Kick off – 1500 MST
Current time – 1340 MST
Location – Saint Petersburg railway station
We were so much in regret over missing that train. We would have had enough time to chill, we could have had a few drinks before the game and most important of all, we wouldn’t have had to pay over the limit for something which we already had. Fuck. We were a little bit tensed as the train came to a halt, we had to deal with a lot of shit and of that the biggest pain are our cycles. While on the saddle, its an absolute pleasure, but when we are transporting the cycles on our shoulders, our efficiency is reduced by some 10 times. Its fucked, I am pretty sure my right collar bone will need an x-ray by the end of July.
Russian Train tip
In Russian trains if you were to carry around something big and a pain in the ass like, lets say a cycle, there is a way to keep it in a separate luggage compartment. All you gotta do is go get a Dakk( ticket) for the luggage. It is based on the distance how its is going to be charged. Once you convince them that it is what you want using google translate, then the ticket will tell which wagon you should keep the stuff. Find it, give it to the pretty lady conductor and then have some peace of mind till the journey is done. We didn’t know this at first and they ripped us off by 10x what it would have costs.
So while we took it out of the baggage cabin, for some sacred reason a guy with a big ass trolley arrives. Praise Jesus, we might just not miss the game. The guy said over the top money, again, but did we have a choice. This is what I am talking about, if they sense you are in a rush and desperate. The will ask you to spread your legs, period. So we finally get some wheels on the stallions and are in locomotion towards the cloakroom. This is where we ended spending even more to keep all the shit while we went to watch the game. Again wasting money cause we missed that fucking train by 5 minutes. Sometimes I wish the punctuality of Russian train were like India where you could get away with a 5 minute delay. But fuck man, these guys down to the wire when it comes to time. Like literally every second counts.
Then we jump into the metro. This one looks older than Moscow’s. And finally we are on our way to Zenith’s stadium. Every Russian I know has told me St Petes is more beautiful than Moscow. And Moscow was literally the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life, so St Petes has a lot riding on it. But, I would literally have only hours to spend in St Petes. Hours, which is sad. Our next train was that night. But putting those negative thoughts behind us, we decide to get out at the station next to the stadium. Macha, This stadium was literally a fucking spaceship. I mean a fucking spaceship. It was out of this world.
Imagine this scene, there is this gigantic futuristic bridge on top of you going from one end of the river to the next, the sea is washing in foam at one end, there are 3 huge cruise ships towards the west of it and there is a hydrofoil ripping through the water at 70 kmph and then the freezing winds from the gulf of Finland blows salty moisture that you can taste at the tip of your tongue.
This was exactly the scene when I stepped out of that stadium. Forget the fact that there were so many fans chanting. For the first time, the football got drowned in just how much awesome St Petes is. ( I still haven’t explored St Petes yet, sad) So we are running towards our pavilion. There are Brazil and Panama supporters in equal numbers. Its insane. Then as always you will find Mexicans who are just everywhere. Amar is impatient, this is his first and only game, he doesn’t want to miss a moment of it. He has been preparing for this for a while. Reading stats, watching old highlights, trying to learn all the lineups and identify players by sight, he was putting insane effort to feel like part of the Yellow and Green. And when we finally cleared security and went in, we were right on time to watch kickoff. I don quite remember, but it was Coutino who kicked it off.
Yes, we made it. We fucking made it, It might have cost a lot to get to this game, but it was worth it. I am watching Jesus, ( No, not the hairy one) Neymar, Silva and for me the best player on the pitch, Marcelo. Absolute privilege. Grateful is an understatement.
We were sitting between two hot zones. Two hot Costa Rica chicks to my right and 1 slightly milfy Brazil fan towards my left. The Costa girls were getting it on. They were the loudest in that row. Respects. Both teams created a host of chances. But couldn’t convert. Rica’s defending was really good. (Something all small teams seem to be doing really well of late.) first half ends on a frustrating note for Brazil. They should have put one in. Neymar looked a lot like how my friend Surya from back home looked while he played. Minus the spaghetti hair. Second half Brazil were choking Rica. The Rican girls didn’t budge, they got louder than ever. The milf Brazilian started abusing in Portuguese.
Girls, piece of advice, a man will love you if you abuse the Refs mom in the most prolific way as possible. Its like rubbing the ear lobe, triggers a switch, its crazy. Then in the 89th minute it happened. We all knew it was coming but Rica’s wall collapsed, and a flood of Brazilian jubilation send the small meso- American nation into shellshock. They were playing so well, they had contained Neymar and then this happened. ( A moment of magic as Neymar beat a defender using a rainbow near the corner flag, this is exactly what you pay to see) P. Countino taps one in. Then 3 minutes later as Panama commit all their midfielders forward, a devastating counter attack made sure that the island nation would be flooded with tears. ( I am sure they are gonna charge more toll for all Brazillian ships from now on). And when the whistle went, it was a yellow frenzy. Neymar started crying. And the two Panama girls were holding back tears. We took a pic with the milf and we told the Panama girls that they were amazing and that Panama deserved more.( Which was true.)
So we leave the Zenith stadium. I will see you for the Semi finals my friend. We need to get to know each other more. Again it was a race against time. We needed to get back before 6, otherwise the clock room guy will fuck us up and ask for more money. Shogams. And we get back to St Petes railway station and get our shit in time. Now having learned lessons from the previous train debacle, we decided to take tickets for our cycles early. So we met this jovial young girl who was working as a volunteer. I didn’t catch her real name, but part of her name is Svet, so I call her Svet( No wonder she didn’t reply on Instagram, when you look at in retrospect). She wanted to be a politician and wanted to change the perception that Russia is a dangerous country and it is not paradise on earth that it is. Crush triggered. There is nothing more attractive than a strong independent women on a mission. ( Also her bikini pics on Insta helped). Svet helped get out tickets, then we had a lot of time to kill. So I started working on the Mac using the Wifi RZD( Russian railways ) were generous enough to provide. It was fun, and finally one smoke later and we were on our train. Our cycles safely stowed away and with a peace of mind that everything would be chill. NEXT STOP PETROZAVODSK
We were sharing the cabin with a dude who could speak good English, it was fun learning about the things we were going to see. But even Russian think we are crazy since we are going to Murmansk. Should we be worried?