Hash House Harriers in Balikpapan: HASH Mash

Blurry AdventuresFor the uninitiated, The Hash House Harriers (A/K/A “Hash”) is an international running group dating back to the late 1930′s when some rowdy British expats in Malaysia decided they needed a way to sweat off their hangovers.

Despite these beginnings (or perhaps, because of them), hashes are now going strong around the world, with over 2000 chapters spanning every continent (although it doesn’t appear that Antarctica’s is currently active). Today, there are hashes for every walk of life: family hashes, women’s hashes, men’s hashes, group hashes … you get the idea. And Balikpapan is a hasher’s paradise, with a hash going on somewhere in town at least three times a week!

What it is: The hash (commonly referred to as “On-on” in Indonesia), is typically a 5 or 10 kilometer route (depending on the hash group) marked by shredded bits of white paper sprinkled sporadically along the way through villages (“kampungs”), fields, jungle and bustling roads. You just show up at the starting place — which changes every week –, and then follow the paper! Running in most of the groups is optional; in fact, walking affords more opportunity to snap photos, laugh with the throngs of children who swarm around you for high-fives and “Hey-mister-what-is-your-name?” exchanges, and just stopping to enjoy the amazing views that you probably would never otherwise encounter if it were not for the awesome people who plan out these routes. At the end, you’ll find yourself back at the starting point where a truck full of cold drinks (including water and soft drinks), some tasty snacks and your fellow hashers await. In short, this is tons of fun!

So, in honor of the great hashes in Balikpapan, below is a mashup of hash scenes in Balikpapan, mostly courtesy of my (somewhat blurry) phone camera.

Starting out (I just learned this yesterday: if you are a walker in a running group, you should start out ahead of the official start time so everyone ends up at around the same time.

Starting out (I just learned this yesterday: if you are a walker in a running group, you should start out ahead of the official start time so everyone ends their hash at around the same time).

Route through a typical kampung.

Route through a typical kampung.

Harvesting Long-Beans ("Kacang Panjang")

Harvesting Long-Beans (“Kacang Panjang”)

Sometimes, the kids hang around and point the way for you. Especially helpful when the route involves bridges like this one!

Not for the depth-perception challenged. (But there is an easier way around, too, in case you forgot your glasses!)

Just Hanging Out

Just Hanging Out

Girl with Blue Tarp

Girl with Blue Tarp

Country Living

Country Living

Walking through someone's curtilage.

Walking through someone’s curtilage.

Kampong Scene

Kampung Scene

Warung selling snacks along the way.

Warung selling snacks along the way.

Woman making sate sticks

Woman making sate sticks (also known as “satay”)

Sorting Sate Sticks

Sorting Sate Sticks

Woman outside house making sate sticks

Woman outside house making sate sticks

Closeup showing blade and leather shield

Closeup showing blade and leather shield

School Boy next to Watertank

School Boy next to Watertank

Sidewalks, Balikpapan Style!

Sidewalks, Balikpapan Style!

Chicken Cages

Chicken Cages

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

Ayam Kampung

Ayam Kampung

This is our guide! (One time, we could not find the paper shreds and became completely lost. We wanted to cut through the fields and jungle, and this kind fellow was so concerned about us getting even more lost (and turns out, with good reason), that he showed us the way!

This is our guide! One time, we could not find the paper shreds and became completely lost. We wanted to cut through the fields and jungle to get back to the main road, and this kind fellow was so concerned about us getting even more lost (and turns out, with good reason), that he showed us the way!

Sam and I being guided through the jungle.

Sam and I being guided through the jungle. (It was Mo-Vember, hence the mustache.)

Mud Soccer, anyone?

Mud Soccer, anyone?

Wooden House in Corn Fields

Wooden House in Corn Fields

Typical greetings! It is so much fun to walk through the kampungs and interact with everyone -- some of the friendliest human beings on earth.

Typical greetings! It is so much fun to walk through the kampungs and interact with everyone — some of the friendliest human beings on earth.

The kids are always so cute and friendly ... but they never stay still long enough for a decent photo!

The kids are always so cute and friendly … but they never stay still long enough for a decent photo!

Moo!

