SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I kept hearing about some disaster that was going to happen in a place called Sochi this winter. Something about gay terrorists with torches attacking bad hotels during a heat wave, or some such thing.
Turns out they’re having the Olympics.
The Soviet Union broke up, but it seems the Russians putting on the 2014 Winter Olympics still adhere to the communist style of efficiency and quality (and personal freedoms). Sochi, by the way, is Russian for “whatever”.
Efficiency? Less than a week before the Olympics, this small town has unfinished hotels, unworking Wi-Fi, and TV’s that don’t tele any vision. Gorki Plaza, intended to be a hub of transportation and accommodations, was indeed buzzing with people—all of them construction workers.
Meanwhile the Russians, once masters of propaganda, recently passed a law outlawing “gay propaganda”. No word on whether straight propaganda has been outlawed, but apparently they’re trying to protect minors (Miners are on their own).
If the idea is to keep underage people from being exposed to nasty sex stuff, wouldn’t they already have general nasty sex stuff laws to cover everyone? It would be like a law being passed in America that covers everyone else, but not members of Congress. Oh, wait …
Russia’s no worse than having the Olympics in China, which is still communist, and run by a government that hasn’t discriminated in who it massacres. That’s the thing about the Olympics: They let anybody run it. You know what the really crazy thing about the Sochi Olympics is? It’s that it’s being held in Sochi, which is a Black Sea resort.
A summer resort.
Maybe the Russians will get most infrastructure problems cleared up, especially with Putin cracking the proverbial (and maybe literal) whip. Still, you have to suspect any hotel where the water looks like apple juice, but is deadlier than a masked killer in a woods full of sex-starved teens.
Also, I’d be a bit hesitant to stay in a place where the toilets come with a sign instructing guests not to flush toilet paper down those self-same toilets. You’re supposed to put it in a provided bin—hey, at least they provided a bin—but one wonders what that bathroom’s going to smell like after a few days.
It’ll smell bad anyway, because apparently if you shower the water will melt your skin off. In one hotel, the staff instructed people not to wash their faces with the water because “it contains something very dangerous”. Huh? What does that mean? Parasites? Zombie virus? Siberian potato vodka?
So, no one can take a shower? We’re talking about hundreds of athletes and reporters, two of the smelliest types of people around.
I looked through photos of the “almost” finished living quarters, and was stunned. They looked as if they’d been constructed by … well … me.
At the end of one hallway there were two windows: One set at ground level, the other along the ceiling. I could understand that in the summer Olympics, when you might need one for the basketball players and one for the gymnasts, but still.
Newly installed light fixtures appeared to be falling to the floor in pieces. Have you ever stepped on the remains of a light fixture? Well, for the full experience come to Sochi, or my house.
A CNN reporter tweeted a photo of his hotel room, which looked like the aftermath of a football victory celebration in Seattle.
Ball-shaped toppers on a banister outside a McDonalds just … fell off. I don’t think they’d be good for curling, but maybe they can be saved for the summer shot putt.
One guy had a nice door to his hotel room, but no door handle. Another found orange peels in his closet. Not the orange, just the peels. The hotel lobby … wasn’t there.
You couldn’t always tell if the wireless internet worked, because the power kept going out. But one guy must have had a good signal, because the internet routers were hanging from a hole in his hotel wall.
Around the village, some of the manholes had no covers, which might be the start of still another arcane Olympic event.
Here’s my favorite: In addition to construction workers, the entire area around the Olympics seems to have been overrun by … dogs.
Forget about terrorists: There was no place nearby for them to stay, and the busses they were taking lost their luggage and ran out of gas. I’d say the athletes should worry about going out onto the ice—and sinking.