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23 March 2014
BIG MOUNTAIN - "Bon Voyage" Pekka & Irene
As we reported last week, the Flying Finns (Pekka and Irene) and SamSon (Mr Son) "stepped up to the plate" in Falcon's absence through injury and set a trail on Big Mountain - with a few subtle route changes at the beginning.
We left Offshore Bar 1 onto Truong Vinh Ky then took a right onto Hoang Dieu (instead of the more usual beginning down to the SOS clinic and then turning right). Then we took a left on Thu Khoa Huan and right onto Hem 5. It was some 600 metres along Hem 5 before we turned left over Than Thai to the familiar Hem 89 and concrete steps through the houses to Vi Ba (the sealed road up Big Mountain used by so many locals for their daily exercise).
Flying Finn (Pekka) assembled the troops for a Chalk Talk and then it was "On On" up the mountain road. About 150 metres later, at the arrow conveniently painted on the road many years ago by "a person or persons unknown" (wouldn't have been a Hasher because we don't do graffiti!), we took a sharp right turn onto the trail that goes up the side of Big Mountain.
We enjoyed(?) a vertical climb up the boulder-strewn dirt track until we reached the "crossroads" in the open grassy area near the top. Then it was a left turn and trek around the hillside and under the chairlift that takes tourists to the theme park on top of Big Mountain.
The track eventually meets the sealed road again (except it's not very sealed at all, anymore!) and we turned left and headed down to the local "mountain bar" near the military camp gates, where hot and sweaty Hashers were able to quench their thirsts with nước mía (sugar cane drink) and enjoy the views over Vung Tau Bay after spending most of the climb in +35°C heat!
Now fully rested, we headed further down the mountain road, bypassing the local "zoo" to check the little piglets were feeding well and try and take "selfies" with the monkey tribe, before continuing on down the mountain and through the western side of Front Beach to a shady corner of the park at Ba Cu and Quang Trung.
Down at ground level, the shiny red eskies were neatly lined in a row and looked "too good to open" - but the temptation was too strong and the thirsty group dived in for some welcome refreshment courtesy of our major sponsor San Miguel (and new head of merchandising in Vung Tau, Mr Cuong - see promo at top of this report).
It was at this point that "off duty medic" Andy was spotted ministering "second aid" to a sore (female) ankle. Full points for effort, "Dr" Andy, but your original first aid on the mountainside had obviously done the trick!
Duty Ring Master Ronald Reagan called the Circle: the trail was awarded 7/10 by Dr Andy, and Hash virgins and visiting Tasmania/Hobart Hashers were welcomed. Poledancer and Banger endeared themselves to VTH3 by presenting v.nice and distinctive Tassie/Hobart Hash t-shirts to the VTH3 ladies (see photos) - not to mention the green and red shoestring necklace proudly worn by Irene!
It's about here that we should mention that, although no-one's sure exactly how it happened, something very mysterious took place today - a virgin Hasher who shall remain anonymous managed to lose the white hat in his hand whilst "Down Downing" his beer. Was it the wind, or was it the "legend of Big Mountain"? (which decrees that spooky things will happen when the bugle calls...). Whatever it was, there's a reward of at least one beer for anyone who can find a solution!
The last word goes to visiting Tassie Hasher Poledancer: "Banger and I had a great time. It was a good trail that showed us the natural terrain. Your Hashers showed us great hospitality and the Circle was well run. If you're ever in Hobart /Tassie send us an email. On! On!"
Thanks to the "Flying Finns" Pekka & Irene, Mr "SamSon" Son and Leon "Ronald Reagan" Hofman for combining to produce an exceptionally pleasant run for everyone. If anyone else would like to volunteer their services for next week and/or beyond, please let us know via "Contact VTH3"
In the meantime, we'd like to take this opportunity of thanking the Flying Finns for their magnificent contribution to VTH3 over the past several months. Without ever being asked, they've voluntarily stepped in whenever needed to keep things humming along with their good humour and expertise in taking photos, setting trails and "shepherding the lost sheep".
"Turvallista matkaa!", Pekka & Irene - thanks for everything, and we look forward to your return in November!
Details of next Sunday's run will be posted in the NEXT RUN box as soon as the trail and Hare/s have been confirmed.
Reporting: Flying Finn, Uncle
Hares: Flying Finns, SamSon
Hash Flash: Flying Finns (Pekka & Irene)
VTH3 #621 PHOTO GALLERY>>>
Pekka's photos first:
...and "the stayers":