10 MAR 2019
LONG HAI / MINH DAM
Hares: Boozer, Mr. T., Secs
Hash Flasher: Kojak
Meeting was, as usual, at café Uno, where hashers waited with happy chatting for the departure of the bus – departure which was slightly delayed as Boozer wanted to deliver a little speech ; what was that about ? it seems that some had complained that others would hold empty seats on the bus for a friend who might be a little late – it was therefore decreed that there should be no more « reservations » of that sort and that empty seats could be occupied by any person getting on the bus. After the speech, all were happy to get away from the high temperature to sit down and enjoy the air conditioning on board.
With only one short stop at Chi Linh to pick up a young lady, the bus took the road to Long Hai, went past that town to stop by the main road at about 2.30.
After a short explanation of the run by Mr T, we started walking on a flat dirt road, hurrying from one shady spot to the other, as the sun was so hot. After a few hundred metres, we turned left to follow a narrow path in the forest which soon led us to the bottom of a sort of staircase. Although mostly cleverly devised from the rocky ground, and therefore rather rough and rugged, it was quite easy to follow : no alternative, just up and up…and up, no real need for the red ribbons ; but it was a really very long climb, mosly shady but still very hot, which necessitated quite a few stops on the way to have a drink and catch one’s breath. Reaching a flat part, then a sort of settlement , built among huge rocks, some thought maybe that was the end of the climb – but no, more merciless steep slope awaited us.
So, it was only after an average of 1 hour, that the sweaty hashers reached the top of the hill : a chaos of huge boulders which, to our surprise was surmounted by the red flags of Vietnam and Vietnamese communist party. We later learnt that the hill had been the theatre of fierce fighting at the time of both the French and the American wars ; some boulders still bearing the trace of falling bombs. Many hashers stayed up there a lengthy moment, enjoying the breeze and the breathtaking view, happy to immortalize the achievement with dozens of photos.
Thankfully, the way down was on much more « civilized » well paved steps and gentle slope, so the vast area of the Down-Down was easily reached in about 30 minutes or less. There, as usual, everyone enjoyed the cool drinks and the sandwiches, before gathering for the traditional photo, followed by the ceremony, with Mr Boozer as the conductor ; the 8 virgins, 4 Vietnamese ladies with 2 children, plus a man from Finland and one from Russia were welcome with a song and a shower of icy water ; the only returnee, a young lady from Finland was granted the plastic tube with the ever successful (with the audience) shower of cold beer ; the sinners had to undergo the same ordeal amid the laughters of the merry hashers. A few hashers had deserved, through their fidelity, to be properly baptised – sorry, I don’t remember the names they were given…
So, after that rather hard climb, the enjoyment of being together, the San Miguel, etc., the return on the bus was really quiet, with a few even going to sleep, thus missing a beautiful sunset…
I am sure that everyone feels, as I do, very thankful for the existence of that so friendly « drinking club with a walking problem »- hope to see you all again next Sunday !
VTH3 #880 PHOTO GALLERY
3 MAR 2019
BIG MOUNTAIN - "Return Of The Angry Bird"
Hares: Mr. T.
Hash Flasher: Secs
Report: Faulty Brakes
Sunday’s Run began on Saturday if you get my meaning?
It was time to replenish our stock of softies, these are a reference to the non alcoholic beverages we supply to our hashers every Sunday and nothing to do with the hash mismanagement mental capabilities. These were delivered to our hash headquarters at Uno Coffee on Sunday morning by Mr T., who had purchased them on Saturday and delivered them to Uno Coffee. He then proceeded to travel to Hem 404 on Tran Phu to mark today’s trail, without this there was no trail for today. The reason for this information is to inform all the hashers that Sunday’s trails don’t occur without the input of mismanagement and please take a bow Mr T. for your efforts last Sunday.
The P.C.T.M (The Phan Chu Trinh Maffia) boarded a taxi with the usual suspects and headed for Uno Coffee. A team of Coolies ferried the softies up to our storeroom and prepared the eskies for the forthcoming afternoon.
The financial matters of registration were attended to by Boozer and Cleaver, whilst Hot Dog our faithful security mutt over saw the the dealings. Banh Mi were delivered and it wasn’t long until it was time to depart. Those with their own transport were ushered to 102 Tran Phu and the remaining hashers boarded a flotilla of taxis and headed to the same address to drop off the eskies haversacks etc and then onward to Hem 404 where the trail started.
From Hem 404 we proceeded through a labyrinth of white houses to be greeted with the smiling and curious faces of locals with the customary “xinh chao“ and now it was the starting point of what lay ahead. Boozer now explained what was entailed, follow the red ribbons up the cliff face until you reach the Lazeretto Fort, onto the path across the mountain and then down the steps to the church grounds and back to 102 Tran Phu.
