Sunday, April 12, 2009

A seaman, a spaceman and me.

The hash house harriers are a world-wide organisation of friendly yobbos whose motto is that they are “drinkers with a running problem”. Or in my case, walking.

Each week we gather in a different place. Runners follow a marked trail, walkers another. There are tricks and misdirections. You get to see places that you wouldn’t normally go near, in a way that is both fun and safe. One malae might be a target in some circumstances, 20 or more would give anyone pause. And often there are a few locals with us as well.

Today’s walk was terrific; flat, dry and long, through farms and fields, with children running and pointing, yelling “Malae, malae!” and laughing with glee as we replied “Bo tardi” [“Good afternoon”] and high fived those brave enough to approach. It seemed clear that although we were barely 2 kilometres from the main road, the sight of malae, and especially malae going through their villages, was a complete novelty.

The circle (the ceremony after the run/walk) was a relatively muted affair, followed by pizza and beer. The hash had been held far from my home and although I had walked there, it would have been midnight by the time I got home had I walked back. I didn’t think this was a hot option, but if I could just get to the highway taxis would still be running. But Spaceman came to the rescue and offered me a lift home. He also agreed to drive Seaman in the opposite direction. As it happened, the opposite direction was across the Cormoro River (which has a steel girder bridge).

However, both Spaceman and Seaman were geodesically inclined. They wanted to go the shortest route which meant cutting across the river bed, and in places the river. Half way across, there was a discussion as to which route to take. The navigator had all the advantages except one. He was near his home, he drives the area himself and part of the route was across water. The astrogator, on the other hand, had the steering wheel. Guess who prevailed?

We set off and made quite reasonable progress, cautiously navigating bumps and ditches until we were maybe 30 metres from the other side. That was good. We bogged. That was not good. We tried to drive out and sank to the chassis. That was bad. Eventually, while a band of locals fruitlessly helped to dig us out, Seaman walked the rest of the way home, and brought spades and tools and implements of destruction. And a chain with a 4WD attached. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to use his car to pull us out in case he sank too. We could see his point.

We dug the wheels clear of the sucking mud and the locals tried to pull us out with the chain, nearly succeeding. On the strength of that demonstration, Seaman decided that he could risk it with his 4WD and we were freed.

We had to drive to the other side – we had gotten so close! – and then unaccountably, Spaceman decided to take the bridge route on the way back.

Chicken. :)

1 comment:

  1. OOOOOHHHHH!!!!!

    That's not how i remember it at all!!!!