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15 February 2015
SMALL MOUNTAIN - "A new page turns..."
Lots of smiling faces at our new home this week, as a result of sterling efforts by Basil and Rowdy Water to select the lovely Sao Bien 4 restaurant (NOT Sao Bien 3 - see below) after checking several potential host establishments around Vung Tau - and full credit also goes to Ice Water for helping to relocate our assets midweek at short notice, and Flying Finn, The Gardener, Ms Banana and Basil's phone number(!) for combining to help ensure everyone made it to registration on Sunday despite some confusion about the way into start point A - a magnificent team effort!
Thanks also to GeoffK (nursing an injury) and Basil for ferrying the eskies to the end point B - many hands make light work!
Note for future Sundays: The Sao Bien 3 entrance is about 50 metres before the main cable car building. Once inside the Sao Bien 3 gate, you should head for our host and meeting place the Sao Bien 4 restaurant (not SB3) on your LEFT, for registration. But if you arrived on a bike or motorbike, please park in the official (secure) parking area on the RIGHT as you get inside the Sao Bien 3 gate, then walk across the entrance to Sao Bien 4 for registration. Some Hashers mistakenly parked at the coffee shop on Sunday, but it's a non-secure area and not advisable to leave your vehicle unguarded for several hours whilst away Hashing - it's definitely a "park at your own risk" situation! Also, taxis will usually drop passengers at the main cable car building - but that's 50 metres too far so, if it happens to you, just walk back to the gates as above. The following diagram and notes will hopefully assist (imagine Tran Phu along the bottom, and the sea along the top):
...Small arrow at bottom left shows correct entrance gate (marked "Sao Bien 3 Restaurant").
...Red area is Sao Bien 4 restaurant - for Hash registration.
...Green area is official (secure) parking.
...Yellow is Sao Bien 3 restaurant.
...Purple is main cable car building.
...Arrow in the centre pointing left, shows easy way to access parking area if you mistakenly go too far to the main building entrance.
And so, with registration duly completed, we departed on a long'ish hike to 84 Phan Chu Trinh - proving upfront that although our new home is clearly within easy reach of Big Mountain, it's also not that far to Small Mountain, which is a good sign for future home runs.
The Gardener had given his chalk talk on the way to Phan Chu Trinh, so off we went past a few houses, over a wall and onto the mountain. It was a challenging climb to the top, following a new trail cut by the hares through lots of prickly bamboo to the Lighthouse - with several Hashers saved from damaging their collectors-item Hash shirts by luckily wearing backpacks.
Time at the top to enjoy the views with couples who were still thinking of Valentine's Day, including one couple in full wedding regalia! We took a few snapshots, and then followed the familiar red eco-markers down through the "thorn garden"(!) and eventually onto the "abyss" descent which was made quite treacherous by all the dry weather - lots of slippery excitement for young and old!
The trusty walkie talkies proved their worth yet again, with Basil enlisting The Gardener's help to ensure Chippy's plucky little fellah, Yu Bok, managed to reach the bottom without losing too much bark!
Out onto Halong, it was a left turn to #32 and there they were - our precious eskies, full of ice-cold San Migs and softies to help wash down the delicious snacks provided by Mother Teresa and Ice Water (and transported by Terminator). Live Wire's vodka helped a bit, too!
Some of our visitors had to leave at this stage, so we wish them well - come back soon, ya hear!
Duty Ring Master Basil nominated Terminator to rate the trail, and it was scored a "slightly less than perfect" 9/10 because although it was challenging and interesting, the steep and slippery downhill descent caused too many Hashers to lose their collective footing, so 1 demerit point was awarded. Well done once again to The Gardener, Ms Banana and Rowdy Water!
One returnee, the injured GeoffK, and three visitors were welcomed (Paddy Fag and Twin Knockers from SH3, and Yura); then Sinner Live Wire was charged for managing to get lost, plus Paddy Fag and Twin Knockers for thinking they were still in Saigon and taking a shortcut! And so it was on to the "slippers" (all given away by the Lighthouse Hill dirt on their clothes and Hash Flash FF's photographic evidence) - Ronald Reagan, Paddy Fag, Twin Knockers and Vicky paid the penalty in fine style. (Did anyone else notice, by the way, that wily SH3 veterans Paddy Fag and Twin Knockers managed to get themselves into every Down Down except one. Hmmm...)
And then it was left to thank Mother Teresa and Ice Water for the food, Terminator for chauffering it to 32 Halong, and Live Wire for his vodka Tet celebrations!
A few closing words about our new home from Basil (but now also see diagram and "explanation" above), a Happy New Year / "Chuc Mung Nam Moi" message to one and all - and a reminder that it will be "business as usual" next Sunday, although Basil will necessarily be absent at work (the hospitality industry never sleeps!). Experienced Hasher and VTH3 stalwart, Rowdy Water, will do his usual fine job of keeping things moving along at a dignified pace as we ease into our new hosting situation with exquisite timing - the New Lunar Year of the (Mountain?) Goat! Don't be shy, folks - "Rowdy" will be thankful for every bit of help you can offer leading up to and on next Sunday!
STOP PRESS: Hares The Gardener, Ms Banana and Ice Water confirm they've found yet another new way up Big Mountain for Sunday's "Tet run". It's not yet finalised because of the Tet holidays, but we're hoping that the Circle and Down Down will be back at our new home, Sao Bien 4, to help celebrate the beginning of what we're sure will be a wonderful year for all Hashers, friends, hosts and sponsors alike!
Chuc Mung Nam Moi - On On!
Reporting: Basil, Uncle
Hares: The Gardener, Ms Banana, Rowdy Water
Hash Flash: Flying Finn
VTH3 #668 PHOTO GALLERY
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