I want to be optimistic that I will finally make it to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament this April, I really do. The messaging I am seeing right now is a mixed bag, though.
First, there’s this statement from Cathy Pacific about removing restrictions for inbound international visitors to Hong Kong, likely a biased source since their business depends on international travelers:
“Cathay Pacific welcomes the Hong Kong SAR Government’s latest measures to facilitate travel to Hong Kong, especially the decision to remove the Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass for inbound persons entering Hong Kong”
However, this is in contrast to articles I am reading about the current worsening COVID situation in China as it relaxes it’s Zero-COVID policies in the wake of ongoing protests.
“The World Health Organization is concerned about a spike in COVID-19 infections in China and is supporting the government to focus its efforts on vaccinating people at the highest risk across the country, the head of the U.N. agency said on Wednesday.”
I will be in contact with my travel agency over the next six weeks to determine if I am going to attempt to make the trip or request a refund. I suspect the situation in China will worsen over the winter, not improve.
I had been in contact with my travel agency prior to this announcement. Their response did not seem overly enthusiastic:
We have made a note that you are keen to book this event using your existing credit. Should that not be possible in 2022 it will certainly be valid for the Hong Kong 7’s in 2023 which we expect will be back to its usual March/April spot.
Considering that the HKRU has not yet announced ticketing details I have no idea if I will be able to attend in November. At this time I would say the chances are very low.
Update: The HKRFU published a F.A.Q. page with questions that fans may have about this year’s tournament. Ugh. “We are confident we will see strong local support for all the participating teams [emphasis mine]. Doesn’t sound like they’re very optimistic about a strong foreign turnout nor do they have any idea of how the quarantine rules will look in November. Even the teams will have to stick to hotel “bubbles” and won’t be able to interact with their fans. I guess this means I will have to wait until next April to attend, assuming there is not a worldwide monkeypox or polio pandemic by then.
Just when we thought the world was starting to normalize a bit and had planned trips to the next two stops on the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series, the omicron outbreak has forced the postponement of both the Canada Sevens and Los Angeles (USA) Sevens tournaments.
Canada Sevens has moved from February 26-27 to April 15-16. It turns out this is Easter weekend and I have already read some gripes online about this conflict. I personally could not care less. I’m happy we have secured our field side premium seats — we have two extra seats in case anyone reading this is looking for tickets.
Luckily, we had a bit of tip about the Canada Sevens and I was able to reschedule that hotel and airfare accordingly earlier this week. I didn’t have any issue with the L.A. travel plans, either, but only discovered the new dates when the press releases were posted online.
I have to reschedule my flights with United for a third time and contact the travel agency to push my accommodation and event ticket funds forward anther year. Yes, these are first world problems, for sure, but still very disappointing to me. My “normal life goalposts” keep moving further away. I had already begun preliminary planning to go to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa in September 2022. Next year is either going to be a hell of a travel year or continued disappointment. I will continue to hope for the best outcome but plan for the worst.
Another postponement is disappointing for sure. I am still healthy and employed, so in the big picture I can endure an additional seven months wait to attend. It appears there will be widespread application of the COVID-19 vaccine by summer here in the United States which will help things slowly return to normal.
I feel guilty complaining about something as petty and privileged as having to wait another half year to take my trip, but I don’t have much left to anticipate these days. This Hong Kong trip was my lifeline to a happier future where I could watch rugby in person again and travel internationally. That’s been cruelly kicked down the street again.
The part of all this I dread most is getting United Airlines to reschedule my trip again without even more change fees. Wish me luck.
As I relayed previously, I was planning to go to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament back in early April this year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organizers to postpone the tournament to mid-October. I will admit that I was managing my excitement for this rescheduled trip pretty well until the past two weeks when I started feeling wanderlust for traveling again. I’m sure that the stay-at-home orders and cabin fever played into that longing, but I am typically the type of person who loves to travel and cannot wait for my next trip, regardless of where it takes me.
Instead of attending the 2020 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, it appears I will be attending the 2021 edition next April… assuming that the world is not completely on fire by then (COVID-19, Chinese security laws and protests, etc.).
While Keith Prowse Travel has already emailed to let me know they’re communicating with all the involved vendors and will advise me when they know how the transition to the 2021 tournament will proceed, I was already able to change my flights on United to the new dates — online, without talking to a person in a call center, with no change fees.
