Dubai's Multicultural Rugby 7's - in a Monsoon!

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November 30th 2012
Published: November 30th 2012
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I woke up (with Sam's help) early this morning to get ready for the main reason to return to Dubai this weekend. The Rugby Sevens. This was Sam's big adventure and since she'll soon be leaving to move to Australia, this is the last time I'll get to really hang out with her. The day was pretty eventful and i hope you like the pictures.

We picked up Sandra via taxi and headed way the heck out - a good half hour drive - to where the sevens are played. They probably did this because it is basically an drunken expat festival. Sam and I had trouble earlier finding a taxi and had to walk in the rain, so we prepared for a wet day in the backseat by fitting ourselves into large garbage bags like Califoria Raisins - yes, we looked hot! Have no fear! Everyone dresses up for this game here, some in some crazy outfits. I saw lots a Fred Flinstones (some with the entourage of Barney, Wilma and Betty), King and Queens Hearts, Pot Bellied Superhero, Wonderwoman, Gladiators, Fairies, TellyTubbies, Safari guys, and other costumes or just people dressed dramatically.

The rugby game is called the sevens because it is 7 a-side with 7 minutes per half - so a very face paced game. There are men's and women's tournaments going on at the same and both were very entertaining. I don't really get the rugby game, still preferring football, but I could watch it now, especially if I could see the full sides. The expats here though are nuts about it. Of course there were quite a few English, Welsh, Scottish, Aussie, and Kiwi supporters; I was surprised to see quite a few American supporters as well (we didn't win a single game of course). I loved how no one cheered for the french team and everyone cheered for whoever was playing against South Africa - lots of history I guess that I don't know about. Of course they had their songs that everyone knew and danced to. I imagine the Finals tomorrow will be more intense.

One of my favorite things about Dubai is how multicultural it is. There were people from all over cheering on teams from all over. There was a huge Kenyan contingent for their team, teams also from Fiji, Samoa, Portugal, Spain... It was a full on festival. There were some African men, called the Dubai Drums club, who were playing awesome drums and got Sandra to dance with them (see video - coming the future as I cannot upload using this computer).

The big excitement was the crazy weather. The cab driver was laughing at us when we made our big bags, then laughed out loud when (after we had put them on) Sam exclaimed, "Dont tell me it has stopped raining!" I was very happy to see we wouldn't stand out with this crowd... It was "spitting" out (british speak), but later towards the end of the tournament it started to POUR. I mean dumping BUCKETS! With huge lightening and thunder in the background. There was an awning area, but it was mainly cloth so it just leaked through on top of us. I was very very thankful for my garbage bag. So, of course, at this point in the day, the stands turned into basically a rave. You had these crazy costumes with drunk people watching their favorite game in the rain! Dancing around, getting soaked and everyone was having a great time. Including me - it was incredible! I wish I could have got more photos but I was too afraid to ruin my camera. There was a crazy drunk guy who had no shirt on and was freezing and just going nuts dancing and trying to hit on chicks. He tried to get me to kiss him on the cheek and when I went for it, he tried full mouth so I pushed him away laughing - he was definitely having a great time; I just hope his friends were taking good care of him.

The thunderstorm was A-Maz-Ing! Big bolts of lightening and it was constant, thunder in the background. There was a fire show and lightening and thunder accompanied it. It was just awesome. I tried to take some photos, but only one took. I also have a cool video showing a thunderbolt lighting up the sky, but I will download that on my mac when I get back to Doha. I just wish I could relate in insane the atmosphere in the stadium was - it was just so much fun because people were beyond the point of caring about staying dry, so it turned into a great party where everyone was happy!

The day was perfect, even with the rain, but the damper to the whole thing was the complete and utter pandemonium that ensued after the game. There are buses that were to take us back to Dubai, going to various destinations, including to McGettigan's (two buildings down from me). We first got in a taxi line, then found where the bus lines were and waited in the designated location for our bus. Suddenly multiple lines were released... and it was CHAOS! The people rushed the few buses available which were just randomly spread out in the parking lot - no lines, half the buses didnt have location names, no people helping direct, NOTHING. And there were hundreds of drunk, cold, wet, and tired people just trying to leave. There were literally people chasing down buses that would pull in, run along beside it and pound on the doors to be let on. We finally found a bus to McG's but it was PACKED with people - literally another person could not fit on - people were even crowded up around the driver, sitting on people's laps, standing up, and just barely being able to close the door. At that point, we decided to just get on a bus to get back to Dubai and grab a cab from there. So, found a yellow school bus who at first didn't open his doors but when he did, our bus quickly filled. We sat the three of us to one seat, with me against the window - I got to look at the back of the heads of the couple were eating each other's faces. Ick.

Anyway, we made it home safe and sound and I'm about to take a nice long hot shower after eating Chinese food and snuggle in my bed... Good night!

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1st December 2012

Looks like the kind of awesomeness that not even a torrential downpour can ruin! :) Fun-fun!!

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