Feb 25, 2008

On! On!

And in other news, third term grades are in, and my half-lidded truancy and steady diet of Old El Paso tortilla pizzas has paid off! Woo hoo! I suspect fourth term will not be so kind.

I've done a hash! And not the illegal kind! A hash is a sort of fun-walk/jog/run/hike that here seems to be somewhere between 4-6 miles long, and involves a lot of yelling (Are you? On! On!), and a lot of beer. I have an official "Certificate of Loss of Virginity", which I'm tempted to frame as a substitute for my degree to instill that extra vote of confidence in my patients.

For those quick to judge, all this was AFTER hiking pretty strenuous trails for five miles and sprinting through a gamut of non-virgin hashers coating us in beer. This also meant I smelled like a three-day dead hobo. Perfect for getting back onto the bus with others who were similarly qualified, or as the certificate put it "exhausted, sweaty, and smelling like a ram goat".

Oddly enough, this certificate was awarded by the head of the library, who turns out to be incredibly awesome AND a seasoned hasher. I am humbled.

Not knowing there was a bus directly to the hash, I decided to make things more difficult for myself by attempting to "meet up" on the Carenage down in St. George's, not finding anyone, wandering around sufficiently to further my face burn (by the way, THREE cruise ships in port? Good lord!), and finally just saying "Balthazar?" to people at the bus terminal until someone stuffed me, and I do mean STUFFED me, into a van.

Probably made it in record time though. The reggae bus driver was burning off the tires on the turns.

But got there without a problem in time to watch the SGU buses pull up. Sigh. Incidentally, *they're* free.

I'm completely new to the hash, though I've read up on it a bit. Here's the website for the Grenada Hash House Harriers.

If I could recommend nothing else, if you have one of those camelback integrated water systems, by all means take it. If you're slow, take a flashlight. They do them at 4 PM, I believe to intensify the penalty for lollygagging by having you blunder through the rainforest at night looking desperately for shredded bits of paper to mark the trail. Fortunately, I was hiking towards the front! Which is a first!

The hash:

The beginning, with us having no idea what's about to be in store for us.

Suggestions for not dying (standing on a 2X4 on a barrel not being one of them) as given by our excellent hare (the hounds chase the trail the "hare" leaves), the one, the only, River Rat!

And speaking of rivers:

We were periodically crossing the Balthazar River, usually only mid-thigh deep (though I got to clean my running shoes), but in a couple people's cases, mid-head. Having fifty some-odd people try and hurry across slippery rocks in a river is pretty interesting.

These seem pretty (and were) until you realize how much slippery uphill river crossing, mud grappling you have to do to GET to these views, and it was far prettier in person.

If only they'd had rotis... the hash would have ended right there...

The hashers seemed to be the event of the month to some local kids, one of whom was amusing himself by making an *incredibly* convincing impression of a doberman growling and then jumping out with an equally convincing bark. I'm not even afraid of dogs, and this circa 6 year old made me jump about five feet.

These kids said "take our picture!" "Take our picture!"

If you ever want to be ambassador to the children of another country, own a digital camera. That is hours of entertainment right there, and netted me the following picture when I was in the Philippines:

And the more shots you take, the better they get, since the more they see the pictures of them, the rowdier they get. I'm sure their parents just love it.


Mmmm... chocolate...

Some pictures from the hash aren't present because the trail got nasty (and wet) enough that my camera was half-safely tucked into a plastic bag tucked into my bathing suit top, and I was *still* worried about falling in the river and destroying it.

So we made it to the sweet sweet end of the trail, where beer and goodies are typically served at whichever bar they've crashed. We did our initiation, climbed into the SGU bus reeking of beer, Grenada, and our natural juices, and someone said "we want ice cream".

For the most part, SGU buses, even special events ones, have a certain hypothetical course that they tend to follow without side trips. Reggae buses, not so much. This was not one of those buses. So we were off to St. George's, to the strangest little local ice cream/bar we could find. Went in, ordered beer and ice cream (mmm nutmeg), and somehow, someone whipped out from behind the counter these Rossi wine jugs that someone had made rum in, and had filled said rum with things like nutmeg, sticks, bay leaves, and... we'll just get to the "and" in a minute.

