Monday, November 19, 2012

What the hell is hashing?

If you aren't familiar with couchsurfing, it's a website where people offer to host travelers. I decided to give it a try when I knew I was going to be in New Orleans. I thought it would be a great way to see the city from a locals perspective and it would be much safer than trying to find a place to park on the streets. I'm really glad I did.

Pat answered my request and I have been parked in his backyard since Friday. Having Okie made it a bit harder to find a host and even Pat can't have animals in his place but that's the advantage to having my bed on wheels. I don't need to sleep in the house but now I have access to power and showers again, as well as having someone who is really fun to show me around.

On Saturday he asked if I want to go hashing with him. I had no idea what that was but am almost always up for something new. It sounds really silly when it is described but I'll give it a go anyway. A group of people get together and race through a trail trying to catch the hare; a person designated to run from the pack. Beer is a big part of the whole event, with one stop in the middle of it to break and drink beer. People can drink anywhere in Louisiana, in fact if you have a beer in a bar and want to go somewhere else before it's finished there's a guy at the door to give you a "to-go cup" so you can take it with you. No glass is allowed on the streets.

This particular hash took place in a swamp. It was muddy, full of thorns and swampland and ridiculously fun. These people are absolutely nuts and incredibly nice. Once everyone is out of the trail a circle of individuals is formed where people are called into the middle for various 'offenses' and are ordered to do a 'down-down'. A cup of beer is filled and you have to drink the whole thing at once. Whatever you can't drink goes over your head. Being my first hash I was the virgin. I was nervous about what they might make me do but I think they took it easy on me. Then there's food and a bonfire. Not all of the hashes are like this. Some of them take place in the city and don't involve camping, fires or fireworks like this one did. I've been told they are usually much more tame than this one was so I'm awfully glad my first one was the craziest group.

I have met so many great people here in such a short time and can hardly keep up with any of them! I think I'll stay for a little while longer. There are many abandoned places for me to photograph and I'm in a safe and welcoming place so why wouldn't I take advantage of this time? My life is pretty great right now!

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