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Posts Tagged ‘hashing’

The buzkashi riders post (“a character study of the chapandaz”) may happen later today, but it may have to wait for the weekend.  In the meantime, and since I’ll be laying the hash trail with Fla5her, No-Name Susannah, and Shag Hooker on Saturday morning (DH3 Run № 281), I wanted to share a view of the hilly countryside surrounding Dushanbe as seen from a trail we set a couple of weeks ago.

Looking to the east of Dushanbe towards Varzob

This is a very typical Tajik semi-rural scene, with the unterraced hillside fields, boxy houses, and towering mountains in the background.  Are you glad I share these things with you?  How else would you all be able to enjoy an early spring landscape in Tajikistan?

Thanks to the Dushanbe hash visitor Bang her & hash who took this photo at the hash flash overlook.  I swiped this from her Facebook page!

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Confronting Tajiks in the streets of Dushanbe

Confounding Tajiks in the streets of Dushanbe

Super-busy at work in the run-up to a week in the field in Muminabad followed by a week of vacation in London (to see the Pats play at Wembley, natch), so I have precious little time for blogging.  So to satiate your collective need for this blog to be updated, here’s a photo of me and the “hounds” hashing in Dushanbe a few weeks back.

Yes, that’s a look frequently on my face, if you’re wondering.

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This weekend was the hash camping trip to Tigrovaya Balka, a nature preserve south of Dushanbe, not far from the borders of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.  B____ (a/k/a Flasher) organized the trip and handled all the formalities, which, as usual, were not inconsiderable; and I’m glad he did because it’s tough to get the proper permits for this area and it is a beautiful place.

A truck misjudged how a bridge was, we helped the driver out.

A truck misjudged how wide a bridge was, we helped the driver out.

First we had to get down there, which was a decent drive from the capital.  Aside from the poorly paved roads and kamikaze drivers, Tajik regulars both, we also had to deal with the above: a bridge reduced to one lane, rubble everywhere, and a truck that got itself wedged between a pile of concrete and the side of the bridge, thereby blocking the whole damn thing.  Luckily, the intrepid Religious Adviser organized the Tajiks who had been milling about and our band of expats to push the truck free.  The road thus cleared led straight to the preserve, where we were confronted with the following sign:

I don't come cheap.

I don't come cheap.

Okay sure, it’s a mistranslation of “dear,” but we thought it was pretty damn funny.  We’re immature.

After a whirlwind tour of the small museum displaying the flora and fauna (wild boars! photo of the last tiger at the preserve, shot by the Soviets in the ’50s! ferns!) and meeting the deer that the wardens kept in a stable for some reason, the wardens took us to their hideaway and fed us a great lunch of deep fried goat and deep fried fish while on a tapchan (which is apparently also called a “dastarkhan,” though I’ve never heard anyone call it that).  Here’s the view from the tapchan:

Imagine me munching on goat and looking at this.

Imagine me munching on goat and looking at this.

Properly satiated, we then went on a long and dusty road to our campsite.

View through the windshield on the way to the campsite.

View through the windshield on the way to the campsite.

Once there, I was confronted with setting up my tent.  Bought with great anticipation and at least a little fanfare prior to the trip, this was the first opportunity for me to actually set the thing up.  Yeah, yeah, I had meant to practice the set up in my living room or in the backyard, but the guy at REI made it look so easy and I’m so lazy, that I never did that.  To my relief, C________ (thanks Necro!) and K______ (thanks No Name K______!) were there to guide me through it, and whaddya know, it is fairly easy to set up.  I still should probably practice at some point in the future, however, lest I be without handy beauties to help me.

Looks good, huh?

Looks good, huh?

Thus situated, we were geared up to go on our hash run through the savanna, but I was able to snap a pic of the view from my tent before we took off.

This is the Vaksh River, in which I swam post-hash.

This is the Vaksh River, in which I swam post-hash.

Following the longish run, the numerous mosquito bites (who needs bug spray?), a refreshing swim, the hash circle, the many beers, the roaring campfire, more beer, the silliness at said campfire, a surprisingly restful night of sleep, a “hangover hash” in the morning, and another refreshing swim, we got a good taste of a cool area that not too many people get out to.

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I know you can hardly wait, right? But I’m looking forward to it.

To get a name in the Dushanbe hash, you need to set a trail.  SS found the area, and we all scoped the trail yesterday.  It runs through some orchards on the ridges above Dushanbe to the east, and it has some sweet views.  It’s also a bit of a bitch to run; straight up through terraced fruit trees for a good part of it.  JC, one of my co-hares, has a GPS, so the whole thing is tracked; I’ll upload it for all to see at some point.

As for the name, I’m hoping for something like Short Round.  I’m sure the reality will be far filthier.

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Sorry again for the light posting, work has been busy and next week is no better, but I’ll get some vacation pix up someday, I promise.

*** UPDATE (9 October ’09):

As some of you already know, my hash name turned out to be Vidal Baboon, which is a mock on my hirsuteness.  If you don’t look good, I still am hairy, apparently.

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Mystery solved: an auxiliary pump was indeed installed in the basement of my building, so that accounts for my water reappearing last week. I would’ve been just as happy to learn that Kang and Kodos had been toying with me and decided to let the water run from now on, so long as I had water.  Of course, it would’ve been nice had my landlord 1) told me that they had installed the pump, 2) told me that it was “not good,” as I later learned, to leave the pump switched on when water wasn’t running, and 3) told me where to turn the pump on and off.  Baby steps, baby steps.

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When I arrived to run in my second hash last Saturday, I discovered that the organizers found out about my blog post about my first run.  Damn teh Google!  Now that I know that I’m being watched, I’m not sure how I’ll respond.

Anyway, the hash last week was a complete fiasco.  It was too short, the weather was too cold, the village children spoke fluent English . . .

No, wait, that’s not right.  The hash went swimmingly.  No hash in the history of hashing, from 1930’s Malaya to the present day, has ever proceeded with such aplomb, such élan, such esprit de corps, such je ne sais quoi, such voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir.  My knowledge of French cannot express the waves of goodness and well-being that washed over me before, during, and after last week’s hash.  My only fear in going to the hash next week is whether my corporeal self can handle the transcendence that is sure to follow.

Developing . . .

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