Yesterday was quite an amazing day inside the Luzhniki Stadium as Jamaica once again took over the World Championships.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce storming to a 200m win and the young 4x400m team on the back of a storming anchor leg from the very special Javon Francis who took home the silver medal in an event that us Jamaicans hold dear to our hearts.
It was amazing! We hardly hear the stadium as noisy as it got last night ... more of the same please.
I'm about to touch a very sensitive topic.
Now, Russia is obviously a different type of society than what we are accustomed to on the other side of the world.
Things here seem a little more ... orderly or maybe the word is 'ordered'. I may have already mentioned that generally speaking, you won't find a lot of Russians who smile or talk too much, even those who you may have known for a while, whether another media colleague or whatever the case is.
We have also realised, the Jamaicans and in particular blacks among us, media professionals, athletes and even officials here, that people seem to take a let's say keen interest in us.
I have now got quite used to being stared at and scrutinised by just about everyone, everywhere.
You step in the train, and all of a sudden, all eyes are on you. No one is smiling or engaging you in any way, just blank or sometimes quizzical stares.
It was quite disturbing and frankly annoying at first, but you learn after a few days to stare back, with the same questioning gaze.
Russia has never sought to be considered an open place, or a place welcome to all. Yes, there have been many racial problems here and while there are times when you feel quite comfortable, there are other times when the passive pulse of the scourge gets so palpable, they may as well be wearing white hoodies.
No one comes up to you and say anything, but the way you are looked at and the little things that happen on the seats in trains and other public places, when people change sides when you enter or make it their point of duty not to stand or sit beside you, make it quite clear how some folks here still feel about race in 2013.
Yet, there are many others who have been extremely welcoming to us and have gone above and beyond to make us feel comfortable. I guess every country has its good and bad. Like Jamaica ... Good - me; bad - Ricardo Makyn, my photographer.
NO LAUGHING MATTER
And maybe it's a minority that
Seriously, though, on our first day, the young lady that was giving us some tips and advice got us a little concerned when she ended her tour by stating:
"Oh, and perhaps you don't want to walk alone too much, or walk at night."
We laughed at first until we realised that she wasn't laughing.
I have been to quite a few countries that may be considered to be largely racist in culture, Italy, Turkey and Ukraine among them, Besides Turkey, none of those seemed any different than the United States or even Jamaica where we have our class issues.
But Russia ... yea, it's not a place I can say I have always felt safe.
A few athletes I have spoken to actually feel the same way.