We woke up late, I don’t know how late, but Julia was gone. We were just chatting with Toniya and preparing to leave. The train was at 13 50. Ideally enough time to get there. But, and thats a big but, our cycles were still at Andrey’s. So we had to go back to Andrey’s, get the cycles, pack em up and then leave for the station. It was a race against time. And remember the part about the apartment complex being so big, yah. That sorta fucked us, but we were saved by Morat, your friendly Kazan-Russian who helps strangers carrying Google translate( But on a serious note, these people love helping out strangers)
By this time, we had learned to read enough Russian to atleast know which platform the metro was going to come. So we saved some time and was able to reach Andrey’s and get our cycles. We took it to Novey Cheremunshki and dismantled it. Now we can dismantle it in 5 minutes flat, guess we gotten used to it. Now things were getting tense. We had to change stations and we were carrying this big bag, not so much fun, but fuck it, we had to get there somehow. So we carry it, get one train mixed up ( Guess our Russian is not as good as we thought it was.) Then finally it was 3 minutes to 13 50 and at that point we sort of gave up on it. Breaking our collar bones on a train which we are sure to miss isn’t worth it. Fuck.
Now things were going to go on a different trajectory. We had to get to St Petes cause we have a game tomorrow. It is Amar’s only game, he defo has to get there. This is a perfect chance for me to explain just how awesome the organisation for the world cup has been. Trust me, there is something everyone of us can learn from these young Russians.
So, we keep dragging our stuff and we ask a volunteer, “ We missed our train, we need to book new tickets for a train to St Petes and what should we do.” He told us the way to go to the ticket office. Then he offered help in the form of a man who could possible be as old as my grandad. He was also a volunteer( The volunteer program for the world cup didn’t have an age cap, and even differently abled people had a role to play in some verticals). He told us that the octogenarian would help us out. Usually, asking a guy who is that old to help us out is something which we wouldn’t do, but right now, the situation was against us, so we accepted. He walked us through the gates until he found an English speaking volunteer for us. And when I was talking to her explaining what the situation was, he was no where to be seen. Yadu you piece of shit, you didn’t even thank that old man. ( If you are reading this my friend, I would like to say, its people like you who leave us in awe of what a beautiful country you have and the beautiful, kind people that live in it, it was a privilege meeting you and your actions wont be forgotten and would inspire a lot of other people.)
Then, we ended up overpaying for tickets to St Petes and turned the station indian style by dumping all our luggage in one place and then sitting on the ground in front of it. We were joined be people from all across the world in that endeavour. I opened up the laptop and started to watch the France game. Soon, I was joined by 3 Nigerians( is showed them Sudani from Nigeria trailer- they weren’t Impressed), 5 Moroccons and a couple of Russians. It was like an impromptu match screening where everyone was enjoying a game of football. True world cup vibes.
Then it was evening, time for my La Albiceleste to put away the disappointment of drawing with Iceland and win something. For Messi to show the world why he is the best and for me to finally feel vindicated for supporting Argentina over France. ( Heart over brains)
2 hours and 3 beers later.
Amar- “ Yadu, dont cry,”
I have to give it to Croatia. What a performance. And Argentina, myre
Our next train was at 3 something in the morning, we go in with the cycles and that is when we learn that there is a specific compartment to keep all the oversized baggages. Bullocks, so we take it there and they want at ticket for it. A ticket? Fuck. When we asked the people in the railway station they said it was chill, now what?
So we ended up paying well over the counter money for it. When we get back we realised we payed 10x what the real rate was. Corruption runs across all lines. But the train was fine, until I took my feet out of the shoes. Then we went to sleep hoping we would have enough time to get to the game cause the train only reaches St Petes like 1 hour 30 minutes before kickoff.
Lesson for the day-
In Russia, there is no extra time for a train.