21 APRIL 2019
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper, Chook
Hash Flasher: Secs
A scorching, sunny, Sunday afternoon and 44 wholehearted Hashers convene at Cafe Uno. Once the usual registration process is complete, the Hashmobile is boarded and we are soon hurtling towards this week’s destination - Nui Dinh.
About 45 minutes later we disembark next to the seemingly perpetually under-construction road at the bottom of Nui Dinh. As we march along the sun-baked road, we look with some trepidation at the massive, undulating mountains that stand out against the azure sky. We follow our Hares off the road and gather under the welcome shade of a mango tree. Our Hare, Flying Finn, blows his whistle and, once he has everyone’s attention, explains the trail - follow the red ribbons up the mountain path until we come to the lake at the top, turn left and follow the road back to the Hashmobile - simples.
So On-On we go, along an arid country path. Soon we arrive at the edge of the forest, where the unwavering Slipper is patiently waiting to direct us on to the shady path that will take us up the mountain - and what a path it turns out be! A well worn trail, cut out of the forest with trees providing plenty of shade. And rocky steps - lots of rocky steps. Relentless rocky steps. We take them in our stride, relieved when it eventually flattens out and we see the lake at the top. Not far to go now. We take a left turn on to a dusty, unsealed road and approximately 1km later we are exulted to see the Hashmobile and eskies waiting for us.
Ice cold beer is quaffed, Banh Mi is devoured and the conviviality begins as we exchange tales of the trail. The conviviality escalates as Frenchy breaks out his legendary home-made Passion Fruit Rum. A delicious and potent infusion served in makeshift goblets fashioned from the cutoff bottoms of water bottles.
Just as the down-down is in full swing, we realise that one of our Hashers has not yet returned. This spot is renowned for being a mobile phone network dead spot, so we are going have to find our lost sheep old school style. A search and rescue strategy is planned, locals with motorbikes are commandeered, Buddhist monks are recruited, and a search party is dispatched on foot to retrace our steps. Thankfully, just as the search party is about to descend back down the rocky steps, we meet with Sparkles who has managed find a weak phone signal and has received word that our Hasher is fine and was on her way back to meet us courtesy of a local guy on a motorbike. It seems she’d missed the red ribbons at the lake indicating the left turn and followed some older ribbons from a previous trail. An easy mistake to make.
Anyway, all is now well, and with the light fading, there’s no time for a circle. We pack up the eskies, ensuring we have one eskie filled with enough in-bus-entertainment to sustain us on the journey home. The boombox blares as bus tentatively makes way down the steep, serpentine road. Frenchy takes to the microphone and wishes us all a fond farewell as he will be returning to his eponymous native land. After thanking everyone, he completes his farewell with a song. Thanks Frenchy - see you when you return.
Before we know it, we are back at Uno Coffee.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week’s Hash - we couldn’t have done it without you.
VTH3 #885 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM FRENCHY
7 APRIL 2019
Hares: Boozer, Cleaver
Hash Flasher: Secs
It all started as usual, the meeting at Uno Café, the pleasure of seeing familiar, friendly faces and the inevitable payment of the fee collected by Cleaver and Boozer ( always very serious on that occasion). At 1.30 sharp we were told to go to Hon Ru Ri, bikers being instructed to take a passenger, other hashers traveling by taxi.
So, a second meeting took place there before we received details about the run and started walking on Tran Phu street, quite an easy beginning in spite of the sun as a soft breeze was cooling our backs a little and welcome clouds occasionally filtering the scorching rays. It was pleasant to walk along the sea. We also got some shade from a beautiful hedge of bougainvillaea as we passed in front of the Salsa Mexicana restaurant.
However that easy stage came to an end, as we crossed the road in front of the Ganh Hao restaurant and had to scramble up some rocks to enter the forest ; well, a sort of forest with some bushes and anaemic leafless trees which did not offer any protection against the sun, but did stop any breeze that could have helped us a little to tackle the very steep slope – stones, rocks, dry, slippery earth, entangled creepers, some thorny, fallen tree trunks under which we had to crawl, all that made the climb quite a challenge.
