12 MAY 2019
Hares: Mr. T
Hash Flasher: Secs
The start of the rainy season didn’t deter our plucky Hashers from meeting at Cafe Uno and boarding the Hashmobile that will take us to Long Hai. This week we are revisiting the revered Monkey Pagoda trail.
We disembark at Trúc Lâm Monenstary and walk to the starting point where Hare, Boozer, delivers the chalk talk - this is going to be a bit of a live trail - in other words our Hares hadn’t been out to scout and mark the trail - however it is an easy trail to follow.
We are to follow the steps into the jungle which will take us to a pagoda with plenty of selfie opportunities. After that continue along the path until we come to a formation of rocks with a natural tunnel, go through the tunnel and then follow the path until we will arrive at our down-down spot at Minh Dam Base car park.
And then its on-on we go! The going is pretty easy especially as it is a lot cooler than recent weeks, and the threat of rain has transformed to sunny skies. Step by step we plod on up the mountain. Arriving at the quaint pagoda nestled in the side of the mountain we are not disappointed with the promised views looking out over the mountains. For here its a short walk to the rock formation and we apprehensively spelunk our way through the dark and dank crevice. Emerging safely from the other side it’s a relatively short walk to the car park at Minh Dam Base.
The usual feast of Banh Mi and 333 Beer is complimented this week with a barrel of German Weißbier provided by the ever generous Zidane.
After a some hobnobbing it’s time for the obligatory team photo, after which, Boozer blows his whistle and calls to order the circle.
First up Mr. T takes the stage as a token Hare - various ratings are given with a final tally of 13/10 on the Boozer scale.
Next up are this week’s virgins - a total of four new Hashers joined us this week, one from USA and three Vietnamese. They are welcomed with the customary dousing.
Four Returnees this week and a variety of lame excuses - Misty had simply been busy, Snail had been travelling around Southeast Asia. Perro Caliente had been working in his resident Singapore and his wife, Oanh had been following them.
Finally Zidane is in the Circle as a Sinner, despite providing the much appreciated German beer - something to do with new shoes and heading back to Australia.
And that’s that. Circle over we pack up, board the Hashmobile and back to Cafe Uno.
VTH3 #889 PHOTO GALLERY
5 MAY 2019
Hares: Boozer, Chook, Secs
Hash Flasher: Secs
After the usual registration process, we make our way to 102 Tran Phu - affectionately known as the “Old Ladies Place’ - where we will begin and end this week’s trail. Our Hare, Boozer, tells us we are to walk along Tran Phu until we come to the school at 192 Tran Phu where the trail will take us the mountain a slightly different way, taking in a previous undiscovered bunker, we’ll then join up with the Ho May Park road path and then we will eventually make our way through the bush to the crucifix that sits atop the 800 steps up from the Goddess of Mercy statue and then finally back to where we started at 102 Tran Phu.
The blistering sun beats down on us as we walk along Tran Phu - this is going to be a hot, hot, trail. Arriving at the Hem 192 we huddle under the shade of some trees whilst we await the stragglers - notably Sparkles, who admirably sprinted 500m to catch us up. Assembled again, we tackle our first obstacle, pulling ourselves up some dilapidated steps and onto a rock. This is where we’d normally follow the wall next to the school, however, today the red ribbons take us a different direction off to the left and up a steep hill. Typically this is overgrown with foliage but after several months of the dry season a path opened up allowing as a to climb up.
At the crest of the hill we see a large concrete structure nestled in the rock face. It’s an old, abandoned military bunker, which, unusually the entrances haven’t been bricked up. The braver of us climb down the steps to explore the inside. It’s pretty dark inside, the only light coming from the narrow slits of the from the pill-boxes that strategically look out over the sea. Steps take us down to the third level where we disturb a family of bats - time for a sharp exit.
Soon back on the familiar path we begin the walk across the mountain. Many of us are starting to flag as the incessant sun takes its toll. Thankfully we turn a corner and see a fairly puggled Chook and Boozer resting up at a coffeeshop. The perfect opportunity to rehydrate and replenish our depleted water supplies. Refreshed we continue along the path until we see a plethora of red ribbons leading us in to the bush and we begin the arduous task of crossing the apex of Big Mountain culminating at the acme of today’s endeavour - the view from 235m above sea level.
Many, many selfies later our Hashers begin the next task - getting across the valley that will take us over to the large crucifix on the next peak. It’s a treacherous descent down the near vertical scree slope. Tentatively we make our way down and then back up the other side of the valley until we reach the crucifix. Finally the last leg of the trail. One step at a time we make our way down the many stone steps to the bottom, take a left and back to Old Ladies Place.
Thirsty and hungry we guzzle down cold beer, soft drinks and bahn mi. Once everyone is replete Ringmaster Boozer calls to order the circle. First up are the Hares, Chook, Boozer and Secs - the trail is rated with scores from 10/10 to 20/10. No Virgins or Returnees this week but Mr.T is brought into the sin bin for the heinous crime of having new shoes.
Circle over the exhausted Hashers head off in to the sunset - another great day out in spectacular Vung Tau.
VTH3 #888 PHOTO GALLERY
28 APRIL 2019
Hares: Boozer, Chook
Hash Flasher: Secs
This Sunday we met at Uno Coffee for a local trail on Small Mountain. Boozer informs everyone that we will need to make way to the starting point which will also be our down-down spot - a new location, on Hai Dang Road. Motorcycles are mustered and we head off along Ha Long Road turning left at Mr. Ket Coffee shop on to Hai Dang Road.
