21 JULY 2019
LONG HAI - MINH DAM
Hares: Double-Two, Snail
Hash Flasher: Golden Fish
Report: Chom Chom
Whilst others were relaxing at home in front of warming fires, enjoying a lazy Sunday, preparing their roast dinners, the gregarious and venturous group of Vung Tau Hash House Harriers were assembling at our registration point of Café Uno. Registration today was particularly arduous as additional fees were being collected for the Run 900 Pool Party next weekend, and the Hash Weekender to Cat Tien National Park on August 10th. Whilst registration was taking place, in the background cooler boxes were being filled with soft drinks, beers, banh mi and the essential ice.
Following the registration and emptying our wallets and purses we all set to board our regular Hash coach and departed Vung Tau for Long Hai, the destination for today’s trail.
Upon arrival at Long Hai, we were dropped off in the main car park of the Chùa Khỉ Buddhist temple, a very pretty and well kept temple with beautiful surrounding grounds and views. After the application of sunscreen and mosquito spray, we walked a short distance through the grounds along a gravelly path passing statues, huge rocks and many moderately friendly monkeys. We reached a small pagoda where Mr. T introduced the trail ahead and explained that today we had “live hares”. Essentially this meant that the trail hadn’t been set in advance, therefore Double-2 and Snail, a couple of our more nimble and quick members would place the red tape ahead of our other hashers. For most Hashers this area was quite familiar having had many past trails here. So On-On as we all commenced the journey ahead.
We progressed up the mountain on the steep rocky steps, advancing to the temple, passing many monkeys that seemed fairly relaxed on being photographed. It was a bright sunny day, the sky was an expanse of sapphire blue providing a great contrast for the many photograph and selfie opportunities to come. Whilst we were blessed with radiant rays of the sun, it did make the rough uphill climb over the boulders rather more demanding. As we progressed further up, evidence of the recent rain became apparent as the steps were becoming damper and slippier with a veneer of moss. We shortly arrived near the top and walked through a small temple with a stunning viewpoint. We knew we were almost at the mountains peak and that things were seemingly going to get easier. A short walk later we passed through the cave tunnel, damp and cool – thirty seconds of bliss.
From here things began to get easier as we followed the generous path of red tape carefully meandering through the leafy, wooded path through dense woodland.
One by one, Hashers arrived at the final Down-Down location of Minh Dam car park. Cool drinks were waiting and the joyful cheers of chatter and banter prevailed. Monkeys too were waiting and observing every movement, ready to pounce and grab whatever goodies they could. This week together with the customary banh-mi, we enjoyed the bonus of additional sandwiches from Boozer and a delicious tin of Danish cookies and bananas from HBO, so a special thanks to our foodies this week. Once we were all refreshed and energised again, the group photograph was taken. The traditional circle was then assembled with Boozer taking the centre. Unfortunately for the second week, technical issues limited the audio-visual meaning Boozer would have to shout rather than have the comfort of a working microphone. Firstly we were introduced once again to our live hares, Double-2 and Snail. The trail was awarded a rating of eleven. We then met our new virgins, two this week, David from Australia’s Gold Coast and Paul from Melbourne. Paul had the special honour of the tube of doom. We were then honoured by the return of two Hashers who had been away for more than 6 weeks, Moonlight and On-On. Moonlight made the rather lame excuse that maybe she was busy with her girlfriends whilst On-On simply claimed he had been busy working. This weeks circle also gave the opportunity to provide some Hash names to some of our newer, regular hashers. Four hashers were invited into the circle, Ms Canh was named Pinky, her affable daughter was named Leader, and her son had the superhero name of Spiderman. One more name was given to a Vietnamese hasher, Lovely.
The time was drawing towards six, so the coach was reloaded with the cooler boxes and hash stuff and our drained hashers boarded again for the journey back to Vung Tau.
Due to the Run 900 Pool Party, there will be a shorter local trail next week. Keep checking the website at www.vungtauhash.com and your email inbox. See you all next Sunday.
VTH3 #899 PHOTO GALLERY
14 JULY 2019
LONG SON ISLAND
Hares: Mr. T, Cleaver
Hash Flasher: Chom Chom
Report: Faulty Brakes
Edging closer to the magical 900 run, this Sunday we visited Long Son Island. This venue inevitably has thrown us up a few curved balls. In the past we had the dreaded attack of the hornets on Secs and maybe that might have explained his absence this week and we had the situation where 2 curmudgeons were nearly stranded overnight on top of the mountain a few years ago. The hoodoo we call the “curse of Long Son“ struck again this Sunday when a party of 12 hashers turned up at the wrong Down Down location.
