23 JUNE 2019
Hares: Mr. T, Secs, Boozer, Fluffer
Hash Flasher: Kojak
A sunny Sunday afternoon, and as is customary, we convene at Uno Coffee to check in for today’s trail on Small Mountain. As we sit looking out at the glistening ocean, breezy conversation intermingles with the gentle sea breeze. At 1.30pm Boozer blows his whistle and we gather on Ha Long Road. Front and centre is Fluffer, one of our Hares, who gives an arousing first-time chalk-talk that stiffens us up for what it is surely going to be a hard but satisfying endeavour.
We are to walk along Ha Long Road until we come to the entrance of the revered Jesus Christ Statue and then ascend the 811 steps to the top. Then go over the top and follow red tape that will take us to an Army base. We have to bear left at the base and make our way through the forest until the red tape will lead us on to a road that we will follow to a temple on Ha Long Road and then back to Uno Coffee.
And on-onwards we go, pleased with the balmy climate, we briskly march along the coastal road until we arrive at the Gates to Calvary where our pilgrimage begins for real. Most of us are acquainted with the steps to the top, which does not make it any easier. Step by step we plod on eagerly looking out for the markers that count up how many steps we’ve done. 350, not even half way, 400, OMG only half way, 600, yay, only 200 more to go. As we look up the final 200 steps our Saviour welcomes us with open arms inspiriting us to complete the spiritual ascent with no crosses to bear.
Once we’ve caught our breath, we make our way beyond the statue where the stalwart and avid Hash Flasher, Kojak, is waiting to take a celebratory snap to commemorate conquering our crusade.
The next leg is pretty simple, a gentle walk in the countryside. It doesn’t last for long as we arrive at the confounded Army base. We leave the track to enter the forest through long green grass. We scale our way along the perimeter fence until the undergrowth diverts us down on to the steep incline that we have to perpendicularly walk across, swinging from tree to tree, desperately trying to maintain our footing on the loose earth and rocks. Eventually the red ribbons start to take us back up the incline and it’s a bit of scramble to pull ourselves up on to the track that will take us down the familiar mountain road.
A pleasant stroll with the usual spectacular views takes us down the mountain until the ribbons indicate to jump over a fence where we are greeted with another set of spiritual steps. Karmically, they are descending, taking us down through through the picturesque grounds of Chùa Hải Vân Pagoda. We exit on to Ha Long Road and its a short walk to complete the loop back to Uno Coffee.
Back at Uno Coffee, feasting ourselves on Ice Cold Beer, Boozer’s sarnies, and Banh Mi we become aware that six of our most experienced Hashers have yet to return. Unusual and mysterious, murmured rumours of dalliances are soon quashed as our wearied and just slightly curmudgeonly Hashers return after having followed red ribbons from a recent trail that took them up to lighthouse and back down the long Hai Dang Road. A lesson for all Hares - when setting a trail, remove the ribbons from previous trails.
With everybody back safely Kojak takes the team photo and the Circle commences.
The Hares this week are Fluffer, Mr. T, Secs and Boozer - scores this week range from a generous 15/10 to a surly 3/10 from Chook. The Boozer Blockchain AI processes this as a final 12/10.
This week’s Virgins, Ms. Canh and her daughter, actually joined us the previous week however with rain stopping Circle play last week she wasn’t able to introduce herself. She is welcomed with the Tube of Doom which she tackles with aplomb. Welcome Ms. Canh.
Returnees this week are Mr. Versace and Anton followed by Sinners; Sweeper, Dynamo, Marat. Excuses are given, Sins are assigned, beer is downed, songs are sung and boisterous fun was had by all.
As the sun melts in to the watery horizon our Hashers disperse in to the evening until we meet again next Sunday.
VTH3 #895 PHOTO GALLERY
16 JUNE 2019
LONG HAI MOUNTAINS
Hares: Mr. T, Secs
Hash Flasher: Secs, Tiger Tom
Eskies cleaned? Check! Ice ordered? Check! Enough Saigon Special Check! A variety of Soft Drinks? Check! Cool bags for food? Check!
