26 MAY 2019
LONG SON ISLAND
Hares: Secs, Mr.T
Hash Flasher: Chom Chom,
Report: Chom Chom
It was all looking bright and gay as this week’s Hashers started gathering at our registration and starting venue of Café Uno. Together with this, the bus was waiting, the banh mi had been delivered and even the ice was melting away, awaiting being rehomed into the eskies of soft drinks and our newly selected beer of choice, 333. It was looking a great start to the afternoon.
We mounted our usual bus, greeted our friendly driver and made a prompt departure to Long Son at 1.30pm. Once we arrived in Long Son, the bus dropped us all off in the street and whilst our Hashers were dousing themselves in sunscreen and mosquito spray, we slowly assembled in a nearby park for the trail introduction from Mr. T. In short, the trail ahead was parts of two new trails and parts of two old trails, but do not fret, it is heavily taped!
Things started well as we leisurely made our way over a gentle winding path, although it wasn’t long until we hit the rocky climb up the mountain. Our first photo opportunity was just ahead, next to a newly erected corrugated hut. As we continued our climb up the mountain, ominous dark grey clouds were getting closer, and whilst we may have hoped for a cooler period as the winds gently swept around us, rain was certainly a threatening possibility. The latter was sadly the result and we suffered a sudden heavy downpour and at this stage most of us had already made it up the mountain – there was no turning back – so On-On in the rain (together with thunder and lightning offering additional dramatic effects).
We took a left turn at the top of the mountain and continued into deep forest areas desperately looking for the red flags that were now getting tougher to locate due to the darkness above, steamed up glasses and generally poorer visibility. Whilst we had hoped the trees would shelter us partly from the rain, this didn’t seem to be the case. Within a few minutes, we all as wet as we could possibly be, trying to protect our phones and other valuables. Here things got a bit messy as groups fragmented into different directions.
It was surprising how much the trail had become overgrown with the recent rainfall. The current rain also made the remaining stages of the trail much more tricky as our soily, leafy ground had now turned into slippery mud and it is fair to say there were several slippages with Hashers having muddy back sides!
The trail continued downwards now towards the wide stony road that would be familiar to many. This was certainly reassuring as we knew where we were and more importantly there wasn’t too much further to go. It was still pouring with rain with very little visible evidence of change. A left turn was taken from the main road and a short, but steep climb confronted us. Once we had reached the top, we made our way the best ways we could find to eventually reach the Down-Down spot.
Our Down-Down location was the familiar coffee shop and car park at the top of the mountain. Hashers slowly started gathering from various directions, clear that many had taken an alternate route or detour. We were all drenched and dripping and were grateful for the shelter offered. Those that were fortunate enough to forward think and bring an additional shirt changed and no doubt felt somewhat better. We did the usual pleasantries whilst we enjoyed the now cool 333 beer and soft drinks, together with Boozers selection of sandwiches, fruit and banh mi.
After the group photo, Boozer gathered the circle. Our Hares this week were Mr. T and Secs and after much discussion with our various nationalities, a trail score of 12 was achieved, so well done and thank you to our Hares. Next into the circle were our virgins, but more specifically Vung Tau virgins – a total of six this week. Here we were introduced to a couple of young Vietnamese gents from Vung Tau, a young Vietnamese lady from Ho Chi Minh, a happily married couple from France and a very jovial, enthusiastic Hash fanatic with the hashname Tick Tock, from Australia. Tick Tock duly got the inevitable tube of doom reward. Next up was our returnees, just the two of them – Chief Stoker who had been busy building boats and UFO who claimed to have simply been lazy. Finally, we had our sinners that included Secs for going the wrong way on his own trail, and Chom Chom for not coming forward as a returnee and also following Secs the wrong way. I think there should have been a fair few more sinners, but then, I don’t know how many Hashers even knew the right or wrong way! The circle was closed, and we continued our merriments of drinking and chatting prior to the return trip to our home base.
As a conclusion, whilst we are having somewhat unpredictable weather, I think it is worth highlighting that along with the usual hats, sunscreen, mosquito spray, etc, a new shirt might also be a useful addition, and a waterproof bag for your phone!
Thanks for reading and I hope all enjoyed their wet day at Long Hai. On-On until next week.
VTH3 #891 PHOTO GALLERY
19 MAY 2019
Hares: Boozer, Secs
Hash Flasher: Kojak
This week our trail started and finished at Coffee Uno and took as all over Small Mountain.
We took the narrow Hem next to Coffee Uno, climb the old steps and follow a path through the woods behind the various hotels and houses on Ha Long Road. Soon we meet the many stairs that will take us up the mountain to Chùa Hải Đăng Pagoda where we join the mountain road. It’s only a short walk before ribbons indicate we are to go in to the jungle up some dilapidated steps. The trail takes passed a derelict old house and eventually emerging at famous Yaourt Cô Tiên Coffee Shop near the top of Hải Đăng.
From there we take a right turn and follow the road almost to the lighthouse. Another set of ribbons points us back in to the jungle and then passed the walled communications compound and then back on to Hải Đăng Road.
We follow the road for a while, jumping a fence to take a shortcut down a short, rocky ravine which brings us back on to Hải Đăng Road. We continue down the road, passed the army base, and then yet more ribbons bring us back in to the bush, up some more old steps and we exit back on the the mountain road, near the quirky Hải Đăng coffee shop. Finally, we retrace our steps down the steps at Chùa Hải Đăng back to Uno Coffee.
Back at our home base we eat, drink and be merry until its time for the team photo followed by a short circle. Our Hares, Secs and Boozer, are congratulated. We welcome one virgin, Ms. Hien from Vietnam. And finally we welcome back two Returnees, Kojak and Barry
VTH3 #890 PHOTO GALLERY
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
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