29th April 2018
Long Hai Mountains - Minh Dam Base "Hermit's House 'Hot as Hell' Trail"
Hares: Mr. T, Secs
Hash Flashers: Zidane, Secs
It was just about ‘standing room only’ on our lavishly decorated Hashmobile as we departed Hon Ru Ri for the trip to Long Hai Mountains under a nicely overcast sky.
We eventually dismounted a few minutes’ drive beyond the main entrance to Minh Dam Base, then hiked another 1 km to the bottom of a track that was deceptively flat to begin with, but soon ran directly up the side of the mountain to a hermit’s hut via what seemed like several thousand mostly ‘natural’ steps! Luckily, there were plenty of trees to provide much-needed shade!
The hermit is very hospitable; he kept smiling as hordes of perspiring Hashers traipsed through his small abode – and we were even able to keep our shoes on!
Cries of “On On” continued as we made our way to the popular ‘lookout’ boulders. Lots of selfies and groupies were taken, while others explored the local area or just relaxed in the cool mountain breezes and enjoyed the view over the northern beaches and East Sea.
After what had at times seemed like an almost vertical hike up the mountain, the descent to the car park was a relaxed stroll under the watchful gaze of some playful monkeys.
Then the day’s main physical activity was over, and ice cold San Miguels never tasted so good! There was also enough food to ‘feed the five thousand’, so our sincere thanks to the foodies once again – we were treated to a delicious variety of international cuisine, worthy of any restaurant in town!
When everyone had been accounted for, duty Ringmaster Boozer donned the chains of office, called the Circle and asked newcomers to rate the trail. Scores (out of 10) ranged from “10” to “100”, so Hares Secs and Mr T were duly rewarded with Down Downs to mark their valiant efforts!
Hash Virgins were welcomed from India (Niharika), New Zealand (Barry) and Vietnam (Ms Trong), with the latter also being introduced to the ‘tube of honour’, with hilarious results! Two Sinners this week, both nominated for ‘inappropriate clothing’: Returnee Black & White (jeans – which also earned her the ‘tube’) and Ms Trang (sandals).
One of seven Returnees, Uncle was ‘tubed’ for trying to blame memory loss on advancing years; he gave an off-key rendition of Amazing Grace to prepare for one of Radiowave’s infamous perforated cups – but not much of the contents reached his throat anyway!
After a spirited and mostly ‘wet’ ceremony, Ringmaster Boozer thanked everyone for their contributions and closed the Circle by shaking his ‘sporran’ and announcing that next week’s run will be a local trail on Big Mountain, to be set by Uncle (note: we’ll start from a Buddhist pagoda where running, loud voices and bare shoulders are considered disrespectful).
Conviviality continued a while longer, and then we boarded the Hashmobile for the journey home in what magically transformed into a mobile disco, complete with fairy lights (don’t ask…)!
Once unloaded back at Hon Ru Ri and (mostly) showered, a dozen or more ‘die-hards’ convened at the Bach Dang Bia Hoi for yet more eats and drinks – but that’s a story for another day…………
VTH3 #835 PHOTO GALLERY
22nd April 2018
Small Mountain "Hotter Than Hell Trail"
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flashers: Gary, Chom Chom, Flying Finn
Report: Chom Chom
Having fully recovered from last weekends Weekender, things returned to normal for the
Vung Tau Hash with 33 hashers keenly waiting at Hon Ru Ri for a local trail on Small
Mountain – later, to be named the Hotter Than Hell Trail!
The trail commenced at our registration area and we eagerly and energetically progressed
along the beach road, towards Phan Chu Trinh. We decided to take a detour from the beach
road in the hope of finding a bit more shade onto Tran Hung Dao, some choosing the street
route, others taking the more scenic views through the park. Eventually, after almost
exhausting the length of Phan Chu Trinh, we made the welcoming right turn at Hem 296 and
started ascending on the mountain path. Now it really began…
The solid tarmac road we started on, soon ended as we joined the sandy, dusty path and
continued to make our way higher up the mountain. As the trail progressed we passed the
back of the fairly impressive massive “haunted” abandoned house. We approached a road and
whilst it seemed more appropriate to turn left (getting closer to our Down Down location) we
made the requested right turn and continued the climb along yet more sandy, dusty paths. The higher we got, the hotter it got. With very little shade and virtually no breeze, some of us
started to suffer in the dense heat we were blessed with this fine Sunday afternoon. Bottles of
water were running out quick and many breaks were necessary for some. The pace had
slowed down considerably!
Eventually after a rather long walk of mainly uphill terrain we made it to the Jesus statue and
the steps of decline approached us. A few hashers took advantage of the shadier rest areas on
the way down, others just needed a top-up drink or ice cream at the occasional vendors
Reaching the main Ha Long road, we found that final boost of energy, crossed over and then
made it down the final hill to our completion point at Beach Valley where our returnee Baz
had been carefully taking care of the super cold San Miguels, soft drinks and food. A big
thank you to our regular foodies, Mother Theresa and Boozer.
After the usual group photo, the Circle was started with our customary Ringmaster, Boozer,
taking his role of glory. After meeting our Hares, the trail was initially rated 8 although after
further feedback was raised to 11, so well done to both Flying Finn and Boozer on another
success. A presentation was made to our Fearless Finn Twins, Flying Finn and Slipper as
they will be leaving us temporarily as they are returning to their home lands for a time. They
will be greatly missed and have done an amazing amount of work for VTH3, so many, many
thanks to them and we look forward to their return. They were both presented with a VTH3
mug as a leaving gift. We were reminded of the special party that had been arranged in their
honour and that next week would hopefully be an away trail.
With the extended Down-Down / Party due to start at 5.30pm, most Hashers chose to leave
early in order to prepare for the evenings food, drinks and entertainment. Taxis were provided
back to Hon Ru Ri for those with motorbikes parked there.
About 30 Hashers returned for the party at Beach Valley in honour of Flying Finn and
Slippers imminent departure. Whilst the ladies enjoyed preparing and cooking the food, the
gents enjoyed the cold San Miguels. What a feast we had - roasted pork (heo quay),
Barbecued Prawns, Steamed Fish, Salad, Bread, Fruit and of course a very generous amount
of San Miguel Beers (together with the usual selection of soft drinks). We were even treated
to some pickled herring. Music was provided by a large speaker with a tablet, so we could all
choose (or squabble over) what we wanted to hear. Many of us took to the dance floor,
overlooking the sea on this now rather dark evening. All in all another great VTH3 success
and many thanks to those involved in the organising.
VTH3 #834 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM FLYING FINN
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