This was a tough climb by any standards and here I personally must thank Antoni, one our Siberian Hashers for his assistance to an aging Irishman who had literally stepped off a plane from a 24 hour trip from Dublin, completely out shape after a visit home. We encourage hashers to look out for those less fitter than themselves and particularly those first time hashers, hash is not all about being first home and, if I can quote J.F.K., “ask not what your hash can do for you but rather what you can do for your hash”.
The cliff today had an incline with a 65 degree angle, ensuring no prisoners were taken, onwards and upwards veering to the left and just when we thought we had reached summit there was a down turn again, however we eventually we reached our summit. Along the path were trees with the most nasty thorns protruding, trees that had been blown over in the recent storms making it difficult to proceed and poisonous ants only too ready to sample your blood group, however none of these couldn’t deter our intrepid hashers. On reaching the top we came across Vietnamese folk enjoying Sunday afternoon, Karaoke and sipping some beers, we continued along the prescribed trail and eventually to Cafe 102.
The Down Down today say us celebrating two events, the birthday of “Ice Water “ and the return of Linda also know as Angry Bird, two of VTH3 regular stalwarts. We thank Ice Water for her generosity in supplying everyone with delicious tasty food (yet again) and birthday cake. Her age will remain a secret for now, (however, if one multiplied 17x3,) it wouldn’t be too far off the figure, Chup mong Sinh Nhat (Happy Birthday).
Probably one of the most famous hashers in our club is Angry Bird, she was involved in a motor accident some months back and today we are delighted to welcome her back and it’s good to report all is well. As we basked in the sunshine in 102 drinking the obligatory coolants (San Miguel Lite and Gold) and enjoying the snacks, Boozer commenced his circle, the Trail was rated a 12 and I would throw in another 3 points for curing my jet lag, today we had a lovely Vietnamese family of four from Vung Tau who were first time visitors to the hash and some returnees along with sinners.
Everyone appeared to enjoy the fun and now it was time for something different along with our regular Rock box music today we had Ron on his acoustic guitar belting out some great tunes climaxing with the house of the rising sun, a ditty from the 60s by the Animals .Next it was Aqua who proceeded to entertain us by playing guitar and soon it was time to depart home. Another Sunday in the annals of the illustrious VTH3 history book was completed. Next week we Run away.
VTH3 #879 PHOTO GALLERY
25 FEB 2019
NUI DINH - "The Up, Up, Up, Down, and Up Again Trail"
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flasher: Secs
Report: Chom Chom
It was looking like an unusually quiet Sunday away trail as the online registrations were slow to be made. After a lot of last-minute clickthrough’s, a total of 55 Hashers made their way to our registration desk at Uno Coffee to participate in run 878.
Whilst Hashers were being registered and fees being collected, in the background eskies were being filled with our allocation of San Miguel beers and soft drinks, soon to be chilled with the addition of crushed ice brought by Mr. T.
All done and now ready, the eskies were loaded onto our usual Tuan Thang “CSVC” coach. Hashers mounted and did their best to find some comfort on the once again crowded, overfilled vehicle. Off we go and for the second week, we make a stop at the most inconvenient ice shop in town to top-up our ice supply. Job done we at last proceed towards our starting location, passing through Ba Ria as usual.
We get dropped off on a major new road construction project. Hashers dismount the rather cramped coach and await the introduction from Flying Finn explaining a few details about the trail ahead of us. Within a few minutes we are on-on our way.
The trail starts easily enough walking along the sandy desert construction path, passing various plant vehicles and building materials and in parts resembling a quarry. The sun is beating down on us as there was no shade at this part making the sandy ground shiny and golden.
A left turn was made onto a more natural sandy path and our Hashers progressed in the direction of the mountain. Things started well as the incline up was rather mild. As we proceeded along the gentle meandering path through the continuous bamboo terrain, we manoeuvred our way as best as we could through this peril of a plant, left and right, over and under.
Things were to change as the ascendance was about to change. The climb was to get steeper, much steeper in fact as we hit what was going to be the toughest part of todays trail. Flying Finn had explained to us that there was a shorter trail and we should make a left turn at the first coffee shop we see. This was where we were now, but it hadn’t even been a kilometre, so we all clambered on, not knowing how much tougher things were to get.
Whilst we progressed on our journey, we made strides around the perimeter of the mountain on this narrow, dry, leafy path, offering some great scenic photo opportunities of the surrounding landscape. It was a hot clear day so some of the views were simply spectacular. We struggled, we sweated, we execrated as we climbed up, up, up for a good 1.5 kilometres in the scorching dry heat. Eventually the path disappeared, and it felt as though we were in no-mans land and left wandering around in search of red tape.
