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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Dubai 3/12/23

Day 2 of the Tournament. I was in two minds wether to go today, there didn't seem to be much point given the viewing situation. After another lovely breakfast, the hotel arranged for taxis to take us to the Tournament. We were dropped off in the same place and being prepared for the drainage ditch, which had compacted down considerably since the previous day got over it without incident. I feel we are winning at life. Same scenario as yesterday to get in, everyone helpful and in festival mood.

It was a lot hotter with little to no breeze and very humid. Despite that we were ready for another good day. Si went off with the gang to watch the games and I stayed at RVP2 to save our table. People watching is one of my favourite pastimes and oh was I kept amused! Lots of fancy dress costumes people enjoying themselves and just a fantastic atmosphere all around. Sitting in the sun minding my own business I undertook some eavesdropping. I know I know, it's impolite but it was fascinating the conversations that were going on around me. For instance there were 3 men with the Saudi team discussing finances with an investor in the club, we are talking telephone numbers amount of dosh. The deal was sealed and the investor left. Clearly the Heineken stand at the Dubai Sevens is THE place to do business. Noted.

Si came back and we had a rather nice iced almond milk coffee, before we made our way over to the HSBC hospitality and availed ourselves of 4 pints.

We sat with a group of ex pats who were hugely entertaining and very interesting to chat with. The one had 4 uncles in Risca, living in, wait for it, Park Place where Si was born and lived until he was 4. Small world. Whatever their jobs were, they had travelled to most of the places we are going. It's good to have places recommended to you and where to go and where to avoid. Obviously rugby came up on the conversation, and the one bloke had coached the winning under 19 girls team the previous day. To quote him 'Tired and emotional was an understatement'. I also suspect a stinking hangover, but that wasn't mentioned. No matter where you go in the world, if you find a rugby club or an event, everyone is welcoming there's never any bad feeling. Everyone is just the best time and sharing a love of the game of the egg shaped ball.

We were evicted from HSBC for an hour so they could clean and get ready for the next session. Every single person working there were friendly, and smiling with the sole purpose of enabling the spectators and competitors to have a great time. Which as far as I could see they were.

The event had a merchandise store, we were hoping to get a backpack similar to the one we got at The Hong Kong Sevens. Not meant to be, there were no backpacks for sale. I wouldn't have minded a pink and orange one in the slightest! Not wanting (or having room for) any other memorabilia we moved on to get some lunch. We ate it Sitting in RVP2, in the sunshine watching the world go by, listening to the music and cheers coming from the pitches. Out bloody standing. What more can you ask for?

Si popped back into have a look at some more rugby, as, to be fair it was what we had gone for. I quite happily sat and continued people watching and talking to random strangers. When he came back we were joined by Dai and Andrew and after waiting for the que for the HSBC hospitality to go down went back in and joined Caz and Juliette. Now those two lucky ladies were in a prime position to ogle Dan Carter, the new ambassador to the HSBC. Prior to going in we had lots of photos appear of him on the Mad Bastard Tour group. I was more than a little appreciative given we'd missed him. Once again the hospitality excelled. There was great music, company and a brilliant magician. The best one I've seen I think. He entertained us for quite a while, and his regular show/ slot was at one of the big hotels, which one though I couldn't tell you.

The final was between South Africa and Argentina. During the national anthems the majority of the South African and some of the Argentinian players had tears streaming down their cheeks. The cameras zoomed in on them for all to see on the big screen.

Even though it was the final game of the tournament the stands still had lots of empty'seats' which after Hong Kong I found surprising. So Si could see the final we went and stood behind the posts and I could see a huge screen. With South Africa winning and 4 seconds left on the clock we departed and hot footed it towards the exit to try and get ahead of the rush. That was a good shout, and , after Si having a hand pushing me up the hill to the taxi stand from security, we were 5 minutes waiting before we were bundled into a taxi heading back to the hotel.

The beer munchies hit on the way up to the room in the lift. I spied an advert for a cheese and tomato sandwich. It wasn't cheese and jam but it was close enough! After tipping me out of Mildred Si went back down to get some. He came back with a pack of sandwiches each and a massive salad to share. The icing on the cake? a nice creamy hot chocolate.

What more can you ask for at the end of another great day? Well, apart from black currant jam on your cheese sandwich.

The munchies inhaled and a few bottles of water downed and my eye lids sneakily started with the long blinks ... again.

Much Love Flairey. X

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