And once, we even ended at the scene of a cock fight!

And once, we even ended at the scene of a cock fight … (yes, this still exists in some places).

Chicken Baskets!

Chicken Baskets!

Current Hash Schedule:

Men’s Hash: Mondays at 5 pm
Family Hash:Tuesdays at 5 pm
Women’s Hash: Thursdays at 5 pm (I think!)
Mixed Hash: Saturdays at 5 pm

As noted above, the hash location changes every week, so make sure you contact the hash leader or someone who is going to find the right locale!

What it Costs: 20,000 Rupiah per person (a little under 2 USD), which includes the hash run entry fee and two soft drinks or one beer at the end of the run.

Hash contact Info: The community in Balikpapan can be a transient one, so hash leaders that are here today may not be here next month or next year. If you are new to town, Indohash.com lists contacts, emails, facebook pages, etc., for various hashes in Indonesia, including Balikpapan’s. I’m not sure how updated this site is, however. Two other great resources for up-to-date information include the Balikpapan International Women’s Association (“BIWA”) at b-iwa.com and Balikpapan Expats at www.balikpapanexpats.com.

Or, drop a comment here and I’ll do my best to help you out!


Young Adult New Release! The Orphan of Torundi now available on Amazon

The Orphan of Torundi is available on Amazon today!

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

“The Orphan of Torundi delivers all the key ingredients for a successful young adult novel…. A vivid landscape, a refreshingly unique plot and a lovable protagonist will keep you rooted to the story from the very first page. Surprising twists, and a heart-in-mouth romance take this novel beyond your average Young Adult read: all will rejoice in the turbulent adventure Sam takes the reader on.” -The Children’s Book Review Continue reading


Thirty Meters High at Bukit Bangkirai (Balikpapan’s Canopy Bridge)

Panorama of Canopy Walk

About a two hour’s drive north of Balikpapan city central lies one of East Kalimantan’s tourist draws: the canopy bridge walk at Bukit Bangkirai.

Bukit is actually a park within the rain forest, featuring log cottages for overnight stays, a small restaurant, restrooms, several [overgrown] jungle treks, a questionably maintained swimming pool and, for those who linger until five in the afternoon or so, the lure of viewing East Kal’s famous Hornbills that frequent the area around dusk. Continue reading


Announcing Early Review Copies for The Orphan of Torundi!


It has been a while since my last post.  But I have some arguably valid excuses.  To wit, (1) moving from China to Borneo is a slightly involved procedure and (2) I’ve been busy completing tasks for my soon-to-be-released novel, The Orphan of Torundi!

I thought it would be fun to post the ARC/Catalog Copy here.  So, without further ado …

———–

The Orphan of TorundiTHE ORPHAN OF TORUNDI
A PENELOPE PIPP PUBLISHING Young Adult Adventure/Romance

To find the truth, she must first uncover the lie ….

Orphaned as an infant, Sam is raised by a pharmaceutical research mission in the rain forests of Torundi.  She wields a mean machete, makes soap from candlenuts and is a fairly astute amateur entomologist.  You know, the normal stuff.  But a month before her seventeenth birthday, she is exiled to an American boarding school in Penang, Malaysia.

Armed with little more than her unusual upbringing and church-lady clothes, Sam must contend with her new existence as the world’s most socially unprepared high school senior. Well that’s just fine. Because she is determined to solve the mystery behind her banishment and return home tout de suite.

But when she discovers the unthinkable – that her banishment is tied to an enigmatic corporation with illicit designs on Torundi – she realizes the real mystery she must uncover is … why? Soon, Sam is caught in a whirlwind of intrigue, danger and greed. As she chases this thread of truth to its end, she unravels a plot that threatens her beloved home, her trust in the boy she has grown to love and her own existence.

Blending espionage elements akin to The Bourne Identity with those high-school-awkward-moments (hey, it could happen), THE ORPHAN OF TORUNDI is a quirky, cross-cultural tale of adventure, self-discovery and romance.

J.L. MCCREEDY was born in New Jersey, grew up in Indonesia and Malaysia, graduated law school in Mississippi and currently lives in Borneo.  She freelances as a writer and consultant for charitable organizations.  Her debut novel, LIBERTY FRYE AND THE WITCHES OF HESSEN (Penelope Pipp Publishing) was released in 2012.

