Today was another bad day! Being a photographer is not all about taking pictures but dealing with issues whilst on the road. All of my medicine, toiletries and other things had been kept in a white Tesco bag under the sink for just under three weeks without any issues. Today house keeping decided to throw it away.
If my credit cards had of been stolen, or money or even my cameras I would always have a plan B, but when prescription drugs to keep me healthy and alive are gone and I am in Moscow then this is a game changer.
The hotel reception first accused my colleague of stealing them. Then they said that house keeping had only just cleaned the room 15 minutes ago and they I was lying. Then this escalated to I was out to gain money from them and cause problems.
Once I had established times at the scene of the crime and that they were totally out of order and wrong the attitude was that it was not their problem as house keeping never throw away things.
I then demanded to see the CCTV and for them to provide me with the logs on when the door was opened using the electronic keys we have. This could only been done if the Police were called. I called their bluff and told them to call the Police. The only issues was that the Police would first want to turn the room upside down to make sure I was not hiding anything and only then would they start interviewing staff. All I wanted was to go through the trash before it was thrown out. Too late.
I then with my head shaking a big no, went to the airport. I had ample time. Normally the journey is just over half an hour to 45 minutes. Today, Saturday, the roads were crazy. To cut a long story short it took two hours and 20 minutes.
I missed my flight.
I went to the airline desk and they were typically dismissive and unwilling to help until a helpful soul who spoke English just took over the conversation and $600 later I was on an unadvertised flight to Sochi!
Sochi was hot. Not humid but hot, sunny and very warm. Ideal holidaying conditions, not the weather to walk 1KM through the Olympic Park to the stadium.
Today was Uruguay v Portugal. Because of my lateness I got the last ticket handed to photographers. However there was still ample space as only the hard core are traveling to these kind of places and I was more than happy with my position.
Having a logistical mind, whilst having my customary pre-match orange juice and pasta I looked at out schedule and realised that a flight we had purchased previously was not viable from the city of Rostov-on-Don back to Moscow after a game due to the fact that the airport was 40km away.
With no alternative, I went on Skyscanner and found a 4am flight. Next another hullabaloo. My beloved Lloyds Bank had stopped my Visa card AGAIN. Another £90 telephone call using my mobile resulted in limbo. “It had been stopped but seemed OK” was the message.
With in 4 hours I had blown a grand on flights. But it is the FIFA World Cup and we HAVE to get to and from the cities.
Today the fun started. Knock out stages. The Round of 16. A loser and winner was guaranteed.
The game was open and fast paced and I enjoyed the 90 minutes very much. Uruguay fans being typically South American sporting some amazing artistic banners.
Uruguay scored two amazing goals leaving the last 15 minutes with the challenge of getting their star Cristiano Ronaldo summing up their exit looking dejected.
I got about 15 B class images but not a A class that would be sure to grace the global media.
Today we had new balls. Red Adidas balls for the Round of 16.
It was the first time we had covered Uruguay and so plenty of pictures of their players running with and without the ball, feature type pictures and some artistic ones were captured and sent back to HQ in the UK in real time using the Ethernet cables provided pitch-side for photographers.
This was vital when Ronaldo got yellow carded and went crazy at the poor referee. My picture being on picture desks within about a minute of the event happening.
The trip back was less troublesome. Arriving at the lovely Sochi airport I spent a relaxing hour chatting before heading back to Moscow. I arrived at Moscow at just before 7. It was not until 8am that I returned to my hotel.