Dear di­ary

A day in the life of soc­cer colum­nist KURTIS LARSON on the ground in Rus­sia

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS -

MOSCOW — the less glam­orous side of cov­er­ing a World Cup in­cludes the sweaty five-hour train ride from Saint Peters­burg to Moscow, fol­lowed by an hour-long sub­way trek from the city’s cen­tre to a non­de­script apart­ment.

Who knew haul­ing lug­gage dur­ing rush hour would be so of­fen­sive.

a num­ber of fel­low Moscow Metro pas­sen­gers gave me stink eye for tak­ing up too much space with a mas­sive suit­case con­tain­ing a month’s worth of cloth­ing.

I’d had good luck with ac­com­mo­da­tions un­til these final few days in Moscow.

But I in­ad­ver­tently booked a place on the out­skirts of the city.

I felt pretty silly when my airbnb host had to track me down and pick me up in his ve­hi­cle.

I couldn’t find his place on my own.

Out for a stroll Fri­day night, I came across a tiny hut that was no big­ger than a mas­ter bed­room.

It con­tained roughly 50 beer taps and an as­sort­ment of dried fish I as­sume com­pli­mented the booze.

the bar­tenders were serv­ing draught brew in two-litre take­away bot­tles.

a fel­low cus­tomer — a mas­sive rus­sian man — laughed when I or­dered a pint.

He’d just or­dered six litres of beer.

I’ll be go­ing there the next few nights.

an uzbek restau­rant server re­fused to let me or­der the chicken.

She told me I can or­der that back in “amer­ica.”

the red meat, she ges­tured, is the only worth­while thing on the menu.

She ba­si­cally or­dered my meal for me.

upon ar­rival at my apart­ment Fri­day night, my airbnb host forced me to wear cheap white slip­pers around the home un­til he left.

I felt like a real es­tate agent show­ing a home.

I haven’t worn them since.

larson’s din­ner menu: uzbek lep­eshka with hum­mus, lamb ke­bab, grilled veg­eta­bles and a shot of vodka.

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