Fortunately that climb was definitely shorter than many others and the red ribbons soon indicated a right turn . The trail was still on uneasy terrain, but roughly kept the same level and, to our relief, a soft breeze was now blowing our way.
So, we certainly were very sweaty, but not so breathless when we reached the cafés at the top of Vi Ba street. That was a welcome stopover as many hashers took the time to enjoy nuoc mia or any other drink of their choice.
A short walk down on Vi Ba, and we turned right to the buddhist temple with a magnificent view towards Bai Truoc and Nui Nho. The descent then was easy and a last flight of steps led us to the wide road down back to Tran Phu, not far from the cable cars station.
The Down-Down took place at « Bia Hoi » the café at 4 Le Loi, where all could enjoy jugs of icy beer, soft drinks or water ; then we banqueted with lots of French fries, chicken wings, squid fritters and fruit ; more beer was drunk as everyone enjoyed friendly conversations, before hashers left with full bellies and happy smiles on their faces.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all the hashers involved in organising these runs ; not only they do a very good job for our enjoyment, but they are very watchful and considerate, waiting for the slower ones so that nobody gets lost and making sure that everybody is ok.
VTH3 #884 PHOTO GALLERY
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM FRENCHY
31 MAR 2019
NUI THI VAI - "1200 Steps and a Rickety Bamboo Bridge"
Hares: Flying Finn, Slipper
Hash Flasher: Secs
Report: Faulty Brakes
The young and old assembled at Cafe Uno for this week’s odyssey to Nui Thi Vai near Phu My. Bean counters Boozer and Cleaver ensured the registration and shekels where correct whilst Hashers prepared the eskies for the forthcoming expedition with San Miguel and softies complete with nibbles for the Down Down. The “Iceman Cometh” hoodoo struck again despite the best efforts of the mismanagement strategic planning division to avoid a second consecutive week with no coolant. As smooth as Brexit from the E.U. the VTH3 juggernaut barreled out of Ha Long to head northwards stopping briefly to acquire the badly needed ice to ensure a temperature perfect refreshment for later that day. This week’s tally was 47 with children as young as 3 years to senior Hashers in their mid seventies and eventually we reached our location in Nui Thi Vai and disembarked.
This week’s trail was courtesy of the dynamic duo, Flying Finn and Slipper the Finnish Trailfinders, who on the previous Friday had generously given their time how so could have this trail today. Standing on the steps at the foot of the trail, welcome to Hash Number 883 and pointing to the top of the mountain follow the steps to the top and then follow the red ribbons and back to here again, simple enough but this required a lot of energy expenditure. “On on” and it was every man woman and child for himself, up the 1200 steps in the blistering sun. Meanwhile back at the bus 2 seasoned hashers removed the eskies from the bus and allowed the Sun to shine directly on to the ice thus insuring a cool refreshments for everyone at the Down Down.
As we climbed the steps we saw Hashers resting, taking advantage of pockets of shade grimacing as every set of steps presented themselves and the curious spectacle of men carrying 25 kgs bags of cement for construction work at the temple on top of the mountain. The modus operandi they employed was to zig zag across the steps and not step directly up the the steps interestingly enough some hashers copied this, I suppose a classic case of “when in Rome does as the Romans do”
Reaching the temple at the top of the climb we came onto the shadier part of the trail, no more steps and red ribbons directing us through forest with cooling breezes and now the next challenge was a bamboo bridge and handrail with four poles to step across and two of these poles looked like they were on their last legs but with ‘Bear Grylls ‘ like determination these where easily surmounted and soon we we were back at the top of the steps ready to complete the descent and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside in all its glory as the temperature cooled making it a lot more comfortable for descending Hashers.
Using the bus as a shade, Hashers sat around swilling San Miguel and softies, kids played, others groaned as a result of their exertions earlier and soon it was show time. Boozer and his trusty mutt “Hot Dog” now complete with microphone and boombox expertly guided us through the proceedings. Old Wild Eagle was loudly applauded for efforts on the day and we bade him farewell as he is returning to Russia, new handles were apportioned to; Super Dad, Fighter, Shady Lady, Lazy Fox and Aurora welcome to Vung Tau hash one and all.
We were running late as a result of the extra distance and time to Phu My, with the eskies loaded on board the bus and the cocktail cabinet inside the bus, we headed back to Vung Tau with spirits high and music blaring everyone appeared to enjoy the journey. Reaching Cafe Uno it was time to put away our equipment in our store which is situated at the top of the building and dispose of empty cans and bottles. WE EXPECT ALL HASHERS (children and ladies excluded) to assist in this operation and leave the bus rubbish free. Next week we have home run on on Big Mountain.
VTH3 #883 PHOTO GALLERY
24 MAR 2019
SMALL MOUNTAIN - "The Three Temple Trail"
Hares: Boozer, Cleaver
Hash Flasher: Secs
Report: Chom Chom
Another Sunday afternoon, another habitual gathering at our registration base of Café Uno where this week, thirty-nine ardent Hashers assembled in anticipation for Boozers trail on Small Mountain.
Upon completion of the registrations, fees being paid and the friendly salutations, we proceeded down to the street to be introduced to the trail ahead of us by our hare, Boozer. Essentially it was a trail of three temples, up to the lighthouse and the familiar route down back to Café Uno. We were warned that a lot of the trail was new, so keeping grouped up would be a good plan!
We proceeded away from Café Uno along Ha Long Street until we got to the Chua Hai Van Temple where we took the hairpin to the right to start our ascent. After climbing many dilapidated steps we met the mountain road and followed this in a downward direction towards Mr Ket. This pleasant stretch was soon to end as Mr T, acting quite stealthily, appeared pointing to a right turn to yet more, even more rickety and decrepit steps, but this time far more arduous and gruelling. It was getting painful here as the tortuous sun glared and dazzled us, no doubt having a good laugh watching the sweat penetrating from our bodies. We arrived at our second temple and grovelled under a makeshift fence to arrive on the new concrete road. Here we turned right and forged ahead, making the most of the smooth, level surface. There were some great photo and selfie opportunities here as views over the ocean were aplenty.
A right turn was taken off the concrete road into a dry and leafy area of forest where we continued to climb up. This was probably the more perilous and precarious part of the trail due to the dryness and lack of grip. We made our way up and shortly found ourselves on far more familiar grounds, by passing the domed bunkers and the crumbled steps. We arrived again at the mountain road and took a right towards the lighthouse. Our third and final temple soon arrived, this one known as Chua Hai Dang, and at long last we made a start to make our way back down from the mountain on the lavish Temple steps. Most of our Hashers knew where we were now and comforted in knowing the trail was nearly over. We left the steps and made a left turn back into the forest, through the undergrowth, under the chicken wire by Leman Cap Resort and eventually arriving at the final staircase down to Ha Long and ultimately our Down Down destination. Looking at my Runkeeper app, the trail was almost 4km and took around 1 hour 30 minutes to complete.
Hashers appeared at their own pace and gradually Café Uno started to rejuvenate. The usual San Miguel Light and Pilsners had been awaiting our return in their ice fuelled eskies making them a delight to absorb in our drained bodies. There was also the usual selection of soft drinks, banh mi and Boozers box of filled sandwiches. This week we had a representative of San Miguel greet us to understand more about Vung Tau Hash and their involvement as a sponsor.
After the group photo had been completed, Boozer called the circle. As in the traditional fashion, we were first introduced to our hares, in this case, our single Hare, Boozer. Next up were our virgins. There were four this week – Phuong, Khoa and Huy from Vung Tau and Laurie (introduced by Mr. T) from Queensland, Australia. Next round was sinners and our pack included Shirley, who was clearly not impressed with Frenchy for suggesting her for having new shoes, and Aqua for having a new luminous orangey-pink shirt! There was one more sinner, Mai, who was called into the circle subsequently for suggesting something was “how rude”. There were no returnees this week. After a quick summary of how trails are set and the varying difficulty levels, the circle was closed and the festivities and jovialities continued.
VTH3 #882 PHOTO GALLERY