10 FEB 2019
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flashers: Kojak
This week about 50 eager Hashers meet at Uno Coffee for a local run on Small Mountain. We gather around our Hare, Flying Finn, as he delivers the chalk-talk - turn left out of Uno Coffee, follow the red ribbons through the forest, get on to a dirt road, follow it until it becomes an asphalt road, walk across the mountain top road, look for the red ribbons to turn left again, back in to the forest until exit on to Hai Dang Road, follow the road down to the bottom but instead of turning right to Mr. Ket’s Coffee Shop we are to bear left onto another path that will take us back up the mountain until red ribbons will indicate a right turn in to a temple, which will take back down to Ha Long Road and finally back to Uno Coffee.
Phew! A lot to remember.
And it’s On-On! With a spring in our step we head off up the narrow Hem next to Uno Coffee. After a short but steep climb up some steps we find ourselves queued up single file, as we enter the forest. The dry dirt underfoot makes the going slippery but one by one we pull ourselves up and scramble to the top.
Once on top of the mountain we can take time to enjoy the fantastic temperate weather, fresh gusts of wind from the sea cool us, as we enjoy the awesome views accentuated by the crystal clear, cloudless sky.
We see the red ribbons taking us back in to the forest and we turn right, and are immediately confronted with an abandoned, dilapidated military bunker. We tentatively make our way down some precarious steps and continue to follow the ribbons until we emerge from the jungle at Cafe 1975 on Hai Dang Road.
It’s a short stroll to the bottom of Hai Dang and some Hashers have to be reminded not to turn right but to continue straight on back up the mountain. It’s a picturesque path flanked with seasonal flowers and quaint mountain temples. The ubiquitous red ribbons soon tell us to turn off to the right. A long set of stone steps leads us down to the magnificent Hai Van Buddhist Temple and then to Ha Long Road and it’s a short walk back to Uno Coffee.
The usual delights await us at Uno Coffee - Ice Cold San Miguel Beer and delicious Banh Mi and the socialising begins. Once everyone is replete it’s time for the group photo followed by a boisterous Circle lead by the prodigious Boozer.
Aaaaannnnd…. In this Circle we have Africans, Americans, Armenians, Botswanans, Canadians, Danish……..
Oh wait, no. Actually in this Circle we have; two Finnish Hares, Slipper and Flying Finn; seven Virgins, all from Vietnam with the exception of one Englishman; two Returnees from Vietnam, Noo and Lan - who’d been busy working; two young Sinners who went the wrong way - also from Vietnam; Pekka Jr. from Finland was baptized with a Hash Name and finally the jolly Malaysian Snake Charmer was bid adieu as she returns to Penang.
And thus ends another run report.
VTH3 #876 PHOTO GALLERY
3 FEB 2019
LONG HAI / MINH DAM
Hares: Secs, Snail, Double Two
Hash Flashers: Kojak
Report: Chom Chom
This week we had forty-four Hashers assemble at our now familiar registration spot at Uno Coffee – surprisingly high considering the proximity to the Tet celebrations. The soft and not so soft drinks were carefully placed in their snow filled eskies, together with fruit, sandwiches and the habitual banh mi and were loaded on to our regular coach.
Once we all mounted the coach we took a brief detour into downtown Vung Tau along the beach road to stop at the Circle K convenience store for some non-eco-friendly plastic cups. We proceeded along Truong Cong Dinh to get back on our route to Long Hai. The bus stopped at the Minh Dam carpark, a popular place for previous Down-Downs so things were starting to look familiar already.
We assembled together and the bus departed on its way to our final Down-Down location. Secs gave us the brief overview of the trail, essentially it was 5km and to keep an eye for the distinct red flags.
