Monday, February 17, 2014
Well, after a few days away from typing on the bus, it’s back to work on good old TM10. Of course, TM10 is the bus leading from the Main Media Center in the coastal cluster to the Gorki Media Center in the Mountain Cluster.
I’ve become pretty accustomed to riding this bus every day, as just about every day that I’ve been here in Russia, I’ve made the trip from the coast to the mountains and back again. Most of the time, when the trip back rolls around, I fall asleep quickly and get some rest.
But as I head up into the mountains today, it’s just after noon here in Sochi and I have already been out and about. This morning it was curling at the Ice Cube Curling Center. I also exchanged some money at the bank and brought some clothes to the laundry service.
While the curling match wasn’t terribly interesting, with the US women getting beaten easily by Korea, the venue was very nice and had perhaps the best press seats I’ve come across in my time here.
Anyway, today’s trip up to the mountains is bringing about a little discussion on security. Obviously, leading into these games, security was a big deal and a lot was made of the threats against the Olympics from terror groups. So, needless to say, I was expecting a fairly high level of security.
And for the most part, that’s what I’ve seen. The way the bus system works allows media members to move between venues without going through the traditional baggage scan, etc. And the bus to the mountains from the coast allows for the same. The lone exception is the Sanki Sliding Center.
The venue buses all load in what is called a clean zone, which is located inside the security gates. For instance, when I come to the Main Media Center in the morning from my hotel, I have to go through the security check, putting my bag through a scanner and walking through the metal detector.
But once I’m inside that perimeter, I can go to any of the venues in the coastal cluster (by bus or by walking) without having to pass through another security check.
However, I do have to go through gates at each venue, where I insert my credentials and it gives me the green light.
In the mountain cluster, with the venues all spread out, it’s a little different. I can leave the Gorki Media Center clean zone for the alpine center without going through security clearance, but because the bus has left the clean zone, the bus has to go through security each time it enters a venue or the Gorki Media Center clean zone. And each time we go through one of those security barriers, a volunteer or staff member will come on the bus and scan our credentials.
I don’t know if there’s any way to make the Olympics 100 percent safe, but I have been impressed with how the Russians are handling things.
Police presence is constant and there are security personnel and volunteers at every bus stop, seemingly 24 hours a day.
Driving along the highway from the coast to the mountains, it’s interesting to see random police and security officers just standing on the side of the road. Day or night.
I am betting that when I get home, it might take a while before I get used to not having to show my credentials everywhere I go.