Mixed Messaging

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 Media Statement (13 December 2022)

“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.

China changes definition of Covid deaths as cases surge

“China has moved to a narrower definition of Covid deaths, which will drastically cut its death statistics as cases increase following the relaxation of zero-Covid rules.”

WHO Expresses Concern About COVID Situation in China

“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.

We’re On

The Hong Kong government has given approval for the Hong Kong Sevens tournament to proceed this November.

https://hksevens.com/news/were-on

Today the government has announced the mandatory quarantine period for arrivals was dropping to three days from seven. While that seems great, it does add three days to the front end of any trip there. They still have bans on visits to bars, which is problematic for a rugby tournament.

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.



Farewell

Fabi At Bear Lake
Fabi surveys Bear Lake after a long swim.

Fabi’s condition declined over the weekend to the point where she was in a large amount of pain and could no longer hold herself up to eat or drink. I sadly made the difficult decision to let her go on Monday afternoon. 

She will be missed more than my words can convey.

COVID ruins everything, part 5

World Rugby Sevens Series

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.

The Los Angeles Sevens tournament, also known as the USA Sevens, will now be held in late August and will serve as the finale of the series.

New dates for Vancouver and Los Angeles in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022

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.


Rinse And Repeat

Damn. My “bucket list” rugby trip is cancelled again.

I originally purchased this trip as a “big number” birthday gift for myself for April 2020. COVID had other plans so the tournament was pushed back to October 2020. Then the world burned and the remaining 2020 HSBC World Series was cancelled. I rebooked my trip for April 2021. April 2021 was about the worst of the pandemic (so far) so the tournament was pushed back to November 2021, and I admit I was beginning to get very excited about my trip as we’re now only four months out. With travel restrictions slowly lifting around the world I was waiting to see when HK would start allowing visitors again. Now the 2021 edition of the Hong Kong Sevens has also been cancelled and the 2022 tournament is scheduled for the normal April calendar slot.

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.

Vaccinated!

I am vaccinated
I am vaccinated

I received my second Moderna vaccine today. I’m so excited that this may be the beginning of a return to “normal life,” whatever that means. At least I can feel good about traveling again.

Rugby Sevens Is Coming Back (hopefully)

Awoke Wednesday morning to news that the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is scheduled to resume in May, with stops in London, Paris, Vancouver, Singapore, Cape Town, Dubai and Hong Kong in 2021.

Some notable missing stops are Australia and New Zealand, as well as Los Angeles and Glendale for the USA Sevens stops. At least Canada Sevens is on the schedule, though!

Shortly after this announcement by World Rugby, USA Rugby announced there will be a women’s and men’s stop in Los Angeles in June but it will not be part of the formal Sevens Series.

Hopefully, the Southern California area will be clear enough by late June that fans can attend the matches at Dignity Health Stadium. The Super Fans have already booked hotel reservations nearby in anticipation… can you tell we miss rugby a lot?

Also, how awesome is it (for me, at least) that this is the second time in a week that the Hong Kong stop had been mentioned as definitely occurring in November? Not getting my hopes up yet to avoid more disappointment, but if the Olympics take place in Japan this summer I think it will be safe to say that Hong Kong will happen, too.

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