October 19, 2019

Hashing it out in Grenada

One of the most unique and fun things we've done while in Grenada is participate in the weekly hash runs.

The Hash House Harriers are an international social running club. You can learn a little more about the 75-year old hash tradition here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers. Despite its popularity around the globe - friends have shared stories of hashing in the States and many other countries - we never heard of hashing before arriving to Grenada.

The local Grenada Hash House Harriers, or GH3, jokingly identify themselves as "drinkers with a running problem!"

In Grenada, hash events take place every Saturday, and always in a different place around the island. Late afternoon, a mix of approximately 200 expats, students, locals and cruisers gather at the starting point. Anyone who shows up wearing bright new sneakers will have one of their shoes taken and filled with beer and be forced to drink from it!

In Grenada, the hash hare sets up two trails around the island - a 3.5 to 5 mile runners' trail and a shorter walkers' trail. After a quick briefing from the hash master and the "On On" command, hashers take off into the bush following piles of shredded paper - there are often several false trails along the way, and sometimes a beer pit stop - until runners reach the finish line.

We run through streets and alleyways, over logs and boulders, across streams and ledges, and up steep inclines. We almost always get wet, sweaty, and dirty - very dirty!

Trails always end with music, lots of cold beers and great local food. For $10EC ($3.70 USD), local food vendors usually sell a generously sized portion of barbecue chicken and potato salad, as well as Grenada's national dish "oil down."

Oil down is a one-pot dish made from coconut, callaloo greens, salt meat or chicken, salt fish or crab, dumplings, breadfruit and more. Despite it being the island's national dish, it's time consuming and complex to make, so it's rare to find on any restaurant menu, but it's is a tasty and filling dish.

After all the hashers return (there is always a sign in and out sheet so no one is left in the bush), a small celebration follows. The first-time hashers, or virgins, are doused with beer, and gifted certificates to recognize their "loss of virginity!" They also recognize birthdays, have naming ceremonies for veteran hashers, and celebrate absurd or silly behavior during the hash.

We enjoy the exercise and camaraderie, but most of all we love getting away from downtown and the cruisers' anchorages and to see new areas of the island, where we likely wouldn't visit on our own.

We've had such a great time hashing this summer, that when the club announced a special hash weekend on Grenada's Carriacou Island, we made the 40-mile sail north to participate.

We were joined by several of our cruising friends and had a great weekend, with a Friday and Saturday night "lime" - local slang for a casual and fun meetup, usually at a rum shop - as well as an exhausting but great hash run up Carriacou's second highest peak, Chappeau Carre.

Hashing has been such a fun and enjoyable way to spend our time this summer. We can't wait to look for hash clubs and events in other places we visit in the future.

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