Chomchom and Zidane, our Beer-meisters this week, single-handedly organise this week’s supplies and loaded it in the Hashmobile, along with 40 expectant hashers wishing to climb aboard to get the best seat, or sit next to their new girlfriend, or new concubine, or add someone to their hareem, or just avoid sitting next to the trouble and strife waited patiently at Uno Coffee. But at 1.30pm already theirs is some consternation as our Hashmobile hasn’t arrived yet! A couple of phone calls later the bus arrives a few minutes later after having left the station late. Supplies loaded; we are soon on our way to our favourite mountain Long Hai.
Not long after passing the Long Son turn off our Hashmobile takes a right turn and laboriously grinds its way up the road to our starting point on the flat side of Long Hai Mountain, on the seaside of the range. We disembark a few hundred meters from the end of the road pleased with the overcast sky and semi cool breeze - perfect Hashing weather. We gather round our Hare, Secs, for the “chalk-talk”. He indicates to the trail leading into the forest - follow the path until you come to the steps, then ascend the steps to the pagoda, then at the T Junction turn right head to the pagoda. Once past the Pagoda it is a downhill run to the beer, softies, banh mi and boozers’ magnificent sambos.
So on-on into the jungle we go! The clement weather and gentle slope make for easy going until we reach the steps. Plenty of time for photos, reflection, ball scratching before setting off up the long arduous steps.
We poise ourselves and tiptoe determinedly up the steps. After some 30 minutes we arrive at the T junction where we turn right and head to the pagoda. We continue on up to the pagoda where many of us take a breather to rest our burning calf muscles.
Not to be deterred after taking many selfie shots at the pagoda the band of gay, merry, sweaty, stinking hashers descend the trail to Minh Dam carpark. But as the decent commenced the heavens opened and a torrential down pour flooded the path, the trail, our underwear our hats, our clothes.
Drenched and standing in the rain, the hashers undeterred opened the eskies and consumed the icy cold beer, whoofed the banh mi down whilst dancing in the rain. A group photo was organised, the circle was skipped due to the continuous torrential down pour, and we boarded the Hashmobile and headed back to Uno Coffee, where along the way we consumed many cans of icy cold beer and softies, spun yarns, told stories, sang songs, sat next to the new girlfriend, or tried to sit next to any new girlfriend, until we reached home.
VTH3 #894 PHOTO GALLERY
9 JUNE 2019
Hares: Boozer, Cleaver, Secs
Hash Flasher: Kojak
Report: Chom Chom
The time was one o’clock, the place was Uno Café, men and women (and unspecified) both young and old assembled for their weekly Hashing in the sun expedition. All they knew was it was a local trail on Big Mountain. In the background, the essential tasks were being carried out. Fees were collected by our regular cashiers, Boozer and Cleaver, whilst eskies were being filled with beer, soft drinks and ice.
One-thirty soon arrived and we were instructed to form a group on the main Ha Long Street. Boozer explained briefly that we needed to get to our starting (and also ending) point of a coffee shop at the end of Vi Ba Street. He organised the logistics and most Hashers managed to succeed in a ride share on a motorbike. To make things easier, our riders simply had to follow the trusty beer truck that was heading there too. A single taxi was called for the final unloved few.
Once we had all arrived at our starting coffee shop, we assembled once again, and Boozer gave us the introduction about the trail ahead. This week was particularly inspiring as it was all-new, so stick together as to not get lost! With great enthusiasm we wandered down the muddy trail to the nearby rubbish dump coffee shop, chatting and catching up with the week’s news and events, excited and eager to discover the new route ahead.
For a change the trail started in a gentle downward direction as we traipsed our way through the picturesque scene, so familiar in Vietnam, of dumped cans, bottles and other rubbish. We carried on down through a woody trail carefully navigating our way to avoid the differing varieties of branches and vines that were facing us in every direction. Sadly, our first aider, Zidan managed to achieve the first forest injury! As we continued, the path seemed to be getting narrower and more precarious. Things were certainly about to change for the worse!
