14th and 15th April 2018
The 2018 Summer Weekender at Ta Cu Mountain and Coco Beach Resort
Hares: Mr. T, Secs, Faulty Brakes, Boozer, Misty
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Flying Finn, Secs
After months of planning and weeks of anticipation the 2018 VTH3 Summer Weekender is finally upon us! Our trusty Hashmobile is laden with San Miguel, soft drinks and food to sustain us for the two day excursion to Ta Cu Mountain, Coco Beach Camp Resort and a Nature Reserve at Binh Chau. We corral our motley bunch of punctual and fervent Hashers from their designated pickup points and depart Vung Tau ahead of schedule.
Onboard we have men, women, children and one dog, hailing from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Russia, the UK and Vietnam, we speed towards Ta Cu Mountain. As we get closer to our destination it’s time to make our first nourishment stop. We find a shady copse in which to layout the picnic that our various foodies have prepared. And what a smorgasbord of delights that turns out to be! Grilled fish, sushi, smoked ham and sandwiches provide the necessary sustenance for the endeavour that awaits us.
We arrive at the entrance to Ta Cu Mountain and split in to two groups: Group A, led by Boozer, will take a cable car up the mountain and pick up the trail that will take them to Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda at the top of mountain and then walk down the mountain. The more hardy Group B, led by Faulty Brakes, will climb the jungle trail 500m to the top of the mountain and then take the cable car back.
Group B waves adieu to Group A as they depart in electric carts to the cable car station and we set about finding the start of the jungle trail. After a couple of false starts trying to find the obscured path we begin our ascent. Certainly not for the faint hearted, the somewhat neglected trail takes us over dilapidated stairs and rocky steps. Thankfully, there are plenty of resting places where we stop to take a breath, only to have it taken away by the breathtaking views of Ham Thuan Nam. At one point we look up at the cable car above us and wonder if we’ve made the correct choice - perhaps taking cable car to the top was the more sensible choice? Nothing we can do about it now - so we persevere on-on. Just as we are on our last legs, gasping for air and water, we meet Group A coming in the opposite direction. They egg us on with the encouraging news that we’re almost at the cable car station.
Squeals of delight and relief announce our arrival at the cable car station. Dumbstruck by the vertiginous views of the expansive blue sky that engulfs us we take a brief moment to reflect on our achievement before assuaging our thirst at the welcoming restaurant. We are now faced with a dilemma - continue up the many steps to the pagoda or rest up and take the cable car back down. Some opt to relax, enjoy the views, and have a beer. Most, however, in true Hasher style, choose to continue on. We are pleased we did. The pagoda is impressive, its red roof tiles contrast magnificently with the deep blues and greens of the crystal clear backdrop. As we continue on the glistening white of the largest reclining Buddha in Vietnam emerges from the trees. Enjoying the tranquil spot we feel a sensation of enlightenment as we witness the Lord Buddha completing His journey to Parinirvana.
We embark on the acrophobia inducing cable car ride down the mountain, looking back in disbelief at the sheer scale of the mountain we have just conquered. Back on terra firma it’s a gentle stroll through picturesque gardens to reassemble with our peers. The first San Miguels of the weekend are cracked open, guzzled down and soaked up with Hash provided sandwiches. Ringmaster Boozer calls a quick circle and we all applaud our Hares; Mr. T, Faulty Brakes and Boozer, who’d scouted out the trail for us a couple of months ago. Then it’s on-on to the Hashmobile as we begin the short trip to our final destination of the day - Coco Beach Camp Resort.
Arriving at Coco Beach en mass and in good spirits, we are pleasantly surprised with the efficiency at which we are checked in. We have plenty of time to explore the idyllic, hippy-chic resort that will become our living quarters for the night. Walks on the beach, dips in the pool, frolics in the sea, Slipper in Speedos(!) and selfies galore are the order of the afternoon. As the sun sets we briefly retire to our billets for ablutions.
Freshly showered and resplendent in our evening beachwear we congregate at our allotted tables for the legendary Coco Beach Seafood BBQ. A veritable feast confronts us and our ravenous Hashers make light work of the innumerable dishes on offer. A man with an acoustic guitar serenades us as we make several trips to the buffet all washed down with delicious ice-cold San Miguel.
