15 DECEMBER 2019
BIG MOUNTAIN - 'Holy Mother of God!'
Hares: Mr. T
Hash Flashers: Kojak, Zidan
With the Christmas party behind us and with Christmas Day approaching it seems appropriate that this week’s trail would take us on a pilgrimage to visit the Mother of God at Bai Dau Pilgrimage Centre. As the weekly collection of fees takes place, the beer truck is loaded with the conglomeration of trappings required for a bountiful down-down. With proceedings complete, we are requested to make our way to the starting point at 102 Tran Phu aka ‘The Old Lady’s Place’. Miraculously, we self-organise into a cohesive unit of efficiency as all our Hashers are transported to the starting point by generous motorbikers and car owners offering up any spare seats.
Once we’ve assembled and the beer truck is unloaded, our intrepid Hare, Mr. T, gathers us round for the chalk talk. As many of us suspected - this was going to be a tough one. Up the approximately 800 steps to the white cross on top of the mountain, down the other side, up the next mountain, through the bush until the Ho May Park Road, all the way along the road, until the turn off for the small temple and then down the 600 steps to the Temple on Tran Phu and back to the Old Lady’s Place. Phew! This was going to be a killer trail.
With some trepidation, but in good spirits and a spring in our step we set off down Tran Phu for the 1km stretch to the beginning of the carpark at the bottom of arduous steps, Perro Calliente and family opting to run. Step-by-step-by-step we laboriously climb up the steep stairs that take us passed the many Christian icons cast in brilliant white. 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.
About three-quarters of the way up we encounter our most zealous of Hashers, Flying Finn, taking an uncharacteristic rest - a testament to the challenge of this trail. Painted numerals start to count down the remaining steps to reach the summit. 300, 250, 200….. every set of fifty steps seeming getting harder and longer to complete.
Thankfully, we arrive at the 3m tall crucifix, where we rewarded with a fantastic view of the vast ocean. However, this is not the end of the trail - this is merely half way. Beyond the cross a bunting of red ribbons lead us in to the bush taking us across the summit and down a steep slope only to be confronted by the next peak. We pull ourselves from tree to tree ascending the dry, but slippery slope until we start to descend again finally exiting on the Ho May Park road. A long, but easy walk takes us to the next array of ribbons leading us to the familiar temple perched above the 600 steps that will take us down to
Hưng Thắng Tự Temple, this time taking us passed brilliant white Buddhist statues.
At the bottom, we turn left onto Tran Phu and it’s a short walk back to the Old Lady’s Place. We hydrate with 100Plus and SAGOTA Beer and feast on Bahn Mi and fruit. The circle is called to order and with Boozer at the helm the usual shenanigans proceed. Our Hare, Mr. T, is exulted, Virgins are sacrificed, Returnees are welcomed back and Sinners are ridiculed.
All done in time for the return of the beer truck with which is loaded up and returned to Uno Coffee. The end of another tiring but rewarding Hash in Vung Tau.
RUN 919 PHOTO GALLERY - KOJAK
RUN 919 PHOTO GALLERY - HASH FLASH ZIDANE, AQUA