Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hailed a cab last night in Sochi and shook hands with the Armenian driver.

When asked his name he said, "Robert" to which I replied, "... Like Redford, Plant or De Niro?"

Without missing a beat he stared at me with stern look, pointed and said, "You talking to me?"

Most surprising taxi driver so far!
There's a surprise around many turns here. On Wednesday the temperatures approached 60 degrees, I found a sushi restaurant and discovered potato chips marked like sour cream and onion are actually dill pickle-flavored (tasty).
Thursday was another warm day, and though there was not yet time to try it, the spa in my hotel offers a foot soaking treatment through which flesh-eating minnows go to town on the callouses for one's heels and toes.
Olympic pin trading is gaining steam, and about twice a day fellow American tourists and I cross paths and swap stories about the Sochi commute. It's amazing how clean it is on the train, in the venues and all over the city -- I have yet to find serious litter, even at the end of a sold-out event with the rowdiest of crowds. The train is so quiet and smooth (and spotless) people nod off and fellow passengers nudge them at the end of the line.
Downtown Sochi features a European-style pedestrian park (gorgeous), mini-zoo (there are monkeys
on display just outside my hotel) and urban views of the Black Sea reminiscent of Milwaukee's hilltops overlooking Lake Michigan.
One aviary mystery here: How many tens of thousands of birds are in the black cloud flock 500 yards off-shore? (Seriously, it looks like the Hitchcock film when the black birds churn the water.)
The train station is a 1950s design with a clock featuring the zodiac tracked by month.
Valentine's Day should be interesting. I have a ticket to skeleton competition but need to sell it as a work project will have our P.R. team taking a couple of athletes to The Weather Channel studio in Olympic park for an interview with Al Roker.
It's the mid-point of the journey and all is well.
Photos by Nicholas Wolaver


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