Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sochi Update

I'm very behind on my Sochi updates.  Garett is half-way through his assignment in Russia.  He has lots of stories to tell...including stray dogs, half-finished amusement parks and museums, delayed openings of merchandise shops, etc.  He had his first day off yesterday and went up to the Alpine Village.  According to Garett, there's not much snow up there.

Tonight he attended his first event and watched the Russians win gold and silver in the pairs final.  He sat in the OBS (Olympic Broadcast Services) observer seats right behind the camera men.  He said it was a partially obstructed view, but he couldn't beat the price - free!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekend Away from London

Ryan and I traveled to Twickenham on the school "coach" (bus) on Saturday for a chess tournament.  There were 34 teams competing for a place in the semi-finals of the English Primary Schools Chess Association championship.  As we crossed the Thames, we got an appreciation for how high the river is and where it has already breached its banks.  It seems as if many parts of the UK are flooding right now.

Ryan is on the Under 11 team and his team placed 5th, which qualified them for the semi-finals. Ryan won 3 1/2 out of 5 matches. After the chess tournament, we took the train from Marylebone station to Oxfordshire and spent the rest of the weekend at the country house of one of Ryan's friends.  The wind was fierce and the weather was stormy, but we had a very enjoyable time.  Ryan did a lot of running around (see pictures below).

We were finally able to Skype with Garett last night.  The bandwidth at his hotel has been limited up until now.  Garett gets the day off tomorrow (Tuesday) and he is planning to go up to the Alpine events to see how far his Olympic pass can take him.  Tuesday will be his only day off for the entire month.  We're enjoying hearing about the stories from Sochi and my favorite one is about the stray dogs.  Garett's kitchen has adopted one as a mascot...Tatiana is black with white paws. It's too bad Garett can't bring her back to the UK!

Ryan with friends

Ryan - lone character running across the meadow

Door knocker of treehouse #1 (treehouse #2 is across the hanging bridge in the distance)

Ryan running across the bridge from one treehouse to the next

A blurry Ryan chases the chickens

Ryan in front of the thatched roof house

Ryan on Board 2

Ryan giving advice to his teammate

Getting ready for their first opponents

Friday, February 7, 2014

Snow Day #9...

Well, the kids and I are home again today.  The temperatures are below zero and the windchills and way below zero.  I figured we'd have a 2 hour delay, but alas, we are closed.  This is my second snow day for the week - I was closed on Wednesday too because we had gotten 4-6 inches of snow overnight on Tuesday/Wednesday and the roads in the southern part of the county were treacherous with blowing and drifting snow.

The snow banks here are impressive.  They might be melted about the time we get out of school for the summer...I'll try to get some photos today.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sochi Before the Crowds Arrive

Garett has been busy in the kitchen feeding the media and journalists before the real crowds start to arrive.  He says everyone he works with is friendly.  The kitchen is in a large white event tent and it was shipped to Sochi from the UK last October.  They also sent 200 staff, including 65 chefs, from the UK to Sochi.  The team is spread out across 11 venues and Garett is based at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Garett says they are still working on infrastructure up until the last minute.  His coworkers warned him not to step on any manhole covers.  So far two people have broken their legs by falling into holes.  Garett has decided to steer clear of all manhole covers!

Note the weather in the pictures below - it could be London.

Bolshoy Ice Dome - ice hockey (the main event for many Europeans)

Olympics Village - Medals Plaza on left (looks like an airplane wing)

Iceberg Skating Palace - speed skating and figure skating

Shayba Arena - ice hockey training rink (two people in colorful volunteer outfits)

Hazardous manhole cover! Note foam around the edges

Swedish House

The Kitchen