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BIG MOUNTAIN - "Holy Mother of God!”
Hares: Secs, Mr. T
Hash Flash: Goalie, Boozer, Radio Wave
This week 34 Hashers met at Hon Ru Ri and jumped into a fleet of taxis to start today’s trail at the down-down spot at 102 Tran Phu. From there we take a short walk and congregate at Bai Dau Pilgrimage Centre, a Marian pilgrim shrine. Mr. T delivers the chalk talk, pointing to the foot of the steps and explaining that we should climb the approximately 800 steps until we reach the cross. After the cross, look out for the red marker ribbons, which take us into forest and up to the very top of Big Mountain. From there we descend through the forest, exiting the forest at Ho May Park Road. We’d have to follow the road until we saw 3 red ribbons indicating we should turn left into the forest taking the a shortcut back to the path, which we’d follow until more ribbons, just after the Cannon Fort, tells us to take another left for the final descent, bringing us back onto Tran Phu next to Vo Van Kiet Secondary School and then turn left on Tran Phu back to the down-down.
With just a little trepidation we start to climb the stairs. True to form, returnee Terminator, sets off at an explosive pace and is soon a speck in the distance. It’s not long before we meet the 34m statue of the Mother of God, standing proudly at 60m above sea level. Several “Hail Marys” were uttered as Hashers prayed for the strength to get them to the end of the seemingly never-ending stairs. However, we steadily plodded on, taking breaks to catch our breath and take photos of the striking seascape below us.
Thankfully, we arrive at the 3m tall cross, but we’re still not at the top of our ascent. We enter the forest and start a steep climb up to the summit, pulling ourselves from tree to tree. It was worth it, feeling like we are on top of the world, Kings (and Queens) of the Mountain, we behold our domain below. However, no rest for the wicked, we plough on (on) down through the jungle completing our pilgrimage by scrambling over the rocks back down to Tran Phu.
One by one, the weary Hashers arrive at 102 for some much needed sustenance, consuming many ice cold San Miguels. Living up to his HashTag, Boozer arrives somewhat mullered, having been boozing since the previous day. He volunteers to take the team photo, but in his stupor he cannot operate the camera, taking a several minute video instead of a photo. Radio Wave comes to the rescue and at last Boozer manages to take the shot.
Ringmaster Basil gathers everyone together for the circle and Hares, Mr. T and Secs, enter the circle to a round of applause. Returnee Mother Teresa is invited to give the trail a score. She mentions that it was a difficult trail but a good one to return to after having been on holiday in Russia. She rates the trail 10/10 and rewards the Hares with a kiss on the cheek.
Up next we have five virgins joining us: Ms. Ly, Briana and Lucia from Vietnam; Carl, Irina’s husband; Henk, friend of Chippy. All of our virgins expressed that they enjoyed the Hash and Carl mentioned that he really enjoyed the trail, despite missing the turn off after the Cannon Fort and having to do an extra few kilometers, following a previous trail.
Now we have the Returnees and we happily welcome back Terminator and his family, Mother Teresa and Superteen, who had been on holiday back in Russia. Chippy had also returned stating that she’d been away travelling.
In the Sinner’s CIrcle were: Carl, for going the wrong way; Buddha, Ms Vy, Lucia, Briana for turning back early; and finally, Boozer for not actually making the run but turning up only for the down-down and not paying his run fee. How did however, settle his bill, and wasn’t one of the people who took extra beer home with him.
Please remember folks, that all drinks provided by the Hash are for the down-down only and not to be taken away.
We rounded up with the circle with Basil announcing that next week would be the 800th run at Long Son Island. Basil will be cooking pork and all the trimmings, for all of us and he reminded everyone that they should provide some kind of food or drink for all Hashers to enjoy at the 800th down-down celebration, which will take place once we complete the run. After the down-down we will meet at Sky Garden at 90 Phan Chu Trinh at 8pm for beer and live music.
Since the schedule is tight we will be leaving Hon Ru Ri at EXACTLY 2.30PM - please don’t be late - we will not wait as we have to start the run at 3pm. The Long Son Island run will take approximately 60 - 90 minutes and will have the down-down at Cafe Paris before returning to Hon Ru Ri between 6-6.30pm. This should give Hashers enough time to shower before meeting at Sky Garden between 8-8.30pm.
We’ll meet again on Sunday, as always, at Hon Ru Ri: 2 pm for 2.30 pm start - in any weather!