Sunny Hong Kong
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Where I stayed
What I did
Hong Kong Sevens
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
My old compadre, Andy Bateman was unable to attend due to a family holiday and I was joined on this trip by another old mate of mine, Les Norman.
We arrived in Hong Kong at 8.10am on Tuesday, 20th March. However, we nearly didn't make the flight!! We got stuck in the car park commonly known as the M25 London orbital motorway, despite leaving Nottingham at 5am in the morning and a belief that we were giving ourselves plenty of time to get to Heathrow, dump the car and get to the airport for the 10.10am flight to Paris and the onward flight to Hong Kong.
On reaching the outskirts of London at about 7am it was obvious from getting on the M25 that it was going to be slow progress. Les was starting to get panicky! But I still thought that we would be OK. An hour later and having only travelled 6 miles, I was starting to get a bit nervous myself! For some inexplicable reason the traffic would speed up for about a mile and then come to a frustrating stand still. It was only when we got past the M40 junction that the traffic started to thin out.
Racing down the M4, I looked at my watch to see that we had less than an hour to dump the car and get to Terminal 4. Fortunately, I had already checked in on line but we still needed to dump the luggage at the 'bag drop' by 9.30am at the latest.
We arrived at Purple Parking and explained the situation to the taxi driver who was an absolute 'diamond geezer'. By driving at 'break neck' speed he managed to get us to T4 at 9.20am. We dumped the bags at 9.28am, 2 minutes before check in was due to close. Phew - we were relieved. He deserved the £10 tip!
We didnt even have time for a relaxing Gin and Tonic before we were boarding the short flight to Paris!
We had about an hours stopover at Paris Charles De Gaulle before boarding the plane for a very pleasant and relaxing flight to Hong Kong.
On arriving in Hong Kong we caught the ultra efficient Airport Express to Central Station and then a taxi to the The South Pacific Hotel on Morrison Hill Road, which is just on the eastern side of the Wan Chai district. The hotel was also very close to the Happy Valley Racecourse.
The first day was spent having a general walk around the area getting our bearings in relation to the hotel.
In the evening we met up with our Hong Kong Policeman mate's, Matt Lindsay and John Carroll (J.C.). Matt and J.C. are two of less than 150 ex pat's still left in the Hong Kong Police. A few years ago the ex-pat numbers occupying senior ranks were well in access of 2000.
On Wednesday evening we attended the Annual Kowloon Rugby Festival dinner at The Lippo Centre. This is a $HK400 (about £35) event which includes a meal and as much booze as you can drink!! It was a 'cracking' event, attended by international rugby stars of the past including John 'Bentos' Bently, who I have bumped into every year since first meeting him when he was part of the sports tour I was on to New Zealand for the British and Irish Lions tour 2005. Also in attendance was Serge Betson and Andy Nicol.
We met some great guys from the 'Flying Kukris' touring side. This side is made up of members of the Brunei detachment of the 2nd Battalion Gurkha Rifles. Special mention must be made of Captain Sam Meadows and Major Jamie Murray. We were to meet up again with Sam a few nights later and share a few 'froths'. A great bloke!
On Friday afternoon we attended the annual Hong Kong Police Rugby Guest 15 verses The 'Rhino's'. at the Hong Kong Police sports ground in Mongkok.
As I mentioned earlier this was 6th trip to this tournament since 2007. I have never seen England get past the semi finals. In the 4 years prior to 2007 England won it 4 years in a row. Am I a jinx??
And that is it as far as the rugby was concerned - a disappointment.
I have to say that the weather was the best I have experienced in HK at this time of year. It was sunny for most of the time and no rain whatsoever. A total contrast to last year when I was sat in the main stand at the rugby wearing a fleece because it was so cold - I kid you not!!!
However, Hong Kong is great fun and the Sevens didn't detract away from the enjoyment.
Thanks Les for being a great travel partner and heres to next years tournament!
You can view all the photographs I took on my Facebook site. Just follow the link above.