Anilava Chatterjee, Sochi: I met Nick at the Red square who works for a tourism website named lokadels.com. I walked with him to Kremlin, Red square we met Mark and a couple named Peter and Rojili. This couple wants to travel the world but they hardly have any interest in the World Cup football as their native nation Netherlands failed to qualify for the World Cup. Rojili interested to taste the local food and beverages while Peter likes to click photos. Mark, Irishman is also very least interested in football. He will leave Russia before the FIFA World Cup starts. Netherland and Ireland will not play in this edition of World Cup but still Russians yet to bother about the grand event.
The enthusiasm that we saw at the São Paulo airport in 2014 was fantastic. We are yet to get the tip of it in Russia. Just some flags outside of the city and in the parking lot of the metro station, in which the footprint of Mascot ‘Zabivaka’ that’s it. Russians are rather busy with regular Weekend Party, Vodka, and Kawas. Nick took me to the official shop next to the Red Square they call it GUM. During the communist period, government controlled everything but, now Adidas Gucci and some other leading brands are there.
The whole mall is now decorated with football and birch trees. Black-and-white footballs are being hanged in the branches of Birch. Nick bought a bottle of cavas and poured it into five glasses and said, “Drink it. You always look for vodka but Cavas is a traditional Russian drink.” Actually, it’s a brat fragmentation. After hearing about Cavas Kolkata based Chef Rangan Niogi told, “Cavas is an anti-cancer drink it is rich in probiotic value. Though it has a little amount of alcohol it’s very good to drink .”
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In the weekend, local Russians did not seem to remember theories of benefit and exploitation. If they find any corner of the streets they sit with a musical instrument like guitar, violin, drum, and flute and play them. People listening, clapping and even they are ready to dance but football? There is nowhere. Not even a supporter wearing the Russian jersey; Brazil-Argentina is far away. The known supporters still did not enter that way. Messi and his teammates already came to Moscow. After reaching Sochi we came to know that Neymar and the entire Brazil team will come here on Monday noon.
Next to the Black Sea, this city is as beautiful as the photo. Small airport you cannot understand its Sochi or Kochi. There is row of coconut trees and pine trees around it. Marine drive through the ocean. The road went up on the mountain. Neymar’s base camp is located on this hill. Winter Olympics was held in the city in 2014. Now it is quite hot. Moscow was chilling I saw many people on the beach. But this heat does not have to be scattered on the streets of the city. Nobody knows Neymar and the Brazil team will arrive here. They will stay in the hotel beside the practice ground. No one bothers about the football here.
For those, who have a long-term relationship with the country, are saying, Russia perhaps is standing for yet another Economic Slowdown. Same thing happened back in 1994-95 when one US Doller became eight and a half thousand rupees. They work for only for two months a year, rest gets covered with snow. The Russian Govt though is trying to work on war-footing to decorate the country for the biggest show on earth. Just beside the St Basils Cathedral, I found a new park. It was almost on a 32 acres land. Previously, there was a massive hotel in this territory. There were almost 2,500 to 3000 rooms there, build by the communists. Later, they demolished that to build the park.