SUNDAY, 25 AUGUST 2013
Long Son island – “old man of Long Son” rocks
There was room enough to swing a cat on the bus this week, for a change – at least partly owing to the temporary defection of our team of “Vung Tau Raiders” to help older brothers and sisters of Saigon Hash celebrate their 1200th run and 23rd birthday. More about that later!
The bus pulled up at the familiar “pump house” on the far side of Long Son island, next to the lake. A run brief by “duty Hare and everything else combined” Falcon, and it was On On! across the fields, goat tracks and fences to the “old man of Long Son” rocks (a stone statue depicting “Ong Tran”, the first settler of Long Son).
Around the sawmill and then gradually up, up to the top of the island’s third mountain and yet another change of scenery to delight the senses – particularly as it had turned into such a lovely day after an early torrential downpour.
Then the long trek back to the pump house by the lake for “Hash business” and some delicious Russian bread, pork and salami courtesy of Mountain Goat, washed down by (mostly) amber nectar courtesy of our generous sponsor San Miguel.
It was at this point that Duty Hare Falcon transmogrified (look it up!) into Duty Ringmaster and donned “the silly hat that lives in the blue bucket all week and only comes up for air on Sundays…”.
The trail was rated 8 out of 10 by Darryl, who was clearly trying to impress his “tour group of virgins” (Hash virgins, that is…). And sure enough, Clive, Helen and Cuc were next in line for recognition and the usual welcome.
And then it was time to give Robert a new name (let’s face it, calling someone “Romanian Robert” gets boring after a while). But eschewing the obvious work-related choices of “Paint Job” or “Paint Ball”, he will henceforth be known as Mowgli (the feral child from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories who was raised by a pack of wolves and possessed extraordinary hunting and tracking skills). Well, they got the “feral child” part right…
The usual band of sinners were punished for the usual sins - including Blinton for his extended leave of absence (and he’s lucky he wasn’t running with Saigon Hash this week or he’d have been severely “iced” for Down Down’ing with his right hand!). In VTH3, we don’t care which hand you use because most of us are ambidexterous (OK, I lie – so what?); and we don’t ice anyone
because we can’t afford to buy dirty great chunks of frozen water and transport them around all the mountains!
Next week’s run on Big Mountain also rated a mention at the Circle – which brings us back full circle (groan…) to our opening paragraph about “the Vung Tau Raiders”. Truth to tell, the “raiding party” that helped SH3 celebrate their 1200 runs and 23rd birthday drank so much of their beer that they’ve decided to return the compliment by visiting us next Sunday and drinking all our
So the challenge has been made – the gloves are off and the gauntlet has been thrown well and truly into the circle (double groan!). So join us next Sunday as we take our brothers and sisters from Saigon Hash for some sightseeing around the mountains (Big Mountain, that is…) and then
help them drink our beer!
More details in the www.vungtauhash.com “Next Run” box today, and Hashflyer_592 midweek.
VTH3 #591 photo gallery>>>
SUNDAY, 18 AUGUST 2013
Mountain Goat Special #4 – Big Mountain
We expected a downturn in numbers this week because of Long Tan Day (Australian memorial service) and several other “Hasher movements”. However, what our 17 Hashers lacked in numbers they made up for in diversity, with no less than 12 nationalities being represented: England, Australia, Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Romania, Norway, Japan, India, Netherlands and Germany – showing once again that VungTauHash is a microcosm of the global Hash
A bilingual run briefing took place outside Offshore Bar 1 (Mountain Goat, translator Mapdraw, and safety aspects from Uncle), then it was “On On” – and on, on, on, on, on for what seemed like enough time to reach Ba Ria before we eventually turned left and “On On” became “Up Up”!
We soon discovered that this was going to be not only a long trail but also a demanding one.
Mountain Goat is well-named, but she’s also a very savvy Hare – alternating vertical climbs with scenic horizontal trails. She cleverly threw in a few descents to rest weary legs as well, but we
knew that “for every down there’s another up”, and that’s precisely how it went: Up, along, down, up, along, down – almost the entire eastern length of the several kilometres-long Big Mountain!
And did we mention that this was all mostly through dense undergrowth? (Hash Flash’s excuse for not taking as many photos as usual is that he needed both hands to keep himself upright most of the time!)
Although no-one had taken advantage of the alternative shorter trail as we passed it on the outward leg, a few Hashers changed their minds on the way back – noticeable by the sudden “silence of the hills” that replaced the hitherto almost non-stop “On On” calls that had been resounding across the mountainside to keep everyone reassured they were heading in the right
A dozen or so weary but happy Hashers finally made it to the Down Down location – leaving some fellow Hashers taking “religious experiences” at a massive pagoda on the mountain.
Mother Teresa and Mountain Goat presented a delightful spread of pork and Russian breads (including some from Ukraine, we were proudly informed by Mapdraw!). It was all washed down with “free flow” amber nectar, before a spontaneous standing ovation for Hare par excellence Mountain Goat – yes folks, she and Hashputin had done it again with a Mountain Goat Special (#4) that exceeded even their high standards!
The location for next Sunday’s run will be advised in Hashflyer #591 midweek, and/or keep an eye on the www.vungtauhash.com “Next Run” box.
VTH3 #590 photo gallery >>>
SUNDAY, 11 AUGUST 2013
Long Hai Mountains: from telegraph pole #8 to lookout rocks at Minh Dam Base
Some new and some “old” faces this week among the 36 intrepid Hashers who boarded the ageing Hashmobile outside OSB1 at 2.30 pm: including Terminator’s family friends, UXO’s sister, former GM Golden Finger, his partner Cricket, and returnee Panty.
