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PARADISE BY THE TAILGATE LIGHT

                                                Or

SHAH ALAM HHH Run #709 Trip Report 19MAR02 Tuesday

Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night

I can see paradise by the dashboard light.

You got to do what you can

And let Mother Nature do the rest;

Ain’t no doubt about it

We were doubly blessed

‘Cause we were barely………

saved from staying overnight in an abandoned rubber trees estate overtaken by a southwesterly monsoon thunder & lightning rainstorm.

These lyrics from Meatloaf's  Bat Out Of Hell album (1977) flooded into my consciousness as I reflected on that Tuesday night in the western outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.  That evening’s event touched on the veritable brink of a total unadulterated disaster for the visiting two colored white boys who ventured forth with a couple dozen friendly locals.  On the freeway shoulder, which overlooked the start and finish of an aggressive run to the top of Handkerchief Mountain, those visiting colored boys found fellowship, friendship, fabulous food, souvenir t-shirts, a considerable amount of exercise, copious cold Carlsbergs and “paradise by the tailgate light”.  This is a brief story of the run, the evening and surprises therein.

The Shah Alam Hash House Harriers (SAHHH), who began running weekly in 1988, is one of sixty (60) hash houses in the greater Kuala Lumpur area.  They held their 709th run from some arbitrary spot on Jalan Puncak Alam some kilometers west of the famous Blue Mosque in the Shah Alam district on the way to Klang.  The hares (those responsible for the design and execution of the event), Toni Kuaci and Maddoc, chose the following event objectives:

Gentle Reader: please stay tuned to see what really happened versus what was planned.  This demonstrates Murphy’s Law going amok; “whatever can go wrong, will………….go wrong!”

Finding the run location was easy for the two visitors because the SAHHH Grand Master, Glenn “MIKE TYSON” Kennet fetched them from the air-conditioned comfort of the San Francisco Steakhouse.  MIDGET MOLESTER, on a SE Asian winter tour from Seattle, U.S.A., and DRAINOIL of the Mother HHH accepted the GM’s invitation to run on the condition that the GM provide the transportation.  They were off in a fancy 4-wheeldrive Ford pickup replete with chromed roll bar……however they arrived just after the run had begun at 18:00.  As they started on that trail, the GM said "No worries. We may be at the back but the GM will take good care of you colored boys.”  They assumed that all was going well and all they had to do was follow and success would readily follow.  However the other hounds stumbled onto the On-In trail on the way On-Out and of course they had no way to know what was about to happen until it was far too late.

The trail followed some jungle up a steep, but walkable, grade to the top of a ridge… follow the ridge, right, parallel to the freeway…..break left away from the freeway, down bulldozed roads with bulldozed construction sites.  There had been lovely leisurely walking, introductions to many members as they proceeded along; what a relief for the MIDGET, for whom this was the fourth hash run in five consecutive days.  CHECKING.  The pack of runners found paper squares, denoting trail, and chased away from the freeway and continuously up and through jungle, rubber trees in plantation, and more jungle and more up, several short level spots and up even more.  The course wound through secondary jungle grown up since the original trees were cleared; this jungle was much thicker and almost impenetrable except along the established paths----off the trail, rattans and other thorns, palms, ferns and brackens flourished.  Eventually the visitors rejoined most of the pack at the top of Bukit Sapu Tangan, i.e. Handkerchief Mountain.

This event objective was achieved.  Here was the spectacular viewpoint of the entire Klang River valley; crowning this mountain was a six-story wooden lookout platform viewing all the metropolitan skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur in their grandeur.  Many hounds (those who ran following the paper scent left by the hares) climbed the five stair flights to the top to appreciate the view.  The tower was built of sturdy lumber however the floors which interrupted the stairs did have missing slats indicating dis-repair; two of the flights were as vertical as upright ladders; the top floor was open and exposed to the wind and seemed to sway.  Since the MIDGET was more than cautious with surges of acrophobia, he chickened out before the last flight of stairs; DRAINOIL stayed on the terra firma and assessed how in the hell to get from there to home base.  There was some sort of a support road leading down and even farther away from the freeway plus some runners said that that route was tens of kilometers from the cars.  Other hounds had gone right down a sheer CLIFF which did have trees and shrubs but also loose stony earth; in other words, looking like certain death by tumbling or certain hours of excruciatingly slow careful inch-by-inch descent to the bottom, then deep jungle up-and-down another shorter mountain toward the direction of the cars.  MIDGET had now backed his scared butt down the steps.  Then, the chicken MIDGET eased himself down the slope for quite some way with an ever sheerer drop beneath him.  Thankfully the chicken crawled back up, using hands and feet.  MIKE TYSON, the Grand Master, arrived, assessed, pondered and pontificated,  "I promised to look after you; we go this way"; he would take the new boys down the reasonable, although unrelenting, slope back the same way they had come.

The Grand Master, the old guy and the chicken began their descent.  This was uneventful except nightfall was rapidly approaching but the white paper shards were clearly visible.  The uneventful continued but the rain clouds and lightning bolts were becoming visible.  The three found the big CHECKING spot.  They continued but darkness was such that they were barely stepping one foot in front of the other down the final hill.  Then what they saw across to the road shoulder was a van with a fluorescent light hanging from the tailgate….. PARADISE BY THE TAILGATE LIGHT!! 

Suddenly the wind hit those trees like a squall hitting a mainsail with a mighty slap and the heavens began to be very wet.  HOWEVER the van decorated with Carlsberg Beer logos was filled with iced-cold refreshments; the van also included large vats of home-cooked authentic Indian curries; hounds huddled under umbrellas holding happy drinks.  Life now had become PARADISE here on the freeway shoulder.  MIKE TYSON convened the business part of this meeting; he awarded congratulatory toasts to the hares for the quality of their celebration, their fine food and the cleverness of the botched run design.  In addition, he singled out the visiting white guys as colored and showered them with souvenir packets of t-shirts plus giving each an ambient-temperature stout beverage to be directly consumed.  The evening had been a magnificent success!!!

This is the hash report #709 as compiled and filed with accuracy and integrity. 

SO HELP ME, GOD!! 

Respectfully submitted,

MIDGET MOLESTER

Grand Master Rain City HHH @ Seattle, USA

Interhash Goa 2002 Committee @ India

IH2006 Edmonton Bid Committee @ Canada

telephone to 1-(206)-324-6375