Excuse me, where can I find The Hash please?


Date sent: Mon, 12 Aug 1996
From: Marc Obrowski
To: strange@cyber-adv.com
Subject: Hash
When I arrived at Makassar (on Sulawesi, Indonesia) the place presented itself as a city of lies, false spouses, would-be-hookers and real ones. That was before I joined the Hash. Afterwards it was of course a lot worse.

Finding a Hash can be difficult. A Hash is a sort of cross country running, loosely organized and very popular among expatriates in Asia. I was new in town, I had managed to find a house, I had a good job and I had even flown in my bicycle. So I was set I just didnít know anybody yet in my new hometown. "Go to the Hash to meet people" somebody had suggested. Good, go to the Hash but how to find a Hash? I finally met somebody who knew about the Makassar Hash, he did not know where it was though but he knew somebody who surely would know. A phone call clarified that. No, not where the Hash was but that that acquaintance also had no idea about its whereabouts. He did not even know somebody who would surely know.

The change came when I met Fifi (not her real name) at Gelael. She asked me to hand her down a pack of diapers from the top of the shelf. For her Baby. As I hate any subspecies of children I quickly gave her the incriminating article (imagine somebody seeing Marc the kid-hater with a pack of diapers in his hands) and I was heading off. Still she managed to drag me into a conversation. In about a split second she had told me half the story of her live. It made me listen up. She might have had KB (the largely advertised contraceptive campaign) problems but she also was married to a Dutch guy and she knew everything about the Hash as it seemed. She gave me the number of her friend since she was having for some reason no telephone. To make the story short, she also did not have a baby as it became clear the second time I met her, and by the way her beloved husband of whom she had told me so much about was also not only 'not here right now', he was not going to come back at all. And of course she had never been to a Hash in her live.

Nor had been her friend from Toraja who entered the house totally confused. Her husband had died three days before and she had just known about it. The reason why she did not seem to be too grieved was that her husband had been in Yogyakarta visiting his girlfriend when it happened and that she had already somebody else in stock. Also was he not her husband. I left before any of them could get the idea of seeing in me a handy replacement for the deceased or the fled Ďhusbandí.

I still had the number of that other friend of hers so I called her. Nita (also not her real name) was at home. She knew where the Hash people met and she was willing to show me. After work I went to her house. While I was driving down the street, looking for number 35 (you guess it, not the real number) some people came for help. For some reason they knew immediately who I was looking for and directed me to the house. Nita opened the gate. Wow, she was really pretty. Conspicuously pretty, a little too much I thought. She lived there with her Husband and child as she told me. That the husband did not exist did not bother me any more at that stage, anyway she knew about the Hash and we went to a joint called Kios Semarang.

The place was almost empty, only one expatriate was sitting at a sea view table with his wife. He was very friendly but alas no Hash goer. His wife was not his wife as I learned later. But at least I could get hold of some leaflets that seemed to have some correlation with the Hash. I read them and tried to make a sense out of it. There was a map which was obviously meant to show where the Hash would take place, but it did not show where the origin (Ujung Pandang) was nor did it seem to contain the destination. One spot was marked on-on, whatever that meant.

I was still not sure whether I should go or not. I asked a German working next to my office if he ever went to the Hash. "No I donít like this kind of things. The running part is only an excuse for drinking excessive amounts of beer" he said, letting some contempt shine through.

So may be I should not go. But then again he was a family man who didnít even like parties, at least not the wilder ones. And worst of all his wife was not only really his wife, she was also the same person he lived with. So if he does not like the Hash, someone who hates family stuff, loves parties and has lost any belief in real marriages probably likes it, or not? I classify myself as the latter type but still I was not quite sure if I should dare it or not.

"They will make all newcomers drink huge amounts of beer and moreover douse them with it", Fifi had said. I do not like beer, so may be I better do not go. But then again almost everything that Fifi had told me so far was of the husband, baby, Nita-is-a-perempuan-nakal-but-I-am-an-angel type. So if Fifi says the Hash is wicked it is probably quite nice, or not?

Finally I went. I was allowed to drink water, not doused, no excessive drinking but I also got wet, muddy, bloody legs by bushes, misled by false trails etc. It could only get better the next time I reasoned. Since then I join the Hash more or less regularly always hoping it will finally get better the next time.

marc obrowski

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