It doesn’t look like I will be traveling anywhere internationally in the meantime. The U.S. is shunned worldwide for our lackluster control of the coronavirus outbreak and the E.U. has already banned Americans visiting this summer. I can’t even visit my family in Oklahoma for the foreseeable future as it’s one of the current hot spots in the South… plus, it’s Oklahoma. The dogs and I will have to stick to local trips in Colorado, which is fine. Unfortunately, Fabi can’t hike any longer so we’ll have to “car camp” or rent a cabin.
My elderly neighbor Betty does not drive. She depends on her family, church friends and taxis to get around town to do shopping, visit the doctor and run other errands. She called a cab this morning to take her to a medical appointment. I happened to be upstairs when the cab arrived, a mini-van taxi where the passenger enters the vehicle through the sliding door on the side.
My neighbor has mobility issues and is unable to step up very high. I happened to notice she was taking a long time to get into the vehicle while I was looking out the window, but I didn’t think anything of it. I headed back down stairs to my office to grab my water bottle for a refill.
When I came back up, my neighbor was sitting on the ground next to curb. The cab driver was talking to her, then making calls on his mobile phone, getting back in the driver seat… all while looking annoyed with Betty. I watched for a bit, trying to determine what had happened. I assumed he had called 911 to get an ambulance. Nope. He apparently called another taxi with a lower entry threshold for her… and then left. WITH MY ELDERY NEIGHBOR SITTING IN THE GUTTER.
I went out to ask her what had happened and find out if she was injured. She said she had fallen after trying unsuccessfully to step up into the taxi. After a few minutes I asked her if she wanted some help up off the ground. She let me attempt to help her up but was unable to stand. Eventually she mentioned she had hit her head when she fell. I decided not to try to lift her up after she told me about the potential head injury.
Luckily, another neighbor came home and came over when I asked for his assistance. Although my elderly neighbor appeared lucid we were hesitant try to move her again. We discussed calling an ambulance for her when another neighbor walked by and asked what had happened. It turns out this neighbor was a nurse so she started asking questions to determine if Betty had a concussion or had broken a hip. The nurse was happy that it did not appear she was injured badly or concussed, so we decided to help her into my other neighbor’s car so he could take her to her medical appointment to let them assess her condition further, and probably get her an ambulance. She would never been able to get into the high front seat of my truck so I was happy the neighbor with a Subaru showed up when he did. I am also thankful that the young lady nurse was walking her dog on our block, too. It really does take a village.
What has me annoyed and angry is that the taxi driver decided it was acceptable to leave Betty sitting in the gutter to await another cab’s arrival. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Was he so self-centered and lacking in common sense that he thought this was okay?
I don’t use taxis anymore in lieu of ride share services, but I want to put it out there that Denver Yellow Cab employs this despicable piece of filth. He left a potentially injured elderly woman sitting on the ground, alone. Betty is somebody’s mother and grandmother. She deserved to be treated better than garbage in the street.
I traveled back to my home town this weekend for my thirty-year high school class reunion. It was great seeing old friends again even though I had not kept in touch with most of them.
We started with a welcome mixer at an outdoor local bar where even the locals were sweating through their shirts. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to live in the Denver, Colorado, area where it is rarely over 20% humidity and the temperatures rarely exceed 95 in the hottest part of the summer. I am also happy that we have outlawed smoking in most public places — I had to wash the clothing I was wearing twice when I made it back home to rid them of the nasty smoke odors.
On Saturday night we moved to an indoor venue, the local Country Club, for drinks, appetizers and an 80s tribute band, ostensively for dancing. Two of my favorite teachers from my high school years were also in attendance, and it was great to see them again!
I spent a few days with my father as well on this trip, which was wonderful. I am finding that spending time with family becomes more important as I get older.
I was attempting to purchase a good airfare deal to Vancouver for the Canada Sevens rugby tournament when I was reminded that my current passport expires next January… meaning I cannot book a trip in March without a valid passport at the time of the flights.
Considering how many sycophantic donors have been elevated to federal government positions I expected my passport renewal to take at least six weeks to complete if not double that. The State Department apparently has not succumb to this disorder yet, at least not the Passport Service. They were quoting routine renewal processing times of four to six weeks.
Imagine my surprise when I noticed my bank had cleared the check within three business days, then even more surprise when I received the new passport in the mail within two weeks including weekends. Wow!
Kudos to the State Department Bureau Of Consular Affairs!