Lets call it Kali from now on ( Bewnda mowne). It is an exclave of Russia situated between the Baltic Sea, Poland and Belarus. This is really interesting and bit of a knot since I needed a Shengen visa to travel through Lithuania if I were to use the free trains. So in the end, I ended up booking flight tickets worth almost 10 k for this. The best part is that, this city isn’t exactly Russian, but was converted into a Russian city after WW2 when the predominately German population was asked to fuck off and repopulated with Russians. So it is still know by its old name Konigsberg, which if you would think sounds familiar to something if you grew up playing Need for Speed, or have heard of a certain philosopher named Kant. This city was closed off to foreigners during the cold war days as it was where he entire Baltic fleet was docked during winter and it is also really cool as it was part of the former Prussian empire and it has got a beach too. All things which I don’t give a fuck, but the most relevant part for me is, ENGLAND’S FUCKING PLAYING BELGIUM HERE. NEED I SAY MORE.
I slept off at the airport for like a solid 3 hours. Took a piss and slept again. Then finally got out of the airport and boarded a bus to the city. The Kochi boys were here. I will introduce them soon, but they were my mates from the Manchester United Supporter’s Club Kerala. Back in the day when I used to be in Kochi, I would go to a screening almost on all weekends. It was the best part of a week for me. But then Chennai came and the supporters club there is full of wankers and I rather stream from a pornsite than pay to eat fries that look like a old women’s wrinkled cheeks( ass or otherwise) and drink sprite from a shot glass. But I booked the cheapest hostel I could find there. And when I got there I found out I was enough of a dimwit to look at the price and jump at it like it was free Biryani and not realise that particular booking was for a women only dorm. What a cock up. ( Irony, I know). And the Russian bird in the reception’s grasp over English was not too great. We had this really awkward conversation over Google translate where google literally showed this – “ I am sorry, this room is not bleeding for you today”
I was like, OK, if you want me to leave, fuck off would have been just fine. So I asked to use their WIFI for 10 minutes. I ended up staying 2 hours and then a fitter bird came and her English was as fine as she was and made me understand the situation. By this time I had made the Kochi bois talk to their hotel and had an extra bed for me. Yaaay. But I had to wait till evening to meet them. So I decided to keep all my shit in the railway station locker room and explore the city. Which is what I did. The way these European cities are build, it is really easy to find your way. There are these blocks and if you were to follow a particular direction, you are more than likely to find where you need to go.
Its insane. If there is a river, then forget about using google maps, just go where the river flows and you will find what you want. ( Still haven’t found that Russian bird though.) So I start exploring, went to the cathedral and where Kant was laid to rest.
I asked someone to tag my Western Philosophy prof and someone did and that dude made a comment which was neither funny nor comprehensible. ( If I am drunk enough, I might reply to that, so if I am near you, STOP ME). After that there was the city centre with these canals flowing through it. There were these big boats and then just a walk down the road was insane.
So much details and so much architectural beauty. First time I landed, it used to give me a boner, but now I have gotten used to it, but still the amount of work put into just about anything is insane. I find a victory park again and there is this big u-boat put up like its the USS Enterprise ( Star Trek) about to be launched into a time warp.
I made my way to the fan fest. I had planned to watch the Mexico vs Sweden game. Cause Mexico fans are absolutely wild. But when I got there, slightly to my disappointment, it was the Germany Korea game.
And at that point I was like, fuck, its the Germans and you know that Germany at least reaches the semis before getting knocked, so for me the result was a foregone conclusion. ( But this wasn’t any world cup was it , this was RUSSIA) So I made a lot of mates during that game. Two mates from Finland, a mate from Belgium and a few English lads too. Guess what they all had in common? – They all wanted to see the Germans get he boot. So did I :p . ( Its true I was with the Germans in Brazil, and at one point I knew enough of the nation anthem to sing with the team, but when you lose Klose, Shweini, and Lahm, its not Germany anymore) and at half time when I went for a smoke, I saw this dude who looked so familiar. He had an England flag with the Arsenal insignia on it, my instinctive reaction was- “ What a wanker”
But I knew him.
- “ Mate, aren’t you the dude from Arsenal fan TV?”
And he was like – “ bloody right I am fam”
It was troopz, mother fucking troopz.
Incase you are not aware, every time Arsenal lose a game, Arsenal fan TV goes on a rant about the team, the manager, the ref and how Brexit made it easier for Bayern to trash Arsenal in the round of 16. Its like a script played out to perfection. So if you are not an Arsenal fan, its absolutely hilarious. And every morning, If arsenal had done an arsenal the previous night, first thing I see is Arsenal fan TV. Its like “ mans not hot” absurd, but it makes you feel good. So many fams and bluds. Its amazing.
He even had a message for all gooners in India.
I met this Belgian dude who at that moment looked like was smoking a joint. But he told me it was rolled tobacco. He thought I was English and bought me a beer. What a lad. Kind of surprised when I told him I was Indian. When I am two pints down I tend to talk like a lad cause thats the first sign motor skills of my tongue is going :p . His dad was there too. By this time Sweden was leading 1 nil. And Korea was attacking with intent. And the German attack was lacking tooth. As of now Germany are going out cause if Sweden wins, they are in. Korea are playing for nothing but pride, but they are doing a great job at it, cause they really making the Germans sweat. Soon, Sweden scores again. Mexico score an own goal. Germany can expect no favours from Mexico now. They have to win or they are packing. The atmosphere in the fan zone becomes electric, from what looked like a routine win for Germany has turned into the Germans fighting for the very right to stay in the cup. Everyone, but the Germans were buzzing. Then the Koreans score, wait, was it offside, VAR is called in. German fans are on the edge, refs called it off, but technology can tell the truth. Replays are shown and German heads sink. He was onside. Football bloody hell. Korea are ahead.
Now its the dying moments. Germany send everyone forward. The English Lads have started to sing- “ Your going home, your going home, Germanys going home”. I’d so not want to be a German fan at that moment. Then Neuer, the keeper goes forward. A throw in to him and he makes a mess of it, the Korean defender squares it into an open net where the striker had it served on a platter for him. The 2 seconds it took for him to score, you could feel the German hearts being broken and the everyone else reveling in that exact feeling. It was insane. And goal. Germany are going home. The English fans didn’t try to contain their delight and started chanting. It was so savage. And I enjoyed every moment of it.
A distraught German fan even gave me a German scarf, that thing is quite expensive. ( Sorry, I am giving it to my cuz)
I ran into the Kochi boys there. I say good bye to my Belgian friend. His name was Alex and I am on my way with the Machans.
They show me where the hotel is and we split. I go to the station to get my shit and they are moving to the hotel. Soon enough I was there and we call it a night. We had a few shots of vodka and caught up with things. It feels so long since I left Kochi. All these mates have moved along so much. We will talk about them tomorrow.
Good night. And Auf Wiedersehen :p