Near-misses and shattered glasses: Sevens revellers descend on Wan Chai when the action ends
Strange sights on the walk home through a busy Wan Chai thoroughfare on Sevens Weekend
“Which way to Lockhart Road,” a middle-aged Australian man in matching rugby shirt and shorts, who came stumbling out of Hong Kong Stadium on Friday night, asked me as I stood outside the office having a cigarette.
The eternal question.
I helpfully pointed him on his way, having informed him I actually live on Lockhart Road.
My choice of home is routinely mocked by any and all, given its proximity to some of Hong Kong’s highest form of madness, particularly during the Sevens.
Even from 14 floors up in my apartment, the rare, welcome moments of peace and quiet are usually punctuated by the cries of those people slaking themselves at the watering holes below.
Walking home late on Sevens Friday, the heat rises as you approach; a strange sensation. The sweat begins to pool on your brow as a massive wall of heat, noise, smell and colour envelops you.
Make sure to add a few minutes on to your expected journey time, as you’re sure to be wading through a crowd of jolly Baywatch guards, cowboys, sailors, Hulk Hogans and Donald Trumps and so forth.
As I walked past one bar, where a group singalong to I’m A Believer was in full swing, one bemused bloke remarked to his mate, “Whose blood is this on my leg?” Presumably he had been in the South Stand.
Further up Lockhart Road, two gentlemen attempt to cut out the annoying middleman of waiting at a crossing by hopping the central reservation. Problem is, they plonk down directly in the path of a moving cab, whose driver is inches from careering into both.
The near-death experience is laughed off – that is the Sevens style.
You come to expect the odd stumble and near miss – there’s seldom malicious intent, it’s simply that they’ve been drinking for 12 hours.
One slack fellow tripped and accidentally ploughed into a woman taking the night air outside a bar, knocking her to the ground in scenes not unsuited to the Hong Kong Stadium pitch hours before.
Luckily for him, it was his wife, and, it being Sevens weekend, a disapproving shake of the head was all he faced.
The owner of this bar sees an old regular approaching and bids him good evening. “Is this a good evening?” the man inquires, perhaps only half in jest.
People are spilling into the road, flagrantly disregarding the existence of traffic and cars. Lockhart Road is reduced to a single lane of horn-punching cab drivers trying to inch their way past drunk rugby fans.
The police eventually arrive on the scene – not to break-up a couple of spontaneous scraps that have broken out, but to break out the cordon tape. It is stretched across a row of spaced-out traffic cones halfway through the road, and we are now walled up against the madness.
The opening strains of Hey Baby are struck up by a jolly group of Australians – I can’t confirm if the same man who asked me for directions is among their number – as pint glasses dash the pavement and shards of glass are sent flying everywhere.