The necessary delay I encountered before getting on the plane to Russia ended as planned on Monday and although I wasn’t overly bothered, I felt relieved; at least of answering questions like ‘When you dey go’ and of course getting one over my famed ‘Village pipu’.
It felt strange to me, embarking on an international trip at noon and yes, over nine hours to be spent in the skies. I once thought I could break loose and say hi to my two grandfathers in heaven imagining I would be closer to them than I was when we went to Morocco earlier in the year. Well, that’s just it.
I was blessed with a very good companion on the long trip from Lagos in the shape of a certain Monsieur Rotimi, whose final destination is also Russia. We clicked straightaway, slept one after the other, ate our delicious meals and gisted about football and how our sojourn in Russia would be.
We landed in Doha as programmed, at about 11:15pm local time and I was to have seven hours of stop-over before connecting to Moscow. Since it is less than eight hours, I was told I wouldn’t have to go rest in a hotel but in a specially quiet place called “Family Quiet Room”.
That was where the problem lay. This airport (Hamad International Airport in Doha) is currently ranked 5th best in the world. It is such a beautiful place and I’m glad I will still visit there briefly again when returning to Nigeria. Everything on point!
Back to the Quiet room, a family from Kenya was part of those supposedly resting in the room but their children made a hell of noise, giving people lots of problems. Those that could leave, vacated the room for them and more annoying is the fact that their parents slept in the midst of that noise.
Myself and Rotimi Akindele tried to ‘ayaj’ the boys the way we used to do to children in the Sunday School but these ones would have nothing about it. Well, I ended up plugging my earpiece to the iPad and watched the Croatia vs Nigeria game once more. I enjoyed it and appreciated the effort of the Super Eagles.
Doha is not cold, even Moscow is not cold, but the trip from Doha to Moscow was the coldest I’ve had in recent times. I literally almost froze but I kept singing one of Ebenezer Obey’s songs in my head, undisclosed for now.
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) June 19, 2018
On arrival in Moscow, I tried to lend a helping hand to the great journalist, Mitchell Obi and the favour came back to me as he bought a SIM card complete with 15GB data for me for about 1,500 roubles (8,400 nairas). I saw him off to his taxi before setting off to the Luzhniki Stadium for my accreditation.
Accreditation was done within five minutes and one pretty lady really helped me out in going through the Metro Stations so as to join my boss Calvin Emeka Onwuka at Hotel Avialuxe. I’m still watching the Russians sha because of what they used to say about them. So far though, a few of them have shown me tactical love. We’ll see what happens.
— ACLSports (@acl_sports) June 19, 2018
Another thing worthy of note on Day 1 was the ‘Effect of Summer’ which I witnessed for the first time. At 8:45pm, it was still as bright as 5pm in Nigeria. I was shocked, but my good friend in Donald Trump’s man, BigSam Nnaji lectured me on the reason. He’s such a good boy.
Wednesday promises to be hectic because I have to head to Volgograd ahead of Friday’s game with Iceland but I know there is God.