I’ve just arrived in Nizhny Novgorod after a couple of days in Moscow. So, here is the good and bad of my initial impressions of World Cup 2018
On the plus side, there’s a really positive atmosphere here. The touristy bits of downtown Moscow were the most crowded I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of security, but it doesn’t get too much in the way. People from all the continents of the world are intermingling, and apparently getting along together pretty well. Despite all the pre-tournament talk of violence, I haven’t felt the threatened. A drunken Russian guy caused me some mild concern at the Fan Fest when watching Croatia v. Argentina, but once we started talking, he was all best buddies.
A Panama supporter I chatted with tonight told me that he had had a great time in Sochi, where he had been to watch Panama’s first game. He then got out his camera and showed me his pictures. He seemed pretty happy. An England fan told me that this was his seventh World Cup. The one in Japan had been his favourite, but this was ‘right up there’. He said that the Russians had shown ‘great hospitality and were really friendly. He was having a ‘great time.’
All in all, apart from one crying Argentinian fan I saw at the Fan Fest, everybody seems very much to be enjoying themselves. So far, I’d say, the tournament is proving a success.
The one negative aspect of our trip has been the service of the Beeline mobile phone operator, from whom my sons and I got SIM cards. Suffice to say that we haven’t got what was promised, and have had to pay extra to not get what we should have gotten from the sart. It may just be a weird misunderstanding, but it feels a bit like we’ve been scammed. We have already had to make a couple of trips to stores to sort stuff out, and are going to have to do so again tomorrow. I wouldn’t recommend Beeline to anyone else.
Tomorrow, we see our first game – England v Panama. Should be a lot of fun.