The Chiang Rai Hash, Again? ...

I am nothing, if not a man of contradictions.  Where is the fun in being predictable, steadfast and never changing ones mind?  It is the simple mind that sticks rigidly to an idea or belief, fearful of a change of direction or even asking questions.  Fearful that fingers will be pointed and contradictions pointed out.  Where is this leading, one might ask?  It is leading to the fact that we went to another Hash House Harriers, yesterday.

Considering the trouble I got into the last time I went and wrote about the Hash, one would be justified in asking me, “Why?”.  Well, I will get to that but the obnoxious answer would be “Why not?”.  To be honest, I was even asked when I could be expected to pen something about this outing, to which I laughed and replied that I might abstain this time around.  So here I am contradicting that response as well, in the manner of my own choosing.  Not constrained by Hashly etiquette or protocol I am able to do, or not do, as I wish.

Perhaps I should start off by explaining how this all came about.  From the very beginning I had ulterior motives for attending the Hash, even the first time.  One might say I go to the Hash, in spite of the Hash, not because of it.  There just aren’t that many places where farangs of the Rai, gather in the light of day.  Of course one sees them in BigC and Makro, but it is not the done thing, to acknowledge those to whom you have not been properly introduced.  Something we have picked up from the Thais, no doubt.  So the Hash presents an opportunity to meet others, that you might not otherwise cross paths with.  Sometimes that is a good thing, the not crossing paths part.  Sometimes you get lucky and meet a like minded soul or someone you can at least enjoy a conversation with.

We happen to know and like the hosts of the Christmas Hash and have been to their house before.  Though we frequent the city seldom, on two recent occasions our paths crossed.  Most recently at Makro, where they extended an invitation to the Hash they were hosting.  Okay, so they were just being polite, but my wife wanted to go.  Not that my wife would ever be so straightforward in acknowledging her desire.  With a healthy dose of that uniquely Thai notion of “Krengjai” she queried as to whether I would be too putout if we tried another Hash.

She knows full well that I have never refused her anything, but still she doesn’t wish to impose or appear to come off as pushy.  With her typically Thai distaste for confrontation, she asked if I would feel uncomfortable in going again and perhaps bumping into someone of disagreeable  manner.  I assured her that no one was going to ruffle my feathers and I was quite capable of fending for myself.  My only consideration was what she wanted and nothing else mattered.

On the day we arrived a bit early to secure a safe and convenient parking space along the side of the soi.  There were quite a few new faces, new to me at least, so I basked in my anonymity.  There were a few who were surprised to see me, and the look on their faces, was worth the 65 km trip.

As others mounted the farm lories to be driven to the starting point, a few of us and one lovely chocolate lab, proceeded on foot.  We did come for a walk after all.  I was determined to approach things differently this time.  To that end, we decided to linger near the back. 

In a rush of testosterone, all the male bluster and bravado vanished into the forested hills.  Most of the way I was accompanied by four women and two children.  I have always appreciated the company of women.  We were familiar with two of the women, being the hosts of this and the previous Hash we attended.  We probably did more talking than walking.  Discussing life, health, events and travel, made for a very enjoyable, social stroll through beautiful surroundings. 

One of the children with us, looked as though he would be much happier in front of the computer or a playstation, and seemed to be suffering a bit.  He was a trooper, however, and suffered in silence.  With no other men anywhere to be seen, I slowed my stride as we all adjusted our pace to that of our lumbering young friend.

After a lovely walk, we were the last to arrive at the pickup point.  This time, no one turned down the ride.  There was food and drink for all and a little entertainment for the kids.  All of whom, went home with a lovely Christmas Poinsettia.  As the more Hashy stuff began, we quietly said our goodbyes to our hosts, and slipped off into the darkness.  Apparently not the thing to do but seemed best for us.

It was after dark, with a long drive ahead of us but we opted to make a brief stop at the walking street to purchase some food to take home, from the many vendors that line the side soi we frequent.  All in all, it was a good day and we found a way to make it work for us, without detracting from the enjoyment of others with differing sensibilities. 

So will we do it again?  Truthfully, I couldn’t say.  If my wife expresses an interest, then I guess you know what my answer would be.