Category Archives: Hong Kong

The Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong rugby 7’s



Jill, Chris and I started the wander up the hill to the stadium for a 1pm start to day one of the rugby 7’s. We were there early and got prime position in the southern stand (the party stand) and marvelled as the day unfolded. It took quite a while to fill as the day had loads of qualifying games which included the teams competing to be permanent members of the competition… teams like: Spain, Portugal, Kenya, Russia, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, Cook Islands, Zimbabwe, Chile, Barbados, Tunisia, American Samoa, Uruguay and of course Hong Kong.

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Also on day one was the women’s final (which was unfortunate that this was the only women’s game that we got to see cos they were great). More women’s games at these sorts of events really is needed as the quality was high and the crowd really supportive. In the evening each of the core teams had one game. Other than this the day was about the stadium, the costumes, the singing, the drinks and the characters.

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DAY TWO of the rugby and we were joined by Jeff and Bec Ballinger another rugby and school mate that I was lucky enough to stand up for when they married…way back when. We split up and the girls went sightseeing while the boys went to the footy. The Saturday at the 7’s is manic…fully sold out, everyone in costume and the southern (party) stand full before 9am and locked down by about 1pm. We arrived at about 11 and it was already a 5 hr wait to get into that stand…we boycotted and hung out in the main stands watching the games (and the antics) instead.

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At 11am the sky started getting dark, by 11:30 the entire sky was pitch black and the heavens opened in a monsoon that can only happen in the tropics. Quite a sight to see and experience. Two hours later the sun was shining and it was as if it had never happened.


Watching the sevens from the eastern and western stands is quite a different experience as it is impossible to watch the rugby and enjoy an ale simultaneously. As such a proportion of the day was spent behind the stand watching a small television screen. Added to this these stands are full of school children wearing wildly non-age appropriate costumes and drinking heavily as the bar staff do not ask for ID’s. This had the obvious and foreseeable effects as the day wore on.


The Sunday saw the finals day of the rugby and Jeff, Chris and I again attended along with Bec (who we managed to get an extra ticket for from a scalper without selling children or limbs)… we got there early and landed in the southern stand, set up camp and did not move until the day was over. Bec lasted a few hours before bailing to catch up with Jill, the rest of us did the hard yards that was 3 days drinking in the stands.


The Cup Title was claimed by New Zealand

The Plate went to South Africa

The Bowl to Scotland and

Kenya Took the Shield

Japan won the Qualifying games and earned themselves a spot with the core teams. I am not exactly sure if this means that one of the lower sides has to drop back to be a qualifier next year but if so Spain, Portugal and Sri Lanka may be hunting for their spot back next year.

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This is an event that I had wanted to attend since I was in my late teens and I am so glad that I was able to do it and share the experience with old friends. I must admit if I had come here in my 20’s I am unlikely to have seen too much rugby as there is way too much else going on. Unlike the others when the games finished each day we headed for a meal and a sleep while we often found the younger ones the next day on the steps of the streets having their sleep and wearing their meals. This is a great event that I would seriously consider revisiting every 2-3 years. The expense and the liver may preclude every year.




Hong Kong and Shenzhen

The order of this post is a touch out of order as we are heading back to Xiamen for Jill to do her assignment but nevertheless on we go. We took our first flight with dragon air which is a Cathay pacific affiliate and other than huge delays due to Hong Kong weather and air traffic control it was pretty good…newish plane, smooth flight, pleasant flight attendants, nice tasting food, range of entertainment options.

Got into HK and went cruising around town, doing our usual mix of sightseeing and eating. It must be said very early on in this post that Hong Kong is incredibly expensive when compared with the rest of China. It remains about half of the Australian price but is a lot more than what we have been paying for everything on the mainland. Food is about 4-25 times more expensive depending upon which joint you hit.

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We headed over to Kowloon to get our backpacks mended (due to some damage inflicted by dodgy Indian baggage handlers) and generally just poke around. After our chores we hit Nathan road which is a major shopping district on the Kowloon side then on to the park, the mosque (interesting to note that after dark near the mosque the streets turn into markets selling vibrators and ice pipes), then down to the water for a walk along Tsim Sha Tsui, the city light show and the avenue of the stars walk.

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PAUSE – We paid a lot of money for our Osprey brand backpacks and the experience of having them mended justified the expense. Jill’s bag had violently skidded across every Tarmac in India and had a couple of minor holes from intense scuffing and my trolley handle catch was not releasing properly. Two emails each way and all sorted…no fuss no bother…no cost. The extra money buys you top quality and customer service.

The next day we headed back across to mainland China to the city of Shenzhen where we caught up with Chris Rea an old rugby friend and Laurie’s boy who had spent a long time living in Asia. We wandered the city and saw how easy life could be if you had the language skills that Jill and I are still struggling to manage (I swear that there is a switch in your brain somewhere that we just can’t find). We all headed back to HK together for the rugby the next day (rugby gets its own post).

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On day 2 we were joined by Jeff and Bec Ballinger long time friends dating back to school. The boys went to the footy while the girls apparently went to the Chi Lin Nunnery, the Nan Lian gardens, Hong Kong park, hit the computer market, and had high tea at the Azure hotel. Then we all hooked up for a lottery dinner and a few drinks at the end of the day.

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Sunday was all about the football for the boys and Bec for the early part then she bailed on us and went with Jill to see the Bruce Lee exhibit at the heritage museum the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery.

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Monday was a group day where we wandered town stopping for yum cha brunch at the oldest place in town (Lin Heung Tea House). There is a Michelin star rated dim sum place in HK that is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world but alas we never got there.
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We caught up with Chris again in the afternoon and all had a farewell drink before Chris headed off to china that evening, we returned to Xiamen the next morning and Bec and Boof were due to head back to Rockhampton the day after. A great week, good times and awesome friends.