In The Pink
Where do we start with this run? It was so extraordinary, so confusing, so infamous, so superlatively chaotic for so many reasons. So it will come as no surprise to learn its architect was Catch Of The Day.
In retrospect the warning signs were obvious and ominous. Check off the ingredients for a five-star clusterfuck: A to B run. Check. Bring clothes to change into at B as you will be soaked. Check. Everybody has to park in the same place (why?). Check. Trail is marked in chalk, pink ribbon and hell money. Check. It’ll take two hours – maybe. Check. There’s an important number, 6906, that you need to remember as you’ll need it on the run. Check. I set the trail on Saturday with Dram but it rained. Check. So I set it again on Sunday but it rained again. Check. So I set the run again on Monday morning, Tuesday morning and this morning. You’ll be alright. Checkmate.
And so the 10 intrepid runners set off from Tsuen Wan Town Hall as Catch Of The Day shoulders the bags to take them to B. Speculation is rife. “I reckon B’s Chuen Lung,” says one. “Which raging torrent will we have to swim across?” says another. A third: “That 4-digit number – it’s a security gate code.”
One hour and 10 minutes later we’re still in Tsuen Wan less than a kilometre from the start, having traipsed what seems like every road in that dismal conurbation looking for phantom trail, finding the odd arrow or piece of pink ribbon tied to a railing, leading to – nothing. Near Discovery Park we meet our nemesis with two pieces of pink ribbon tied to a railing. Of course the hare had forgotten to mention that two pieces of pink ribbon are a check. So up and down Tsuen King Circuit we tramp, along every side road, up every staircase … until One Eyed Jack remembers a footbridge over the railway just to the north of Discovery Park. “We’ve got to cross the railway somewhere.” And indeed, there’s trail on the footbridge and a nice chalked check at the entrance to the squatter village area on the hillside.
Fifteen minutes later and we’re still at the same check, when Golden Balls tries an alley that Liberace had previously declared checked, and finds hell money. On up and up, and, what the heck, trail is frequent and obvious. Not so for the GM, who had stormed off home in a huff with the email rebuff: “I hate tonight’s run very much. Don’t do the same foolish any more please.”
The pack finds itself on Route Twisk, but any front-running tendencies by Crash Test Dummy and Luk Dim Boon are reeled in by a series of cheeky checks. At one point Eunuch takes off ahead only for Mango Groove to find trail – unintuitively – downhill. We all follow this loop, Eunuch catching up, and come back onto Route Twisk at the very spot Eunuch had turned back after hearing the calls. It’s that kind of run.
The rambo/wimp split appears. Eunuch, Mango Groove, Serbian Bomber, Luk Dim Boon and Crash Test Dummy take the rambos option up hundreds of steps to the east. Only three of this group would finish the run. Golden Jelly, Stingray, One Eyed Jack and Golden Balls carry on up Route Twisk on the wimp trail, until they reach a catchwater heading west, Golden Jelly trying every security gate we pass with the 6906 code.
The geordie and the cockney pull away on the catchwater, wittering away to each other like moon-crossed morons (it’s mid-autumn festival tomorrow and the moon is bright in the hills above old Tsuen Wan) and miss the hell-money check. GB and GJ don’t though, and head down a track to another check, where they take the wrong option. At this point the rambos arrive, having done the river crossing on stepping stones and thus keeping their powder dry. Did I say the rambos arrive? Actually it’s only Mango Groove, Eunuch and Crash Test Dummy.
Wherefore Serbian Bomber? Having missed a check he’s traipsing alone up up up through the forest on the other side of Route Twisk. But we know he’ll be fine because he carries a survival kit and can slaughter, skin and butcher a goat. Eventually he will emerge at the top end of Chuen Lung and make an SOS call to Catch Of The Day, hoping that B is near. Catch Of The Day will tell him where B is. “You’re kidding me! That’s 7 kilometres away!”
Wherefore Luk Dim Boon? He too is heading up through the Tai Mo Shan forests, albeit on the other side of Route Twisk, having led the rambos onto the wimp catchwater. He finds pink ribbon going into the trees. Lots of it. A good, well-marked pink-ribbon trail. Which he follows up up up up up. “Oh man, I’m so far ahead, I’m gonna blow them all away tonight,” he gloats gleefully. And up. And up. And up. To Tsuen Kam Au at the top of Route Twisk. Where pink ribbon runs out. He is bare chested. He knows not where B is. He has no money, no phone.
But let us return to the remaining seven hashers still on trail. Once again it is Golden Balls who breaks a deadlock as they rampage through a farmstead, its occupants incredulous that this sweaty rabble should turn up on their property at 10pm, dodging dogs, slipping down slopes and shouting raucously. Soon a lower catchwater is gained. Eunuch, Mango and CTD take off on this easy running hardtop, while One Eyed Jack and Stingray decide the finish is at Allway Garden because it has a nice car park. Thus satisfied with their choice of route they start wittering again – and miss the check and shiggy trail that leads down into the Tsuen Wan industrial area.
