Sunday, February 6, 2011

SUPER BOWL--Hong Kong Style

       My wife and I wondered how much support, excitment and knowledge would exist for the time honored tradition of the US Superbowl in Hong Kong. Sports here is not American football but more International football(soccer), rugby, some basketball and cricket.  We certainly would be able to watch the Super Bowl at home on our slingbox but we wanted to see if we could find a festive crowd to watch the game. I like both teams and my wife being a Cleveland fan was supporting whoever was playing the Steelers, which in this case was the Green Bay Packers.. We were pleased to see several establishments taking reservations for the game. In Hong Kong the Super Bowl would take place 7am on Monday morning.
        One of our favorite places to eat is a western steakhouse that caters to Expats with the menu and is called Dan Ryan's Steakhouse. We gave a $200 HK(about $25 US) as a deposit to reserve a table for the game. So at 6:45 we walked one block to Pacific Place Mall to Dan Ryans for the Super Bowl. Not knowing what to expect, we encountered the restaurant prepared with little footballs, TVs up everywhere, limited menu and table name plaques. Of course the entire restaurant was more geared towards the upcoming Valentine Day. but that did not matter.  The back room had long tables with many chairs in place of the booths and what seemed like a reluctant and sleepy staff. They do not nomally open for breakfast, the town is just getting thru the Chinese New Year and on a normal day Hong Kong does not get started early or at least until after 9am.
         I found it somewhat sacrilegious to be watching the Super Bowl at breakfast. I was looking for chicken wings or pizza, but instead found a modest but nice attempt towards the expat in terms of a limited menu, although again for breakfast. They did have a windy city hot dog, but did not think I could stomach at 7am in the morning. We both ordered ice tea with omelettes, which were very good. The food was a good breakfast and now it was game time.
       Mary Barbara and I wore our WVU gear so that we could possibly meet others from the area. My thinking was that there were would be Steeler fans in the restaurant who would see our WVU gear and then commiserate. Mary Barbara did have on a gold and blue scarf until she realized this was too close to Steeler colors. She settled on a nice WVU sweatshirt. I wore my WVU hat. The plan worked sort of, as a guy sat down beside us, saw my hat and said "Let's go Mountaineers". Turns out he is a teacher at one of the International schools. He graduated from WVU, was missing watching WVU sporting events and we had a fun discussion. However, he was from New York and rooting for the Packers. Anyway mission accomplished on the WVU gear plan.

      It was game time and the poor General manager was frantically running around searching for the channel. We were going to watch the game on the Asia Network TV which pays the US network for the feed. The bad part is there is no pre-game show and we missed all the commercials, since the advertising was for Asia specific. We did see a lot of Red Bull commercials. Both of us ended us watching the US commercials on the laptop later in the day. Finally the General Manager found the station before the kickoff much to his delight as the natives were getting restless. Joe Theisman was the color commentator  but camera angles, replays and extra commentary were missing. Joe was ok however. 
     The game was on all the TVs, the place was packed with close to 70 people, which were probably 60-40 Packer fans to Steeler fans, but that was based solely on cheering and the Steelers did not have alot to cheer about until the second half. We enjoyed sitting there watching the game and at that time and place, could have been anyplace in the USA. It was the atmosphere we were hoping to find, even though it was breakfast. Mary Barbara cheered loudly for Green Bay and she had a lot of fans on her side of the cheering. 
       I exchanged emails with Drew and got to skype with Steve and his family during the game. The IPhone skype application is very cool. I had to end up walking outside into the mall to hear them but it was nice to share.
      All in all it was the perfect Hong Kong Super Bowl experience and a good game. Worked out well.

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