The pre run assembly took place at Cafe Uno where 58 hashers were registered for today’s trip.This week we had a large number of children and now we must emphasize the IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING CHILDREN UNDER STRICT SUPERVISION DURING THE WALK AND DOWN DOWN, this is for everyone's benefit and failure to adhere to this policy in the future could lead to the BANNING OF CHILDREN ALTOGETHER from VTH3.
The trail itself consisted of crossing the mountain through thicket, climbing to the summit then ascending the mountain and returning to the Cafe on top of the hill, the trail was marked brilliantly with tapes every 15 meters and this was essential as we know from previous experiences on Long Son how easy it is to go astray. We are grateful to Mr T. along with Cleaver for taping this week’s trail, Mr T. returning on Sunday morning to complete the task so everyone could enjoy the trail today.
The eskies laden with beers, softies, banh mi and ice were stored on the hash bus, while 58 people young and old and one dog headed northwards to Ba Ria. At this stage the weather was bright and sunny with the mercury tipping 32 degrees we knew what would be expected later that afternoon.
Turning left and over the 2 new bridges into Long Son wielding right at the village and on to what we now refer to as the yellow wall we finally arrived to be greeted by the waiting Mr T. Follow the red tapes and the down-down is in the Cafe on top of the hill, nothing could be simpler or so we thought, one group ended up at Bang Lang Cafe on the other side of the island having taken a wrong turn. It was inevitable, the curse had struck again. The Trail began by walking up the tarmac road in single file to the small wall that defines the forest, over upwards and onwards across the wall following the red tapes. Those who completed the trail and ended up at the Cafe having only to reboard the bus and rejoin the rest of the stray hashers at Bang Lang to complete today’s Down Down.
At last with everyone together it was time for ‘Balloon Man’ to enter the fray, this local entrepreneur specialising in contorting balloons in the shapes of poodles thought all his birthdays had come at once. With a little lubricant of Saigon beer, and more kids than you could shake a stick at, he was in his element selling balloons and joining in the Craic of Boozer’s Down Down.
Houston we have a problem, those famous few words rang loud in our ears, yes, on the 50 anniversary of the moon landing we forgot to charge our microphone which led the hapless host having to shout over the screaming children running around.
The usual songs were sang as sinners newbies and everyone got drenched and were welcomed to our hash. The day had come to an end as we clambered on board the bus to return to Uno Cafe the official H.Q of the VTH3 .The remaining refreshments were consumed as we headed for home and now all that was left to do but to store our drinks and rid the bus of empties. Another eventful day had passed on Run 898. Thanks to Chom Chom for today’s great photos.
VTH3 #898 PHOTO GALLERY
7 JULY 2019
Hares: Mr. T, Chook, Cleaver
Hash Flasher: Chom Chom
Report: Faulty Brakes
The starting pistol went off at Cafe Uno last Sunday at 13.30 for run 797 to Big mountain. Taxis cars and motorcycles ferried the usual suspects hailing from Russia, Europe, Australia and Asia to OLH at 102 Tran Phu. This was to be our base camp for today’s climb and we were greeted warmly by our favourite hostess. It wasn’t long until the VTH3 Beer Truck arrived with today’s supply of chilled gargle, Banh mi, softies and Simons Sambos were unloaded. Earlier the shekels had been accounted by Boozer and Cleaver at Cafe Uno. In bright sunshine, driving across the front beach we saw that the preparations were in full swing for the upcoming food festival.
It was now time for the instructions for today’s run, Mr. T duly obliged, straight up the Tran Phu road to the school, over the wall and follow the red tapes to the path that crosses the mountain and back via the 600 steps to OLH. This Trail was revealed some years ago by Mountain Shrimp to us and we take advantage of this a couple times every year, Chook, Mr T and Cleaver had marked this trail the previous Thursday. Secs our secretary had just 2 more tasks to hand out ,Scribe and Hash Flash for today, we saw Chom Chom given our new waterproof camera and yours truly the chronicler for today’s run.
Walking along the Tran Phu road the cloud cover eased the temperature a little lower, looking out on to the East Vietnam sea the cooling breezes made our task a little more comfortable and it wasn’t long until we reached the beginning of today’s climb. Boozer was waiting to point us in the right direction at the school, over the wall first and up the side of the wall through the now overgrown vegetation. Forty hashers ranging in age from 4 years to 69 negotiated today’s climb. My knees protested but with helpful fellow hashers everyone made it to the path that encircles the mountain. Now the next task was to reach the battery of old French guns, a sign of previous Colonial times here in this beautiful country. Heading upwards to the French fort and along the mountain towards Ho May Park we could see the splendid views of the city, shipyard and Long Son in the distance. The next area to pursue was the top of the 600 steps and sure enough we encountered the well marked trees festooned in red ribbons telling us it time for us to descend. Some of the steps are now beginning to become overgrown with vegetation and our horticultural section will attend to this shortly.