Meanwhile, the five hashers left on trail from the starting 10 begin to head – bizarrely – back in the direction of A. “I reckon B is A,” offers Golden Balls. Then the written instructions start appearing. “Go to L Hotel Room 6909” is scrawled on lampposts at least three times. “L Hotel? LKF hotel in Lan Kwai Fong?” we wonder. No, trail leads us past A to the adjacent L’hotel Nina in Nina Tower, the 89-storey behemoth that dominates the town’s skyline. So, room 6909 on the 69th floor.
It’s a byzantine lift system involving swapping elevators on different floors as you go up. GB and the exhausted Golden Jelly manage to get diverted into the back-of-house staff elevator system where the upper floors are disabled, until a kindly cleaning lady enables them. It’s gone 11 when they finally make it to room 6906, having initially tried 6909, from where the hapless incumbent (“Eric”) groans “Not again!”
Inside room 6906 is the hare, the hashers, non-runner Velcro Lips (who couldn’t find A) with baguettes, ham, cheese and other tasty comestibles, and a fridge full of Japanese beer (and Carlsberg Special). Everybody is there, including Serbian Bomber, who has taken a taxi down from Chuen Lung, everybody except Luk Dim Boon, that is. “He was in the lead,” exclaims Mango.
As we revive and swap tales of the evening’s events, Liberace calls. Luk Dim Boon has managed to get a lift but doesn’t know where B is. He’s borrowed the driver’s phone to call his wife to get her to put out an SOS to the Kowloon Hash (!) to see if any of them know where the Northern New Territories Hash is hanging. Sometime Kowloon hasher Libs is responding.
Half an hour passes and there’s still no sign of Luk Dim Boon. Actually he’s downstairs, where he’s been for the past 30 minutes, still bare-chested like some desperate lobby rent boy. The desk clerk tells him there’s no Kin Keibun registered at the hotel, only a Madame Chin in room 6906. How could he know that Kin’s name on her ID card is styled “Chin”. And Eric in Room 6909 isn’t being very helpful…at last the hare goes down for a look and finds an exasperated and very thirsty LDB.
The circle, managed by Serbian Bomber in the absence of the GM, has already started when they arrive. It’s getting towards midnight. Velcro Lips has left, muttering something about school tomorrow. Crash Test Dummy has a head wound. Eunuch’s ankle has given up. What will the staff say when the see the beer-can-festooned floor in the morning? Ah, “Madame Chin entertains in her boudoir.”
We tear ourselves away from this most eccentric of runs and its self-perpetuating circle some time after midnight. It’s been awesome, one of the funniest hashes ever, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Mango Groove apologises to Eric as we pass room 6909.
“Leave me alone!”
The Email Transcripts
Liberace: I hate tonights run very much. Dont do the same foolish any more please.
LDB: I really appreciate the hare’s effort in tonight’s run. A lot of planning was involved obviously! But, some other c**t decided to mark a trail using a slightly different shade of pink ribbon which has completely sent me off trail. Perhaps a Pantone color guide should be considered an essential kit for the hash. Diu!
GB: This is already a legendary run. ps: Don’t spread the news, it’s a secret about the GM giving up and pissing off early…
VL: A great effort from Kin who had spent many hours doing recces for the run. Lovely idea to have a different location for the end of the run. Great job, Kin. Was it the longest ever N2TH3 Wednesday run? When I left at 11:00pm there was still one runner out. Sad to have to relinquish my crown for the biggest neck extension.
SB: Why didn’t you simply test the elasticity of the ribbon. It was a dead giveaway. Also you should have been alarmed at finding trail marking so frequently given the difficulty of finding markings on the rest of the run. If it’s a secret, then I won’t remind you that somebody who gave up actually checked on the true trail (and missed the trail markings that he ran over) before he gave up.
MG: I think it may well be our longest night-time run. We started at 7.43pm but I didn’t clock when Lok Dim Bun arrived as I was laughing so much. If it passed three hours then it would be up there with our 888 run where Letch and Bill Barnes were supposed to set half a run each but somehow managed to set a rambo run each. We ended up at HLY, well all except Any DIck’ll Do who never made it back. Our longest run was the Saturday run last November where Ben was out for five hours. This run was set by Lok dim bun. I feel a trend emerging here. Well done Kin on setting your trail. We won’t forget that one for a while. Just so much happened. Even getting the correct hotel room. That poor guy in room 6909.
Libs: Its why l so desperate when l found rm 6909 is wrong but cant get any contact with anyone as l dont have my phone. And the time is so tight for my following job. Its lucky lm so clever to ask the counter try to find if there is any ms Chin in rm 6906 or anywhere. Finnally l found COTD in rm 6906. F**k!
VL: GM was told to go to room 6906 it instead he deliberately went to 6909. Knocked on the door and it was opened by a big hunky guy —–GM is gay?
Libs: But anyway it should be a very fun arrangement except some wrong info has been given. My anger was gone after l have a very well sleep. And now l need do an apology to the hare for my bad temper yesterday. Catch of the Dear, Im so sorry to behave like that even as I’m so desperate. It should not be happen again.
LSG: Is that a geordie version of Catch of the Day? Brilliant stuff today guys…LSG (not the only one to have issues with hotel rooms then…)
Dram: Agreed. Splendid stuff. Hashing at its most chaotic.