The trail began and we all set up in line walking up a newly installed concrete path, that ordinarily we would have walked down. After a reasonable climb, we arrived at the first pagoda which also offered a rocky peak offering some great views over the area. From here, we progressed down the mountain through a meandering leafy forest path, a bit slippy in places due to the lack of moisture so treading with caution was a must. After a kilometre or so things got easier as we hit a flat track where we turned left. This again would have been a familiar path for many. After a short distance, and for those watching out for red tape, a right turn was made into a newly burnt forest path. This presented us with a range of challenges from trees and plants to trip over as well as grovelling through the tunnels of bamboo. Things were then to get worse – a steep rocky mountain was ahead. At this stage some of us were getting a bit knackered and in urgent need of a snow-chilled San Miguel, so this was not a welcome obstruction. With frequent checks to determine how much further the trail was, the peak was finally reached and another pagoda with awesome photo opportunities confronted us.
The final stage of the trail was a lot more relaxing, concrete and rock steps took us down to a path, and although it was a fair slog of a distance, we finally made it to our destination of the Long Hai eco-village, one of the more sumptuous locations for our Down-Down.
The chilled San Miguels and various soft drinks were unloaded from the bus and we setup our spot in this somewhat deserted place. A fair bit of disappointment was experienced when it was discovered that there had been some “stock-control” issues with the San Miguel Gold and that today only Light was available. This wasn’t a big deal, as a bottle of Vodka had been also smuggled into an Eskie – some enjoyed more than others!
After feasting on the banh mi and the other great foody supplied delights and swigging a fair few thirst quenching San Miguels, panic was to prevail. Chippy had some concerning, distressing news… “Where’s Ice Water? Who left her behind? Who’s going to go back and find her?” After a bit of a calming down session and a few unsuccessful phone calls, it was decided we wait a while in the hope she would make her way back on trail. Luckily enough it wasn’t long until she arrived with us, much to everyone’s relief. The circle was then assembled and called. Boozer set up his collection of beer and waters, together with his public address system. Other than meeting our hares (Snail, Double 2 and Secs) we had some returnees, we had some sinners and no doubt we had some virgins, but I don’t recall who they were. Must remember to write down these details and not get too involved in the beer drinking and chin wagging distractions!
Just as we thought things were drawing to a close and another joyful Sunday was descending into darkness, out came two plates of freshly cooked barbecued chicken. These went down in a couple of seconds (literally) and were a great additional to an already marvellous afternoon.
We eventually made it back onto the bus after a very long day in Long Hai and headed directly to Uno Coffee for our one (and only) stop. Our hashers made their ways home in the usual selection of ways and we all look forward to next weeks, local trail. On On and Happy New Year to all.
VTH3 #875 PHOTO GALLERY
27 JAN 2019
BIG MOUNTAIN - "Up the power lines down to the Bia Hoi"
Hares: Boozer, Snail, Double Two, Flying Finn
Hash Flashers: Kojak, Secs
After last week’s mammoth turnout of 75, this week we have 44 Hashers convening at Uno Coffee to register for a trail on Big Mountain. We are informed to make our way to Paci Bia Hoi where we will start the run. Once we have reconvened, lead Hare, Boozer, tells us to walk to Vi Ba via Le Ngoc Han where he will relay the rest of our instructions.
With a spring in our step we make our way through the streets of Vung Tau until we turn off to the left at the end of Le Ngoc Han street and climb up the steps to Vi Ba. Once we have all caught up with each other, Boozer proceeds to deliver the rest of the chalk-talk. Follow the Vi Ba road until we come to a temple where we will head off to the left and follow the power lines to the top of the mountain, then follow the red ribbons until we come out again on Vi Ba. Go back down Vi Ba until more red ribbons will indicate a right turn that will take us down to the White Palace and then make our back to the Bia Hoi.
So, On-On, we go, and it soon becomes apparent that this is no easy trail. The steep road up to the temple is already an arduous task and there were a few incredulous gasps from our Hashers as we left the temple road and began the near vertical ascent following the electricity pylons. It’s a rocky climb, luckily some kind soul has installed guide ropes to pull ourselves over the larger boulders.
As we reach the top, a sense of satisfaction overwhelms us as we finally emerge at the perimeter of Ho May Park - the perfect spot to take a seat and breath in spectacular unfettered view of Vung Tau. Recovered, and realising the hardest part if the trail is now complete, we follow the red ribbons into the forest. The trail takes us across the top of the mountain and affords more spectacular views until we are back on Vi Ba.
We pass the Ngoc Mia stalls (with a few Hashers stopping for sustenance) and make the pleasant stroll down until a smiling Boozer greets us and indicated the right turn down to the White Palace. From there it’s an easy walk back to the Bia Hoi.
Back at the Bia Hoi we are treated to a veritable feast of delights including Mother Teresa’s legendary sandwiches - and the conviviality begins. The Bia Hoi isn’t conducive for a formal Circle, but Ringmaster Boozer does an excellent job of welcoming everyone and then, after we take the team photo, we invite perennial Hasher Chippy to celebrate her birthday with us. Happy Birthday Chippy!
More conviviality ensues including an especially convivial Conga Line - much to the bemusement of the other patrons.
And so the party and vigorous dancing continued…..
Until next week...
VTH3 #874 PHOTO GALLERY - KOJAK
VTH3 #874 PHOTO GALLERY - DOWN-DOWN
20 JAN 2019
NUI DINH - "Seventy Five Go to Nui Dinh"
Hares: Mr. T, Faulty Brakes
Hash Flashers: Radiowave, Frenchy
We were not 40, not 50, but a record of more than 70 hashers waiting for departure from UNO Coffee on Sunday Jan. 20th – a second bus had to be hired so that no one would be left behind; after the ride past Ba Ria to the foot of Nui Dinh, the bus started the climb up a good road and then stopped. After a short briefing by Mr T, the group started on on by simply following the road for a few hundred metres – a not very comfortable walk, with the hot road surface and scarce spots of shade.
But we soon left the road to go down into the forest; that was the only tricky spot in the run – it had to be tackled with precaution, as the descent between rocks was rather abrupt, but fortunately not very long. The consequence, however, due to our great number and the fact that we had to go down carefully one by one, was that there was soon a great gap between the first and the last hashers. The slope then was gentle and we soon reached a half filled stream that was easily crossed; a short flat lane followed with a small lake on the left, then we began a rather long and steep way uphill, rocky but not particularly difficult; the group I was with took between 35 and 45 minutes to get to the top, counting a few pauses for photos and/or catching our breath. Surprise: we came across a well paved lane and found ourselves in front of a wide flight of steps between enormous boulders. Then came the reward: a spectacular sweeping view over the flat lands below. More steps up took us to a statue of Quan Am wedged between high rocks, with a passage to the left, also between rocks, lined with traditional golden statues of monks.
Going down was no problem, first on a dirt lane, then on the main road where we finally caught sight of the two buses indicating the location of the Down Down. We found there another kind of relief - no surprise, but always a delight to enjoy our favourite San Miguel and sandwiches. After the traditional photo came the ceremony. Under the conduct of the ever-joking Boozer, the Hares, precious scouts for our run were presented to the cheers of the hashers who awarded a 12/10 for the run. The unusual number of virgins included a couple from Iceland, another from Australia, another from Hanoi, plus a lady from Siberia and a Vietnamese lady. They introduced themselves and the h
Hashers' song welcomed them. 7 returnees had to explain why they had missed so many runs, the pipe was awarded to a young Russian lady who made the mistake to try and drink her goblet of beer before the master’s signal – she was granted a second goblet and found herself properly drenched (what a waste of the good stuff !)
Finally we all bid a warm farewell to Damian, alias Faulty Brakes, who will soon return to his dear Ireland and stay away for about a month; we all wish him a safe journey there and back, and a pleasant stay at home.
VTH3 #873 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM FRENCHY