At last we are back in OLH, now is the time to unwind and relax,hashers hoovered the chilled beer and softies into themselves, complimenting them with freshly made banh mi and Simon sambos with the traditional family recipe. As we sat around relaxing on the new chairs provided by our hostess, children played and our music box provided us a medley of tunes from the Russian classic ‘Katuska’ to more recents hits. I declined the offer of the new chairs as a result of the the extra kgs accumulated on my recent visit home.
SHOWTIME ...... the weekly introduction of new people to the circle, sinners, returnees etc. Ringmaster Boozer introduced a Vietnamese girl and an American ex pat and both were doused with cold water, welcome folks to Vung tau Hash. The handle of G-String was assigned to Ron a reference to his mastery on the guitar and definitely nothing to do with an item of lingerie.
The last act of today was a rendering of the Van Morrison classic, ’Brown eyed Girl’ belted out by the newly named G -String. The beer bus had arrived and all the eskies were reloaded and returned to Cafe Uno for storage. Zidane took the bow for this task and we will miss him for a week or 2 as he returns to Oz. A party of hashers followed the beer truck to Cafe Uno to assist Zidane with the storage of the eskies and the few remaining cans were slaughtered by the still thirsty hashers. In the 4 hours since the hash commenced we had walked, climbed mountains, sipped beers played music all part of VTH3 family Sunday.The Trail was given a 12 out 10 rating.
We will shortly be celebrating our 900 run,plans include a party on the 28 of July. A weekend away 10 August and the launch of a new T-shirt. It is essential to book early for these events and prepay.
VTH3 #897 PHOTO GALLERY
30 JUNE 2019
Hares: Mr. T, Secs, Chook, Cleaver
Hash Flasher: Kojak
Heavy rain didn’t deter more than 50 Hashers from convening at Uno Coffee to embark on today’s journey to Suoi Da. We hop on the Hashmobile and, after a brief stop to collect some additional beer (Tiger no less!), we are soon speeding along highway QL51. Our drop-off point is a little further than normal and after an hour we turn off the highway and our driver skilfully navigates us through the narrow country lanes until we arrive at our starting point.
After disembarking we gather around Hare, Secs, for our instructions. This is going to be a combination of a new trail combined with an older trail, explains Secs. We are to follow this path that will lead us to some steps that will take us up to a temple. Once we arrive at the temple we are to bear to the right looking for the red ribbons that will show us the way out the back of the temple compound into the forest where we will begin the final ascent to the top of the mountain. We’ll emerge at a familiar vista with fantastic views. This is where we’ll join up with the the trail that will take us down to the Suoi Da carpark. After enjoying the views we are to continue to next temple and exit down a very steep path, at the bottom there will be right turn that we take us to the path that will take us directly down to the down-down.
And with a skip in our step we on-on, pleased with the overcast sky keeping us cool. The continuos well built steps are arduous however, nothing our regular Hashers aren’t used to and soon we find ourselves at the aforementioned temple, where a mother monkey eyes us warily, protective of her newly born infant. The red tape takes us through the temple complex and we enter the forest through a narrow path and scramble over rocks and wet leaves eventually emerging at a large flat rock that affords us specular views of the surrounding countryside. From there it is a short walk to the next amazing view from 235m - the familiar lookout at the top of the Suoi Da trail. Copious selfies later we continue on passing the quaint glass temple down the steep slope and turned right (well, most of us did…) and began the gentle descent along the beautiful jungle path until we come to the first in five rock pools that cascade down the carpark.
We start digging in to icy cold beer and banh mi and soon it becomes apparent that some of our Hashers have yet to return - despite having gone on ahead of some of us. A quick tally reveals that 11 are missing - some of them experienced Hashers. A little disconcerting, especially for some parents who’d been separated from their kids. Eventually we make contact and all 11 are together having missed the right turn on the Suoi Da trail. Relieved they will retrace their steps and come back down the correct trail.
A round of applause as the Lost Hashers Eleven wearily return. And now we can start the circle. First up the Hares, Mr. T, Chook, Cleaver and Secs are rated for their efforts and are awarded an 11 on the Boozer scales - an auspicious number for this trail?
Joining us for the first time are 5 Vietnamese Virgins who are customarily baptised with beer and iced water.
Returning to us this week we have Astro Mum and Astro Girl who have returned to us after having moved to Italy. Other returnees are Ron and Faulty Brakes. The later having been back in Ireland for several weeks drinking Guinness - evidenced by the somewhat larger paunch he returned with.
Finally, all of the Lost Hashers Eleven are in the Sinner circle for, well, getting lost.
With the light diminishing, we pack up and board the Hashmobile and head back to Uno Coffee.
VTH3 #896 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM NEW HASH CAMERA (SECS, GOLDEN FISH)