Russia 2018

RUSSIAN F-L-I-C-K-S

By Tony Ubani

Life as a Dog

I was filled with envy and jealousy the other day on my way to Saint Petersburg Stadium, here in Russia. The traffic was at a standstill. It has never been like this since I settled down a month ago for the World Cup coverage.

People stood with hands akimbo. The mournful looks suggested something terrible had happened. Security men with different uniforms  were on hand and the siren was blaring its emergency horn. Gradually, we got to the spot to discover that a car had hit a dog. Veterinary physcian (Vet) and Para-veterinary workers wrapped the dog in a blanket and sped off to a Vet hospital.

‘’Nkita”.  ‘’Aja”. Dog. Receiving a four-star treatment. I wept. Not for the poor dog but for myself and my country. If a dog, which provides refreshing pepper-soup  could be cared for in this manner, what about human beings who are roasted by tanker drivers daily in my fatherland?.  What about pregnant women and children who are butchered by their fellow-men in my country?

My interaction with Russians widened my knowledge that dogs are awesome. Whether they’re begging for your food, barking at their leash to convince you to take them on a walk, or simply greeting you when you get home, dogs do all of the little things that put smiles on faces around the world.

Here, many consider their pet as a member of their family. Yes. The same dog that Etop loves to eat in his native country home. Being treated with so much love and care that humans don’t get in my country?

It’s common here to see many boys and girls, men and women walk their pets on the streets. I saw a lady waiting patiently for her dog to poo and she brought out a plastic bag and picked up the doggy doo.

I heard that based on the tone of your voice and your body language, your dog will do its darnedest to emulate your current state of mind. When you’re sad, they’ll look at you with big doe eyes. When you’re angry, the fur will rise on their backs and they’ll start barking and growling at inanimate objects. Whereas humans might not respond to your emotional upswings and downswings in a way that you’d prefer, dogs will always be there whether you’re thrilled, depressed, or anywhere in between.

People with dogs are often perceived to be more approachable, happier and more empathetic. The presence of a dog can also serve as an indication a man is nurturing and capable of care-giving. “Having a dog really says something about you,”. “It says you can care for a creature, that you can follow a schedule and get home to feed it, that you can walk it and love it and spend time with it.”

It’s a signal that the man may make not only a good friend but a good parent.

“That’s the bottom line message that women get when they see a man with a dog: he’s capable of nurturing, of giving without receiving a lot, of caring for another. He’s made a commitment to this animal,” Ekaterina says. “And one thing women have needed for years and years is a partner who could share the load, be responsible, care for them if they’re sick and show up on time.”

To hook up with that your dream girl or lady or woman, get a dog. But, not in Nigeria!

FAKE FIRE ALARM!

It’s been difficult to differentiate between day time and night-time since we came here for the Russia World Cup.

The sun has remained visible even in the midnight. It has played a major deceptive act on us staying late thinking the night never comes.  For once, I thought my wrist watch had packed up. It was 3. a.m on my watch but a look out of the window proves otherwise.  In Russia, they call it ‘’White Nights”. The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight.

Although the phenomenon is not unique to St. Petersburg, in no other northern city have they received such poetic and literary acclaim. What could be more romantic than a walk along the banks of the city’s rivers and canals in almost broad daylight, no matter what the time of day? No other place can rival this experience or the atmosphere on the streets of St. Petersburg during the summer months – lively, friendly, romantic and bustling with people throughout the night as well as the day!

Russia is two hours ahead of Nigeria and we are mindful of the time difference  wearing two wrist watches to keep up with the beat in Nigeria as well.

Exhausted, we went to sleep in the early morning and were awoken when the fire alarm triggered off followed by a voice evacuation message which warned people inside the building not to use the elevators.

Just as we scampered, Duro’s first instinct was to take his flight ticket, Christian dashed for his clothes while I went for my money.(Did I hear you say Igbo man?).

Imagine running down from the 18th floor through the elevator only to meet two Nigerians, male and female laughing their hearts out. They were not the only ones fooled by the alarm. The workers were busy unaware of the danger that loomed, the danger that made me leave jump out without my international passport and flight ticket. What about Christian that jumped the stairs in his knicker? It was a hoarse. It was a test of the fire alarm. In the high-rising building that could occupy 2,000 guests, only five Nigerians ran for dear lives. And yet, we complain and compare Nigeria with Russia. Who wants to die abroad?

UKWU!

IT’S rare to see any Russian girl endowed with the African body that bubbles and sends imagination running high. Here, they are slim, elegant with tall legs and beautiful faces. Ear-rings are hardly used. Those who use ear-rings overuse it. It could be on tongue, nose, eye-brow,  and right inside the body at very private and odd places.

They walk like Models. Cat walks. Always in a hurry. Most of them starve themselves to be that slime and thin.

But Africans appreciate their things in large sizes. The front and rear sizes move in rhythmic order.  A man whose wife is thin is a sign of austerity. Igbo men love to walk behind their wives so as to tell those who steal a second look at their back ‘’that is my wife”.

That is what they hail as ‘’elebe ukwu egbu ewu” which means that means a sacrificial appreciation of killing a goat for her rear endowment.

It was surprising when we saw a beautiful Russian lady rolling her stuff like Kim Kardashian. She works at the Park Inn Pribastilkaya in St Petersburg.

She had noticed that blacks especially Nigerians like taking a second look at her. But what she does not know and understand is the meaning of Ukwu which every black man utters after walking past her.

We ran into her on our way for breakfast. The moment we turned to look back, she too turned.

Unfortunately for me, my key could not open my room. As I came down to activate the key, it was Ukwu that was on duty.

‘’What is Ukwu?”, she asked in her funny English that made nonsense the respect we have for Ukwu.

I helped her to Google to watch a music video by Timaya performing  ‘Ukwu’.

 

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