24 MAR 2019
SMALL MOUNTAIN - "The Three Temple Trail"
Hares: Boozer, Cleaver
Hash Flasher: Secs
Report: Chom Chom
Another Sunday afternoon, another habitual gathering at our registration base of Café Uno where this week, thirty-nine ardent Hashers assembled in anticipation for Boozers trail on Small Mountain.
Upon completion of the registrations, fees being paid and the friendly salutations, we proceeded down to the street to be introduced to the trail ahead of us by our hare, Boozer. Essentially it was a trail of three temples, up to the lighthouse and the familiar route down back to Café Uno. We were warned that a lot of the trail was new, so keeping grouped up would be a good plan!
We proceeded away from Café Uno along Ha Long Street until we got to the Chua Hai Van Temple where we took the hairpin to the right to start our ascent. After climbing many dilapidated steps we met the mountain road and followed this in a downward direction towards Mr Ket. This pleasant stretch was soon to end as Mr T, acting quite stealthily, appeared pointing to a right turn to yet more, even more rickety and decrepit steps, but this time far more arduous and gruelling. It was getting painful here as the tortuous sun glared and dazzled us, no doubt having a good laugh watching the sweat penetrating from our bodies. We arrived at our second temple and grovelled under a makeshift fence to arrive on the new concrete road. Here we turned right and forged ahead, making the most of the smooth, level surface. There were some great photo and selfie opportunities here as views over the ocean were aplenty.
A right turn was taken off the concrete road into a dry and leafy area of forest where we continued to climb up. This was probably the more perilous and precarious part of the trail due to the dryness and lack of grip. We made our way up and shortly found ourselves on far more familiar grounds, by passing the domed bunkers and the crumbled steps. We arrived again at the mountain road and took a right towards the lighthouse. Our third and final temple soon arrived, this one known as Chua Hai Dang, and at long last we made a start to make our way back down from the mountain on the lavish Temple steps. Most of our Hashers knew where we were now and comforted in knowing the trail was nearly over. We left the steps and made a left turn back into the forest, through the undergrowth, under the chicken wire by Leman Cap Resort and eventually arriving at the final staircase down to Ha Long and ultimately our Down Down destination. Looking at my Runkeeper app, the trail was almost 4km and took around 1 hour 30 minutes to complete.
Hashers appeared at their own pace and gradually Café Uno started to rejuvenate. The usual San Miguel Light and Pilsners had been awaiting our return in their ice fuelled eskies making them a delight to absorb in our drained bodies. There was also the usual selection of soft drinks, banh mi and Boozers box of filled sandwiches. This week we had a representative of San Miguel greet us to understand more about Vung Tau Hash and their involvement as a sponsor.
After the group photo had been completed, Boozer called the circle. As in the traditional fashion, we were first introduced to our hares, in this case, our single Hare, Boozer. Next up were our virgins. There were four this week – Phuong, Khoa and Huy from Vung Tau and Laurie (introduced by Mr. T) from Queensland, Australia. Next round was sinners and our pack included Shirley, who was clearly not impressed with Frenchy for suggesting her for having new shoes, and Aqua for having a new luminous orangey-pink shirt! There was one more sinner, Mai, who was called into the circle subsequently for suggesting something was “how rude”. There were no returnees this week. After a quick summary of how trails are set and the varying difficulty levels, the circle was closed and the festivities and jovialities continued.
VTH3 #882 PHOTO GALLERY
17 MAR 2019
LONG HAI - "A new trail, a new mountain, and a long walk to the down-down"
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flasher: Secs
Another Sunday, another Hash, another trail and another Run Report - or so it seemed.
It started off pretty much as normal - Uno Coffee was buzzing with excitement, as eager Hashers lined up to pay their Run Fees; enthusiastic volunteers carted copious amounts of San Miguel and soft drinks from the storeroom, down three flights of stairs, and loaded it in to the eskies; Bahn Mi was delivered ready to be put on ice, but alas, the Iceman had not yet cometh - again. Several calls later and it’s apparent that the Iceman is just too busy to come today, so, we’re going to have to collect it ourselves.