At the top, our warn-out Hashers met a large rock as we continued to the right along the peak of the mountain in parallel to a power line. It was an opportunity to get a bit of breath back as this was now on a much more level terrain. Our descent was soon to come and whilst it was initially reassuring, there was a lot more to come. The terrain had also changed, and we were now on a traditional woodland path, covered with twigs and dry leaves – far easier than contending with the bamboo earlier. Even a brief breeze was felt making this part almost enjoyable! Unfortunately these pleasantries were soon to be a thing of the past as a steep rocky path confronted us. Whilst it was rocky, it was abrupt and tough. It resembled a dry waterfall and it just kept on going.
Eventually after a very tiring and taxing climb, we all hit a large rocky road. This is the first part of the trail where confusion sat in. Do we turn left? Do we turn right? Or as it’s a Flying Finn and Slipper trail, do we proceed further into no-mans land ahead? The correct choice was left and those choosing this way were finally reassured of their fortuitous decision by the joy of some red tape somewhat further than the usual separation distance. The road continued down mildly and after about a kilometre we were met by the main Nui Dinh road. Knowing where we were now, a left turn was made and we strolled along the road for a couple of kilometres passing the Chua Dieu Linh Buddhist temple on the right, towards our Down Down location of Quan Dung (Suoi Da) coffee shop. The trail was about 4.5 kilometres in total and took on average 1 hour 45 minutes to complete.
Our hashers rejoiced at finally being able to relax, take a seat and have a chat accompanied by a super chilled San Miguel Light or Pilsner (or a soft drink of course – please drink responsibly!) Banh mi was also served together with some mango and Boozers legendary Western style sarnies.
After our team photo, the circle was prepared. Some of our younger members got a brief reprimand for mixing the drinks! We assembled around the circle and we met our two hares, Flying Finn and Slipper. The trail was rated 13 this week from our wide selection of nations. We then met our seven virgins who were: Gam, Ngoc, Linh and Mi from Vung Tau, Hieu and Tiny from Ho Chi Minh City and Geoff from Australia. Poor Miss Tiny had the pleasure to experience the tube of doom.
There were three returnees this week – Mr Romania had been working, Anton had also been busy working offshore and Mr Versace had been entertaining himself doing water sports (reminds me of an Alan Partridge sketch).
We had two sinners this week, although I think they were only sinners as they claimed to be single. These were Tiny again (she loved the circle) and Moonlight. Here Moonlight received the tube of doom.
A local trail will be set for next week. We remounted the bus and departed back to Vung Tau at 6pm.
VTH3 #878 PHOTO GALLERY
17 FEB 2019
LONG SON ISLAND
Hares: Flying Finn, Mr. T, Mountain Shrimp
Hash Flashers: Kojak
The Hashmobile is packed beyond capacity again as we leave Coffee Uno enroute for Long Hai Mountains, stopping briefly to collect ice for the eskies, we soon disembark at the our starting point - the Buddhist temple Chùa Khỉ.
We muster around our Hare, Flying Finn, for instructions - a simple trail, just climb the steps to our left and continue up, and up, and up following the red ribbons until we get to the top where the path will flatten out and ultimately take us to the down-down spot at the familiar Minh Dam car park.
So off we trot, on-onwards and tentatively upwards we go. Brilliant sunshine beats down on our heads and we begin the climb up the rocky steps carved out of the hillside. Thankfully, as we trek deeper in to the jungle, the canopy above provides some welcome shade. It is a pretty and picturesque trail culminating at a colourful, quirky little pagoda embedded in the massive boulders this mountain is known for. The pagoda’s position perched on the mountainside provides some spectacular views across the coastline looking back towards Vung Tau. Many obligatory selfies later we continue on, pleased to find that the trails flattens out as promised and we spill out in the car park where the sight of the our famous eskies welcomes us with the promise of Ice Cold San Miguel Beer.
As we sate ourselves with San Miguel, soft drinks and Banh Mi we are entertained by the resident verminous, barrel of monkeys that reside in the surrounding treetops, until our diligent Hash Flasher, Kojak, assembles us for the team photo. Photo done, Boozer pulls out his whistle and blows hard to assemble this week’s circle.
Flying Finn is first in the circle to as we rate the trail, our other Hares, Mr. T and Mountain Shrimp were unable to be here today. A curious rating of 17.23234 out of 10 and Flying Finn accepts his reward with a down, down, down, down.
Next up we welcome a couple of Virgins and four Returnees before our selfie princesses, Aqua and Golden Fish are charged by Boozer as sinners of the highest order by committing the heinous crime of shopping whilst hashing. Somewhere in their busy selfie schedule they found time to acquire some traditional gingham shawls.
We close the circle, pack up the eskies, board the bus and head back to Coffee Uno - another lovely day out in countryside.
VTH3 #877 PHOTO GALLERY