Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Get by with a little help from my friends...

I want to tell you a little about the new friends I’ve made here in Russia.
First is Bon Aqua. You might think that’s a strange name, but this is Russia, so the names are bound to be different.
But Bon Aqua is actually just water. But in a place where the tap water doesn’t seem exactly safe, buying bottles of Bon Aqua is the way to go. There’s also water coolers in the two media centers as well.
Either way, Bon Aqua has become my friend in this very foreign land.
Two other friends I’ve made are TM10 and TM3. Again, strange names I know.
TM3 is the bus that runs from my hotel to the Main Media Center and TM 10 is the bus that runs from the Main Media Center to the Gorki Media Center in the mountain cluster. I spend a lot of time with my new friends. Luckily, they are always up for a ride, even at 2 in the morning when ski jumping has made for a long night at the office.
I’ve learned a few things about my new friends. For instance, I could get off at the TM3 stop for my hotel, but because of the security fencing, I’d have to walk a long way around. I can save myself a few steps (though not many) by waiting one extra stop and getting off there. I’ve also learned that TM10 is a great spot for taking a nice nap, especially on those late night rides from the mountains down to the coast. I’ve also learned that if a bus is going to be crowded, it’s always good to sit on the bench seat in the back, since you usually end up having a little extra space.
This morning, TM10 threw a little wrench into the mix, changing up its pick-up point at the Main Media Center. Instead of picking us up outside the security gate, we got picked up inside the secure zone. I happened to notice the new TM10 sign when I walked in this morning and when I came out, the bus was there. Some people weren’t as lucky, as I saw a few people running around the corner hoping to catch the bus as we pulled away. They didn’t make it.
Luckily, there’s another one not too far away.
In all honesty, I have met some great people. Dan Egan was a great help at the alpine events and even got Loon snow patrollers Ed Sacco and Jerry Brown to come and talk to me for a story. I met a nice guy from the House of Switzerland (many countries have their own houses) who’s Russian skills helped get me through a few spots. And I got to talking to a guy from the USA Today company who comes to New Hampshire every year to cover UNH football vs. Delaware. I also had a good discussion with an NBC guy about the cableways.
But I will say, the one thing that has made people stop and say something to me is the Red Sox hat. I get a lot of comments about that and it’s kind of an instant bond you can share with someone.
As I write this (once again hanging out with my friend TM10 on the way to the mountains), day number five in Sochi is just kicking off. And just like the previous four, it promises to be a blast.

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