Sated and replete - time to get the party started! The young Iceman gets us started by crashing the stage and fearlessly accompanying our serenader with a rendition of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. Chanel is up next and gives a rapturous version of Last Christmas. Acoustic set over - the DJ arrives….. Apparently the activities of the day haven’t worn out many of our Hashers as they jump, pump, gyrate, shake a leg and generally boogie on down to the thumping techno beats vibrating through our bones. Eventually the evening winds to a close and one by one our weary Hashers hit the sack - most of us asleep before our heads hit the pillow.
A sunny Sunday morning greets us as we awake in unfamiliar surroundings and slowly emerge for breakfast. A lazy morning is spent enjoying the Coco Beach facilities and before long it’s time for a quick lunch at the restaurant. Then time to wave goodbye to Coco Beach as we board the Hashmobile for the trip back to Vung Tau.
However, the adventure is far from over! We make our final stop at Binh Chau Nature Reserve. An amble through an arboretum popular with couples taking their wedding pictures (no less than four couples were spotted!) it also proved popular with Hashers for photos and selfies. Returning to the Hashmobile the eskies are at the ready, brimming with San Miguel. As we mingle amongst ourselves the serenity is broken with the blare of a bugle! Yes - after months of restoration efforts by our very own master of the ring, Boozer, the Hash Bugle has its grand unveiling. Originally donated to VTH3 back in 2003 it has survived 15 years and finally been restored to its former glory.
So with circle officially called to order we have time to debrief the weekend. The overwhelming consensus is that it was a rip-roaring success and we should continue to organise similar events. No Virgins, Returnees or Sinners in attendance - the only Sinners being the ones who stayed at home and missed all the fun. The VTH3 Mismanagement team of Mr. T, Faulty Brakes, Secs and Boozer are brought front and center and everyone puts their hands together in appreciation. Next up a special shout out is given to Misty who tirelessly worked with the bus company, Coco Beach Resort, Ta Cu Mountain. Without her efforts the weekend would never have proceeded so flawlessly. A standing ovation for Misty!
In closing the circle Boozer calls Secs and Chom Chom and invites them to blow on his bugle. Hilarity ensues as Chom Chom huffs and puffs and not a note is released from the bugle. First time bugle blower Secs, does slightly better with an eerie rasp of a note emanating from the horn. Circle over many eager Hashers attempt to make the bugle sing - without success. We finish up our San Miguels, pack up the bus and head back to Vung Tau.
We arrive back in Vung Tau safe, sound and happily content. A successful action packed weekend. Thanks to everyone! ON-ON!!
VTH3 #833 PHOTO GALLERY
8th April 2018
Nui Thi Vai
Hares: Mr. T, Secs, Faulty Brakes
Hash Flashers: Basil, Secs
On Sunday 8th April 48 men, women and children (and one dog) arrived at Hon Ru RI for Vung Tau HASH House Harriers Run number 832. Between 1pm and 1.30pm they rolled up on motorbikes, on foot and in taxis to register and board the HASHmobile that would take us all to a new destination, Nui Thi Vai. This new adventure promised stunning views, beautiful pagodas, lush flora and an extra challenging workout! It did not disappoint!
At first glance our destination looked innocent enough. Ascending silver stoned steps that looked like the pathway to heaven. The first hundred or so were easy! The absolutely perfect sunny day with the slightest of breezes I sensed, was going to heat up. Calves were starting to tense, thighs began to burn and the intensity of the workout became apparent after step 666. Yes, there were picturesque stops along the way and there were stunning panoramic photo opportunities. Every selfie was taken after the panting had subsided and the sweat had been wiped away. Everyone had their own theory on the best way to find the stamina to push onward and upward. Those steps were relentless. Step 888 promised a divine light and a possible end to the pain and fatigue. Seeing a Mother piggyback her child made me feel I had no excuse, after all I had a very energetic dog to pull me up. One foot lifted up in front of the other, upward and onward. Finally, the end was in sight, new and experienced Hashers were now inspired to be triumphant! All HASH warriors together, conquerors of those relentless steps.
At last a chance to rest properly and take in the brilliant view and a stately pagoda. A few eager participants explored a little further and went in search of the sleeping buddha. A golden, peaceful effigy. Others just rested contemplating the further effort needed to retreat back down the mountain to the ice-cold eskies full of San Miguel, water and sustenance. 1000 descending steps, 330 meters downward, awaited us.
When all had returned content with their challenge met, it was time for the HASH pow wow. Introductions of the latest HASH virgins, dobbing in the sinners and all hale the hares for their 11/10 trail. Again, all were made equal, no more virgins as initiation was complete and sinners became grinners!
