, the slogan of the hash is “Drinkers with a running problem.” And we are all expected to undo any good the hash just did us. We could all understand why people rave about the hashes so. We WILL be back. How about next Saturday?
Going home was just as entertaining. Dave sat in the front seat and got the history of the revolutions on Grenada while the rest of us carried on multiple conversations – cruisers always have something to talk about with each other. And we had roadies, beers to go that we took in the bus with us. After those went dry – by the way, our driver’s only care was that we didn’t let the beer bottles roll around on the floor – Shademan announced a beer and potty stop. Wow! We got the party bus! Luckily, we only had to drive our dinghies a short way from the dock to our boats. We can’t wait for hash #2!
A Little Hash History:
Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur (Malaya) in 1938. Three British expatriates wanted a social sport that involved some physical activity without getting in the way of their beer drinking routines, so hashing was born- named for the food fare it was assumed Brits served. So it’s actually named hash more like in corned beef hash. Now these fun runs are set with flour or shredded paper trail markers in some 110 countries and territories around the world. Hash groups are named kennels and the Grenada kennel is the Hash House Harriers. International hashes (Interhash) are held in a different part of the world every two years. The next Interhash will be held in Bali, Indonesia, in 2016.