MIDDLEBURGH - ENDGAME 2
The plot so far:
Zara, heiress to the Von Mietleberg Estates, discovers that her inheritance was wiped out in the Great Recession of 2008. Faced with years more servitude in Baron Cogan's Irish Chop Shop or self-sacrifice to her biological clock, she plots her escape to warmer clim's... Whilst the US beckons with all the allure and seductiveness of Blackpool on Bingo Night she cannot deny the insistant drumming from Hong Kong beating out a beguiling and irrisistable message......
"Go visit the auld wun and your feet won't touch the ground - especially if you are partial to a wee bit of paragliding, flying or balloning.."
Realising that my reviews of HK sporting opportunities have have neglected arial sports (other than than variants on base jumping) I now correct this oversight
Anyone can undertake paragliding activities in HK provided they have a Hong Kong Paragliding Association pilot license or an overseas pilot license that the HKPA can recognize AND 3rd party insurance coverage valid in Hong Kong.There are about 7 designated sites for paragliding in HK.
If like Zara you are not a fully licenced paraglider you might be interested in the poor mans version - Kite Surfing through Kite2 High. They give lessons !!
"Real" Flying - as in a fixed wing plane (mainly Cessna's) or a helicopter as opposed to a paraglider or through the use of mind altering substances !!
yes.. we have an aviation club here in HK with a Clubhouse including bar, bistro and terrace at the the site of the old Kai Tak Airport and access to Shek Kong Airfield, near Yuen Long in the Northern Territories close to the Chinese mainland border. Originally an RAF base it is now occupied by the PLA who have kindly granted week end flying for the Aviation Club. Flying lessons are available (to Hong Kong residents) and 3 Month Flying Membership is open to visitors from Overseas Flying Club or Overseas PPL holder.
Of course if you are not a "real" licenced pilot you can still live dangerously flying model airoplanes. Aparently there are 50,000 enthusiasts in the city and although flying is restricted to "non populated areas last year an enthusiast was seriously injured after being hit in the head by a the rotor arm of the 6-kilogram, 1.5-metre-long helicopter.
True we have nothing in HK like the annual Bristol Balloon Fiesta"
at Ashton court. But we did have our very own HK Balloon and Airship Club
with real balloons albeit tethered. And we may still although based on the last time that their website was updated that they may be no more - quelle dommage !!) Formed in 1974,“free” flying was occasionally possible in the Sai Kung area and for a brief time the Club even had an airship. More recently, flights in Hong Kong were restricted to “tethered” events, mostly during the autumn and winter months. They might otherwise get in the way of the planes flying into one of the 3 nearby international airports (Hong Kong, Shenzhen or Macau) or the private planes practicing their Immelmann Turns or simply blow away into China or out to sea. The Club apparently operated several balloons and attended international balloon events overseas whenever possible (including Bristol in 1996). With 30+ members, families and friends the Club had an active social calendar, regularly meeting for dinner at various venues throughout Hong Kong.
Of course Zara is a big darts fan. (by this I mean she is a "big" fan of darts as opposed to a "big fan" of darts or indeed a fan of "big darts" - now, are we all clear on the difference? ) There is nothing she likes better than to pop into the Ferry Arms, Glenbrook or somewhere similar for a swift bevy and a toss (at the darts board) to the approbations of her peers. In the UK and Ireland darts is a very serious sport with a long and noble history) well .....in HK, the HK Darts Association
awaits you !!! Bring it on !!!
Confused at the abrupt change in topics ?? well it is a question of continuity... HOW DO YOU transition from balloons to fencing (as in swords - not the stuff arround gardens) OK so here's my logic .. Have you ever burst a ballon with a pin ?? Ok - the dart is a metaphor for a "pin". It is also a mini arrow which gets me to archery. Archery historically was superceded by guns which gets me to Glocks and Gauss Guns (also projectile weapons - Zara is rumoured to keep a picture of the former under her pillow and dream about the later - wild child!!) and guns in the sporting context gets me to swords and fencing (sort of - well it works for me !!)
Darts in HK is really a niche sport for expats.... and Welshman. Locals apparently like to get their hands around a real shaft. There are over 20 archery clubs in HK and a thriving HK Archery Association
. Being a Brit I associate archery with longbows, Agincourt and Robin Hood but actually China has an even richer history of archery
and Asia dominated the Olympic Medals in 2008 (although HK was not represented). Still I am sure that local clubs might be up to entertaining visiting archers if asked nicely.
Now if Zara was a member of a bona fide sports shooting club such as the Fermoy Rifle Club etc with all proper paperwork she could contact HK Shooting Association
to try and arrange access to a gun club here . Undoubtedly any club willing to entertain such an application would refer all details and paperwork beforehand for full checks by HK Police who would no doubt confer with their Guarda colleagues in Anglesea Street. Of course Zara has lead a blameless life and is a paragon of maidenly virtue so that would not be a problem.
Alternatively if she had skeletons in her cupboard (or buried at the bottom of her garden) she could always settle for some good old fashion paint balling at HK's Paintball HQ in Kowloon. With a 10,000 sq ft indoor area, this company promises paintballing fun for all ages and levels. For maximum enjoyment, it is recommeded to go as a group or reserve the whole place for a party.
And so finally to fencing (obligatory if you have skeletons in your back garden). Again Asia has a long tradition of swordmanship and in HK there are 12 fencing clubs. If Zara were a member of Cyrano's
in Cork (is not a drinking club) she could contact the HK Fencing Association
to arrange a friendly work out. After all Fencing is so.... chic. Of course in Ireland there is an alternative duelling tradition - the way of the Shillelagh
- essentially a waking stick which is not unlike the japanese "Shinai" used in Kendo - Japanese swordsplay - and yes we have a Kendo Association
in Hong Kong which happened hosted the 2009 Asia Kendo Championships.
OK this is a wrap - My contribution on HK sports tourism is all done and sealed till I revisit in a couple of years!!
Zara ?? Zara who ???