Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
September 10, 2000
Penguin" and Colin King, GM of the Petaling Hash
This is about as far away from home as I can get. I am almost exactly
halfway around the world. If I get any farther away, I'll be on
my way back!
I've spent the past two weeks in Malaysia: first at the Eco-Challenge
2000 in Borneo, and the past several days in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
is a strange, wonderful, confusing, exciting place of extreme contrasts.
I can barely begin to put it into words.
If you haven't seen the Eco-Challenge on television, you've missed
something really special. You can go to: www.ecochallenge.com
to read about this year's event. The competitors sailed, coasteered,
trekked, canoed, floated, rappelled, scuba-ed, and confronted the
extremes of cold river water, steamy jungle paths, towering caves,
and unforgiving terrain to complete the most rigorous Eco-Challenge
I was following a team that I have worked with since early this
spring. Their race didn't go exactly as they would have liked and
they ended up dropping out. It was a bitter disappointment, I'm
sure, since they had spent nearly a year preparing. But that kind
of racing (called expedition or adventure racing depending on whom
you talk to]) is not the place for the timid.
From Borneo, I traveled to Kuala Lumpur where I had a chance to
run with the original Hash House Harriers. The HHH began there and
has been running continuously since 1938. It's quite a tradition.
The "hash" was of the "live hare" variety, meaning that a runner
set the course about ten minutes before the rest of us started.
The run-- a VERY kind word for it--was through a rubber plantation
and indigenous jungle terrain. I did much more climbing than running,
but it was fun all the same.
The "hash" is just a prelude to the evening's REAL purpose, which,
to an outsider, seemed to consist mostly of making fun of or embarrassing
everyone there. The drinking helped, I'm sure. I was lucky enough
to escape nearly all of the good-natured ribbing, but I did find
myself "chugging" a glass of beer for the first time in nearly thirty
In the end, though, I was just another runner away from home hoping
to spend time with some friends. And that I did.
The fall season starts in earnest soon. I'll be in Portland, OR
and Fort Worth, TX over the next couple of weeks. Then it's Washington,
DC for the Marine Corps Marathon and the GIANT 5th Running
of the Brigade Bash on October 21.
Takin' it to the streets...