What was to come next was a rather steep, dusty, rocky, leafy drop and no doubt the toughest part of todays trail. We did out best navigating our way down assisting many other Hashers, particularly the youngsters, some of whom did look rather scared at the prospect ahead. To complicate things, many rocks slipped and rolled down the mountain and Chom Chom was reprimanded by Chippy on many occasions, even when it wasn’t his fault! It was a careful and slow stage with the additional encouragement of being blessed with rather grey clouds above. These clouds didn’t keep us waiting long and soon broke to give a pretty heavy and serious downpour. Timing was almost perfect as the majority of Hashers had now reached the bottom and were sheltering in a nearby coffee shop enjoying a refreshing soft drink or sugarcane juice. Those that had been at the end or struggling on the slope, got rather wet.
After the rain had passed over and our short break of shelter and refreshments, we headed to the main Ha Long Road and proceeded to the left. Whilst this was a perfectly flat terrain, the rain on the pretty street slabs made them rather slippery and many found the tarmac of the road an easier and safer option. A few hundred meters later we came off the road and started our return route back up to the mountain. After some initial confusion as to which way to go, and we proceeded up some rather decrepit steps. We passed some home remains and also an interesting (if not a bit cruel) bat net, complete with some casualties. After the steep drop down the mountain previously, the climb back up was fairly relaxed.
We arrived back at Vi Bar Street, made a quick left turn and took the final steps back to our Down Down spot at the coffee chop.
Our regular ringmaster, Boozer, called the circle and we were introduced to our Hares, this week, Secs and Cleaver. Our returnees included Sweeper who had simply missed home too much and Zidan who was doing nothing in Australia, although I understand he was awaiting a passport. A massive crowd of 13 virgins this week, and for a change, they really were virgins! All of them were fourteen or under and all from Vietnam, mainly Vung Tau but a couple from Ho Chi Minh. Sinners were a bit thin on the ground, but eventually Miss T was called for requesting a wedding ring from Mr T.
It was announced that members of the mismanagement team had been looking at a prospective away trip to Cat Tien National Park and dates were discussed with Hashers in order to offer the most convenient day for all. More news will follow over the coming weeks. Finally, it was confirmed that next weeks trail would be an away, after two weeks of local trails.
VTH3 #893 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITIONAL CIRCLE PHOTOS
2 JUNE 2019
Hares: Secs, Mr.T, Boozer
Hash Flasher: Tiger Tom,
As usual we meet at Uno Coffee for registration where we are informed to make our way to Paci Bia Hoi where we will start the run. Once we have reconvened Boozer, tells us to walk to Vi Ba via Le Ngoc Han where Mr. T will relay the rest of our instructions.
With a spring in our step we make our way through the streets of Vung Tau until we turn off to the left at the end of Le Ngoc Han street and climb up the steps to Vi Ba. Once we have all caught up with each other, Mr. T, proceeds to deliver the rest of the chalk-talk. Follow the Vi Ba road until we come to a temple where we will head off to the left and follow the power lines to the top of the mountain, then follow the red ribbons until we come out again on Vi Ba. Go back down Vi Ba and then make our back to the Bia Hoi the same way we came.
So, On-On, we go, and it soon becomes apparent that this is no easy trail. The steep road up to the temple is already an arduous task and there were a few incredulous gasps from our Hashers as we left the temple road and began the near vertical ascent following the electricity pylons. It’s a rocky climb, luckily some kind soul has installed guide ropes to pull ourselves over the larger boulders.
As we reach the top, a sense of satisfaction overwhelms us as we finally emerge at the perimeter of Ho May Park - the perfect spot to take a seat and breath in spectacular unfettered view of Vung Tau. Recovered, and realising the hardest part if the trail is now complete, we follow the red ribbons into the forest. The trail takes us across the top of the mountain and affords more spectacular views until we are back on Vi Ba and walk back to the Bia Hoi.
Back at the Bia Hoi we are treated to a veritable feast of delights all washed down with copious amount of Fresh Beer. The perfect end to an arduous local trail.
VTH3 #892 PHOTO GALLERY