6th May 2018
Hash Flashers: Secs, Tiger Tom
Hon Ru Ri became ‘transport interchange’ as 27 Hashers departed on motor bikes and taxis to the start point for run #836 – the Thích Ca Phật Đài pagoda* at 608 Tran Phu (*Platform of Shakyamuni Buddha); it’s a notable Theravada Buddhist temple built more than 50 years ago (1961-63), and features prominently in Vung Tau religious and tourism literature.
Hare Uncle gave the Chalk Talk at the main entrance, then it was “On On” up a series of steps through the pagoda grounds via a series of interesting artefacts including a 17-metre ‘Blessing tower’, various animal statues, 6.2-metre ‘Meditating Buddha’ on a 4-metre pedestal, rotunda with buddhist mantras, rest area, 12-metre ‘Reclining Buddha’, and a row of trinket stalls leading to the rear exit pathway and residential/rural area beyond.
Once past the houses and barking guard dogs, we followed the red marker tapes through a rural hamlet, serenaded by a dozen or more grunting pigs, and up, up to Ho May Park ‘boulevard’: the concrete track that runs between the hilltop amusement park and the former French artillery base on Hem 444.
There was just enough time to enjoy the views over the shipyards and fishing village on one side and Mulberry/Strawberry Beach on the other, before switching the concrete for a more familiar dirt track up to several shrines at the top of 620 steps down to the Hung Thang Tu pagoda (giving rise to the ‘Pagoda squared’ trail title coined by Ringmaster Boozer), just a few minutes from Motel 102 Tran Phu, where food and ice-cold San Migs, water and softies awaited courtesy of Mismanagement and volunteers.
Leisurely camaraderie followed (aka “eating, drinking and socialising”), until duty Ringmaster Boozer called the Circle and invited newcomers to rate the day’s trail.
After clarification that “1” and “0” were together, not separate, Hare Uncle was rewarded for his ‘perfect score’ by down downing from the perforated sinners’ cup; a mixed blessing with most of the contents dripping onto the shirt-front rather than into the mouth!
Hash Virgins Peter, Mr W, Huong and Dung (‘l to r’ in photo gallery below) were welcomed with typical VTH3 hospitality: Down Downs and a drenching with ice and very cold water!
No returnees this week, but at least 8 sinners – all guilty of missing the clearly marked turn-off to the 620 steps at the first attempt (“missing” not “losing” because Hashers never get lost – they just find new trails!). Secs then showed everyone how to Down Down wearing the ‘Tube of Shame’ without spilling a drop (well not many drops, anyway)!
And then Chippy stole the show by presenting Boozer with a birthday cake (no, not his 21st…), accompanied by the VTH3 choir singing the “Happy Birthday…” song.
And on that note(!), the Circle was closed with advice that next week’s trail will be on Long Son Island, about half an hour north of the city via the Go Gang bridges.
Postscript: The usual die-hards met again later that evening to help Boozer continue his birthday celebrations!
VTH3 #835 PHOTO GALLERY