23 Dec 2018
Vung Tau City - "City Trail and Christmas Party"
Hares: Flying Finn, Finn Lady
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Flying Finn
Christmas Ringmasters: Samson, Boozer
With the anticipation of this evening’s Christmas Party, a bunch of eager Hashers met up for Flying Finn and Finn Lady’s Vung Tau CIty trail - a gentle walk around the local lake.
No Down-Down or Circle this week, giving people plenty of time to preen and primp before donning their glad rags and heading to the Christmas Party at Vung Tau Marina.
It was an evening of festive fun, good food, silly games and lots of good cheer courtesy of our valued sponsor - San Miguel.
Check out the photos!
VTH3 #869 PHOTO GALLERY
16 Dec 2018
Nui Thi Vai - "Up The Back Way"
Hares: Mr. T., Secs, Flying Finn
Hash Flasher: Secs
The excitement is palpable amongst the fourtyish Hashers aboard the Hashmobile speeding towards Ba-Ria. This week we are returning to a conquest we conquered for the first time back in April - Nui Thi Vai - famous for its magnificent pagodas, 1200 steps and 400m jaw dropping views.
Instead of turning left at Ba Ria on to Highway QL51 as we normally do, we continue directly in to Ba Ria town. For many of us Ba Ria is typically the place we bypass on the way to other places - so it was interesting to see what was behind the Co-op Mart, extravagant new government buildings, and never ending construction projects that we usually see from QL51.
We exit Ba Ria town to the north and soon we are flanked by rural countryside. On our left we are treated to a new perspective of our favourite stomping ground Nui Dinh. The Hares amongst us eyeing up its potential for future trails.
It's not long before Nui Dinh is behind us and our attention turns to the mountain looming majestically ahead of us - Nui Thi Vai. For those of us that remember last time we were here, our thoughts return to the punishment our legs took the last time we climbed the 1200 steps to the top.
Mercifully, our Hares have promised that this time we’re taking a different approach where we will descend the steps instead of climbing them. The anticipation of a new trail has our Hashers on the edge of their seats anxious to be unleashed.
Luckily we are near our starting point and the Hares direct our driver to pull up on the side of the road. Disembarking, we look up, feeling pleased to see the cloudy, overcast sky providing welcome shade, and apprehensive to see the same clouds effortlessly caressing the top of our mountain.
Mr. T delivers a concise chalk-talk: we are to walk together until we reach a quarry, where we will ensure everyone gets across safely and then enter the mountain forest and follow the trail to the top, taking time for selfies along the way, visit the pagodas at the top, and then follow the steps all the way down to the carpark where we have the down-down.
After having been cooped up in the bus for an hour it feels great to stretch our legs as we enthusiastically march On-On along the road. As we turn on to a country lane some of our more eager Hashers dash off ahead of us.
After a pleasant walk through a rubber tree plantation we gather at the quarry - no sign of FRB Terminiger - we can only hope he managed to spot the red ribbons marking the way through the quarry.
Our Hares guide us through the quarry as we clamber over rocks and slip our way up over the dry gravel. At the top of the quarry we are shown a narrow entrance cut out of the bamboo in to the forest. We follow the red ribbons until we emerge into a beautiful forest glade lined with ancient boulders, magnificent trees and graceful bamboo.
The glade leads up. And up. And up. And we realise - we still need to go up, to go down those 1200 steps. But it's a beautiful walk, clear underfoot with natural steps from the cascading rocks. Red ribbons mark a detour that takes to a spectacular viewpoint atop a large flat rock - we marvel at the vertiginous landscape before us.
Eventually we see sign of civilisation, man-made steps cut in to forest floor, and a curious stone throne guarding the way forward. As we ponder its purpose, it provides the perfect selfie prop.
We know we are close to the top when we find ourselves on a flat area cleared to build an new pagoda and garden, giving us unfettered views from 350 meters. A welcome breeze cools us as we take a breather only to have it taken away by the breathtaking views.
Finally, we pass through a gate and a short walk along a well kept path takes us to our first pagoda. We’ve made it! We take time to explore the various pagodas before finding the legendary steps down. Gingerly we begin the relentless descent, our legs still recovering from the climb up. An overwhelming feeling of elation, achievement and relief overcomes us as we see the below carpark and the promise of refreshments spurs us on down the final steps.