Being already a bit inebriated from the beer and with a free one in hand, it struck me that it would be a good idea to try a shot from the nutmeg infused one figuring I like nutmeg and I like rum, and the best rum is usually served out of a bulk wine jug at a bar where even the locals won't touch the stuff you're drinking, so what the hell, right?

OMG, I think I now know what antifreeze tastes like. Though it's supposed to be sweet. I used to think tequila and whiskey were bad but this was a complex feast of bad in the mouth that had staying power. Gods.

Then, the bartender/executioner whips out a jug that has the bottom full of Grenadian centipedes, or as Jay calls them "deathipedes" because they tend to be between 6 and 14 inches long, and yes, they're venomous. In said jug, there is a brownish pond scum looking murky liquid that smells a bit like scotch tape and gasoline.

Oh, you thought I was kidding?

Something to know about me is that as an idiot, a former anthropology major, someone who worked at a science museum, and someone who's been camping a lot, there is virtually nothing I won't eat or drink, and even that barrier is usually broken by alcohol (I can tell you exactly what squid eyes, mealworms, earwax flavored jelly bellies, and wood moths taste like, for instance).

This was not one of those times. I'm not TOUCHING that stuff. In fact, after a shot of the nutmeg moonshine and a shot of the bay leaf moonshine, I considered myself lucky to still have my eyesight.

Two of the manly men in our party were not similarly dissuaded, and swung back two shots of this vile muck to the sounds of gasps and groans as camera flashes (and regret) exploded in their faces.

Then came the process of getting one of the local patrons to try the stuff who had not witnessed the initial shot, so in a friendly game of "America vs Grenada", the only way the two guys could convince the third guy to take a shot of the worm venom was to do *another* shot of it with him.

The fact that the last time I saw these guys, they were still alive (though had inexplicably bought four baby chicks off a woman making oildown, or as they said "chickens, the ultimate impulse buy") is a testament to their characters. It's similarly impressive that the guy they were pitted against ran outside immediately after, I believe, to throw up. I had a similar urge just by watching the process.

Somehow, in a lack of timely oildown, we all ended up at the wine bar with 8-10 people and four chickens fifteen minutes before they stopped serving food(poor wine bar), to put panini on top of, in one guy's case, about five beers, two shots of regular rotgut moonshine, two shots of centipede moonshine, and a piece of uncooked callaloo (don't do that either, by the way) he'd eaten during the hash. Glurgh.

And then I "hashed" home. The bus was taking a while.

I think it's a testament to *my* character that I was able to drag my aching butt out of bed today to go to La Sagesse and sunset point. You know you've had a rough day when going to the beach the next day takes initiative, but it was well worth it:

And now, having lived it up for an entire weekend where I had absolutely *no* responsibilities, Monday starts the beginning of fourth term, thus the end of life as I know it. Ciao!


Millicent said...

it's hard to describe baby chicks as an 'impulse buy' to ppl who've never lived in a country where people sell them (in my case, I used to see them for sale cheeping in a crate balanced on top of a turbaned head). But they really are. mostly cause they're so cute and fluffy.
great story!

Anonymous said...


Just wanted to drop you a comment telling you that I regularly read your blog, and I find it highly entertaining. As a local (though I do go to SGU - just not the Med school), it's always interesting to see Grenada from someone else's perspective! =)

Anonymous said...

Great hash report.And I'm grateful you didn't call me out for not being in attendance.

Ishie said...

Hi there!

I was tempted, but figured the regatta was a reasonable excuse. How was it, by the way? You will, unfortunately, need to get an authorized LOA from the hashmaster or get an "I" for the Balthazar River hash though!

Ishie said...

"Just wanted to drop you a comment telling you that I regularly read your blog, and I find it highly entertaining. As a local (though I do go to SGU - just not the Med school), it's always interesting to see Grenada from someone else's perspective! =)"

Hello, and thanks for reading! If you see me walking around, shout out a "hi!"

Does this mean that since you have the inside edge, you can give me a rundown on where the best oildown is though? I still haven't tried it.

Ishie said...

Oh, and Drbob, forgot to thank you for turning me onto the hash to begin with!

Anonymous said...

Funny story? =) I've never had oil down, either! And I've lived here all my life! I'm just way too scared to have it. I'll ask around, though. =)

And, you know, I didn't recognize you from the profile picture you have up. BUT, from the picture of you that you posted in this entry? I totally do! I've definitely seen you around, so next time I see you, I'll give ya a shout out.