The sound of the bugle blows, the runners and walkers rush through the sugar cane fields dashing searching for clues to where their next clue was. “On, on” someone cries, the signal to a clue of rice found on the ground.
This was my first ever at a Hash Hound Harriers meet that was founded in 1937 by some British colonials, in Malaysia, to sweat off their excess indulgences from their boozing weekends. I had vaguely heard about this mad group of colonials that had all these weird rituals to their fun day out of running and walking at electric speeds, but not in Barbados (West Indies) heat.
Tramping through long grass, scuttling through sugar cane fields, running through local villages, where the children delighted in screaming out. “down dey, dey diz run down dey”. pointing us in the wrong direction. This had been organised by the person who organised the run.
Up hills, through trenches, passing a starving horse. I yelling out “I will report you to the RSPCA” I asked what the area was called “Bawden”, Brian my walking companion said. But where in Bawden? no street names. So typical of Barbados, this was a frustrating island of streets with no names. Villagers waving, thinking “ these white fellas are mad running in dis heat.”
On and on we went.”Thank God for rain, I cried out, as I felt the raindrops on my shoulder. But where were the rain clouds. I was confused. Ten minutes later I worked it out, it was the sweat from my hair, trickling on to my shoulders. Well that was sweating off all those rum punches I had drunk in the last fortnight. Now I understood the reason for the Hash Hound Harriers.
Another hill another clue on the ground “on and on” Brian cried out. Another deploy that sent us scampering through long grass, “Be careful of the mongees that lie in the grass, they can bite.” Brian said.
My water has run out, I am so dehydrated, “Where is the next tap” no one replies. We were lost once again. By now I am swallowing my saliva
After some two hours of lost trails, sweating and swearing, we found our way back to the beginning to find most fellow hashers already enjoying the traditional beer and rum, being Barbados. I didn’t stay for the usual tradition of penalties, passed to those who were lasI knew I would have to guzzle beer to the chanting sounds of the crowd.