300 Pages; 5.25″ x 8″ trade paperback; Publication date: November 2014
Young Adult, Action & Adventure/Romance
Available wherever books are sold.ISBN (E-book): 978-0-9882369-3-6/0988236931 ($4.99)
ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-9882369-2-9/0988236923 ($9.99)
Penelope Pipp Publishing, admin(AT SIGN)penelopepipp.com 

 


The Glory of China’s English-Language Signs

Bathroom philosophy puts a spin on it.
Bathroom philosophy puts a spin on it.  But when you think about it, really, this is spot on.  Because … what is this world that we live in?  And what is a jream?  And are they one and the same?  You could spend hours just mulling that over…

One of my great regrets about our year in China was my failure to capture the brilliance and hilarity that is the English language restaurant menu. It is worth going out to eat for that alone, even if the repercussion of said venture includes the digestion of certain unthinkable delicacies.

Well, I don’t have those awesome menu descriptions captured in all their pixelated glory, but I did snap a few signs we encountered in our day-to-day lives. Continue reading


Looking for a unique greeting card hailing from the Pacific isles of Tonga?

Tongan Greeting Cards Pua DesignsThen look no further!

Amy, who has been awesome enough to share her completely original Tonga-livin’ experiences here on Tonga Time … you know, things like climbing coconut trees (well, Toni gets credit for that — thanks Toni!) to making fresh coconut cream from scratch, to small, inconsequential tidbits like having a baby in Tonga!!!! … well, she’s taken her killer graphic design experience and turned it into a micro-business in the Friendly Islands!

If you get a chance, visit her new Tongan greeting cards website at Pua Designs.  Just click her logo!

(Oh, in case it wasn’t clear, I was joking about the inconsequential nature of birthing a child.  In Tonga.  In the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  With a bucket and adult diapers.  Yup.  I totally could do that…)

 


We’ve moved to Balikpapan, Indonesia …

Sam at Kebun Sayur Market, Balikpapan

Sam at Kebun Sayur Market, Balikpapan

… And you can see where our priorities lie!

It has been a whirlwind since our move from Tianjin, China to here: Balikpapan, a port city on the east coast of Kalimantan (a/k/a “Borneo”) Indonesia. Folks here call it “Kal-Tim,” which is short for Kalimantan Timur (timur means east in Bahasa Indonesia).

First stop?  Pasar Kebun Sayur — a huge market selling batik, Dyak handicrafts, produce, every sort of household good and clothing item a soul can think of and … delicious food, of course!  Balikpapan’s specialty is seafood — lucky us! Continue reading


Budget Travel in Shanghai: What to Do and See

The Bund at Night cont (4)Whenever we used to think of China, more often than not, we’d think of  Shanghai.  And when we thought of Shanghai, images of 1930′s glamour, junk boats, cosmopolitan streets and seedy opium dens straight out of a Clavell novel came to mind.

Turns out, Shanghai isn’t at all like that.  It’s a modern, bustling city crammed with malls and then malls and then … more malls.  If you love to shop, you’re in heaven.  But if you were hoping for that mystical aura the name of Shanghai conjures, you may be disappointed.

That said, there is still plenty to see that does not include chain stores and tour packages.  And even though Shanghai’s known for being pricey, these activities are budget friendly. Continue reading


The [Great] Wall Less Traveled … Hiking the Huangya Pass in Tianjin’s Ji County

Huangya Pass Ji Country (35)

If you happen to be visiting the Beijing area, you probably have The Great Wall of China on your to-do list.

Of course you do.  It’s THE Great Wall!

The trouble is, which wall do you see?  People don’t talk about that so much.

In fact, the first time we planned a jaunt to “The Wall,” we were surprised to discover that it doesn’t actually exist … at least it doesn’t as one continuous structure.

Rather, there are many sections of the wall scattered across 5500 miles of northern China, each engineered under various dynasties over a period of almost 2000 years, beginning in 220 BC and ending around 1644 AD.

The point is, there’s an awful lot of wall to choose from! Continue reading