Ice cold San Miguel and Bahn Mi beckon as we rest our weary legs. Socialising begins, and we notice that our Hash Flash, has disappeared - apparently on some spiritual journey to Nirvana - well, the top of the mountain at least.
Just as all hope had been given up and someone else would have to take the team photo a somewhat bedraggled Secs staggers down the steps. He inhales a bottle of Revive and now rehydrated takes the photo. And the circle begins.
Our Hares are up first and the trail is rated - bidding starts at 10/10. The Captain gives a chucklesome 5 out of 10. Ultimately the trail is rated 13.5/10.
Next up we have four newcomers. Three Virgins - a lady from St. Petersburg, Russia and a Vietnamese lady and gentleman from Vung Tau. We also welcome Allen (AKA Handbag) a Brit from Singapore Hash. We welcome them in our inimitable way - ice water baptism. Ms. Thuy from Vung Tau tackles the tube of doom with aplomb.
No Returnees this week, so straight to the sinners. A bewildered Termininger is charged for finding a completely different trail - but still managed to find his way to the down-down. HBO is back in the circle for the second time charged with always being late and almost missing the bus again.
Finally we close the circle with the announcement that next week will be a sedate home trail - so we all have plenty of time to head home to the begin the process of preening ourselves before donning our glad rags and heading to the VTH3 Christmas Party.
With daylight almost gone we board the Hashmobile and continue the convivialities all the way back to Hon Ru Ri.
VTH3 #868 PHOTO GALLERY
9 Dec 2018
Big Mountain - "Golgotha"
For our friends who are unfamiliar with the Christian religion, Golgotha is the name of the hill near Jerusalem, which Jesus is supposed to have climbed, carrying a heavy cross.
It all started as usual with the quiet rendez-vous at Hon Ru Ri, friendly smiles welcoming each new arrival ; then, on bikes or by taxi, we quickly gathered again at 102 Tran Phu which was to be that day’s down down place
After leaving that muster point, a short walk on Tran Phu took us to the grounds of the large catholic site, where we found ourselves at the bottom of what was going to be our own Golgotha… true, fortunately, we didn’t have a cross to carry – only our little, average, or large selves – but that was amply sufficient ; another difference : Jesus’ s Golgotha didn’t have any steps, ours did but I am not sure that was an advantage as these were uneven, often higher than normal… add a steep slope, the scorching sun, scarce spots of shade and hardly any breeze, that made the climb to the cross a real challenge (there were quite a few stops on the way, a rather unusual happening) so much so that, although everyone seems to have reached the cross, not everyone had the strength, or courage to continue – which was a pity, as the hardest was already behind us : no more steps, a trail through the forest, at first descending (what relief !), then ascending again to another summit of the « Big Mountain », but with a milder slope, more shady spots and occasional breeze. After the top (spectacular views), started a long descent through trees and bushes, sometimes a little tricky - no footpath, but a rather steep trail fortunately so well marked with the red ribbons (a good point for the hares !) that it was impossible to get lost ; we finally reached the little road, a very pleasant balcony on the other side of the mountain, with lovely fresh breeze and great views over the fishing harbour, the petroleum terminal, the bay and far horizon. We had the surprise to meet Boozer on his bike, coming to make sure that everyone was ok. An easy walk took us to where old French fortifications have been turned into lodgings, a place where you can get refreshments ; there we met civilisation under the form of that loud karaoke unavoidable on festive Vietnamese Sundays… then on down to the French guns after which we left the road, to take a good footpath (easy to miss, but Boozer and Andy where there to show us) ; it was really pleasant, to walk on, in spite of some fallen trees occasionally blocking the way, a consequence of the recent storm. We had to leave it, however, to start another descent through the forest, with some more steep, tricky parts that everyone managed without problem. At the bottom, it was Tran Phu again for about 1 km to get back to the nha nghi at n° 102 ; what a relief to spot the dear eskies and their stock of delicious ice cold beers and soft drinks !
