Bali:: Goa Gajah – The Elephant Cave

Bali, Gianyar, Goa Gajah. The elephant cave. The cave entrance area. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar, Goa Gajah. The elephant cave. The cave entrance area. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The mysterious Goa Gajah (elephant cave) is one of the oldest relics on Bali. The exact time of origin is uncertain, but archeologists estimate the cave to have been built around year 1022 AD. This was long before Majapahit entered the island, and also hundreds of years before the first Europeans set foot here.

The site is a mix of Hindu- and Buddhist symbols, among them the cave with the entrance in an artistically carved cliff, a bathing pool with fountains, a statue of the Buddhist goddess Hariti, as well as several other Buddha figures.

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Java:: The Bandung Hash and Armed Forces Day Run

Indonesia, Java, Cisarua. Tea are grown in high altitudes, like here in the hills above Bandung. Tea has been part of the way of life in Indonesia for more than 200 years. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Indonesia, Java, Cisarua. Beautiful landscape north of Bandung. A tea plantation. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The Rules of Hashing:Rule # 36c of hashing states, “When thou shall enter into an unknown territory, thou shall first of all contact, physically or otherwise, a harrier or a harriette, because verily he or she may turn out to be your true friend and protector.” Accordingly, on arrival in the hill region of Bandung, the capital of West Java, one of the most beautiful provinces of Indonesia, I called the On Sec of BHHH, Hakon “Short Snake” Andresen.

He was not at his desk, so his sidekick spoke to me. He gave his name as Hjalmar (H silent) Vinnes, but he felt shy to let me know his hash name. Now, here I could see a serious violation of rule 17F, which states, “Thou shall be proud of the honor bestowed on thee by thy fellow-hashers by giving thee a hash handle.” At that moment, fearing that it might cause conflict with rule 36C, I did not bring it to the notice of the offender, but kept it in mind for the RA.

Hjalmar told me that both he and Hakon were from Norway. I told him about my new-found e-mail friend, Bjorn Grotting, a photographer from Norway. He had given a few photos for a recent write-up of mine entitled, “The North Sumatra Triangle”. This appears in the website Hjalmar said he would immediately visit that site. Here I could see a homesick man. This sickness of the mind may be the cause of his un-hash-like behavior, reasoned I.

The Bandung Hash

BANDUNG HHH: Run #1689, Monday, September 29, 2003
Hare: Krupuk, Co hare: Sombong, Venue: Dago Pakar Resort

Strange are the ways of the hash. BHHH run every Monday. They have two runs – on the same day, on the same trial, laid by the same hares! One run is for the Early Birds and starts at 4 PM, and the other for Late Cummers is at 4:45. How user-friendly, how accommodative! We in the sub-continent could emulate this practice, particularly in the Dhaka (Men’s) H3 for the likes of Coco Loco, and in the Kolkata Revolutionary H3 for the likes of the Scribe, Neela “Late Cummer” Majundar. You might ask how a hash could be named “Revolutionary”. Well, so far as I am concerned, it itself is revolting, But, then, as I said ,”Strange are the…” “Unity in Diversity”, the national motto of Indonesia, also applies to HHH.

About 50 to 80 hashers run in BHHH. It is a mixed hash. The 4 o’clock run starts on time and when the runners come in they have beer and food, which continues till the late cummers group comes in, and then the circle begins. The circle continues for as long as the newly sponsored “Anker” beer lasts. In this case, my wife Nishat and I left the hotel at 3 PM and were back at 8:30, with the solo guitarist still playing when we left and the singing, by that time is Chinese, still going on. There are as many as twenty hash chapters in Bandung, BHHH being the oldest, running for 29 years, and the most authentic.

As to the run, I leave it to the virgin-scribe, a sprightly Dutch harriette, to describe it.

