Friday, February 24, 2006

A Little Excitement

The weather in Torino has been cold and cloudy the last few days. Yesterday it cleared up enough to let the sun through, but today it's raining again. We keep putting off going to the Mole because of one thing or another. Today it's the rain. We're going to hit up the Fiat Car museum this afternoon.

Susan Young stopped by yesterday for a bit...she flies back to Vancouver today. We took a little trip to the Stadio Olimpico to take some better photos of the Olympic flame.

(Look John lamp post or power line in it!)

While we watched what seemed like endless amounts of natural gas or propane or garbage (or whatever they're fueling it with) get burned away, just a few kilometres away, I hear the Carabinieri (national Italian police) had a little excitement of their own.

They discovered a car on Via Nizza, the street the MMC is on, with Spanish plates, unmanned with the engine still running. Apparently there's this big event going on called "The Olympics" and security is tighter than usual. No leaving your car running while you pop in for a quick espresso. I guess they were taking no chances and blew the car door open. I wish I could have seen that. How cool would it have been if they just blew the whole car up!

Here's an Associated Press story about it:
Nothing Suspicious Found In Turin Car
February 23, 1006

Turin (AP) - Police investigating an abandoned car near the Olympics' main press center Thursday said it turned out to be a false alarm.

Suspicions were raised when witnesses saw two people leaving the small car, which was left with its engine on near a traffic underpass, police said.

About 150 residents were evacuated from two apartment buildings and nearby cars were towed. A loud bang was heard several minutes later, which police said was a controlled explosion set off to gain access.

Nothing suspicious was found and the car was towed away, said Cesario Totaro, a captain with the Carabinieri paramilitary police. The driver's side door was badly damaged and the window was blown out.

"It was a false alarm," Totaro said. "We arrived on the spot with the dog units, the bomb disposal unit and the anti-terrorist unit."

The car, a red Honda Civic, had Spanish license plates.

Totaro said police were in contact with Spanish authorities and were looking for the owner of the car, which did not immediately register as stolen.

Helicopters hovered overhead on the Via Nizza, a street adjacent to the press center, part of a sprawling former Fiat plant that's also near the Olympic speedskating venue.

The street was opened soon after the car was taken away on a flatbed truck.

So that's what we missed while photographing the flame. That story mentioned the helicopters. The choppers have been circling the city regularly for the last three weeks. Every hour or so a huge military size Polizia helicopter flies over the IBC. It's so loud that it shakes the floor.

That car thing is really the first real terrorist scare I've heard at these Olympics. Security here appears tight, but the Italians seems to be a little complacent after 3 weeks of games. The metal detectors at the venues aren't set as high as the airport detectors. But you still see the occasional person get their bag searched after it goes throught the x-ray. I swear I saw one of the Polizia checking his e-mail with the computer on the x-ray machine. I'm getting good at being x-rayed several times a day.
We almost had a #2 international incident in the IBC the other day when Steve (American EVS operator mentioned in previous posts) used the handicapped bathroom. Since he's arrived in Italy, Steve has had some issues figuring out the Italian toilets. This one topped it.

He couldn't get the toilet to flush after doing a #2. He pressed the button and it wouldn't flush. So he pulled a nearby chain thinking it was the toilet flusher. It wasn't. What it did was set off a very loud alarm that echoed through the entire IBC and set of some flashing lights. He frantically searched in the bathroom for a way to turn off the siren and after about 30 seconds he found a big red button and pressed it. But by then the Carabinieri had already decended upon the said bathroom. None of them spoke English so Steve tried gesturing that it was an accident and the toilet wouldn't flush. They entered the stall to take a look and after careful investigation realised he was telling the truth.

Steve just shrugged his shoulders and shuffle-stepped away from the scene.

That's it for now...more on the Fiat museum in my next post.


Anonymous Belinda said...

Bahhahahah!!! Been interesting reading your Olympic experience blog, but man... that whole poop/alarm story made me choke!

B (Graphic Tom's Wife)

2/24/2006 11:12 PM  
Blogger mermel112 said...

It is a very funny story though. To funny to pass on blogging. I always think it is funny when able-bodied people get caught using the handicapped washroom.

Michelle (Sis) :)

2/24/2006 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true that Bode Miller is going to extinguish the Olympic flame after he has 6 beers ?

2/25/2006 3:15 PM  

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