Welcome to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where the beds are small, the toilets don't accept toilet paper, the water is yellow and the stray dogs, well, their numbers are dwindling.
As journalists, athletes and fans descend upon Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, they are finding various issues that will make life for the next couple of weeks hilarious, treacherous or some small chasm in between.
Deadspin's Tom Ley spotted some rather intriguing tidbits floating around the Internet that highlight how many of the athletes will live and sleep for the duration of the games.
In the end, your hypothetical value motel along the highway comes loaded with far more amenities than the athletes' dormitories. The Canadian Press' Stephen Whyno shared the following image of three beds dedicated to members of the Canadian hockey team:
To be fair, if your idea of a bedroom is simply a room with beds, Olympic officials are knocking this out of the park. And let's be honest, small beds are sort of a theme for bigger athletes at the Olympics anyway.
Fortunately, we live in an age when videos afford us a closer look. Pavel Lysenkov, NHL editor for Russia's Sovietsky Sport provides this look:
As Lysenkov's video shows, the rooms are, for the most part, bare; there doesn't seem to be any television sets and the one bathroom is quite small. The athlete dorms are very much like what many of you might imagine of your own college dormitory.
This is hardly the only issue facing the greater Sochi area at the moment, however.
We might as well get the disgusting out of the way now. Yahoo! Sports' Greg Wyshynski is dealing with this on trips to the lavatory:
Some of you want a free breakfast or Wi-Fi amid your hotel amenities. Instead, you should just be grateful that the toilets in your room or around town actually accept toilet paper.
Thankfully, there are no reports of journalists being told the bathroom was an outhouse or merely given a roll of toilet paper and told just to dig a hole in the woods.
Once you enjoy a good night's sleep in a tiny bed, stare at a blank wall for entertainment and relieve yourself in the restroom, all the while hoping it wouldn't reject some of its contents like a stubborn porcelain bouncer outside a club, you need to take a shower.
The National Post's Bruce Arthur, writing for Canada.com, brings a wealth of issues facing Olympic denizens to light:
Sochi? Well, three of the nine mountain hotels have not been completed, and the IOC estimate that 97 per cent of the rooms are ready appears to ignore the little things.
Almost every room is missing something: lightbulbs, TVs, lamps, chairs, curtains, wifi, heat, hot water. Shower curtains are a valuable piece of the future black market here. (One American photographer was simply told, “You will not get a shower curtain.”)
Based on what Arthur found on Twitter, shower curtains appear to be the least of Olympic-goers' concerns.
The Detroit Free Press' Jo-Ann Barnas luckily spotted a manhole missing its cover before she fell through like a cartoon character suffering a very human injury:
All of these issues seem to be taken with a chuckle that keeps the real worry at bay. At least, that's what we gleaned from a couple of tweets from The Chicago Tribune's Stacy St. Clair, who found the usual warning of not drinking the water taken up a notch: Don't use the water at all.
And, as Arthur reported, tainted water is hardly the only fluid you have to be wary of in at least one hotel.
For those travelers exhausted from a lack of sleep and struggling with restroom issues, just be glad you aren't a dog.
Sky News reports the population of stray dogs is being, well, dealt with:
Thousands of stray dogs are being killed in Sochi so visitors to the Winter Olympics are not bothered by them.
Until now, the dogs have been living amid the mud and rubble of Olympic construction sites, roaming the streets and snowy mountainsides.
But as the Games draw near, Sochi authorities have commissioned a company to catch and kill the animals so they do not create a nuisance.
The news obviously caused a flurry on Twitter. Deadspin's Barry Petchesky shared his thoughts on how other locales dealt with similar issues:
And so, just days before the Winter Olympics begin, hotels are still being completed, some water isn't safe to use and we have a situation that is at best a funny collection of unfortunate mishaps, delivering inconvenience and little else.
At worst, there are very real hazards.
Really, there is no better sign of the sentiment among visitors than this Twitter exchange between Yahoo! Sports' Alan Springer and Charles Robinson:
Those heading off to Sochi undoubtedly feel the trepidation that comes with any form of travel. When it comes to these specific games, the worries are exacerbated thanks to terrorist threats and a wealth of negative reports about the accommodations.
For the fortunate few who make the trip, enjoying the Olympics might have to come at the expense of a shower curtain—if you can use the water, that is.
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