best weekend

This weekend I had so much fun and did so many things I don’t know where to begin. The scavenger hunt we did on Saturday was hilarious and involved so many daring feats that I should list somehow… but I really don’t have the energy to do so. It’s a shame — if I don’t write about something the very same day, I probably never will. Luckily Facebook is here to preserve the memories! There’s an album which is accessible to my Facebook friends, but failing that, check out our cheesy happy grins. This is TEAM AWESOME aka TEAM SAFETY FIRST aka TEAM BALLENTINES and not only did we WIN the game by a dozen points, but we were the only ones to achieve what I personally consider the biggest challenge on the list: Diane ran up the incredibly long, steep and somewhat dangerous Down escalator at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station. This will mean nothing to anyone not from Taiwan but… I feel it needs to be mentioned.

But on to today’s adventure! My first China Hash! it was so intense and so much fun. It started to rain within minutes of us setting out after the Hares, and consequently we were soaked for the entire run, slipping around in the mud and splashing through rivers (climbing over slippery boulders just isn’t worth it — I quickly abandoned that approach and resigned myself quite happily to running with sopping wet trainers).

I hadn’t known at all what to expect, despite various warnings, so I was delighted to discover that a Hash run involves hunting for a trail, which can occasionally be misleading or send you down a dead end, and because the terrain was so crazy — you know those beautiful steep mountains in Chinese landscape paintings? yes, well we were running up and down those, with occasional trips through the crystal-clear water of the rivers at the bottom. This was nothing like a race, and at times running was out of the question. But oh, such fun! I feel at a loss for how to describe it. I do wish so much that James could have run it too — I know he would have loved it, although I doubt we would have seen much of each other as I know his hereditary utter disregard for danger would have seen him belting up ahead with most of the hardcore hashers.

I can’t wait for the Metro Hash (which is the one I already did last week) which is every Wednesday, and I know that the China Hash has to become a permanent Sunday feature. There is also a Taipei/Bear Hash on Saturdays but I don’t know if I am that addicted yet! I’m so glad Rebecca introduced me to this fantastic sport — it’s running, hiking, climbing, trekking, and general beer-soaked fun, all set in the gorgeous countryside around Taipei. I’m a terrible tourist and absolutely loathe organized trips, so this is such a perfect way to see more of Taiwan.

Ok I will stop raving now. I wanted to put up the pictures I took today (which were few, due to incompatibility of touchscreen phones and wet hands) but I can’t get photobucket to cooperate so instead here are a few pics taken by other runners!

This is Rebecca and me sneakily running back round a hill so we could access the hidden trail without having to queue up in the mud. Note my new and highly effective knee supports — my knees are good as gold this evening. Very happy about that.

Yes, we ran over this bridge. Above the bridge was the hugest, most terrifying spider I have ever seen in my entire life, despite having lived in Australia for 4 years. It was black and yellow and made me feel quite sick — and I’m not normally afraid of spiders…

There was a lot of this going on — this (in case the picture isn’t clear) being wading across rivers. Mei discovered a leech on her leg when we finished the race… I freaked out a bit but the only other leech discovered was underneath my shoe. I watched crawl across a wall to reach me… those things really are nightmarish creatures.

Fast forward to the end, where as a first-timer I am once again submitted to some beer-heavy hazing. Just before me a guy had been made to drink his beer out of his new running shoe, so I was ever so slightly apprehensive about what would happen to me — nothing too humiliating, it turns out.

And finally, here is the map tracked by Runkeeper. It took us just under 2 hours to complete the 7.5km course — which isn’t too shabby for a first effort! ayyye I am very excited. Pity I have so much homework to do for class tomorrow…


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