The 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics is now a thing of the past, and as I get ready to say goodbye to this beautiful city, it is with an appreciation of the good things about Moscow, Russia, and its people.
Truth is, my experiences, except for a couple issues here and there, have been very good and even though this time around, because of the schedule and distance from my hotel to ... well, everywhere else - it was difficult to really find time to delve into Russian life - there has been more than enough great memories from this place.
I do have a day to see some more of the city and I have also been promised a crash course in Russian cuisine; with vodka and caviar on the agenda. I'm really looking forward to that actually.
I did have some Russian moskovskaya vodka last night with a bunch of my media colleagues from the US and a couple friends from the IAAF. Frankly, I'm surprised I'm able to type at this point (laughs). For research purposes, I am forced to dig deeper into this Russian vodka phenomena, so I will give myself the opportunity to arrive at a favourite today, with a real vodka tasting experience.
Jamaica really brought the championships down in style! It's always a great experience hearing the national anthem being played at these championships; hearing it three times in quick succession inside the Luzhniki was bliss.
Not so much for the other photographers in the photo pen (or whatever its called), who, I understand, kept complaining to Ricardo Makyn, asking him to sit, while he stood each time at the playing of his anthem, not caring too much if he was blocking someone.
One thing that most of us Jamaican journalists find ourselves doing here is taking pictures, a lot of pictures; and even signing autographs in some cases. Someone even mistook my colleague, Anthony Foster from Trackalerts, for an athlete! AN ATHLETE! Foster's gut is bigger than Russia and 'no', he could not pass as a shot putter either, so don't even go there (laughs). It's ok though, I trouble him everyday about the same thing, so he won't be too surprised when he sees this.
It's clear though that Jamaica has once again conquered another country.
Russians walking around in Jamaican gear and with the Jamaican flag painted on their face was no longer a strange sight after the fourth day or so.
"Russians never do stuff like that for another country!" is what one shocked volunteer told me one day.
Anyway, I ran into a number of Spartak Moscow football fans today while stepping out of the train station. Apparently, they had a game yesterday and this was some sort of meeting spot for them.
As soon as they realised that I was Jamaican, because of my shirt, they all wanted pictures, and hugs in some cases.
By the way, I have settled on a Top-10 hottest female athletes at the IAAF World Championships. That list will be published in my next and final blog.
Do svidanya! (Goodbye)