Armed Forces Day Run

Rail Jerker’s Diary
Jakarta Hash House Harriettes: Run # 1351
Wed. October 1, 2003 Does: Emmy, Abby & Susantin

Indonesia Indah (beautiful)! The women Cantik (pretty)! But why do they have to be so different? The Jakarta H. H. Harriettes, as the name implies, is managed by harriettes. Rosita van Dooren is the Hash Mistress and Susantin Sinarno the Joint Mistress along with Karin Sinarno. So far, so good. But when the run starts at 5 PM on Wednesdays, only the harriettes are allowed to run. They allow one or two Hash Cocks to accompany them and be at their command. The permanent HC is Yantino Bunardi. He appeared to me to be a decent guy. But how he can tolerate this mistreatment week after week is beyond me.

Anyway, the harriettes do condescend to the harriers starting to run fifteen minutes after they have started. The mistreatment does not end there. Harriers are treated as “unmentionables”, and there is no such thing as a harrier visitor. However, they did make an exception for me (probably because of the earlier liaison I had established with one of the Committee members) and did recognize me as a visitor and gave me a Down Down. But as I was taking softies, my mug was only thumb size, and that too they unfairly accused me of trying to pinch and gave another DD. I can tell you it is no joy to be a harrier on a Wednesday in Jakarta. Vive la Cantik!

October 5 is the Armed Forces Day. To celebrate that, this run was named The Army Look Run. The venue was the sprawling Scout Camp at Cibubur, off the highway to Bogor, about an hour’s drive from town. The hares, called the gentle (?) “does” sponsored a dark green “army look tee-shirt”. The run was through the countryside, tramping across vegetable and paddy fields, a bit of forest, and tiny villages. It was adjudged to be just short of excellent. Snacks were served at the circle.

Another terror in the Committee is the petite Scribe, Jyoti Mayall, a teacher. She goes around with pen and paper asking every Tom, Dick and Harry (only men, mind you) to add a few lines for the Hash Sheet. At some unguarded moment I fell into her charm. So, here is my two sens worth, sweetie.

While some of the crowd moved on to a restaurant in town, a Danish couple gave me a ride home. He is a consultant looking after 200,000 km of roads in 11 Eastern provinces. That ‘zero’ means nothing is no where more apparent than in Indonesia. A cup of coffee costs 5,000 Rupiah.

On On to Pan Asia Hash in KL.!

Juned “Rail Jerker” Choudhury
Dhaka H3. E-mail:


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Java:: Malang Hash House Harriers II

Java, East Java, Batu. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Java, East Java, Batu. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Rail Jerker’s Diary — MALANG HASH HOUSE HARRIERS II, East Java, Indonesia. Run # 740 Friday, 6 May 2005. Hares: “Draimulen”; his wife “Mentek”; and her sister “Ayam Mini”.

Splendid Inn Hotel is the “Hash Head Quarters & Correspondence” of Malang Hash House Harriers II, a mixed hash, which runs every Friday, with HHH (Happy Hash Hours) at the Inn on Wednesday evenings.

The owner, Herman Maryono, “Sodron”, at present holidaying in Europe, is the Hash Master of MHHH II. The Hash Mistress is Mientarsih “Oma Genit”. When I requested David Lam, a.k.a Orang Gila (Mad Man) in Indonesia, and as Sakai (Jungle Man) in Malaysia, to book a hotel room for me, there could have been no other choice.

It is a 30-year old, colonial-type, tiled-roofed building with two floors. The rooms, verandahs and lobby are large; and there is a swimming pool. There is greenery all around the rather small compound. Room rent includes breakfast. Having it, Indonesia or Western-style, on the patio facing the flowers and the yellow-bamboo grove, is just what a holiday is meant to be. Still following a quaint tradition from the Dutch days, shops in the city are closed from 4 to 7, and that is when complimentary tea/coffee and snacks are served in the room. At US$15 for a twin-bedded room, it is a fair deal.


