The first day of the rest of my life…

…this year.

As days go it was a pretty fine one all and all.

Gem and I “kissed” and made up. We’ve got some communication issues we need to work on, but it’s early yet…

I’ve been very impressed with Gem’s willingness to indulge my walking habit. She hangs right in there on our 20,000+ step days. Hell, the other day she even said “I’m bored, let’s go for a walk”. Nothing seems to get her goat out on the road either…

During a trek out to Baloy Beach I found this place that may very well work for me…

Talked to the owner, “Lucky Mike” who said the current tenant is leaving in May which of course is when I expect to arrive…

It’s small, only one bedroom, but…

…it has this huge ass patio/deck/balcony thing going for it. My vision would be to convert it to outdoor living space. You know, table/umbrella, hammock, chair swing, and of course a nice grill. It’s on the 3rd floor and features outstanding water views from the patio and great mountain views from the house. 20,000 pesos a month ($400.) works for me too.

The highlight of the day though was participating in my first Hash House Harrier event.

We started out with the administrative stuff (250 peso dues) at Johannson’s Bar and Grill.

Then we loaded up in the back of this truck for the drive out to the Hash starting point.

The days route included hiking up and down two mountains. It was honestly much more difficult terrain than I’ve experienced on Namsan or Bukhansan in Korea. There were a couple of spots where I was even a little fearful. Only fell on my ass a couple of times though.

Let’s get started!

And we are off!

Passed by some residences that show just how lucky I am….

The trail was more difficult that it appears…very steep with dicey footing in places.  Next time I’ll definitely bring a walking stick!

Gem kept right up with me the entire way…and she was much better at spotting the trail markings (chalk arrows on trees) that I am. I can truthfully say I would have been lost without her.

From the top of the mountain we were rewarded with amazing views of the bay like this one…

And there lies Barrio Baretto in all its glory. I’ll be calling here home one day soon…

The local kids were quite amused to see the crazy foreigners walking about in the hot sun for no particular reason.

The Hash finished up on the roof of the Hot Zone bar…owned by the leader of the Subic Bay Hashers.

Now, there are certain rituals associated with the Hash that take place at the conclusion of every hike. I don’t fully understand them all yet, but they include sitting bare bottomed on a block of ice and drinking from a toilet plunger. I was happy to just observe.

As a Hash House “virgin” I was required to engage in an initiation ritual…

Which concluded by my having to guzzle an entire bottle of beer in one shot. Anything remaining in the bottle after it left my lips was unceremoniously poured over my head. I missed it by just a sip…

Anyway, it felt like a fresh start and a step in the direction of a new and better future life.  We will see how that works out for me.

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