said the security guard, reaching into my satchel and grasping my asthma inhaler. The smile of satisfaction at actually having done something soon left his face when I explained it was for my mild lung condition and not some fancy, foreign drug-taking paraphernalia or home-made, tear-gas canister. He then asked me to stand like a scarecrow and thoroughly patted me down for "sharp objects" that I might have been carrying. In all honesty I was a little bit miffed. Especially considering we were going to a low division football match between two relatively unknown teams. Especially considering it was bloody freezing, and especially considering how madly intimidating the huge police presence was.
|Hopefully the only time I'll be behind bars in Russia|
The game was free although I did treat myself to an FC Karelia football scarf for 250 roubles which makes a nice souvenir. They were being sold by a freezing cold, but very cheerful girl in a kind of tent outside the stadium. Why she couldn't have been inside one of the stadiums buildings I have no idea. The walk to this merch stand wasn't far but obviously meant another pat down session with Russian security. This time, my guard of choice took a particular disliking to my selection of pens and fumbled each one before deciding they weren't a threatening weapon and chose to pat me down again looking for "sharp things". I sighed and succumbed to the search, trying to make myself feel like a suave secret agent instead of an uncomfortable, twice-molested foreigner...