Once on Hai Dang, instead of heading left up to the lighthouse, we take the mountain road to the right and follow the road up the mountain until we arrive on the sealed road that goes across Small Mountain. A left turn take us to a quirky and picturesque coffee shop near to the army barracks.
We gather around Boozer for instruction. It’s relatively simple trail that will take bring us round in a circle back to where we started. Stick together and follow the red ribbons - easy.
A short walk along the road and we are directed left into the bush. We climb up avoiding the prickly, creeping vines that seem to be out to get us at this time of the year until we come to an old stone wall. We hop on the wall and follow it single file until the red ribbons direct us up a steep hill where we have to scale a fence and are back on the main Hai Dang Road.
We’re not on the road for long before Boozer directs us off into the bush again, passing a fortified communications compound eventually emerging back on the road near the legendary Yaourt Cô Tiên Coffee shop famous for its yogurt and eggs.
We make our way through the coffee shop and exit over the midden at the back and descend through the forest, down some ancient steps and emerge on the mountain road where we started. A short walk and we are back where we started at the quirky coffee shop.
Cafe 24 Hai Dang, as it is known, provides a great down-down spot with magnificent views over Vung Tau and Big Mountain. Ice cold drinks, banh mi are waiting for us which we imbibe and ingest and conviviality ensues. A very relaxed ambience. We summon up the energy to take the team photo - no circle this week - too relaxed. Slowly our Hashers head home and after a call, the beer wagon arrives, we pack it up with all the eskies etc. and unload back at Uno Coffee.
VTH3 #887 PHOTO GALLERY
21 APRIL 2019
LONG SON ISLAND
Hares: Secs, Mr.T, Chook
Hash Flasher: Secs
This Sunday another busload of excited Hashers met at Uno Coffee. Our destination is Long Son Island just 28 kilometres from Vung Tau. This week the ice is on time, the eskies are packed with our new local amber nectar, 333, and some unusually packaged banh mi are wedged and re-wedged in to any available cool space.
We’re good to go - all we need now is a bus. 1.30pm and our normally punctual Hashmobile is nowhere to be seen. Mr. T makes a call and we are assured the bus is on it’s way. And sure enough, the bus arrives within 10 minutes.
We arrive on Long Son Island and the Hashmobile takes a left turn, down a familiar road, and one kilometre beyond one of our frequent down-down spots, Quán Ăn Bằng Lăng, we disembark at the end of a dusty side road. As expected, the weather is seasonally hot and we bunch under a tree looking for shade.
Once assembled our Hare, Secs, explains today’s trail. It will be “‘a less than 4km’ trail, that will take us up this dusty road, where we will join a dirt track that will take us through a rural village. When we come out the back of the village we will begin our first steep but short ascent up the mountain. At the top we are to follow the red ribbons across the crest, admire the views until we meet our first descent - also steep but short. Eventually we are to follow the ribbons into the jungle until we will emerge on to a stone road. Follow that for 500m and then take a sharp left and meet our final short but steep climb that will take us to the car park of our down-down spot.
So, under the blazing sun, on-onwards we march. It’s a pleasant stroll through the tranquil village A sunken path dug out of the ground, flanked with trees and bamboo, provides ample shade. It doesn’t last for long as we soon find ourselves exposed on an arid plain. At which point we meet our first challenge - a narrow rocky channel cut out of the bamboo heading up the mountain. Single file we make our way over the sun-baked rocks. As promised, it’s a shortish climb and there is a welcome breeze as we reach the top and take in the view.
It’s a short walk across the top and meet our next challenge - another rocky path cut out of the bamboo, this time going down. Underfoot loose rocks and desiccated earth makes the going tough as we trepidatiously descend.
Now it’s the jungle. While less dense at this time of year, the deciduous foliage covering the ground didn’t make it any easier. We zig-zag our way through, attempting to avoid the bloodthirsty, barbed wire like, vines that are either trying to lacerate our shins or garrotte us.
A sigh of relief as we arrive at the stone road. Surely its not far to go now? Technically no - not far - but there is one last obstacle to conquer. As we arrive at the left turn off, some of us look up with disbelief as they see the final climb - short but steep - again. With thoughts of ice cold refreshments, we make the final push and soon find ourselves in the carpark of the Sinh thái Du Sơn restaurant.
We chug down icy cold soft drinks and 333. It turns our that the unusually packaged banh mi wasn’t actually bahn mi. In honour of our legendary Hares, Slipper and Flying Finn, who will be returning to their native Finland, Mismanagement has provided a veritable feast of BBQ Chicken and Pork, fried rice, salad, bread and watermelon. Very welcome after today’s challenging trail. The food is devoured, beer is quaffed and once everyone is replete, we take the team photo and assemble everyone in to the circle.
First up are the Hares, Chook, Mr. T and Secs, the trail is rated with scores ranging from 10/10 to 20/10. Ringmaster Boozer, applies his rating algorithm to numbers and crunches out a total rating of 12/10.
Three Vietnamese ladies and one Irishman make up this week’s Virgins and are ceremoniously baptised.
Finally, Hare extraordinaire, Slipper is brought forward to accept a token of Mismanagements appreciation. Over the last six months, Slipper and Flying Finn have tirelessly dedicated many hours to setting, creating and discovering trails for us to enjoy on Sundays. Many thanks guys! We look forward to your return next year.
And with that, Boozer closes the circle, we pack up the eskies and continue the party as the Hashmobile speeds back to Vung Tau.
VTH3 #886 PHOTO GALLERY