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Welcome to Sochi: Floorless Hotels, Dangerous Water, Missing Doorknobs, Stray Dogs Dead Or Alive, But Surveillance Cameras Show the Showers Work Fine

by Abby Zimet

Lighting problems at opening ceremonies. Oh dear.

Never mind the homophobic laws, rampant corruption, 24-hour drone surveillance, reported killing of stray dogs and $51 billion pricetag, up 400% from projections. The word out of Sochi from newly arrived journalists is alternately grim and hilarious, with reports of so many small disasters - random hacking, unsafe courses, blockaded yogurt, toothpaste bomb threats, hotels half-finished, rooms with dogs, surplus light bulbs bartered for scarce doorknobs, water deemed too dangerous to put on your face and no foreign visitors in sight - that it kind of makes you wonder, once more, about the whole questionable enterprise of holding vastly expensive, environmentally catastrophic, profit-and-hype driven international sports events in countries where the billions spent and squandered could instead be put into the infrastructure of those countries in order to actually help meet the needs of the people who, you know, live there. Anyway, Russian officials say they're ready for their moment on the world stage, and Western complaints are just an attempt at sabotage. Let the games begin.

"We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day." - Dmitry Kozak, deputy prime minister in charge of Olympic preparations.




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