Sunday, March 18, 2001

Swissair made me come…

to Portugal.

“Use it or lose it” was the message of their latest letter. They were talking only about a free “frequent flyer” air ticket to any destination in Europe, which was about to expire. I preferred using to losing, so I decided to go. Finally I made a good decision, once in a lifetime.

Being an admittedly addicted hasher the first thing to do was to search the Internet for a suitable internash-hash weekend, taking into consideration the given limits, both timewise and milewise. With the help of this free flight I wanted also to visit places I’d never been before. Attending the international “Paddy Bash Hash” held in Lisbon on 16-17-18 March 2001 seemed to be an ideal solution, and it was, indeed. This time I could not make my wife (Lady Rabies, alias Tokaji Sweet) to come. I couldn’t make her to fly with me (she said she was too busy), so I had to enjoy the journey by myself.

The beginning was not so promising. The directions, telling how to find the meeting place nearby Lisbon, came by e-mail from Imperial, a female hashette, who called herself also as the Queen of Lostness. She must be a misguiding cross-breed between that Highlander creature and the Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator, I thought, but I was wrong, absolutely wrong. The received instructions were correct, the meeting pub in Cascais was really easy to spot, a piece of cake. There were about 100 hashers attending, locals and visitors combined. Quite a good turn out, isn’t it?

The people of Portugal are considered as the most hospitable on earth. Apparently this feature is infecting ex-pats living amongst them. Queen of Lostness (from now on I better call her the Lily of Montana forever Young) and her family (including LH3’s GM Firkin and their kids) were the best hosts I could imagine, maybe better. Everything went fine, from the initial Friday night debauchery in the Beefeater’s Bar to the closing Sunday afternoon spent on a beach of the Potuguese Riviera, doing sand-dune jumping, watching brave surfers and daring swimmers, or just relaxing, sunbathing and listening to the gorgeous surf of the Atlantic. Between the starting and the finishing events all the other things were also almost perfect, such as the LH3’s 400th Rambo Run in the hills covered with prolific, sweet-smelling subtropical forests, or Junior Young Bryce’s priceless T-shirt design, or the abundant Saturday night dinner with local folk and Irish music, singing and dancing, skits and other hashy amusements, or the Hang Over Run by the beach on the next day and the farewell lunch after. Nothing but many-many thanks for all!

Even the weather was close to ideal, good for the local RA. The expectable mis-management sometimes seemed to turn rather into over-organization. The flow of events was faultless, the buses were on time, the supply of food and beer looked like endless. And wasn’t it amazingly careful from this “family oriented” hash to make two separate circles after the first run, one for the tough Rambos and one for those with innocent, little children. (Maybe I shouldn’t mention that later these little “innocent” Hash Horrors attacked the Rambo Circle with squirt guns and splash balloons in the perishing cold, since that was only a minor addition to the chaos already existing.) With my wide international hashing experience I have the opinion that the local Mismanagement Committe should change its name to something else, like Hash Precision Party, or similar. However, one little error was found, they forgot to put condoms in the goodie bags, but GM Firkin had to pay dearly for this absent-mindness. He sucked his down-down beer from one of these missing items filled full, filtered through his own hash horn.

The hashy part of the weekend was something like heaven, not to mention the short private excursions to nearby Estoril, Belem and Lisbon, made with the purpose of “normal” tourism only. I had a marvelous time in Portugal, plus – during the return flight – I could also stop and spend two pleasent days in Paris. Why Paris? Well, staying in Paris is said to be like spending time with a beautiful, young woman, except for the little difference that Paris remains Paris forever. Nevertheless, Paris was another damned place I always wanted to visit but somehow never could, no matter how “frequent flyer” I was in the past. On the other hand I “discovered” a rather far relative living close to Paris, who proved also to be an outmost kind and helpful host, thanks him and God.

Lisbon is not a really scooter friendly city. The sidewalks are paved with white cobble stones, attractive but shaky, and most streets are frightenly steep. But Paris is simply a great scooter paradise. In the downtown you can outscoot any of the tourist buses, even the subway (here called Metro), if you take also into account the false tracks you inevitably make if going into this underground maze. And scootering on surface level is fun, as long as it doesn’t rain. (Part of the time it did, unfortunately.)

What else can I say? Fellow hashers, follow my example! Hash as much as you can! There’s a hash all over the world, always, and host Hashes are mostly friendly. This time even the usually hostile host hash dogs were friendly to me, all of them, without exception. They didn’t want to catch at all,

Sincerely Yours,