Sochi 2014: You Can't Spell Putin without "PU"

The current leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, the architect of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, is going to have a hard time living down what looks to be some serious structural and facility problems that are facing the 2014 Winter Olympics scheduled to begin tomorrow.  While travelers often complain about foreign accommodations and the difficulty in getting from one place to another, it appears that Putin's problems run deeper than that.

And, while I can sit and complain about the fact that the weather here in Chicago truly is horrible or about the fact that I have a flu that won't go away, I'd still rather be here than in Sochi, Russia.

Separate from the fact that stray dogs are being shot by Russian anti-dog forces and that Russian leaders have declared that there are no gay people in Sochi, everything that is coming out of Russia seems to really stink and Putin is the straw that stirs that smelly drink.

Some examples:

  • The total cost of the Sochi Olympics is $50 Billion including a road built for the Olympics that cost $9 Billion.  This is the most expensive Olympics ever and is four times more than the original estimate.
  • Reportedly, of the newly built hotels won't be ready for the Thursday opening, including the Gorki Grand which, according to CNN was "having some troubles with the water."
  • According to Putin, sports related costs are at about $6.4 Billion.  The site of the opening and closing ceremonies, Fisht Stadium, cost $600 Million but won't host any sporting events during the Olympics.
  • American athletes are being warned not to wear their Olympic uniforms outside the venues.

Those are the  problems that politicians and sociologists and news commentators can take on.  But, what about the important things - like using a bathroom in Sochi.  Check it out and remember, you're in Russia, so you'd better follow the rules:

Most importantly, no fishing in the toilets.

It has also been reported that the tanks on some toilets actually are not finished, so while the shell exists, the mechanics inside don't.  Have fun with that.

Then, of course, you are asked to not flush your toilet paper, but rather place it in a receptacle next to the toilet.  In my favorite news out of Sochi so far, Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) tweeted:

If you can't read the sign, it says "Please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet.  Put it in the bin provided."  Will anyone collect the contents of the bin?

I hope that this brief travelogue to Sochi has been helpful and informative.  I know that I'll be following the Sochi Olympics adventures, and some of the contests as well, particularly men's hockey.

Also, may I recommend the Twitter site - @SochiProblems - to stay on top of developments as they happen.

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