Saturday, February 8, 2014

Oh the places you go (on bus after bus after bus)

I’m cruising along in the back seat of the media bus that runs from the Main Media Center in Sochi to the Mountain Media Center, the base of operations for the outdoor events of the Olympics. It’s a good chance to reflect on the first hours in Sochi.
My first impression is that I’ve never heard so many different languages all at once. Seemingly everyone is saying something in a different tongue. For someone who’s lived his whole life in New Hampshire, that is a little bit of a shock, but it is also kind of neat.
Like the helpers at the Moscow airport who guided me through the airport with a smile and a friendly face, everyone I have encountered in my first visit to the Main Media Center has been incredibly helpful and has spoken much better English than I could ever speak Russian.
The last couple of days have basically been a blur, from finishing up last minute stuff in my office in Wolfeboro to hitting the road to Logan, to jumping from one flight to another to another. I landed in Sochi after midnight Saturday morning (Sochi time, nine hours ahead of New Hampshire). I was happy to see that my luggage also made the entire trip, though I had to clear customs in Moscow, so I already knew that it made it that far.
I got on a bus from the airport to the media hotel area (I have a feeling buses will be a big part of my life the next few weeks) and was able to check in and the staff directed me to my room.
After reading the countless reports of reporters who have found insane conditions with their rooms, I was a little concerned about what I would find.
At first glance, things seemed good. The lights turned on, the sheets on the bed appeared to be clean, there were pillows on the beds, there was toilet paper and a shower curtain in the bathroom and when I turned on the water, it was warm.
Internet connection at the hotel was a little spotty, but I have a feeling I won’t be doing much work from my room. I slept for a few hours and at 6 a.m. I was up, ready to go for my first full day in Sochi (after a nice warm shower, of course).
I hopped the bus (there they are again) from the hotel to the Main Media Center, where the very helpful young lady in the press workroom (which is massive, to say the least), helped me get set up with my internet access. I was able to clean out the e-mail and prepare for the day. She also told me to check in at the main help desk, where they handed me a press kit, which was a backpack filled with lots of neat things, including a bottle of water, which was a big thing for me since I was just a bit thirsty.
The downstairs portion of the media center is filled with many different services and I was able to get into a bank to get some money changed, which allowed me to stop at the store and buy some more water to keep in my hotel room.
Then, I got on the bus to the mountains, which is where we began.
This exciting opportunity is just beginning and already it’s something to remember.

Cableways are a common form of transportation around the mountain venues... I haven't ridden one yet... but I will.

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