After stopping the bus at Hoàng Hoa Thám and walking to Phan Chu Trinh to collect the ice, we are soon on the Highway hurtling towards this week’s destination of Long Hải. Flying Finn, our Hare, had mentioned that this was a brand new trail and, as we approached Long Hải, Mismanagement figures we should clarify where we are starting so we can tell the bus driver where to go. Lucky we checked - it’s not just a new trail but a new mountain!
For several months now, each time we visit Minh Dam mountain, many of our eagle eyed Hares have noticed the construction of a new road on the mountain opposite. A few weeks back Mr. T. drove a warren of Hares up the road to survey its Hashability. But it was the Fearless Finn Twins - Slipper and Flying Finn - who took the time and effort to actually spend last Friday creating a trail for us. So instead of heading towards Long Hải Town we took a left until we ended up at the beginning of the new road.
As we gathered ourselves, we looked along the road, our eyes following it up to a horizon that was obscured by a seemingly massive mountain. Once the eskies were filled with ice, Flying Finn gave his chalk-talk - we going up the road to the very top and then follow the red tapes which will bring as down the other side and then back to the familiar down-down spot at Ngọc Xương Resort. It sounded so easy.
Under a blistering hot sun, we began our ascent. Very quickly, it became very apparent that this was going to be a steep climb with not a lot of shade. The road deceptively meandered its way up the mountain, just when you thought there was going to be some respite from the punishing gradient, you turned a bend and were confronted we an even steeper section. However, as we ascended we were treated to some spectacular views - including a different perspective of the lookout at the top of Minh Dam - which just happened to be where we were last week.
Eventually the road flattened out and came to an end where we found Slipper directing us in to the jungle. Ah - this was more like it - a nice shady jungle path - much more what we are used to. The well worn path continues to take us up the mountain, we pass some temple steps and we noticed that there are a lot of potential trails on this mountain that will have to be explored in the future. However, the red ribbons indicated that we were to pass these steps and continue on the path. Soon we see more signs of civilisation. We come across a stone water well in a clearing and then emerge at a pagoda perched on top a rock formation - more spectacular views!
Not long after the pagoda we began our descent. A rocky path strewn with slippery dry leaves makes the going tough - not only that but this is even steeper than the way up. Step by step we gingerly make our way to the bottom and on to a main road.
To some of us (Mr. T, Secs and some followers) this looked very familiar. “Ah, we know where we are”, we thought. “Just down this road and it’s short walk to the down-down”, we thought. With confidence we marched down the road. The road was much longer than we remembered, and after a while, we noticed we hadn’t seen a red ribbon in a while. “Not to worry,” we thought. “We know where are going”, we thought.
As we got to the end of the road Secs checks Google maps - just to confirm we were right. “Hmm, oh crap,” we thought. Turns out we weren’t where we thought and had another 3.5km to go to the down-down!”
So we walked the long, straight, exposed roads of Long Hải until we arrived at the down-down, exhausted and thirsty. We also noticed that there were some Hashers who were behind us back already. Yep - we definitely went wrong. Checking the GPS we ended up taking 2 hours 30 minutes to walk 10km with a 250m ascent. Flying Finn verified that yep, it should only have been 7.5km! Let that be lesson to all of us - if you don’t see a red ribbon for a while - it’s not a bad idea to go back and find the last one and try pick up the trail again.
Anyway, it was a relief to be back at the serene Ngọc Xương Resort where we lounged on the grassy bank of the ornamental lake, gorging on Banh Mi and San Miguel. It was already nearly 6pm by the time everyone returned and, as daylight was beginning to fade, we took the team photo. With time and tiredness getting the better of us this week, we a had a reprieve from the Circle. The Hashmobile was loaded and boarded, back to Uno Coffee, where we unboarded and unloaded.
Another great Sunday! Another great Hash! And an awesome new trail!
And the end of the yet another Run Report!
VTH3 #881 PHOTO GALLERY
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