Malang is a Regency, on a plateau, in the province of Jawa Timur. The separate Regency for Malang City was created 91 years ago. And 3 years ago Batu City also became a Regency. The altitude of Malang City is 1300 feet, and that of Batu is 2,400 to 3,000 feet. Malang is 80km from Surabaya, the provincial capital; and Batu is 20km from Malang city. Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia, and is the international gateway to the province by air.

Believe it or not, according to scientists, Java has been inhabited since 500,000 Before Christianity. It is one of the five largest of the 14,000 habited and uninhabited islands – 9000 having no names – that comprise the Republic of Indonesia. With Java stretching 1300km, Malang is a mere 300km away from the neighbouring island of Bali to the East. I had to resist the temptation of joining the Bali Hash anniversary celebrations during the weekend of May 7-8, preferring to do two runs in the cool hills. Jakarta is 967km from Malang, to the West. Hence, in spite of my best intentions, I could neither visit my three nieces, nor join my favourite Wednesday Harriettes run there.

Among the tourist attractions in East Java are the city of Malang and the town of Batu. Batu and its beautiful surrounding hilly rural areas are known as “Little Swiss”. The Mount Bromo volcano, at an altitude of 7000 feet, is the most popular. People travel whole night to see the sunrise from nearby Mount Penanjakan at 8,300 feet. Ijen is a sulphur lake in a crater. There are various ancient temples, the largest being Penataran, built in 1396 AD. Plengkung beach is claimed to be the second best in the world for surfing, after Hawaii. Then there are the National Parks: Baluran; Alas Purwo; and Bromo-Tengger-Semeru. The 2-day South East Asia Mountain Bike Championships 2005 was flagged off early Saturday morning from the hotel next door. I planned to spend my eight days relaxing and hashing in the Malang-Batu area.


An account of hashing in Malang would not be complete without a few words about the fluent English-speaking, typical Chinese pony-tailed, David Lam. He is originally from Malaysia/Singapore, of Indonesian ancestry. He and his blue-blooded Indonesian wife, Intan, are mail order purveyors of hash paraphernalia to the world of hashing ( Unlike large garment factories, they home produce limited edition T-shirts, patches, stickers, caps, jackets, lanyards, etc. Their patches, used for stitching on to jackets, are of high standard, with intricate embroidery and padding for long lasting. They dispatch by FedEx/DHL/UPS, or if the hash chapter is “small and poor”, by postal mail. The couple is a familiar smiling sight at their colourful stalls at various local, regional and international hash events.

A former mariner, David is adventurous. He can be sharp-tongued and brash, but is a compulsive humourist, and is proud to be an achiever in adversity. However, the infamous Customs at Mumbai airport gave the couple a bit of a taste of Indian maastani, when they arrived with their hash bundles for Interhash 2002 Goa. Eventually, they got through, traveled through the night by road to Goa, and woke us up (Committee members) in the middle of the night asking for directions to the “warehouse”.

David, Intan, and her elegant mother, most hospitably, treated me to some East Javanese delicacies. On Thursday morning the couple flew off to Bandar Lampung, with a group of hashers to attend the 2nd Pan South Sumatra Hash during the weekend. I was to be on my own with not a known soul around.


But it was not to be so at Splendid Inn. On Wednesday evening I found a group of hashers (Committee) having a meeting at the lobby with samples of T-shirt design laid out on the table. It transpired that they were discussing the design for the 15th Anniversary Run of MHHH II due on 28 May. When I introduced myself and asked for a lift to the run site on Friday, Ali “Tilep” volunteered to pick me up at 3 PM for the run at 4.

Ali did not come, but a van-full came, leaving the front seat vacant for me. They were all happy men and giggling women, talking what seemed Greek to me, except for a few words of Indo-Malay that I was familiar with. I was warmly welcomed. Among them was a Taiwanese. His business card read Chou Teng Sung. Later, the Hash Mistress was to write down his hash name for me – “Cang Ci Lai”. But she was reluctant to pronounce it! He spoke some English. We drove 18km out of town to a small wholesale rice seed store with some vacant space inside and by the roadside.

