It’s three days since I am in Moscow and I have learnt largely one word — pronounced as ‘Spasibo’, meaning ‘Thank You’. Rest all communication is done with the help of Google Translate. During my French classes, which I undertook recently, we strictly avoided using Google Translate as the machine learning would not get the essence of the language.
But the app is working wonders for me here. I am communicating with the lady, who looks after the hostel where I am put up, and the other Russian guests too, with the help of the app.
One man was so impressed when I taught him little nuances of the app that he offered me chocolates.
Out on the field, it is raining almost all the time, but that doesn’t dampen my plans to visit the historic Luzhniki Stadium for the very first time.
The grand statue of Lenin stands tall amongst all the FIFA sponsors’ merchandise stall. The structure of the stadium, which was renovated considerably to incorporate modern amenities, still manages to display its Soviet-era beauty in full glory.
The pitch-side access is still prohibited and only the performers are allowed inside as the media personnel could easily lose their way in a bid to find the press conference room. The two press conferences — the launch of the referees’ watch and the media briefing with referees — are just the teaser poster of the event that will unfold henceforth.
As I write, I receive an email from FIFA Media Office, with the calendar of events scheduled till the weekend and the list is long. FIFA agrees, Tuesday was just the beginning.
As I leave the premises for the day, the last-minute preparations are in full swing and amongst all, Lenin stands tall overlooking the arrangements at Luzhniki, which will soon reverberate with the roar of thousands of football fans and offer some spectacular performances and electrifying action.
(The writer shares his travel and tour experiences, and also catches the fun and revelry during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.)