After enjoyable relaxing moments, we gathered as usual, with Boozer as the master of ceremonies ; a “virgin”, a young Vietnamese lady called Thao, was welcomed with the Hashers’ song, the goblet of beer and icy cold shower ; then 2 returnees presented themselves : “Finn Lady”, Pekka’s wife from Finland, and Bibi, from Malaysia ; they were duly “baptised” a ceremony which they endured with good cheers.
The “sinners” were “Faulty Brakes”, Cleaver and Bibi, for not completing the run – a young VN lady was also punished for always arriving late, amid the cheers and laughters of the happy hashers.
VTH3 #867 PHOTO GALLERY
2 Dec 2018
Long Son Island - "Bamboo and Chicken"
Hares: Mr. T., Secs
Hash Flasher: Secs
Ringmaster: The Captain
A glorious sunny Sunday afternoon and approximately 40 Hashers board the Hashmobile for a jaunt to Long Son Island. As we cross the Go Gang bridges today’s crystalline sky affords us some fantastic views of our usual stomping grounds - the four peaks of Vung Tau’s Big Mountain on one side, Nui Dinh on the other and our current conquest, Long Son Island, in front of us.
Our starting point this week is Quán Ăn Bằng Lăng, a frequent down-down spot and famous for its BBQ Chicken. Under the scorching sun we walk along the road where our Hare, Mr. T., points to a dirt track on the right - that is where we will return from after having completed the trail - and the down-down will indeed be back at Bang Lang. Rumours begin that some delicious chicken could be on the menu later. We continue along the road for a few hundred meters and stop at side lane. A quick chalk-talk from Mr. T and we are off and running (well, walking mostly)
We soon find ourselves in the very picturesque rural Vietnamese countryside. Flat, shady paths, lined with bamboo lead us through the farmland, until we leave civilization behind and the mountain ascent begins. It's a relatively easy climb, predominantly featuring a lot of bamboo - luckily our Hares have found a clear path through. At the top we take a moment to look back at magnificent view and then loop around, through more bamboo, and begin our descent, surrounded by more bamboo. Civilization soon reappears and we emerge on at the aforementioned lane and a short walk to the down-down.
Ice cold San Miguel is waiting for us at Bang Lang - and, quite literally, a mountain of Ham and Cheese sandwiches prepared by Junior Hasher, T34.
As the conviviality begins we receive a distress call from our resident shephard, Zidane. He has a flock of Hashers who can’t find the next red ribbon. Our Hares try to guide them down however, the best explanation of their location, “we’re in a clearing just next to some bamboo”, didn’t really narrow it down for our perplexed Hares.
Meanwhile, the rumours are confirmed as the smoky aroma of barbeque fills the air, and the first plate of irresistible chicken arrives. Salivating, our hungry Hashers look upon the feast before them. However, they are going to have to wait for the rest of the Hashers to arrive.
Luckily by the time the third plate of chicken arrived, the trusty Zidane arrives with his safely shepherded flock. And so the feast begins. Banh Mi, T34’s sandwiches, and chicken washed down with San Miguel - does it get any better?
Chicken now devoured, it’s time for the weekly photo and circle. This week, stepping up to the plate at the last minute, we welcome the The Captain as Ringmaster.
First up are the Hares, Mr. T and Secs, and Frank is called to give a report of the trail. He gives a glowing report - maximum points to the Hares.
Next up Returnees. This we are pleased to welcome legendary Hasher, Viking, who is back for a brief visit after returning to his native Denmark. We are also pleased to welcome back Daniel, Misty and Hien and Dan.
On to the Sinners now and, despite successfully guiding the lost Hashers back, Zidane is charged - along with 10 of his lost sheep. They take their penance with aplomb, downing delicious San Miguel - hardly a punishment.
Lastly, the Virgins, we have a couple of Vietnamese ladies joining us for the first time. Welcome!
Finally, Mr. T., announces the VTH3 2018 Christmas Party will be on Sunday 23 December at Vung Tau Marina. If you want to join us you must register through the website.
We load up the eskies, bring the surplus San Miguel onboard, and with a blaring boombox, we are speeding our way back to Vung Tau. Another great day in the countryside.
VTH3 #866 PHOTO GALLERY