outside the bubble
The first few days of every Olympics are always a blur. They are a mix of dealing with the time zone change and jet lag, jumping headfirst into long shifts at work, and figuring out the surroundings. We work 12 hour shifts 24/7, and our first few days were also shifting times from our first day at 9-9 to eventually end up at our 3-3 shifts. After our first day at 3-3, I took my first real foray out of the hotel/work bubble last Friday when a few of us ventured into downtown after work. Downtown Sochi is 30 minutes north of the games in Adler (my understanding is that the region as well as the city is called Sochi - don't quote me on that though.) We took the train in - part of the new line that runs along the Black Sea and requires full airport-style checks and screening in order to board. Since any time away basically cuts into treasured sleep time, we just took a couple hours to wander to the seaport and back from the main station: an outdoor mall or two, a park full of odd and interesting things, and yeah - a Lenin mural. It was cold and rainy, with nothing particularly special or impressive - but thats typical of Winter Olympics locations. Even so, getting out of the bubble was good. I took my first walk through Olympic Park yesterday and we may try to get to the mountains today, but with the games starting tonight, it could be busier than we want to deal with. We'll see.