When I thought I had seen it all in Vladimir Putin’s land, new things continue to emerge. Mind you, I’m a calm, easy going boy. I don’t go where I’m not invited and I don’t do what I’m not sent. That has been my lifestyle back home in Nigeria and it follows me everywhere I go.
As hinted in my last piece, I arrived St Petersburg after a 35-hour train ride from Volgograd on Sunday afternoon (about 12:30pm local time). I had always feared Russia when it comes to the cold weather. But for the first week I’ve spent here, I’ve not seen anything to be feared. Fine it’s the summer but I expected that, for a weather capable of reaching minus degrees Celsius, I should have a feel of how it looks – Moscow and Volgograd were not that, the latter very similar to Ilesa weather.
However, minutes before touching down at St Petersburg, I started getting the cold vibes. At last, I get to use my winter jackets which have made my luggage so heavy. It was 13 degrees when I touched down and more importantly, it was raining. Right inside the rain, I took taxis (via Uber) first to Park Inn where my “official” colleagues are lodged, then to an apartment I thought I had been reserved before my final destination.
I wonder what life would be in this city without Google Map since you can’t read anything around you. Navigation was some issue for me, until I settled down around 6pm… Took over five hours to do that. The first thing I did was to cook two of the Noodles I brought from Nigeria, spiced with a lot of pepper…. A life without pepper is a yepere life. If you know, you know.
The earliest I always sleep in Russia is 1am, and that’s me, an early sleeper. The summer weather is crazy, hardly gets dark before it rises again and by 4am, the sun is blazing again. Thank you St Petersburg for the rain and cold feeling, unto the next day.
Monday was one day to match day and that means a day of plenty work for me. The ACLSports crew had a brief meeting with some Ogas at the top including Mr Bimbo, someone I’ve loved to respect nowadays.
— Adekoya Bimboh (@Bimboh5) June 25, 2018
We then headed for the Stadium where we worked at the Media Centre until the Nigerian press conference at 5pm. It was easy to see the superiority of the St Petersburg facility, to Volgograd for instance. I watched the Eagles training for the allowed fifteen minutes before returning to the Media Centre to conclude some reports and also witness the Argentine presser.
I left the stadium for the Eagles’ Corinthia Hotel and that was where the highlight of the day came. I’ve always heard the saying: When you are in Rome, behave like Romans, but no one told me what to do when I’m in Corinthia! Behave like Corinthians, or abstain? I was left alone, with my God.
It happened that, while myself and my friend Adepoju Tobi Samuel were looking for a suitable place to record our video previews for Tuesday’s game, directly opposite the Eagles hotel, some guy came to us, telling us; “500 Robles, watch, 500 Robles, see” in his scanty English. What are we seeing gannn??? The guy pulled out a small flier which has a guy and a lady, what are they doing? See for yourself.
So, to enter a strip club (apparently) with 500 Robles, about 4,000 naira. Tobi then asked how much are we then going to pay to take them home after seeing, he could not provide answers. Moving not more than 100m forward, another, pretty lady came to us to preach same message, even offered us Bonanza this time; “Watch first minute for free.” Ha! Get behind thee, Satan! The girl was pretty sha, admitted by Tobi who believes that might be a prelude to what to see inside, but, but, but, Jesus reigns forever.
We eventually shot our videos (English and Yoruba) about 10:30pm (you can watch here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=3ZHJ5Jr_evw) before leaving for our different abodes at about 11pm.
And the evening, and the morning, were the seventh day.
See you later.