Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sochi Musings

Just a few notes about my first few days...
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IBC security:
They aren't fucking around, but they are far, far from effective.
4 days of traversing the secure perimeter, 4 different experiences.
Day 1, standard mag & bag; Turn on phone, laptop, iPad. What are all these cables? Who do you work for.
Fortunately I didn't bring my Leatherman or pocket knife... 

Day 2, now equipped with special "tools of the trade" hologram sticker and my tool bag w/ Leatherman, etc.
Turn on all electronics, examine hologram with a magnifier, examine all tools.
Ask why I need to have tools.
Leave all tools on-site when I go home.

Day 3, On arrival and clearing Mag & Bag, I am 'invited' to an interview room, where the check out my entire bag, every pocket, every pouch. Mobile phones are inspected, covers removed, batteries removed and inspected. iPad cover removed, inspected.
'Questionable' items lined up for inspection... Hemostats, Anker aux battery, laserpointer, cigarette lighter USB adapter, butane lighter, toenail clippers.
Big Boss comes in and examines items. I have to demonstrate the Anker charger...
He gives a grunt and a dismissive wave and walks out.
Time elapsed: 12mins (approx).

Day 4, Mag & Bag, eletronic show & tell. Frisking. A vigorous frisking. (Hm. This is new.) 
And they find the tube of Vegemite in my bag.
This will be fun- trying to explain the paste-like substance that smells vaguely like a skidmark is a breakfast condiment...

- - - 

Sunup is at 8:45am 
Sunset 6:15
Killing me.

- - - - 

NBC Commissary food is, as always, plentiful but bland.
I'd kill, or at least break some legs, for a bottle of Sriracha right now.

- - - -
The breakfast at the hotel suffers from Euro-bacon syndrome.
Super greasy semi-cooked bacon served in a large pan without pouring excess oil off.
I can stomach only one slice... But I have to blot it before eating.
And that is saying something- I can usually drink a quart of bacon grease just to get my innards mooving smoothly on a cold morning.

- - - - -

Hotel is a bit spartan. No dresser, rudimentary closet. But we do have hot water, and the WiFi usually works. I was spoiled in Sydney with the fridge, microwave and stove... This place has an electric kettle.
It does, however, have a balcony, or as I call it, a walk-out cooler.
I have a dozen different beverage bottles lined up outside my door.
Sadly, its not really that cold- only dips to 40f at night here so far.

- - - - - 

The travel between the IBC and the hotel is interesting.
I catch the early bus- 7:00 am... Its a 45 minute trip to the IBC at that time.
I got the 8:20 bus the first morning- that was 70 minutes...
Screw that.
Home is a bit different- 15 minutes from gate to gate... Add 10 minutes at each end to get to/from the bus stop. Not too bad. Word around the campfire is that its a 40 minute walk, IF the get security checkpoint near the hotel squared away.

- - - - 

Wearing a Blackwater t-shirt inside the NBC commissary is an excellent way to get a table all to yourself.

-  -  -  -

More later...

TBG - going walkabout


Old NFO said...

Hoo boy... Don't envy you at all, and it's ONLY going to get worse!

Ben Catoe said...

Have you tried pinning any of the security types to the floor yet? I hear tell from a friend that it can be quite the spectacle.