Sochi is just underway and there has been a myriad of reported issues for reporters, guests and athletes alike. It’s been such a problem #SochiProblems is springing up all over Twitter. We here at Ritz wanted to lend some simple technical advice for plumbing, heating and water issues as well as a few bonus tips. If the games were anywhere in Southern California we’d be one call away but since we’re half-a-world away from Sochi, this post will have to suffice. Here are some quick tips to keep it all together in the face of unforseen technical glitches.
Many countries around the world have built their sewage systems to handle only one kind of solid: the solid that was the pressing issue when you shuffled your way to the nearest bathroom. We wanted to make this note for you before it was too late. The top trick for getting through your experience is to carry along One Wipe Charlies or baby-wipes. Other than that you best bet is to maintain a high-fiber diet.
No Hot Water
There’s nothing like coming home from a long day at work (or Olympic competition) only to find out your hot water heater has broken. It seems at least one hotel needs to have their hot water heaters serviced because Dan Wetzel reported his sochi experience has included non-existent hot water. When you’re at home the luxuries of a stove or microwave still exist, allowing you to easily heat water. What if you’re stranded in a hotel?
Dark Plastic Bag, Hanger & a Window: Grab yourself the darkest water-tight bag you can find, fill it with water, and hang it over a sturdy hanger next to your room’s window. The darker it it is, the more sunlight it will soak up and transform into glorious heat. When it’s warm enough to bear, hang it off your showerhead and poke several small holes in the bottom of it. Be prepared to shower vigorously before the water runs out.
Dealing With Bad Water
Based on initial reports from some of Sochi’s hotels, there’s some not-so-great water coming out of the pipes and faucets around town. Of course, your best move is to find bottled water. If for some reason you just can’t get any, here’s what you can do to at least ensure you’re washing up with the cleanest water possible.
Nylons, Socks or Bandanas: The first step is removing large particulates that are contaminating the water. Pour it through as many layers of clean cloth as possible.
Fire/Bleach: Step two to clean water is thorough sanitization. The easiest method is boiling the (heretofore) funky water. If there isn’t a way for you to get it to that magical bubbly temperature for at least one minute, bleach can be used instead.
Add 8 drops worth of unscented bleach to each gallon, shake, and let sit for 30 minutes. We recommend you only use this water for washing up.
Detecting Hidden Surveillance Devices
Earlier this week, Deputy Prime minister Dmitry Kozak addressed rampant negative publicity regarding the Sochi facilities by stating: “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.”
Startling? Maybe. A stereotypically tone-deaf bluff? Probably. But going into the Olympics there was already concern over just what methods Russia would use to keep tabs on its visitors. Here are some quick tips to guard against becoming the victim of unwarranted surveillance:
Make A Call & Move Around: By waving a cellular phone in the vicinity of suspected speakers or cameras, you may be able to hear interference from devices nearby. You will hear it in the form of a clicking noise.
Shine a Light of Your Own: In a dark room, shining a flashlight on a mirror can reveal if it’s double-sided.
Look for Lights: The simplest way to spot cameras is to look for a small digital bulb that’s been left uncovered.
Get Your Hands On an EMF Meter: Electromagnetic field meters detect magnetic field activity in your area. You can buy them for several hundred dollars online but if you’re in a bind you can even download an app that turns your phone into an EMF Meter.
No Pillow, No Problem
There has been a shortage of pillows in Sochi’s Olympic Village and surrounding hotels. Reportedly, non-athletes were asked either to part with or remain calm in awaiting the arrival of their own pillows. If for some reason that pillow never arrives, there’s a simple way to keep your neck from kinking while you’re supposed to be having the time of your life:
Find a (Clean) Trash Bag: You can easily craft a pillow by either filling it with air or clothes before tying it up. Sound too haphazard? Put a t-shirt over it for a cool, comfortable, non-stick slumber.
Stretching along the Black Sea—at 145 Kilometers—Sochi is one of the longest cities in all of Europe. Conversely, the venue layout is actually the most compact of any Winter Olympics in history.
This means once you’ve reached the venues you should be set. But what’s the best way to get where you’re going? Here’s the official transportation site for visitors attending the games. A combination of rail, taxis and busses will be transporting thousands to this year’s events.
Let’s hope the games themselves go better than the initial rollout. We wish the best of luck not only to the US athletes but to everyone competing.