Opening Ceremony Opening Game

Opening Ceremony Opening Game

Landed safely in Doha at 04.30 am, after changing flights in Amman, Jordan. At Heathrow they insisted on seeing my Hayya Card, this is similar to the Fan ID in Russia, in that it acts as amongst other things a visa to enter the country. Nothing was asked for in Jordan. I was surprised to find that the temperature in Jordan was just 11 degrees, yet in Doha when I landed it was 25.

Doha metro station.

Decided to stay at the airport till morning as there was nothing I could do. Checking in at my accommodation was from 3 pm.

I got myself a local SIM card so I could connect to the internet and keep in touch with friends. On speaking to the seller I found that he was a construction worker and had been drafted in to do this.

Doha metro.

When I eventually left the airport I headed for the metro. It is certainly state of the art, but there was hardly anyone on it. I found my accommodation in the morning and dropped off my bag.

Everyone had been advised to get to the stadium early for the opening match, and so I headed off in plenty of time. The transport was efficient when I went to the Metro the majority of people were heading in the opposite direction, presumably to the Fan Fest, which I heard later was full to capacity.

Arrived at the stadium, some 40 km outside central Doha, and the atmosphere was calm, there were no security cordons until you go to the stadium itself and minimal police presence. People were handing out bottles of water. Inside the stadium my row was busy and I took my seat and found a goody bag on it. I noticed the seats next to mine were all empty and everyone still had the bag on it.

Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar.
Goody bag, Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar.
Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar.
Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar.

Al Bayt, the stadium derives its name from a style of Bedouin tent, and is designed in a shape resembling it. What I didn’t expect was to see the interior of the stadium resplendent in traditional sadu patterns.

I am not a fan of opening ceremonies, but the words spoken by Morgan Freeman were powerful and appropriate at this difficult time. I heard something along the lines of, "We may not understand the words of people who speak different languages but emotions connect us all."

It was a reminder that there is hope, but that everyone needs to abide by this, all the time.

Inside the stadium, I had to put my jacket on as it was very windy, not sure if that was because of the weather as I was high up in the stadium or the air conditioning.

After the match, I took the bus back to Souq Waqif and walked the last mile home in the time it would have taken me to get on the metro for my one stop.

Today, I feel tired.

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© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com

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