AUGUST 28 2022
NUI CHUA CHAN
Hash Flashers: Chippy, Have-A-Chat
Report: Faulty Brakes
After a tentative sleep on Saturday night and as the early riser proclaimed, “time flies” when he threw the alarm clock out of the window. On a warm sunny Sunday arriving at our new H.Q. we found everything ready for today’s journey to Nui Chau Chan or as one wag named it Nui Charlie Chan after the fictitious detective, had been prepared by Mr. T, Chippy, Secs, Have-A-Chat and Rabbit. The bus was loaded with drinks and food before setting out for NCC, the second highest peak in Southern Vietnam; the full bus with (standing room only) pulled out of Le Ngoc Hanh at 8 bells. Heading towards the neighbouring province of Dong Nai we took a brief stop at a service station and then we headed to NCC despite overshooting the runway we arrived at gates of this phenomenal location. Tickets were procured by the ubiquitous Chippy to allow for the smooth ascent to base camp 1.
This was our second visit to NCC, the second highest peak in Southern Vietnam, the highest being Fanzipan in Sapa. The strategy was simple: take the cable car to Base 1 and trek the rest of the journey on foot to the summit. The cable cars were filled swiftly and a foretaste of what was to come with beautiful views of the Vietnamese mountain. Everyone assembled on the steps of the station awaiting the instructions from Secs, pointing to a distant peak that was the target for today, no red ribbons follow the trail and had I not experienced the first time attempt on this mountain one could be excused for thinking it was in another country. It wasn’t a time for squeaky bums, onwards and upwards the VTH3 platoon began the assault, the young, the old, the brave and the bold never ones to shirk a challenge (or a beer for that matter) we encountered other trekkers on the descent down the mountain. The main concern for today’s trek was the weather ,rain would have had the return treacherous underfoot but the Gods smiled on us today.
Eventually everyone reached the peak, now the opportunity to take once in a lifetime pics inhale the sheer beauty of this mountain and the surrounding scenery in the neighbouring countryside. Here we go again the return to Base camp 1, slowly and those less fleet of foot were assisted by the able bodied,
a special “cam on” to Sergii .The choice of the return to the Down-Down was presented, a walk through the village with the food stalls which we avoided on the first leg of today’s odyssey. The term “no brainer “sprung to mind for the Hash Lighters: “cable car, cable car” was the unanimous cry and along with some other families with young children. The remaining Hashers took to walking down through the village on the side of the mountain sampling local delicacies. Down-Down time in the carpark saw thirsts being slaked and those hungry bodies dining on Sticky rice and everyone agreed the first class trail was something unique. The age demographic in VTH 3 is remarkable, looking at 4 year old children arriving back with their parents having just had toys bought for them and some of the veterans who took part today on Sunday 28 August 2022.
Enter Have-A-Chat, the VTH3 man for all seasons, we thank you and Rabbit for the previous weeks BBQ and to everyone concerned not only in today’s run but every week’s organising, from setting trails to collecting revenues and all the tasks that involved in the running of a successful club. Virgins (newcomers) were welcomed, Returnees were summoned to explain their absence, and today was a day of no sinners everyone agreed another momentous day in the life of VTH3 (Vung Tau Hash House Harriers) .We spoke earlier of the importance of the weather on today’s trail, then during the Down Down the rain arrived, it was time to pack the drinks trolleys for today’s homeward journey. Cleaning up our rubbish (Hash rule 1: “Don’t Trash the Hash”), take this opportunity to drain the spuds (Gentleman need only apply) or in other words take the opportunity to use the bathroom before the journey home to HQ. On the road again music blaring along with Happy Hashers, beers being consumed with some taking the opportunity to snooze and one more pit stop and on to Ba Ria.
