Sochi 2014: How We’re Living

My daily morning view while waiting for the shuttle bus to the Gorki Media Center in front of our apartment building (at left) in the Rosa Khutor village of Russia.

When I first got settled on the ground here in Rosa Khutor (the area I’m actually living in, which is in the “mountain cluster” about an hour north of Sochi proper), I got a lot of texts and Facebook messages asking me about our living conditions. At the time, the American media was making a big to-do about the poor shape of the hotels many were arriving at. True enough, I had colleagues in Sochi who had to deal with brown running water, nights without electricity, on down to simple things like no shower curtains.

Our situation in Rosa Khutor, however, could be best described as a 180° flip from those stories. Myself, along with colleagues Nathan Bulow and J.D. Mercer, are staying at an apartment-style ski resort called the Valset Apartments, which was finished well in advance of the Winter Games. Our unit has two bedrooms, a large living room (which we’ve made into a third bedroom for Nathan), separate toilet and shower rooms, a full kitchen, and even a small washer! We have daily maid service, keyed entry into the building, and a free breakfast buffet at another hotel within walking distance across the river.

In short, we’re living like kings, and we’re not lost on the fact that we got very lucky with our accommodations.

Our home away from home, the Valset Apartments (#2 if you have special care-packages yet to be sent).

The foyer area in our unit, complete with the little washer which has actually been a lifesaver. There’s no dryer, though, so it’s not uncommon to come home to someone’s clothes hanging around to dry in random spots.

This was the living room, which we’ve made into a third bedroom for Nathan. It has a door that closes, so the designers of this place were thinking ahead with the space being flexible!

Next to the living room is the full kitchen, with J.D.’s pasty white leg providing some bounce-fill light. The only thing that’s missing here is a microwave, but we’ve managed with heating things up on this other device that was included called a st.. sto… ve.. stove! Yeah, that’s it! Stove.

Just down the hall is my room, where all the magic happens! And by magic, I mean staying up way too late to post these blogs as well as charging batteries. Oh, and that occasional thing we get here sometimes called sleep.

Around the corner is J.D.’s room, where similar magic happens.

The shower / tub room. If I had to raise an issue with anything here, it would be in this room. 1. The bottom of the bath tub is about 12 inches higher than the finished floor height, so you really have to be careful when dismounting from this bad boy. J.D. warned me of it on my first day here, calling this large step down, “The Widowmaker.” 2. The plumbing in this building seems to be interconnected with every other unit, meaning that the water temperature of the shower will go from scalding (no joke, so hot you have to step out of the water) to arctic around 12 times per session.

Just next door is the toilet room. There’s also a sink and mirror in here as well, which makes getting ready at the same time as someone else in the morning a breeze.

I saved the best for last! In the shower / tub room, the wall-mounted radiator also doubles as a towel rack! Imagine, stepping out of your morning shower to be greeted with a towel far above the ambient air temperature. It’s heaven-sent! It’s like receiving a warm hug from a friend who’s been, well… sitting on a radiator all night! Work with me people, this is stuff we don’t have back home.

Guy’s Russian Word of the Day is, “дома,” pronounced, “Doma,” meaning, “Home,” as in, “The Valset Apartments will be дома for the next five days or so.”


Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Sochi Winter Olympics, Travel by Guy Rhodes on February 20th, 2014.

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