Quick post on my initial thoughts on Moscow and our experience…
First of all, Moscow is a huge city and the key sites seem to attract all of the World Cup visitors. We are averaging about 17,500 steps a day.
Moscow has done a great job welcoming the high influx of fans. It appears they put their collective political and social backing behind the hosting of the games: the streets are immaculate, the new sod still has the seams, the lighting on the sites are bright, the people are friendly, the volunteers all speak English; and young. It seems like the new generation has embraced English while the older generation is not as well-versed. The people are genuinely friendly and will offer assistance or guidance, as needed. The servers are great, although maybe not as expedient as the US. Overall, the people are not effusive and they almost have a reluctant friendliness or begrudging friendliness. They would offer any help but it isn’t natural.
The subways have recently added English in the cars and they have cars running continuously. At the games, there are hundreds if not thousands of young military enrollees lining the exit routes to ensure an orderly exit.
The entire logistic process has been impressive.
That being said, we still struggle at times with the exits or best routes and if it should take 5 minutes we can easily make it take 25. If it is 15, we find a way to make it 45…our intrepid navigator, Fred, has now been fondly nicknamed Fredgellan for his innate ability to take us the long way.
Moscow, while the capital, and granted we were not in the financial district, doesn’t seem to be a huge commercial center. The bakery next door opened at 8 and the streets were empty at 7 and 8…maybe they are late starters to meet the other global markets. They could learn a thing or two from us. One of our veterans loves going “full facial” with the face paint. Don’t judge, he’s only 60.
As we approached the face-painter for the Germany game, he insisted we join him in his passion.
He asked the price, which was 1,000 Rubles. He replied emphatically that it was too much and he wanted to buy four and we should get a discount.
He countered with 4,000 for four. She accepted. Trump would be proud. We are good capitalists.