Next week we will see the return of Chom Chom after a summer in Blighty sipping Pimms with his bulldog Winston, and ready to come among his people a few kgs lighter? The return with one more stop and a bus full of contented hashers is one of life’s great spectacles. Vung Tau beckons, on-on to Le Hong Phong, Le loi and lastly Le Ngoc Hanh to return the equipment to our store. We take the opportunity to thank Thuy and Stewart, the owners of The Office bar, for building the shelves for our storage facility at the new Headquarters. If you have spare time, join them for the Monday night quiz or Wednesday night Killer Pool, or just a beer or coffee in this unique British style pub in Vung Tau.
Everything stacked away in the storeroom, it was an opportunity for the “one for the road”, a swift can of Saigon Chill and an opportunity to take these aching legs and body home and a hot shower and further craic later in Nguyen Trai street. Next week we shall repeat the operation (different venue of course)
RUN 1023 GALLERY
AUGUST 21 2022
BIG MOUNTAIN - NẮNG VŨNG TÀU INAUGURAL RUN!
Hares: Secs, Have-A-Chat, Chippy
Hash Flashers: Chippy, Have-A-Chat
More than 50 Hashers gathered for run 1022 at our new Hash Kennel: Nắng Vũng Tàu (“Sunny Vung Tau”) – immediately next door to Tommy’s. We'd like to express our thanks and appreciation to Tommy's Bar and Restaurant for their fantastic support over the last two and half years - especially to Rob, Randy and Tam.
Nắng Vũng Tàu’s business focus is “Hotel, Restaurant, Events”. As a Hash Kennel, it offers storage, secure parking, plenty of outdoor space and, most importantly, friendly and helpful owners at a great location in the shadow of Big Mountain, with easy access to the highway heading north.
The relationship got off to a good start on Sunday with a local run on Big Mountain purposely designed to give everyone time to “settle in” at our new Kennel – and the apres-run BBQ was a masterstroke: superb icing on the cake!
Mr T and Johnny collected our hard-earned(!) run fees, as usual, then it was time for an inaugural photo followed by the all-important Chalk Talk from Secs: “We’re going to the top of Big Mountain via Hem 105, Vi Ba, the golden Buddha and power lines, then over the waterfall trail to the Vi Ba coffee shops, down through the yellow Bodharama temple and left on Tran Phu, then left again onto Le Ngoc Han and back to Nắng VT: full circle!”
So “On on” we went – via a slippery moss-covered slope onto Vi Ba; a sharp left into the jungle just before the old M90 house; then red ribbons to the golden Buddha. We stopped for photos (of course!), and some local exploring, then followed the power lines directly uphill to the Ho May Park wall. The weather at this stage was excellent for Hashing: mostly cloudy, a little sunshine, and no rain in sight!
More photos (and selfies!) at the top, then across and down to the plateau leading us onto the waterfall trail. Finally exiting onto the upper section of Vi Ba, it was just a short stretch downhill to the coffee shops and a quick Nuoc Mia for some (and slower Nuoc Mia for others!); then down a bit further and through the Bodharama Temple (or the longer way via Hem 89 for some!) and follow the red tapes at sea level to complete the full circle back to Nắng VT.
There are many stories associated with Hash runs, and #1022 was no exception. The sheer tenacity displayed by one young mother who carried her 3yo daughter directly up the mountainside from golden Buddha to top of power lines while clambering over rocks but still smiling at the top was a truly magnificent effort!
Also worthy of mention is the wayward Hasher who somehow lost sight of more than 50 others as well as the ubiquitous red marker tapes and shouts of “On on”; he also turned ‘right’ instead of ‘left’ and made it to the fishing village on the other side of the mountain before taking his only other option: hailing a taxi back to Nắng VT! That was a real “A to A via Z” trail and worth a mention in any collection of “There we were…” stories!
Once back at our new kennel (whichever way you got there!), we enjoyed an expansive open area and the welcome aroma of bbq chicken and pork, courtesy of “Have-A-Chat & Rabbit: caterers to the upper class, inc.”! And plenty of ice cold Saigon Chill, soft drinks and/or water to wash it all down – Al fresco dining at its best!
‘Socialising’ was the name of the game until today’s master chef swapped metaphorical hats and became duty Ringmaster. As such, he called the Circle and today’s Hares: Secs, Chippy and his good self Have-A-Chat, were awarded full points (10/10) for the trail – well deserved indeed!
Then it was time for introductions from an impressive line-up of Hash Virgins, well-travelled Canadian Hasher Bootlicker (now ‘transplanted’ from Copenhagen H3), and returnees including VTH3 stalwart, Sparkles! Welcome one and all – or welcome back, as the case may be!
To close the Circle, Secs reminded everyone that 28 August run #1023 will be an “all dayer”, starting at 7.30 am for registration at Nắng VT to depart no later than 8 am for the second highest mountain in southern Viet Nam: Núi Chứa Chan, Đồng Nai. Most importantly, please book early to help ensure enough food, drink and Hashmobile seats for everyone!
And then of course, it was back to socialising – at least until the skies finally opened and called a halt to what had been a truly memorable day for VTH3’s inaugural run from Nắng VT!
RUN 1022 GALLERY
AUGUST 14 2022
NUI DINH - HELIPAD TRAIL
Hares: Secs, Have-A-Chat, Mr. T, Chippy
Hash Flashers: Secs, Chippy
We paid our run fees to Hash Cash Mr T and Johnny, then packed ice around the Saigon Chill, water and soft drinks and loaded the pre-filled eskies onto the gleaming white Hashmobile standing outside Hash Kennel Tommy’s.
After a brief wait for latecomers, we drove “On on” through Vung Tau City and onto the highway heading north. Our destination this week was Dinh Mountain, but first we stopped to collect more Hashers at the Seaview apartments and then again at Ba Ria.
It was a full bus that eventually stopped on the new highway 5 km west of Ba Ria for the Hash Lighters to begin their trek up the mountainside, and then finally disgorge the main body of Hashers at a roadside coffee shop between the bridge and lake track further up the mountain.
Secs gave the Chalk Talk and said we should follow the red marker tape on a ~4 km circular trek through the jungle to a huge boulder near the top of the mountain (it was used as a helipad in bygone days and still bears compass markings for the pilots).
The weather was perfect as we headed “On on” into the jungle, accompanied by so many Junior Hashers that it must have looked like a school outing – and they clearly enjoyed the trek every bit as much as the elders, especially when we reached our destination and could all suddenly see far beyond the nearest trees; the views were superb!
Having finally taken all the selfies on not one but three huge rocks with views far across the surrounding countryside; and, in some cases, collected enough bamboo shoots to take home for family dinner, we headed back to the drop-off point. It was a different route to complete the circular tour, and arguably more enjoyable because it was mostly downhill instead of up!
But it was on this leg of the journey that the weather gods suddenly deserted us. Within minutes of the first tentative raindrops, the skies opened and we were caught in an absolute deluge to remind us that it’s still the rainy season in Ba Ria-Vung Tau!
It was a rather bedraggled group that completed the trail and joined the Hash Lighters and FRBs under some very welcome roadside umbrellas for banh mi’s and drinks, and chatted away happily in our new comfort zone.
But it had already turned too dark for photos, and the roadside was rapidly becoming a mountain stream, so we quickly finished our banh mi’s and drinks, loaded an eskie for the return trip, stored everything else under the bus, and climbed aboard for a rather soggy ride home!
We didn’t get the group photo but we still managed a ‘seated Circle’ to thank the Hares and welcome virgins, visitors and returnees as we sped along the highway home. As a wise old Hasher once said, “The difference between a hike and a Hash is a Circle”!
And wouldn’t you know it, the rain had stopped by the time we reached Tommy’s, so unloading the bus was a simple task – thanks also to the many volunteers!
And then it was “home home” for some, and “Hash home” for others who stayed at Tommy’s to socialise a bit longer before calling it yet another fine day in good company, on a great trail, in (mostly) superb weather!
That’s Hashing with VTH3, folks – On on!
RUN 1021 GALLERY
AUGUST 7 2022
Hares: Secs, Have-A-Chat, Bull Ant, Mr. T, Chippy
Hash Flashers: Have-A-Chat, Chippy
It was a home run this week, and the ever-innovative and industrious Hares had somehow managed to find yet another way around VTH3’s “home base”: Big Mountain!
We paid our dues to Hash Cash Mr T and able assistant bookkeeper Johnny, then Secs gathered everyone outside for the chalk talk. We would follow a fairly long but not too difficult trail, up towards the top of Big Mtn via Vi Ba road and Hem 36, around Chez Thompson (Perro Caliente and Suction Cup’s house) and Cleaver’s Rest, then obliquely right onto a jungle track up to and beyond Ho May Park and then down to the Cambodian temple on the north side of the mountain before heading back to Tommy’s via Hem 444, around the south side of Ho May Park to Vi Ba, through Chùa Bồ Đề (temple), then down to Hòn Rù Rì and around Trần Phú to Lê Ngọc Hân and Tommy’s. Phew!
So on-on went the troops, dutifully following the ubiquitous red tape. (Ask any Hasher about “feel good” moments on a trail – especially through dense jungle – and they’ll usually include seeing red marker tape and hearing the universal Hash encouragement: “On On”!)
We finally arrived at the Cambodian temple, having hiked along concrete and bitumen, steps and slopes (some covered in v.slippy moss), through dense, muddy undergrowth and bamboo – and negotiated our way around a large, disused well and nest of wild bees, then down 202 steps and over a set of railway tracks!
And we were only half-way!
On-on and up-up we continued – until eventually reaching Hem 444 for a short respite, then jungle again to bypass Ho May Park on the southern side until emerging at the top of Vi Ba.
‘Down down’ we went, as far as the coffee shops – where many Hashers could be seen extracting money from pockets and backpacks. Several nước mía’s later it was down and through the Chùa Bồ Đề (temple), to finally reach ground level (sea level?).
Now it was just a short walk along Trần Phú, then left turn onto Lê Ngọc Hân to complete the circle at Tommy’s and some very welcome Saigon Chill and soft drinks to wash down the scrumptious wood-fired pizzas being churned out by master chef Randy!
At 7.6km, the trail had been a bit longer than usual, though not overly arduous: an interesting mix of paved road, jungle tracks, temple steps, pagodas (did I mention wild bees?) and views over the north, south and eastern sides of Big Mountain; it was rated 10/10 by the Circle, where Hares Chippy, Secs, Mr T, Bull Ant and Have-a-chat received their congratulatory Down Downs.
Next order of Circle business was to welcome Hash Virgins, including Ukrainian newcomer Sergii and returnee Dolly’s group of young language students and carers (including her and VTH3 veteran husband Ronald Reagan’s son Ivan, who some Hashers will remember being carried along trails on his dad’s shoulders in the early days); all of which was handled with aplomb by duty Ringmaster Have-a-chat. Then more returnees (including Uncle’s raucous verse of traditional Hash song “Roll me over…”); and a double sinner – he missed the bus last week by playing pool and was honest enough to admit it so: “double sinner”!
With run #1020 business done, veteran Hasher Chippy had the last word: “Away trail next week”.
Doyle then shared cake he’d prepared to mark another trip downunder for Bull Ant. Well done Doyle, it was a very nice gesture; and fair winds, Bull Ant – the Australian Air Force will surely learn to live without you one of these days!
And then it was time for the usual suspects to do what Hashers do best – drink beer, renew old friendships, make new ones, and tell outrageous “there we were” stories including, but not limited to this week’s Hasher who wandered straight past a nest of wild bees, with his earphones rendering him totally oblivious to the warning shouts from Hares trying to chaperone everyone safely around the angry buzz-bombs!
Until next week, then. When, in the words of that song, we’ll “Roll me over, lay me down and do it again”!
RUN 1020 GALLERY
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