Monday, February 20, 2006

The Bad Things About These Olympics

Sorry about the lack of posts the last few days. I had the laptop stashed away for a few days. Despite what some have thought, I actually still haven't been assigned to anything. But I have done a little more sightseeing. But one of my installments today is a little different...

While my experience here at Torino 2006 has generally been a positive one...I do have some gripes about Turin and these Olympics that I haven't mentioned yet.

1. The Media Village
These buildings aren't meant for human occupation. Our Media Village "Verolengo" is a brand new building but was definitely rushed to completion. It looks good to the outside and even the hallways are fine. But once you get into the actual rooms it's a different story.

You share a bathroom with one other person, you get your own private sleeping quarters that's about 100 sq ft. There's a twin bed, a desk, a large stand-alone closet, a coat rack and a small side table. if you're lucky you get a patio. I have one, but the view is a big hole in the back where they're starting construction on another building. There is no kitchen of any kind, or even a fridge for that matter. I use the patio as my fridge. (It's cold enough to make my water cold)

The washroom you share is tiny. The shower stall isn't built properly and the shower curtain is sketchy at best. The curtain rod wasn't installed properly so it sags and the little drain thingy isn't set up properly. When I shower the bathroom gets flooded. You spend a lot of time mopping up afterwords unless you can cleverly tuck the shower curtain into the shower thingy. I really should just take a photo of it.

The locals that I've been working with here say that this area of Turin has developed in the last 6 months. Hastily built and rushed for the Olympics. After the games, they're going to be developed into rental apartments. I couldn't see that until they gut it and rebuild the interior.

2. The Food...At The Media Village
This is where I the Italians have really surprised me. Every morning we get a free breakfast. Actually they refer to it as "American Breakfast." It's basically their feeble attempt at bacon, eggs, sausage etc. It really is just runny liquidy egg like things, bacon that's barely cooked, weiners disguised as sausage, crousants that are dry and hard and toast made on something called "RotoGrill," where stick your bread on a roundabout with heaters under it. After several minutes, your toast is made. It's all self-serve.

The coffee is like mud. But this is my theory. In Italy, they make coffee by the cup. Rarely is a cup brewed in a pot and poured. I think they just don't understand what an "American Breakfast" is supposed to be like.

Those aren't the only options. They have various yogurts, jams, fruit cocktails and cereals. But it's the same stuff EVERYDAY. You'd think they'd change it up a bit with waffles or pancakes or something. But someone dropped the ball on this and figured this is what we'd want to eat for 20 days.

They offer something in the evenings, but it too is sketchy and costs €12. There are two positive though:
- In the morning they have a juicer machine. You put your cup in and take some Sicilian Blood Oranges from a basket and throw them into the machine. It spits out a cup of fresh squeezed Blood Orange juice. Really good.
- And in the evenings, they have free Italian white and red wines with Italian cheeses and meats to snack on. While you munch and drink, two really hot 20 year-old Italian girls who barely speak English tell you about Italian food and good Italian products to eat.

3. Traffic
There is no logic to the streets and the transit system of Turin. They have trams running up and down streets with cars cutting in front of buses attempting to mow down pedestrians. I'm shocked I've only seen 3 crashes here.

They split up their main streets with "express lanes" on the inside with regular traffic moving in lanes on the outside. But they put all the buses in the outside express lanes so the only way for someone in a little Fiat to get out of that lane is to cut the bus off. Keep in mind that this happens at 60-80 km/h.

Red lights and pedestrian crossings are mere suggestions. But apparently this is quite tame for Italy. Rome is supposed to be a complete mess!

4. Pollution
Italy still uses leaded gasoline for it's older cars. Add that to the industry that makes Torino a viable city and the extra diesel buses and trains in town for the Olympics and you get a nice brown cloud over the city. Several of us have had actual soot come out when we blow our nose.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What...were expecting a
5 star hotel with room service

2/23/2006 10:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home