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BIG MOUNTAIN: AUSTRALIA DAY & UXO/OXO/OOPSO FAREWELL RUN!
Then it was "On On" to 544 Tran Phu (much further around Big Mountain) to the start point.
After a quick chalk talk (run briefing) by Hares CNR and Falcon, we embarked on a long, long hike along a dirt track that eventually led to a vertical climb to the road around the side of the mountain.
A right turn, then 500 metres and a left turn off the road to climb once again. This time, it was a struggle through thick forest to reach the top of the mountain then along the rocky and familiar (to some) Rowdy's Ridge - which always offers excellent views of Vung Tau city and coastline.
Refreshed by such wonderful scenery, we had to keep focused during the extremely "tricky" descent - quite steep and slippery in places - which took us down past the small Jesus statue. From there, it was down 800 steps to the monastery at Hem 148, followed by a short walk on "terra firma" to 83 Tran Phu for "beer and chips".
Much socialising and beach-strolling later, the Circle was called. The trail by Hares Falcon, CNR and Samson was awarded an exceptional 12/10 by UXO (probably would have been even higher, but there weren't any unexploded bombs for him to play with this time...). VTH3 virgins Christian and Nina were welcomed; then major sinner of the day CNR was penalised for giving the taxi driver the wrong address - and he was one of the Hares!
Then it was time to farewell two long-time VTH3 stalwarts, Hash Cash OXO and her perpetual FRB partner UXO, who will be taking newborn "Oopso" back to Russia and Ukraine "for Hash training". Thanks for everything guys - we'll really miss your ever-smiling enthusiasm that lit up so many of our runs over the past couple of years!
We finally went back to Offshore Bar for more farewell drinks with OXO, UXO, Oopso aka Sofia, Vasya, Vanya (Ivan), and Sofia's equally delightful Mum, and then it was time to call it a day.
Next week's run will be a new trail on Small Mountain set by SamSon (many thanks for taking time off work during busy pre-Tet week) and CNR in his new guise as The Gardener - so re-named because of his efficiency in cutting trails through the undergrowth: "click, click go the shears, boys...". They say it will be an interesting trail passing cultural artefacts along the way, so don't forget your camera!
In the meantime, "Chuc Mung Nam Moi" to Vietnamese everywhere, and especially our Vietnamese fellow Hashers - we hope the 2014 Lunar Year of the Horse brings everything you wish for!
Hares: Falcon, CNR, Samson
Hash Flash: Pekka