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20 July 2014
JESUS HILL, SMALL MOUNTAIN - "Re-Hash run #1 of 9 July 2011, reprised"
Start point Offshore Bar 1, as usual. What wasn't so usual was an encouraging 35 Hashers at registration - which is the most we've had at a local run for some time, particularly during the Russian 'holiday season'. It was also three times as many as we had for the first "Re-Hash the Hash" run that resurrected VTH3 on 9 July 2011 - so that's a clear indication of healthy growth.
Off we went across the park and Le Loi, along Quang Trung until the junction with Ha Long, then a left and right past sidewalk fish markets and then left around the corner leading towards Phan Chu Trinh. At Hem 220 (Duc Anh hotel) turn right up concrete laneway bending to the left through a small village - plenty of dogs, hens, geese, occasional grunters (pigs, not Hashers!), then a more rural setting for the trail with lots of small stones on a dirt track.
From now on, the trail wound its way slowly up Small Mountain, offering many photo opportunities of Vung Tau City and Back Beach panorama; what must be one of the world's smallest cafe's (see photo gallery below); then a small cave (affectionately known as "OXO/UXO's cave" in days gone by...). It was uphill all the way, but a far more gentle slope than most are accustomed to in VTH3!
"When you finally see specks of blue sky shining through the leaves, you're nearly there!"
We emerged at the foot of the 214 steps leading to the 28-metre tall "Statue of Jesus with Outstretched Arms*" (38m if you include the 10-metre high base). For those who wanted more, it was just another 129 steps up a spiral staircase inside the statue to reach the balconies on the statue's outstretched arms. Sadly, closing time was 4 pm so not everyone made it in time.
*For the trivia buffs: "Statue of Jesus with Outstretched Arms" was erected in 1971.
We shared the area with hundreds of tourists so there was time only for a water stop, photo opportunities, then a careful descent of 614 "tourist steps" past several coffee shops, statues depicting various biblical scenes, and lookout points over Hon Ba island (incl. Mieu Ba temple), the "Cape of Greeting the Wind", Back Beach and the East Sea.
Finally at ground level again, we went out onto Ha Long then turned left and left again into the big, new'ish park to find "Anti and the Eskies" (no, that's not a pop group - Anti was nursing an injury so kindly offered to chaperone the eskies from Offshore Bar 1 to our pre-selected Down Down location).
Lots of ice cold San Miguel and softies to clear the throat while snacking on Ice Water's lovely bread, meat and pickles - with this week's specialty: sticky rice cakes - until the Circle was called.
The trail was rated an abysmal "minus 10" by returnee Captain, who was immediately overruled by duty Ring Master Uncle who removed the "minus" bit and left it at 10/10 (Captain is more used to downunder marking, where no trail ever receives a plus score!). Thanks were also given to those involved in setting the original trail, which was the scene more than three years ago of VTH3's first "Re-Hash the Hash" run.
Five Hash Virgins from Russia and Romania, returnees Jeff and Captain, and five "and a half" sinners were introduced, welcomed, "serenaded" and/or "punished" as the case may be. Good luck to our two Russian backpackers as they continue their travels...
A special case was made for Ice Water, who was thanked by everyone for her culinary expertise and good humour, then punished for wasting ice (again)!
Everyone was reminded that registration for Vietnam's inaugural Nash Hash is open - details on the "Hot News & Events" page. And also Saigon Hash's 24th birthday weekend bash 5-7 September - see also "Hot News & Events".
And congratulations to the volunteers who are distributing our new promotional posters, flyers and tri-lingual business cards - "Good luck, everyone"!
In the meantime, next week's trail has been set by Rowdy Water, Falcon, SamSon and Ice Water in the Long Hai Mountains. They report that it's a challenging but pretty trail with good views on the way up(!) - passing not one but two pagoda compounds, and finishing in the Minh Dam Secret Zone car park.
We'll meet as usual at Offshore Bar 1 beer garden: 2 pm for 2.30 pm start, Sunday, 27 July - in any weather!
Hares/chaperones/guardians: Falcon, Rowdy Water
Hash Flash: Uncle. Circle photos Anti
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