All were entertained by a session of “dueling coaches” as we met another bus on a bend in the access road to Minh Dam Base car park, but order was soon restored and our somewhat lighter bus continued to grind its way up the hill – “somewhat lighter” because some Hashers decided they preferred leg power to horse power, and walked/ran up the hill!
After that exciting start to the trip, what else was in store, we wondered? It didn’t take long to find out after we’d turned off the road at telegraph pole number #8 and plunged into undergrowth so dense that Hash Flash couldn’t take any photos for quite some time!
“On On and Up Up” was the cry – until we encountered “forward scout” Hard Drive directing traffic to a lookout spot off the main trail. And some lookout spot it was, too – boulders piled high on top of the peak, with strong wind gusts from the approaching rainstorm threatening to blow some of the more adventurous climbers right off the top (we were reminded at this stage that Hashers run “at their own risk”!).
A spot of first aid from the “duty medic” for some lost skin, and we were off again – back to the main trail which eventually led to steps in the mountainside taking us down, down through several photo opportunities, across a bridge and up into the Minh Dam Base car park.
Time for a relaxing chat over snacks courtesy Mother Teresa and drinks courtesy San Miguel, then we were ready for the Circle, where former GM Golden Finger entertained everyone with an exuberant display that showed he’s lost none of his skill over the years.
Terminator awarded Hares Falcon and Hard Drive a favourable run score of 9 (1 point deducted because the trail was so enjoyable we all wanted it to last longer!).
Virgins welcomed, sinners penalized, and Yuri will forever more be known as – no, not Gagarin as you might expect, nor Space Pilot – but the somewhat “out there” Space Cadet!
Then the rain arrived – leaving time only for Panty to Down Down several beers to pay for wearing a “condom” in public (and a spotted one, at that!).
And so we journeyed home, albeit tentatively at first because of suspected “faulty brakes” (no, not our GM), and the need to pick up some Hashers who preferred to walk/run down the hill!
A new song was introduced by GF: “Nick, Nack, Paddy Whack” (see “VTH3 Songs” on our new website http://vungtauhash.com . It was to no avail, however, as OXO had prepared song sheets (seriously!) for the Moscow Mixed Choir and they took the honours in a canter – even old favourites Maggie May and Ho Chi Minh couldn’t get a look-in this week!
An excellent day, by all accounts – thanks to Hares Falcon and Hard Drive, former GM Golden Finger, and everyone else whose collective participation added to the enjoyment!
Next week will be another Mountain Goat Special on Big Mountain. More details to follow in Hashflyer #590 midweek (and http://vungtauhash.com “Next Run” box today).
VTH3 #589 photo gallery >>>
SUNDAY, 04 AUGUST 2013
VTH3 RUN #588 - Mountain Goat Special #3: Big Mountain via C34
There was a “gathering of the clans” at VTH3 HQ (Offshore Bar 1) on Sunday and the reason soon became apparent: the popular “UXO” was back from sailing the high seas to join “OXO” and (soon to be) “We Told You So” for this week’s Mountain Goat Special #3.
The taxi fleet stopped to unload precious gold and silver bullion at the pre-selected Down Down location: a lovely sheltered café on the beach at 83 Tran Phu – then continued to our start point at C34 (near Ben Da, Ward 5), almost a complete half-circuit of Big Mountain.
A quick group photo while Hash Cash OXO settled the taxi fares, and then it was On On! towards the mountain.
By Hare Mountain Goat’s standards, the start was leisurely indeed – but the older hands could guess what was coming next and, sure enough, we suddenly turned left and found ourselves climbing vertically through dense undergrowth.
Just as everyone was wondering when it would all end, it did – for a little while, at least! The trail turned onto a picturesque dirt track around the mountain with lots of
photo opportunities and water stops.
But once again, we should have known better – another sharp turn and it was back to vertical climbing once again. This time the undergrowth was a little more forgiving, and then we found ourselves on top of Big Mountain’s second of four peaks – looking directly across at the highest peak: “radar hill”.
The descent was even more spectacular, with many hundreds of rocky steps hewn into the mountainside, interspersed with “slip-slide dirt slopes” – around a very old and hitherto unknown Jesus statue (not seen from ground level), and down through the pagoda gates to 83 Tran Phu – which a few Hashers somehow managed to miss, despite our stopping there on the way to the start point!
It was a relaxed group who populated the deck chairs and snacked on Russian bread and salted pork whilst satisfying their thirsts with our generous sponsor’s gold and silver bullets.
Time for the Circle and Down Down, where Mountain Goat’s trail was justifiably received with wild acclaim; virgins welcomed; returnees Robert, Smokey and UXO welcomed back; and various sinners punished for no good reason, as usual. Then everyone was reminded of our invitation to On On On! at a party to celebrate the grand opening of Offshore 2 at 8 pm, and it was back to the taxi fleet once more to hurry home for a shower and change of clothes.
Another fine day for everyone, made all the better by Mountain Goat’s excellent trail and the relaxed Down Down location on the beach - not to mention the major shindig afterwards at the newly-launched Offshore 2 Bar! Tourists pay big dollars to live like
Next Sunday will be an “away” run set by Hares Falcon and Hard Drive in the picturesque Long Hai Mountains (Minh Dam Secret Zone) – details to follow in the VTH3 #589 Hashflyer midweek.
VTH3 #588 photo gallery >>>