When you pack for your fabulous trip to the 2014 Winter Olympics, be sure to make room in your bags for some unusual objects.
We’re not talking about ordinary toiletries – although those would come in handy if you find yourself in unexpectedly close quarters with a bunch of strangers and sharing things like bathrooms and showers.
No, we’re talking about things that most American travelers take for granted when they check into a hotel – things like curtains that actually cover the windows.
One CNN journalist, Harry Reekie, tweeted a picture of himself standing in front of a window with a crumpled curtain rod and its very sad curtain strewn all over the floor. “Shambles,” wrote Reekie.
Others have mentioned water main breaks, broken elevators, rooms without heat or Internet service – even hotels that lack lobbies.
“Ok, so my hotel doesn’t have a lobby yet,” tweeted Mark MacKinnon, an international correspondent for The Globe and Mail. In one lobbyless hotel, however, there was a prominent picture of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Some people have described mounds of construction debris, stray dogs roaming the streets (the Russian efforts to get them off the streets have been well documented), and water so yellow it looks like yesterday’s weak tea – or something you left behind at the doctor’s office.
Russia may have spent $50 billion on these Olympic games, but you'll need to guard your safety. Here is a list of items you can’t forget to bring to Sochi for your great adventure:
- Bottled water. Lots of it. A journalist from the Chicago Tribune, Stacy St. Clair, tweeted, “My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, ‘Do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.’” When she finally got her water, it looked like something to run far from fast.
- Shower curtains. Some visitors have complained these are hard to come by. Be prepared and pack your own.
- Fabreze. If you have to share a toilet with someone ...
- Door knobs. Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! Sports tweeted, “To anyone in Sochi: I am now in possession of three light bulbs. Will trade for a door handle. This offer is real.”
To anyone in Sochi: I am now in possession of three light bulbs. Will trade for a door handle. This offer is real: pic.twitter.com/7AeesqDi8Y— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 4, 2014
- Light bulbs. Enough said.
- Dog catcher nets. You might need these if all the sad stray dogs roaming around Sochi aren’t rounded up by the time you arrive.
- A tool kit. Never know what you might need to repair in a hurry, or during your whole stay, while you’re there.
- A manhole cover or two. “Watch your step in Sochi,” wrote journalist Jo-Ann Barnas with the Detroit Free Press. “I’ve noticed on walkway and on sidewalks that not all manholes are always covered.”
- Garbage bags. “Nothing is finished and there [are] piles of garbage everywhere,” said Johnnie Balfour, an Australian contractor who arrived in Sochi a few weeks ago.
- Purell. Tons of it.
- Another country’s team hat. Or scarf. Or coat. Or gloves. Or something else to distract from the fact that you’re American.
- Dog tags. So the authorities know who you really are and can track you if need be.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: