OCTOBER 25 2020
Hares: Anagram, Bull Ant, Chippy, Secs, Raffa
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Secs
This Sunday started, as per usual, at Tommy’s Restaurant and Bar with a bunch of happy helpers banding together to assemble the many supplies required for this week’s excursion to Minh Dam mountain. Eskies were filled with beer, soft drinks, a variety of food and ice, while Faulty Brakes and Bull Ant took on registration duty. With everyone checked in and the Hashmobile laden with delights we were soon hurtling out of Vung Tau towards one of our favourite mountains, Minh Dam.
Disembarking at the familiar car park at the top of the long and winding road, we are pleased to feel a cool freshness in the air. This bodes well as we gather around Hare Secs who explains that today will be a 4km trail that will take us up and down and around several temples and one spectacular view point. With a spring in our step we on-on up the path that will lead us to the first temple.
Stone steps take us through our verdant surroundings until we reach the first temple. Secs is waiting to guide us through the back where we are presented with what is to the first great view of the day - across lust greenery we can see Long Hai and the mountains of Vung Tau silhouetted in the distance. From there we make our way through thick green grass until we begin a somewhat precarious descent down a rocky and slippy path which leads us to a more level track.
This track takes us through a tunnel of leafy bamboo and out on to a stone path that emerges at the second temple. Lying in wait for us is an unusually brave snake perched upon a white bench that perfectly contrasts the beautiful markings of its long svelte body. With confidence it poses for photos and videos whilst cheekily sticking its forked tongue out at us.
Moving on we start our next ascent up some uneven rocky steps culminating at our third temple where again we are bestowed with yet another fantastic view of Long Hai and Vung Tau in the distance. After the obligatory selfies we begin another downward hike only to quickly be directed up a muddy path. At the end of the path a monolithic rock materialises where Hare Bull Ant is chivalrously assisting our Hashers on to what is to be the most spectacular panorama of the day.
Atop the huge flat rock jutting out of the mountain we stop to catch our breath only to have it taken away by the breathtaking view. After a photoshoot that would put Vietnam’s Top Model to shame we ease ourselves off the rock and begin yet another descent, this time more slippy and treacherous than before. Parents and guardians skillfully guide our junior hashers down, a task which the kids tackle with aplomb.
Our next obstacle is a dark crevice created by two leaning obelisk-esque rocks. Using the torches on our phones, we hunker down and pothole our way through, ignoring any claustrophobic dispositions, until we come to light at the end of the tunnel unscathed.
And so we come to the fourth and final temple of the day - a quaint construction adorned with colourful iconography - and the final vista of the day this time with an unobstructed birds-eye view of the Phuc Hai coastline. From here it’s a relatively short walk back to the car park.
Back at the base we slake our thirst with ice cold beer and soft drinks while we assuage any hunger with the legendary Hash House Banh Mi’s. The Boom Box booms as fruit is carved, our Hashers mingle and socialise until we realise that there is a contingent of Hashers who have not yet returned. We’re not too concerned as we know one of our hardy Hares, Raffa, is leading them, however, there is some consternation as the sun is setting and they haven’t arrived back yet. We needn’t have worried, just as we were thinking of sending out a search party they return - the two gentlemen in the party looking somewhat sodden. After having spent so much time taking photos on the trail they’d decided to take a shortcut back but were confronted with a body of water that they had to wade through with women and children piggybacking across. A valiant effort from Raffa and his cohort.
With light fading there is just enough time to take the team photo before we board the Hashmobile and continue the conviviality all the way back to Tommy’s. Back at our Hash Home we are treated to a live music performance from what is becoming our Hash House Band - Perfect Jive Duo. With the usual suspects shaking a mean hoof on the dance floor some continue to enjoy another beer or three well into the night.
All in all, a terrific trail, fun with friends and a splendid way to spend a Sunday.
RUN 956 GALLERY
OCTOBER 18 2020
Hares: Anagram, Bull Ant, Chippy, Chom Chom, Secs, Raffa
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Secs
Report: Faulty Brakes
Sunday 19.00 and the returning Hash bus trundled into Le Ngoc Han and VTH3’s Headquarters Tommy's Bar. The usual scramble for the restrooms ensued by all after another successful Sunday for “the old lady of Vung Tau” (a.k.a VTH3) and Run 955. The eskies and equipment were removed from the bus and drained of ice and placed in our storeroom to rest for one more week.
The day had started ominously with heavy downpours in the morning lending to a number of no shows, our motto in this long running Hash is that we run in all weathers and if you have booked a seat on our bus please inform us if you are not going to show this allows us to adjust the purchases of Banh Mi and keep costs to the minimum for everyone.
This Sunday’s superb run had been laid by our trail finding team the previous Friday, our thanks to Secs, Bull Ant, Chippy, Anagram and Mr Vinh for providing us with a trail that was the nearest to perfection, rated 99 out of 100. The Down Down took place in our forest hideaway with the usual high standard of catering which we have become accustomed to! Chicken Banh Mi, Sushi (Nha Le thank you) Fruit and inevitable softies and the cold Saigon beer, made the previous 2 hours efforts all the more worthwhile.
The trail as we can see in Chom Chom’s (the thinking mans “Martin Scorsese”) excellent video was demanding but was justified with the panoramic views from the large viewpoint on the rocks at the top of the mountain and just for good measure we threw a yoga exercise for those who can still stretch those muscles that are not used as often as before. The video encapsulated everything good that hashing is all about, crossing streams in full torrent and through bamboo thickets on a day when the Rainy Season was at its worst or best?
Today there were no sinners and everyone was a winner, and to all who took part in the organising and participated in the run, give yourself a big clap on the back and take a bow. The light faded quickly on Nui Dinh mountain and it was party time for our return to Vung Tau, further cans were devoured on our disco bus, music blared and songs were sung (well sort of?) and with the occasional pit stop it wasn’t long until we reached the bright lights of Vung Tau. Someone once remarked the most important things in the world are to get something to eat, as all something to drink and get someone to love you,.....well it looks like the VTH 3 has all 3 of these qualities.
RUN 955 GALLERY
OCTOBER 11 2020
HO TRAM BEACH
Hares: Bull Ant, Chippy, Jolly
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Mr.T, Secs
Report: Chom Chom
It’s been a while since I have had the privilege to write a run report so here I go with my somewhat vague memories and recollections of Run 954 on Sunday 11th October 2020.
The day took to a rocky start having 75 Hashers registered for the away trail to “Ho Tram Beach” and after much constructive discussions with mismanagement a second coach was hastily ordered! Within a minute of additional bus confirmation, the heavens opened, and the typical downpour started which would possibly deter some of our Hashers.
Weather improved over the next hour and our Hashers began arriving at Tommy’s for registration. Fees were taken, heavier than ever eskies were stuffed with a range of soft drinks and beers, together with fruit, banh mi, snacks, tables and no doubt a kitchen sink somewhere were all loaded onto the fleet of executive coaches ready for our departure.
One by one, our Hashers mounted the coach of their choice and we set off for the scenic drive to Ho Tram, along the beach road through Long Hai, the complete length of the Ho Tram Strip and finally arriving at our starting location at Ho Coc. After a brief exploration of this newly discovered area and a few moments for Hashers to relieve themselves, Bull Ant got the group together and explained the trail ahead. A relatively easy trail up the mountain to the rocky viewpoint, and then heading back the way we came.
We made our way along the beach road for a brief stretch before turning off onto a sandy path into jungle and woodland. The weather had improved greatly and whilst we weren’t suffering in the usual beautiful dense Vietnam heat, we were no longer getting wet from rain. The path was fairly narrow, so most Hashers remained in a convoy, keeping grouped up. As the path continued, we started the climb up the mountain. Thanks to the earlier rain, this made a few areas a bit more awkward than hoped, but as always, there are so many helpful, considerate Hashers around to lend a much needed helping hand when necessary.
Upon reaching the rocks at the peak, stunning scenes of the dense jungle below combined with the huge stretch of panoramic coastal views made for some great photo opportunities. Most Hashers remained on the summit, happily chatting and posing with the beautiful views surrounding for some time.
Eventually, we embarked on the return trail back down the mountain. This was a careful and steady descent in parts, mainly due to our footwear having lost all grip thanks to the sections of muddy path on the way up. A few minor slippages were witnessed, but that all adds to the fun. It wasn’t long until we arrived at the sandy path leading to the beach road and then back to our newly found Down Down spot.
As always, cold beers and soft drinks were waiting on arrival, together with food to fill the thousands! Hashers relaxed in the hammocks and enjoyed the facilities on offer in this rather spacious spot.
The group photo was taken and then Zidane took duty as Ringmaster and duly introduced us to our Hares (Chippy, Bull Ant and Jolly), our Virgins, our Returnees and our one Sinner, Whispering Steve! Together with more drinks and Zidanes usual mismatch of songs, it provided some entertainment.
It wasn’t much longer before dusk hit us, so it was time to load up the coaches and prepare for the return journey back to Vung Tau. As we only have one music box, Hashers had the choice of whether they wanted to travel on the party disco coach, or the more peaceful and restful alternative. This probably worked out to everyone’s advantage, having the choice not to endure ChomChom singing “Slough”, Doyle singing “Rasputin” amongst other classics!
Upon arriving in Vung Tau, the day was yet to be concluded. Even more was on offer at Tommy’s, thanks to the live music performed by the Perfect Jive Duo and many Hashers enjoyed a further Down Down Down together with more super cold beers and cocktails along with Tommy’s fabulous dinner menu.
Another wonderful Sunday afternoon with Vung Tau Hash (VTH3), a big thank you to all those behind the scenes that make the day what it is. The contributions in setting trails, ordering food and drinks, organising transportation and dealing with the accounts are all greatly appreciated. A final thanks to our regular excellent, helpful, safe and careful drivers from Toan Thang Transportation and Trading Service.
RUN 954 GALLERY
OCTOBER 3 2020
LONG SON ISLAND
Hares: Anagram, Bull Ant, Chippy, Secs, Raffa
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Mr.T, Secs, Snowball, Chippy
Report: Bull Ant
Sunday...every Hashers favourite day! This week saw a fuller than full bus loaded with all the usual essentials head off to Long Son island for Run 953. Hares this week, Raffa, Anagram, Chippy, Bull Ant and Secs, set a relatively easy and short trail...for most.
After a quick incident free bus trip, it was time to alight the bus, gather around Secs and receive the usual detailed brief. It was then on on, along the road for a few hundred metres before turning off and heading towards the hill. The distinct lack of red ribbons was very noticeable as it appeared the locals either didn't like them or liked them a lot and took them. It made following them nigh on impossible (a very plausible excuse for some). The trail took us through lots of bamboo and around small plantations of what appeared to be sweet potato. Once on top of the small mountain there were the usual photo opportunities with some sort of refinery in the distance.
Whilst most made it back to the down down location in fairly quick time, others, after repeated warnings every week NOT to follow Bull Ant, followed Bull Ant. This saw them complete an 8km lap of the entire island before arriving by motorbike at the down down. The down down this week provided the highlight of the run. There was the usual abundance of banh mi, beer, fruit and soft drink, and then there was the world famous chicken. There was also a very unusual apricot wine being consumed by some...thanks for the tasting Claire.
Once the mandatory photo was complete, the circle was formed with Docker as Master of Ceremonies. The Hare's trail was rated, Raffa and Claire received their Hash names, Virgins were welcomed, returnees celebrated, and Sinners once again punished.
Another great time had by all, thanks to the guys behind the scenes who organise this weekly event.
RUN 953 GALLERY