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The UB Hash – Escape from the city

June 22, 2011

The sun setting west of UB

One of the regular activities that has worked its way into my weekly routine is the UB Hash. Every Tuesday night we meet in front of the Bayangol Hotel, jump in a bus and head southeast of the city. If you’re not familiar with “hashing”, or the Hash House Harriers, it’s a pretty entertaining read.

The UB Hash is a bit different from the norm in that we don’t really hash.  That would be the simplest way to put it.  A standard evening finds us arriving at our location ~7pm giving us an hour before we reconvene by the bus.  Some folks run into the hills, others hike, and still others just hang out by the bus, socializing and enjoying the views and fresh air outside of the city.

Those of us that run don’t have a hare, or a trail.  Unfortunately we don’t have the time on these evenings to set one.  Instead we head straight up into the hills, which entails .5km of 8-10% grade straight off the bus.  Great way to get warm.  After that, we run up and down the ridges of the surrounding hills until it’s time to head back for the nightly round up.

Twilight adds some color to the end of the hash

Once back by the van sandwiches are broken out, along with a little mini keg, the likes of which I’ve never come across in the sates.  Looks like this and is an excellent size for small gatherings.  On average we have 15-20 peopel ranging in age from 8-70+, with the bulk of the group usually made up of 20-something, volunteer expats.  Once everyone has had a quick bite, and grabbed a juice or a beer, everyone circles up.   At this point we take turns stating names, origins, length of stay in Mongolia, reasons for being in Mongolia and whether or not we are “available”.

This last point is very important to our hash general, Brigitte.  Brigitte is an American citizen of German/Bavarian origin who has lived in Mongolia for 14 years and runs a German bakery.  Her age is anybody’s guess, but I’d wager no less than upper 60’s and wouldn’t be surprised if it were closer to 80.  Despite that her enthusiasm for the hash, beer, and talking shit about Mongolian bureaucracy and corruption, knows no bounds.  She pulls zero punches and has no shortage of crazy stories from her experiences around the world.  Born in Germany, lived in England, Switzerland, Italy, the US (where she married an American), the Philippines, Japan and Mongolia.  She has one natural born son who lives in France and married a French lady (don’t bring the daughter-in-law up if you know what’s good for you) and two adopted daughters, both from the Phillipines, who have married an American and an Italian(?) respectively.

A look up the valley at some of the hash hills

Anyway, Brigitte’s leadership and razor sharp commentary keep things interesting, and the hash has been an expat mainstay for 17 years.  It’s a fantastic escape from the city and a great incentive to get some regular exercise and fresh air.  It’s also great avenue to meet new people and learn about what others are doing during their time in the country.  From embassy workers, to NGO folks, Australian volunteers, to miners.  If you find yourself in UB and are looking for a good social outlet, with the opportunity for a bit of exercise, you can hardly do better.

The base of the hills, looking back at the city

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From → Mongolia

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