Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thailand 2006 take four


Thursday 26th October RED DRESS RUN!
Eagle House Guest House has one redeeming feature: a shower with power! I have the usual pancake/omelette/cake hybrid for breakfast.


I have noticed a strange phenomenon - the majority of Thai folk like to regularly push menthol sticks up their nose, in fact so many of them do this that I have stopped taking it personally. (map courtesy of Travelfish.org) I now need to get orientated to Chiang Mai 'Old City' - a two kilometre square bounded on all four sides by canals. Eagle House2 is number 9 on the map above (in square D2). I also need to buy some total sunblock. I find a chemist close to a canal (not far from the gate directly East) , where I also buy some tigerbalm for my itchy bites, and right next door I notice a bicycle hire shop - how convenient. I hire a bicycle with a diddy padlock and key to lock it, then cycle on over to the Empress Hotel (due south outside the Old City Walls) to register for Interhash.
At the hotel, I hand my bicycle over the porter on the door - who parks it directly on a red ant nest - I'll swear they are an inch long and bite - nasty beggars. I have to dance on spot whilst operating padlock. At the foyer I follow 'on on' feet upstairs to the Registration...I then queue for half an hour like the good Brit that I am, in front of a mismanagement member who appears to be comatose in front of a computer - he remains absolutely motionless. Only to discover that I should have been queueing somewhere else! Meet up with a couple of hashers from Bridgend: Ferret and Bangkok. It was lovely to feel so at home and chat away, after feeling like the odd one out in Phuket... Shortly after this, Hatrack appears! Even more miracles - he has a double roomed apartment in a very flash hotel (way more upmarket than the Eagle House2 at any rate) and he is quite happy to let me have the spare room - gratis! He was tiddly when he made this rash offer! Rumours soon spread that Hatrack and I are 'shacking up'. Ferret says he won't hold it against me. groan. Hashing humour alert, red light warning flash.
Hash House Harriers (or H3) is a strange phenomenon for those who have not encountered it - details of its strange habits can be found here. Needless to say - we all have odd names: I am 4Sips (of a Cleavage).
I have several beers before I realise I will be late for the RED DRESS RUN if I don't get a move on. Bangkok and Ferret agree to look after my Chiang Mai goodie bag whilst I cycle madly back to Eagle House2 - throw on red dress TShirt and red sarong like thing to cover up my shorts, forget to change out of sandals - which I regret at end of day because I get blisters on the soles of my feet! I then follow the flow of red dressed hashers to the Three Kings Monument: in the centre of Old City - even spotting Soapy and Bubbles in a tuktuk. Soapy and Bubbles and their dog Havoc are currently hiking around the coast of Britain - starting from John O'Groats on November 30th 2006- they've already done over 1000 miles!
The Annual Red Dress Run tradition was started in 1988 by the San Diego HHH. There really was a 'lady in red' apparently, who was a virgin brought along to the Long Beach HHH in 1987 and who ran the trail in highheels and a red dress. It now raises huge amounts of money for charity as all the registration fees are donated.
What an amazing congregation! The run (walk?) began with a grand speech by the Grand Master Nibbles and the Mayor of Chiang Mai, followed by a lovely dance involving a ladyboy and a sheep. I think. (the pic is of Nibbles and a Hare named A Man Called Horse).










I grab a bottle of water and follow the route march around the Old City - passing numerous bemused locals. It's unusual to see Thai residents photographing the Farang instead of the other way round! The Red Dress Run (my second) was the usual amazing display of ridiculousness. Less nudity than is normal though - as the hash could have been called off is local laws are flouted. Who would want to be responsible for spoiling the fun and risking the wrath of over 6000 Hashers?









There are no beerstops or jelly baby regroups. I meet up with Broken Man from TeignValley Hash, whilst chatting with Bubbles. I hear all about the Great Train Rumble and Cambodian Prelubes where buses careered off road and Hashers were lost in the rain, mud and paddyfields! Bubbles was on the Train Rumble and fell down some hole and broke two ribs! Considering he and Soapy were starting their mammoth circumnavigation of GB when they get back he must be a tad worried (they got off OK - see link above!). There were even rumours that someone had died (not substantiated).









After the Red Dress Run, I queued lots for the free beer (very weak free beer!) and little snacks of teeny tiny pancakes with blobs of marshmallow and carrot on top. It starts to get dimpsy so I wander back to the Three Kings Monument to fetch the bicycle that I'd chained to some railings there. Ah, slight problem - in all the fun, I've lost the blasted key to the padlock. I'm kidding right? No. So I traipse back to bicycle hire shop, another kilometre or so, slicked with dust and sweat, only to get presented with a huge bag of spare keys - hundreds of the beggars! I am so incredulous about this turn of events that I have to stop off in a cafe and regale a couple of American Hashers with my woes. they invite me to have a beer (of course!). They are Cumlord and PussyGalore (US hashers are, um, rather wild!) and we discuss, amongst other things, tattoos (they have lots) and Arnie Shwarzenegger.


This picture is of a billboard showing King Bhumibol Adulyadej who is highly revered in Thailand ... Many Thai people were wearing the royal colour yellow with his symbol on the breast - to celebrate his 60th year on the throne. King Bhumibol (78yrs old) is the longest serving monarch in the world. His picture could be seen everywhere.
By the time I get back to the bicycle I have wondered in a huge circle in a beery fug, and it's dark. I start trying different keys. I am half way through the bag when I get approached by a very large Black African hasher who offers his assistance. I tell him my story whereupon he starts trying keys also. Huh, methinks, I was doing that - he tries three keys and the damned padlock opens. Voodoo! or maybe he was just stronger - after all, it was a piddling little padlock. I thank my rescuer profusely and he invites me back to his hotel (nicely). Nicely I decline. I cycle back to hire shop, directly this time, only to find it locked up! It's 19.50hrs and they're supposed to close at 2000hrs! I take cycle back to Eagle House and go straight to bed, do not pass go and sleep really soundly despite the mattress.

5 comments:

Piglottie said...

TutMut! Its great to have you back and thank you sooooo much for sharing your journey and exploits with us! Took me to Thailand just for a little while.

Wizened Wizard said...

Wow. Quite a trip you're having. Without the substantiating photos I would wonder if maybe you were just doing some drugs and writing unbelievable stories! The last time I visited, I think you were quietly knitting.

Must come back again and read more. Meanwhile (pardon my ignorance) what's a hasher?

TutleyMutley said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying the reading of, Piglottie - I've been enjoying the recording of - though it's a tad time consuming.
And Hashing, my Dear Wizard, is a form of non-competitive cross-country running with the main objective of working up a decent thirst. Great emphasis is placed on the social aspects - particularly the communal boozing session at the apr├ęs-hash. It's a fun activity and not be taken at all seriously. More can be found at http://www.cix.co.uk/~bicesterh3/uk/hashing.htm

Wizened Wizard said...

Ah, thank you Tut Mut - true enlightenment is mine! Hash on!

Rain said...

That sounds like a lot of fun (except for the lost key bit).