World Cup Open Thread, Day 7

Portugal v Morocco at 8am EDT; Uruguay v Saudi Arabia at 11am; Iran v Spain at 2pm.

FIFA liveblog et al at the Google link.

Travel tales of the host nation, from the Washington Post:

Moscow is the vibrant heart of this soccer celebration, welcoming tens of thousands of visitors — every last one, it seems, stroll the Red Square area as if it were an ocean boardwalk — and inviting outsiders to a world they’ve probably never seen.

Languages mix like ingredients in a hearty bowl of borscht: Russian and English, German and French, Japanese and Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. The common bond: a love of football/soccer and a love of life.

Aside from who is going to win the World Cup, the question I receive most from people back home is: What’s it really like in Russia?

I can’t speak about the other 10 host cities (though I will hit St. Petersburg this week) or the country at large. I’m sure remote cities and rural areas are strikingly different and less prosperous. I’m not going to pretend to be a Russian expert after nine days in country.

At times, I have had trouble reconciling the wonders of the city and the actions of the Putin government. Perhaps visitors to America also confront dueling feelings; I don’t know. What I do know is you can appreciate history and engage in a new culture while remaining cognizant of world affairs and concerned about injustice and cruelty.

And so a new adventure has commenced. Moscow looks and feels like any major European city, except with Soviet-era relics: white- and blue-collar workers packing subway trains on a Monday morning, teenagers in western brands live-streaming an acoustic band performing on a pedestrian road, open-air cafes serving coffee and pastries…






14 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Moscow looks and feels like any major European city, except with Soviet-era relics:

    political prisoners rotting and dying in the gulag, opponents of the regime assassinated with impunity in the streets not just of Moscow, but of major European cities, grinding poverty in the rural areas while enormous wealth is amassed by a select few.

    Those are the Soviet-era relics I’d finish that sentence with, not coffee and pastries in the open air. But that’s just me.

  2. 2
    sherparick says:

    Meanwhile, while firing up the Base against the dreaded “Brown” and “Black” menace, particular infants and toddlers, the Republicans are serving their true masters by planning to steal their Medicare and Social Security.

    …The House Republican budget, titled “A Brighter American Future,” [sherparick: don’t you love their use of Newspeak (as long as you are not old or sick or poor] would remake Medicare by giving seniors the option of enrolling in private plans that compete with traditional Medicare, a system of competition designed to keep costs down but dismissed by critics as an effort to privatize the program. Along with other changes, the budget proposes to squeeze $537 billion out of Medicare over the next decade.
    The budget would transform Medicaid, the federal-state health-care program for the poor, by limiting per capita payments or allowing states to turn it into a block-grant program — the same approach House Republicans took in their legislation that passed last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the repeal effort died in the Senate, but the GOP budget assumes that the repeal takes place).  It also proposes adding work requirements for certain adults enrolled in Medicaid. Changes to Medicaid and other health programs would account for $1.5 trillion in savings.
    Social Security comes in for more modest cuts of $4 billion over the decade, which the budget projects could be reached by eliminating concurrent receipt of unemployment benefits and Social Security disability insurance…” https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-gop-plan-would-cut-medicare-medicaid-to-balance-budget/ar-AAySglD

  3. 3
    zhena gogolia says:

    My young Moscow friend said it was great to have happy, singing foreigners in the metro instead of “gloomy Russians.” She said, “I guess you’re used to Mexican citizens, but I was so cheered by the Mexican people on the escalators in the metro singing cheerful songs.” I told her our Mexican citizens weren’t singing right now.

  4. 4
    Platonailedit says:

    Both teams are very fast and Morocco are unlucky with close finishes.

  5. 5
    Chyron HR says:

    white- and blue-collar workers packing subway trains on a Monday morning, teenagers in western brands live-streaming an acoustic band performing on a pedestrian road, open-air cafes serving coffee and pastries…

    And Wednesdays at 3 PM the dissidents accidentally fall out of windows–bring an umbrella!

  6. 6
    JMG says:

    FWIW, my children report having a lovely time in Moscow and environs this week.

  7. 7
    Joel says:

    Beijing and Shanghai are very cosmopolitan, too. But that doesn’t change the actions of the Chinese government.

  8. 8
    Cermet says:

    Pastries? What goes for pastries in Moscow?

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    I think Saudi Arabia are going to lose their second group match (of three) tonight and get knocked out. Morocco too. Iran, however, are leading Group B and if they win again (which would admittedly be a big upset) they’re safely in the last 16.

  10. 10
    smintheus says:

    I’ll bet the trains in Putin’s Russia run on time too.

  11. 11
    Origuy says:

    @Cermet: There’s a chain of restaurants all over Moscow called Shokoladnitsa. Their specialty is chocolate blinis. I ate there several times when I was there in 2013.
    I’ve been meaning to put a set of pictures together to send to Alain. I was there in winter and stayed with a friend of a friend. Not the usual tourist visit.

  12. 12
    Origuy says:

    Food porn. Pictures of the desserts at Чоколадница.

    Moderation? For Cyrillic?

  13. 13
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Origuy:

    Moderation? For Cyrillic?

    Yes. That’s a new feature here, as gogol’s wife and I have found out. Doesn’t matter what the text is.

  14. 14
    Origuy says:

    @Gin & Tonic:I’ll have to remember that. I thought maybe it was the word “p0rn”. I spelled the word wrong, too.

Comments are closed.