22 DECEMBER 2019
LONG HAI MOUNTAINS
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flashers: Secs, Chippy
RUN 920 PHOTO GALLERY
15 DECEMBER 2019
BIG MOUNTAIN - 'Holy Mother of God!'
Hares: Mr. T
Hash Flashers: Kojak, Zidan
With the Christmas party behind us and with Christmas Day approaching it seems appropriate that this week’s trail would take us on a pilgrimage to visit the Mother of God at Bai Dau Pilgrimage Centre. As the weekly collection of fees takes place, the beer truck is loaded with the conglomeration of trappings required for a bountiful down-down. With proceedings complete, we are requested to make our way to the starting point at 102 Tran Phu aka ‘The Old Lady’s Place’. Miraculously, we self-organise into a cohesive unit of efficiency as all our Hashers are transported to the starting point by generous motorbikers and car owners offering up any spare seats.
Once we’ve assembled and the beer truck is unloaded, our intrepid Hare, Mr. T, gathers us round for the chalk talk. As many of us suspected - this was going to be a tough one. Up the approximately 800 steps to the white cross on top of the mountain, down the other side, up the next mountain, through the bush until the Ho May Park Road, all the way along the road, until the turn off for the small temple and then down the 600 steps to the Temple on Tran Phu and back to the Old Lady’s Place. Phew! This was going to be a killer trail.
With some trepidation, but in good spirits and a spring in our step we set off down Tran Phu for the 1km stretch to the beginning of the carpark at the bottom of arduous steps, Perro Calliente and family opting to run. Step-by-step-by-step we laboriously climb up the steep stairs that take us passed the many Christian icons cast in brilliant white. It’s not long before we meet the 34m statue of the Mother of God, standing proudly at 60m above sea level. Several “Hail Marys” were uttered as Hashers prayed for the strength to get them to the end of the seemingly never-ending stairs. However, we steadily plodded on, taking breaks to catch our breath and take photos of the striking seascape below us.
About three-quarters of the way up we encounter our most zealous of Hashers, Flying Finn, taking an uncharacteristic rest - a testament to the challenge of this trail. Painted numerals start to count down the remaining steps to reach the summit. 300, 250, 200….. every set of fifty steps seeming getting harder and longer to complete.
Thankfully, we arrive at the 3m tall crucifix, where we rewarded with a fantastic view of the vast ocean. However, this is not the end of the trail - this is merely half way. Beyond the cross a bunting of red ribbons lead us in to the bush taking us across the summit and down a steep slope only to be confronted by the next peak. We pull ourselves from tree to tree ascending the dry, but slippery slope until we start to descend again finally exiting on the Ho May Park road. A long, but easy walk takes us to the next array of ribbons leading us to the familiar temple perched above the 600 steps that will take us down to
Hưng Thắng Tự Temple, this time taking us passed brilliant white Buddhist statues.
At the bottom, we turn left onto Tran Phu and it’s a short walk back to the Old Lady’s Place. We hydrate with 100Plus and SAGOTA Beer and feast on Bahn Mi and fruit. The circle is called to order and with Boozer at the helm the usual shenanigans proceed. Our Hare, Mr. T, is exulted, Virgins are sacrificed, Returnees are welcomed back and Sinners are ridiculed.
All done in time for the return of the beer truck with which is loaded up and returned to Uno Coffee. The end of another tiring but rewarding Hash in Vung Tau.
RUN 919 PHOTO GALLERY - KOJAK
RUN 919 PHOTO GALLERY - HASH FLASH ZIDANE, AQUA
7/8 DECEMBER 2019
LONG HAI - CHRISTMAS PARTY 2019
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flashers: Hot Pants
Report: Faulty Brakes
As the sands of time slowly run out for 2019, Mismanagement’s decision to hold the annual Christmas party early to allow people to attend their own family functions later this month, proved to be an astute decision. Seventy people turned up to attend the function at Goldstar Hotel in Long Hai. 2019 was another momentous year in VTH3 history with the acquisition of a new Sponsor - SAGOTA BEER. The away trip to Nam Cat Tien and with attendances averaging 50 people per week the outlook for next year looks bright.The only blot on the copybook was the untimely departure of our good friend Tom “Fluffer” Mulvenna.
Saturday morning at Uno Coffee saw the loading of beer and soft drinks into Eskies along with spares for Sunday onto our trusty bus. 70 people had booked to travel to Long Hai and we were rescued by generous families who decided to bring their own cars to the venue. Leaving Uno at 12.00 we headed to the Co-op Mart to pick up more Hashers, and eventually we were rolling out towards Long Hai and on to our Hotel, the splendid Goldstar. Removing the eskies and checking in, soon our new home was being prepared for the forthcoming party. The swimming pool proved to be a winner with the children as they spent the afternoon enjoying themselves, meanwhile music was being prepared and our VTH3 banner was hung proudly over the stage for the pending Hooley.
The bar opened at 5.00 pm when people sat around chatting and enjoying the ice-cold SAGOTA, as we watched the sun going down. Slowly the tables filled up. The VTH3 ladies arrived looking resplendent in all their finery and for a moment I could be forgiven if I thought we had stumbled into a “Miss World Competition.” The food was described as Ngon qua, meaning very delicious in Vietnamese and to all our foreign guests who hailed from Finland, Ireland, Australia and Romania who devoured the excellent Vietnamese cuisine there was little doubt in their minds about that testimony. The ladies were treated to a nip of Baileys when Mr. T and Cleaver toured the tables dispensing the famous Irish Liqueur and, not to be outdone, and in the interest of fairness the compliment was accorded to the boys with some Aussie Rum that was kindly donated by Bryce, well done mate.
