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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Halloween, Rugby Style

(As some of you may know, I have made my way back to the States, and am back in Atlanta now. I will continue to send out these fun stories and pictures (slow and steady wins the race), but just let me know if you’d like off the list!)

Let’s get to it!
Fact: Kiwis (i.e. New Zealanders) do not celebrate Halloween.


Walking to a cricket match in Wellington . See three bananas standing on a balcony, one of them eating a banana. Chiquita banana lady close by.
Watching cricket match. Twin Jesus’ pass by me in the stands, big smiles on their faces. Mario & Luigi were right behind them, bouncing like balls.
Eating dinner at an outside café, and at least a dozen hot pink flamingoes pass me by.

Rowing with Wellington Rowing Club, the city is quiet
Have secured 2 tickets to the SEVENS finals tournament on Sunday!
Searching the few stores that are open on the weekend for something that could resemble a costume. Little luck, but creativity wins in a dollar store!

Yes, this is coming together to be a very odd and exciting weekend, indeed!

This single weekend I stayed in Wellington for one very specific event: the IRB Sevens World Series (rugby). I know as Americans we do not have much of an affection for rugby, but, like soccer, the rest of the world is wildly passionate about it. The SEVENS tournament is something of a phenomenon in the rugby world, and the game is played differently than “traditional” rugby. (7 players v. the usual 15, 2 seven minute halves, and a one minute half-time. These are fast strong players that seem to sprint up and down the field constantly.)

The tournament continues around the world, but a few cities make the event a massive party, including Hong Kong and Wellington . The tickets went out sale 5 months prior, and sold out in less than 5 minutes. Hong Kong- similar story. San Francisco was the next stop on the world tournament, and 2 weeks before the match, on the other hand, there were still oodles of tickets to be had. In Wellington , just as many people come to town to watch on the big screens (set up around town) as do go to the matches. *I* was at the stadium for finals on day 2! Getting 2 tickets was pure luck, obtained on day 1 of the matches when I went out for a dawn row with a rowing club in Wellington . Face value, no less! Rowers are good people, I tell ya.

Anyway, enjoy the madness of Wellington SEVENS! Check out all the GROUP costumes – this is an *awesome* idea for Halloween!

Pix Wellington Sevens
A couple pix at the Rose Garden in Palmerston North, NZ
Rugby Sevens on Wikipedia

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