VTH3 #832 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITION PICTURES FROM FLYING FINN
1st April 2018
Long Hai Mountains
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flashers: Secs, Zidane
It was about 1.30 when 39 happy hashers boarded the bus just outside Hon Ru Ri café. Then en route for a quiet ride as most enjoyed the air conditioned comfort seemingly to have an afternoon nap…the bus only stopped for a lonely soul waiting on the roadside at Chi Linh district.
We all alighted by a workshop where wicker baskets and stools (?) are made by hand – lots of photos were taken there before the group gathered to the sound of Flying Finn’s whistle and made their way to the bottom of the hill between stocks of huge concrete pipes.
Then started the climb under a very hot sun on a fortunately gentle slope ; sometimes, a flatter section with a gentle breeze was very welcome. There were a lot of scorched spots as the good trail went on between dried up bamboos and bare trees. After maybe 30 minutes, the trail turned sharp left and started descending on well marked stairs, still in the dried up forest. After a long descent on a concrete strip, affording good views of the sea, the bottom was reached and commenced a longish walk on a stony road under construction. Unfortunately, a group of about 12 hashers missed the right turning and found themselves at the main road, wondering where to go next. It was understood that they had to return on their steps to find, at last, the narrow alleyway which took them to a beautiful spot, namely Ngoc Xuon restaurant; there, we made our way between a crowd of boy scouts who were just packing up to go home as we arrived.
Everyone settled down, mostly on a well groomed lawn gently sloping down to a small lake, enjoying a well deserved rest in the shade, with sandwiches, cold drinks and our beloved San Mig. After the traditional photo, the ring was formed under the conduct of Boozer; we first welcomed the only virgin of the day, a charming girl from Korea who was duly baptised. Then presented himself a young man who was probably the world champion of returnees: he had joined the Hash again 19 YEARS after his first run! he was rewarded with the usual shower of freezing water and beer. Of course the group who had missed the turn and got lost were all sinners and were duly punished too.
The bus came for us at about 5.30 ; Kojak started the singing with « New York New York » and « I did it my way » then Boozer gave us a very original interpretation of that lovely song «Hello Vietnam » with his typical boozing voice. The Russian choir joined in « Katiusha » ; the last song was the Vietnamese « Co gai mo duong » before we reached Vung Tau again, everyone a little tired but very happy to have taken part of that great run.
VTH3 #831 PHOTO GALLERY
25th March 2018
Small Mountain - "The Moderation Trail"
Hares: Flying Finn
Hash Flashers: Basil, Secs, Dr. Who
Report: Faulty Brakes
Everything in moderation including moderation, after our previous three home runs on big mountain and small mountain, instead of going up the mountain at the start of run, this week we went around the small mountain via the Front Beach past The Fish Market (Phan Boi Chau ) along Phan Chu Trinh Street and further on to Hem 220.
Twenty Three hashers and our new hash hound ‘Archie’ blazed the trail on a hot Summers afternoon through ‘little Sydney ‘ past ‘Belly’s Watering Hole ‘ and past numerous ‘ Shebeens ‘much to the amusement of the onlooking ‘wife beater vested clad Aussies‘ watching N.R.L.
Mismanagement decided on this Run to allow a different approach to previous runs allowing those hashers to partake in a moderate run before next weeks away run to Long Hai on a Pekker and Slipper pre-marked trail.
One noticeable absentee this week was Angry Bird whose was suffering the effects of chickenpox and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Reaching Hem 220 and turning right up through the Shanty Village and another right turn up to a previously visited ‘Simons Bunker Buster’ and then upwards to the Jesus Statue along the winding path. The climb ended at the Jesus statue and now it was time to descend down the numerous steps and cross the road to Beach Valley where the chilled San Miguel awaited the thirsty hashers after their 6 km trek with the temperature in the early thirties leading to a thirsty confrontation with the cold beers.
Sitting in shade eating delicious Cheese Rolls, quaffing San Migs, looking out on the South China Sea, we will repeat this Idyllic scenario in the near future. This week we had the unusual situation where Boozer had a late vocation and being summoned to the Church on Trang Huong Dao Street and Basil stepped up to replace him, with the now familiar circle ensuing with virgins, returnees and sinners being dealt with ice cold drenchings.
Eventually Boozer returned, this time hash shirt replaced with designer polo shirt, jeans and no explanation for his hasty departure earlier, the last of the beers were hoovered down as we waited for the Sun to set, eskeys were emptied of ice and were returned to Base camp and a good day was had by all.
On On - Long Hai next week
VTH3 #830 PHOTO GALLERY