The focus of the night turned to football when enthusiastic Vietnamese fans watched the game against Cambodia and before half time the game was won with Vietnam scoring four without reply. A phone call came through to Faulty Brakes when he was welcoming everyone, Santa had arrived in Saigon and would be arriving shortly in Long Hai. We welcomed Stewie our guest singer for the evening as he treated us to some fabulous numbers and soon the place was rocking. The Karaoke bug had struck and if Vietnam’s Got Talent? - most of it must be in VTH3. Interrupting the procedure once again, the news came through that Santa Clause was in the building. Then as if by magic there was S.C. complete with bags of goodies, assisted by some elves and then sitting on the stage with a reception only afforded to superstars. The 21 children received their gifts and watched in amazement. The magic of Christmas had arrived, pencils, crayons, colouring books, sweets and pencil cases were revealed. When the parcels were opened, the looks on the children’s faces, justified the work that Santa’s helpers had laboured for so many months previously.
The night continued with some great singing and another party erupted on the balcony in the hotel, great food, great music, Vietnam winning 4 - 0, the arrival of Santa Clause. Where would you get all these coming together on the one night? Answer: Vung Tau Hash House Harriers’s Xmas party.
I was informed the next morning that the breakfast was excellent, unfortunately my head refused to leave the pillow until 12.00. Checking out there were the prospect of a “Flying Finn Trail”, ending at the nearby beach. True to his word, it was relatively easy circling the the nearby mountain and then ending at the ocean nearby. Golden Fish had procured some Banh Mi and with the beer chilled it was soon time to go again, resting in a nearby restaurant looking out at the silhouette of Vung Tau in the distance, it does not get much better for a Down Down location.
RUN 918 PHOTO GALLERY
1 DECEMBER 2019
Hash Flashers: Secs
Yet again, this week was the exemplification of the old adage that many hands make light work. It was all hands on deck as our merry band of Helpful Hashers carted the requisite supplies from the storeroom down to the Uno Coffee’s terrace in preparation for this week’s après-run down-down. This week our trail will start and finish at Coffee Uno making logistics somewhat easier.
With registration complete, our one and only Hare, Mr. T, whistles and hops on to the pulpit to deliver this Sunday’s sermon to his eager congregation.
“This is trail has a few twists and turns, look out for the red tape”, he preaches. “We’re going up the Hem next to Uno, climb some steps, look for an old house, turn right at the yogurt shop, don’t go as far as the lighthouse, turn in to the bush, ya da, ya da……”
It sounded complicated, but hey, it’s only Small Mountain - right? There’s bound to be red ribbons - what could go wrong?
Enthusiastically, we On-On.
We march up the narrow Hem next to Coffee Uno, climb the old steps and follow a path through the woods behind the various hotels and houses on Ha Long Road. Soon we meet the many stairs that will take us up the mountain to Chùa Hải Đăng Pagoda. As we reach the top of the stairs, our more seasoned Hashers notice something’s not right - Holy Crap! The quaint temple that was once perched overlooking the ocean is now a pile of rubble.
It’s only a short walk before ribbons indicate we are to go in to the jungle up some dilapidated steps. The trail takes passed a derelict old house and eventually emerging at famous Yaourt Cô Tiên Coffee Shop near the top of Hải Đăng.
At this point a certain number of our congregation committed their first sin, turning left to go down Hai Dang Road instead of going up towards the lighthouse.
The rest of us take a right turn and follow the road almost to the lighthouse. Another set of ribbons points us back in to the jungle. We stop here to gather our flock and some of us relish the famous homemade frozen yogurt from the coffee shop. Refreshed we begin our descent in to the jungle that takes us passed the walled communications compound and then back on to Hải Đăng Road.
We follow the road until we see a bunch of red ribbons tied to a fence indicating we are to jump the fence and take a shortcut down a short, rocky ravine to bring us back on to Hải Đăng Road.
More sinners. Some of our Hashers turned their noses up at the shortcut and proceeded to take the long way round expecting it to be easier. Those who took the relatively easy shortcut waited 5 minutes for our long cutters to catch up before giving up and continuing down the road.
Just when we think we were nearing the bottom of the hill and on the home straight, a chapel of red ribbons arches around a hidden passage of mossy old steps leading back up in to the jungle.
Here’s where the ultimate sinners fell from grace, heading directly back to Uno Coffee.
With a couple of Hail Marys, the remaining faithful continue the crusade, taking on the steep path through the jungle to emerge on the small road that traverses the mountain. Passing a quirky coffee shop and some artful graffiti we are soon rewarded with a divine view of Big Mountain across the sparkling ocean.
Finally we are directed on to a small picturesque path that takes us down the mountain where we meet what is to be the final obstacle. Jumping a fence we find ourselves on stone staircase that zig zags its way through the beautiful grounds of Budhist temple Chùa Hải Vân. A left turn at the bottom and we are soon back at Uno Coffee.
Back at our sanctuary, we break Banh Mi, worship our consecrated Sagota beer and rejoice until it’s time for our evangelical Ringmaster - the Reverend Sweeper to commence the ceremonial Circle.
First celebrant is our Hare, Mr. T, who’d marked this trail on Saturday afternoon returning in the dark. Sweeper polls the congregation and a devotional score of 15/10 is bestowed.
Next up are the are the sacrificial Virgins, a charming couple from Vietnam. Despite protestations of having already been deflowered, the Revenered Sweeper baptises the couple from the font of Sagota.
With innumerable Sinners this week, the Right Reverend Sweeper calls on the Faithful, those who actually followed the trail, to the Circle and blesses them while the Sinners contemplate repentance.
Just time to welcome back our Returnees, Frenchy and Tapio before wrapping up the Circle with a reminder that next weekend will be the Christmas Party in Long Hai.
And thus endeth the Run Report.
RUN 917 PHOTO GALLERY