SOCHI, RUSSIA -- We're officially in our third week in Sochi, and I'm becoming a little goofy. OK, so maybe I was a little goofy before I arrived, but you get the point.
Being here that long also meant that I needed to do some laundry, which our "hotel" doesn't provide. There is a laundry service in the main press center at Olympic Park, but I heard it was taking at least three days and let's just say that that delay would have put me in a tough spot in terms of my dwindling supply of clean boxers.
My "hotel" directed me to the hotel down the street, a much nicer place. I dropped off my clothes early Thursday morning and was told I could pick them up the next morning. I had a crazy day on Friday and couldn't make it there so I went to pick them up Saturday morning.
I got there at 8 a.m. and asked for my clothes. I sort of knew things weren't going well when they started calling people on a cell phone. Time passed and nothing. By 8:30, apparently they still hadn't found the person they were looking for. I asked to speak to the manager at 8:45 and he told me they're checking on it.At 9, they told me they had found my clothes and were on the way.
Except, the clothes they brought weren't mine. They were someone else's. I was then told they couldn't find my clothes.
I couldn't wait any longer because I had a long day ahead. I told them I would come back after midnight to get them. They assured me they would be waiting. I wasn't optimistic.
I returned to the hotel at 1 a.m. after finishing all my writing. Three bags of clothes were at the front desk. We checked one. Not mine. The next, not mine. The third one, not mine.
The front desk worker pulled out the cell phone again. My heart sank. She told me they were looking for my clothes. Finally at 1:45 a.m., they said a supervisor had found my clothes and was bringing them up. I held my breath and thought happy thoughts and ... touchdown. My clothes.
Now, I'm not a fancy dresser and have no real sentimental attachment to those blue jeans, boxers or socks but I basically floated on air the whole walk home.
I decided to check out this hotel's restaurant last night after finishing up relatively early (around 11 p.m.). I've only had one sitdown dinner since I arrived, and that was the first night in our "hotel" restaurant, the one that didn't take credit cards or give change when we paid in cash.
The Olympic schedule requires eating on the run. My dinners have pretty much consisted of chicken sandwiches from the vendor in the press center or salads from McDonalds.
But my eyes became as big as the moon when I saw steak on the menu at this restaurant. Felt like I had won the Powerball.
I'm pretty sure I won a gold medal in fastest time a human has consumed a steak. I inhaled that piece of meat in about 4.7 seconds. You ever watch one of those hot dog eating contests? It was like that, only faster.
I floated on air again as I walked home.
I cursed that hotel a few days ago. Now, it's pretty much favorite hotel on Earth.