As soon as they got off the van, they started munching nuts, crackers and a local fruit that were provided. Just at 4, the Hash Mistress gave some directions, presumably about the trail, and the run began. The walkers trail would be of one and a half hour, it was translated for me. 42 attended; half ran, half walked. We meandered through the village and out on to the cultivated fields, rice and corn, walking along and crossing small irrigation canals, some concrete, some natural, across a graveyard, and then back through another village.

Meantime, Teng Sung, the Taiwanese agricultural seed dealer, in broken English, was giving me a commentary on the passing plants. “Kosova, can eat leaf, less toxin”. The only kosova I have seen growing was in the valleys of Mainamati, beside BARD. I laid trails for several Bangladesh Nash Hash there, having to wait till first week of February for the 8-feet plants to be harvested to let the hordes pass. It is used as a raw material; Bangladeshis would never eat kosova, let alone the leaves. “Pumpkin; beans; corn, local variety – small ….”, he went on. He told me that Taiwan is mountainous and he had done hash of 5 to 8 hours climbing. That kept them fit, retiring age being 65. “That is mountaineering, not hash”, I told him. That kept him quiet for sometime.


Back at the venue, and on to the food, no time for taking a breath or even water – beef stew with rice; and crackers. The circle started after the food, without much delay. In the absence of the Hash Master, the Hash Mistress, in true Javanese civility, asked me whether I would like to act as HM for the occasion. 500,000 years of culture had not been in vain! Not knowing a word of their language, I bowed out. Down Down’s were given to the hares; the hares again, for sponsoring the food; a new-comer; one given a name; and the only two non-Chinese – my Taiwanese friend and an ‘Indonesian’! Instead of ice, they douse the culprit with water; regular ones try to step aside; unknowing visitors like me get wet.


Back at the hotel, while taking a shower, I noticed that a leach had bitten me, climbing into my shorts. After having its dinner at 5 PM like the locals, it had dropped off, but the bleeding had not stopped. I had to burn some newspaper to apply some ash to stop it. Lucky, I was not going to the next week’s run. Otherwise, probably, I would have earned another hash name – an indecorous Indonesian Chinese one.

However, on Monday I joined 114 others at the BRAWIJAYA H3 run in Batu. My host was the GM, Bing Soesilo “Kojak”.

Juned “Rail Jerker” Choudhury Dhaka H3.

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Life:: Hashing In Indonesia – ways, customs and habits

Java, Central Java, Borobodur. Borobudur is a 9th-century Buddhist monument near Magelang, Central Java. Borobodur is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Java, Central Java, Borobodur. A 9th-century Buddhist monument near Magelang, Central Java, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Location of the BOROBUDUR INTERHASH 2012 (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Rail Jerker’s Diary – – The province of Riau, in the center of Sumatra island, is one of the richest among the 33 provinces of Indonesia. Its wealth comes from its natural resources – palm oil, petroleum and timber pulp; the enterprising Chinese community; and the communal harmony between the Malays, Chinese and other smaller communities. Riau produces 75% of the oil and 25% of the palm oil of Indonesia. Besides mainland Riau, the province extends to over 3000 islands spread over more than 1000 kms. Pekanbaru is the provincial capital and the oil capital of Indonesia; its prosperity showing in the new airport terminal nearing completion; the three fly-overs also in the same stage; numerous luxury hotels and resorts, and about half a dozen more due to be completed by September 2012 for the Pan-Indo Games; the luxury cars on the road and in the show-rooms; the over-flowing coffee shops and restaurants, the golf clubs, the night clubs, etc. With a population of 900,000 it is rated among the cleanest cities in the country. There are twenty daily flights to and from Jakarta and more flights to other domestic and international destinations.

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