100 Days !!!! Woo Hoo.
So day 100 found me still in Kiev, in the Ukraine, waiting to move over to Russia. I had a good day touring the city (again), and the more time I spent in Kiev the more I liked the place. There was a big cycle race going on in the centre then a massive free concert that night. There must have been at least 200,000 people out on the streets and it was a cracking atmosphere. I must admit I fell in to the age old thing of saying the ‘music is not as good as in my day’, as the DJ’s were saying “yo yo yo…Kiev…. make some noiiiiisse” for the 93rd time whilst twiddling (yes twiddling), a knob in-front of them (it was far more entertaining way back in the good old days, when a guy with a pin through his nose and Dr Martins on, was screaming into a mic then putting his foot through the speaker….now that was music).
Eventually the time to begin the next phase of the trip arrived and I made the move towards Russia!.
During the World Cup phase of this trip I will be using trains to cut about the cities at which England will be playing their games, as there is a lot of distance to cover in not so much time. To get to Moscow I took the overnight train from Kiev. From the start I’ve been a little apprehensive about how the visa thing would work on the border etc, as I’m travelling on a business visa. I had conjured an image of a big tough looking border guard with bad teeth, an AK 47 and a snarling wolf on a short lead, questioning me on what business I was in Russia for and then me cracking immediately and breaking down crying whilst gibbering on about ‘only being here for the beer’.
So as the train ground to a halt at the border check point, I had my passport and entry card all ready and was scanning the bushes outside the train to see which one I could run towards if they happened to let the wolf off the lead. It was obviously taking a while for the wolf to eat the people in the carriages before mine and I got a little bored so started flicking through facebook. I saw a clip which had an English copper and two ambulance crew stood watching a guy on a garage roof, so pressed ‘play’ out of interest. Cue the whole carriage being filled with the repeated cries of “ALLAH AKBHAR” from the video, which in a blind panic I could not turn off. I don’t think I helped the issue by seeing the funny side to the whole thing and laughing my nuts off, whilst my phone screamed abuse at everyone within a 100m radius! Eventually the border guard arrived at the carriage in the form of a really cute looking blond lady with a very nice bum. She checked my passport and quietly pointed out that I’d filled my entry card out completely wrongly and leant me her pen to do another. She then left as quietly as she had arrived, presumably to go feed the wolf that she’d forgot to bring.
I arrived in Moscow and managed to loose my KGB tail quite quickly, when he realised I was actually more of a threat to myself than the Russian federation. I then met with my friend of 36 years Mr Martyn Green who was in Moscow doing some ‘business’. Having spent 20 minutes doing that business, he then joined me for two days during which we have walked all around the centre of the city, reminisced about our friendship to date, stated our amazement that 2 biffs from Bedworth were actually stood in ‘Red Square’ and actually drank 1 Russian lad under the table! It has been a great laugh and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my Russian campaign.
Martyn heads home today and I’m going to spend a few more days in Moscow before I head to Volgograd (which used to be Stalingrad and was the site of a MAJOR battle in WW2), to do some sightseeing, before the England fans arrive there for our annual chair throwing competition.