14th and 15th April 2018
The 2018 Summer Weekender at Ta Cu Mountain and Coco Beach Resort
Hares: Mr. T, Secs, Faulty Brakes, Boozer, Misty
Hash Flashers: Chom Chom, Flying Finn, Secs
After months of planning and weeks of anticipation the 2018 VTH3 Summer Weekender is finally upon us! Our trusty Hashmobile is laden with San Miguel, soft drinks and food to sustain us for the two day excursion to Ta Cu Mountain, Coco Beach Camp Resort and a Nature Reserve at Binh Chau. We corral our motley bunch of punctual and fervent Hashers from their designated pickup points and depart Vung Tau ahead of schedule.
Onboard we have men, women, children and one dog, hailing from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Russia, the UK and Vietnam, we speed towards Ta Cu Mountain. As we get closer to our destination it’s time to make our first nourishment stop. We find a shady copse in which to layout the picnic that our various foodies have prepared. And what a smorgasbord of delights that turns out to be! Grilled fish, sushi, smoked ham and sandwiches provide the necessary sustenance for the endeavour that awaits us.
We arrive at the entrance to Ta Cu Mountain and split in to two groups: Group A, led by Boozer, will take a cable car up the mountain and pick up the trail that will take them to Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda at the top of mountain and then walk down the mountain. The more hardy Group B, led by Faulty Brakes, will climb the jungle trail 500m to the top of the mountain and then take the cable car back.
Group B waves adieu to Group A as they depart in electric carts to the cable car station and we set about finding the start of the jungle trail. After a couple of false starts trying to find the obscured path we begin our ascent. Certainly not for the faint hearted, the somewhat neglected trail takes us over dilapidated stairs and rocky steps. Thankfully, there are plenty of resting places where we stop to take a breath, only to have it taken away by the breathtaking views of Ham Thuan Nam. At one point we look up at the cable car above us and wonder if we’ve made the correct choice - perhaps taking cable car to the top was the more sensible choice? Nothing we can do about it now - so we persevere on-on. Just as we are on our last legs, gasping for air and water, we meet Group A coming in the opposite direction. They egg us on with the encouraging news that we’re almost at the cable car station.
Squeals of delight and relief announce our arrival at the cable car station. Dumbstruck by the vertiginous views of the expansive blue sky that engulfs us we take a brief moment to reflect on our achievement before assuaging our thirst at the welcoming restaurant. We are now faced with a dilemma - continue up the many steps to the pagoda or rest up and take the cable car back down. Some opt to relax, enjoy the views, and have a beer. Most, however, in true Hasher style, choose to continue on. We are pleased we did. The pagoda is impressive, its red roof tiles contrast magnificently with the deep blues and greens of the crystal clear backdrop. As we continue on the glistening white of the largest reclining Buddha in Vietnam emerges from the trees. Enjoying the tranquil spot we feel a sensation of enlightenment as we witness the Lord Buddha completing His journey to Parinirvana.
We embark on the acrophobia inducing cable car ride down the mountain, looking back in disbelief at the sheer scale of the mountain we have just conquered. Back on terra firma it’s a gentle stroll through picturesque gardens to reassemble with our peers. The first San Miguels of the weekend are cracked open, guzzled down and soaked up with Hash provided sandwiches. Ringmaster Boozer calls a quick circle and we all applaud our Hares; Mr. T, Faulty Brakes and Boozer, who’d scouted out the trail for us a couple of months ago. Then it’s on-on to the Hashmobile as we begin the short trip to our final destination of the day - Coco Beach Camp Resort.
Arriving at Coco Beach en mass and in good spirits, we are pleasantly surprised with the efficiency at which we are checked in. We have plenty of time to explore the idyllic, hippy-chic resort that will become our living quarters for the night. Walks on the beach, dips in the pool, frolics in the sea, Slipper in Speedos(!) and selfies galore are the order of the afternoon. As the sun sets we briefly retire to our billets for ablutions.
Freshly showered and resplendent in our evening beachwear we congregate at our allotted tables for the legendary Coco Beach Seafood BBQ. A veritable feast confronts us and our ravenous Hashers make light work of the innumerable dishes on offer. A man with an acoustic guitar serenades us as we make several trips to the buffet all washed down with delicious ice-cold San Miguel.
Sated and replete - time to get the party started! The young Iceman gets us started by crashing the stage and fearlessly accompanying our serenader with a rendition of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. Chanel is up next and gives a rapturous version of Last Christmas. Acoustic set over - the DJ arrives….. Apparently the activities of the day haven’t worn out many of our Hashers as they jump, pump, gyrate, shake a leg and generally boogie on down to the thumping techno beats vibrating through our bones. Eventually the evening winds to a close and one by one our weary Hashers hit the sack - most of us asleep before our heads hit the pillow.
A sunny Sunday morning greets us as we awake in unfamiliar surroundings and slowly emerge for breakfast. A lazy morning is spent enjoying the Coco Beach facilities and before long it’s time for a quick lunch at the restaurant. Then time to wave goodbye to Coco Beach as we board the Hashmobile for the trip back to Vung Tau.
However, the adventure is far from over! We make our final stop at Binh Chau Nature Reserve. An amble through an arboretum popular with couples taking their wedding pictures (no less than four couples were spotted!) it also proved popular with Hashers for photos and selfies. Returning to the Hashmobile the eskies are at the ready, brimming with San Miguel. As we mingle amongst ourselves the serenity is broken with the blare of a bugle! Yes - after months of restoration efforts by our very own master of the ring, Boozer, the Hash Bugle has its grand unveiling. Originally donated to VTH3 back in 2003 it has survived 15 years and finally been restored to its former glory.
So with circle officially called to order we have time to debrief the weekend. The overwhelming consensus is that it was a rip-roaring success and we should continue to organise similar events. No Virgins, Returnees or Sinners in attendance - the only Sinners being the ones who stayed at home and missed all the fun. The VTH3 Mismanagement team of Mr. T, Faulty Brakes, Secs and Boozer are brought front and center and everyone puts their hands together in appreciation. Next up a special shout out is given to Misty who tirelessly worked with the bus company, Coco Beach Resort, Ta Cu Mountain. Without her efforts the weekend would never have proceeded so flawlessly. A standing ovation for Misty!
In closing the circle Boozer calls Secs and Chom Chom and invites them to blow on his bugle. Hilarity ensues as Chom Chom huffs and puffs and not a note is released from the bugle. First time bugle blower Secs, does slightly better with an eerie rasp of a note emanating from the horn. Circle over many eager Hashers attempt to make the bugle sing - without success. We finish up our San Miguels, pack up the bus and head back to Vung Tau.
We arrive back in Vung Tau safe, sound and happily content. A successful action packed weekend. Thanks to everyone! ON-ON!!
VTH3 #833 PHOTO GALLERY