Last Saturday I participated in my first "Hash." It's a running/ walking trail marked with flour, that changes every week. The trail usually cuts through the jungle, passing by beautiful or unusual landmarks (like a hidden temple) and ends at a picturesque place where a bonfire and plenty of beer await. Last weekend was my first Hash, and I have been told it was a bit rough. It was a moonlight Hash, which is supposed to celebrate the full moon. This particular Hash meant starting at dusk in Kagman, plowing through the jungle in the dark for 3 hours and finally winding up and around cow pastures and beach roads to finally end atop a cliff. The Hash was a bit much. I was immediately filthy and sweaty, which was fine. It was the no-flash-light, stumbling through the woods completely blind, clueless to where I was going and falling into the water that kind of got to me. It just seemed stupid. I could picture something disastrous happening out in the jungle- slipping into a ravine, breaking a leg, being attacked by a three headed puma guarding her cubs, or a snake.
That sort of shit would happen to me, and I'd be pissed. I was fine, scratched up bruised, tired and hungry, but I was still pissed. By the time we reached "Religion," the after Hash soiree, I was not in the mood to do anything but dress my wounds and shower. All they could offer was a water bottle and a turkey burger. It did the trick. Religion is a frat party, hosted by the brain trust of Saipan. All of the "FNGs" (the "new guys") are brought up to the front of the crowd, asked questions and told to chug a beer out of a BED PAN. Oh, sorry, let me clairfy, it is the "Sacred Vessel." My bad. It's a bunch of hoorah and silly, rude jokes. It was a good way to end the night and I'm glad I stayed.
I got home that night and showered twice. I borrowed shoes and I feel terrible returning them, but they were designated as "Hash shoes" before I wore them. They are stiff, filthy and I'm afraid to touch them.
This weekend I was thinking about Hashing again, even though I spent most of the week completely distraught over my first experience. I know so many people from the Hash now, and it was a great social networking experience. Tonight, I unfortunately cannot participate because I have agreed to do church and dinner with my landlords. I was raised Catholic, but haven't to church in...oh, a little while, so it should be interesting. Last night, I also had dinner with two priests and my landlords. I think I'm getting all my God in, in one weekend. It's all good.
I'm pretty tired, and I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll get to hike around, be outside and get to bed early. I didn't sleep much last night because I was startled out of my skin by Heiney (the gecko) who has either become MONSTROUS (bigger than my hand) or who's mum has come out to play. We scared the shit out of each other and I shooed Heiney out of my room. I haven't seen him yet (and now I probably will), but I'm hoping that he stays out of sight. He was cute when small, but he's just a bit too big and too quick for my liking now. He can eat bugs and still hide. I'd be good with that.
So, all is well in the CNMI. I'm already craving a Northeast fall, but I'm happy to be here and I'm having fun- as long as the geckos stay away.