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American Coverage of Sochi

toilet

American press has been very unkind to Sochi, and the Games haven't even started! I can't think of one positive report. All attention is focused on possible terror threats, double toilets, poisoning of stray dogs, hacking of electronic devices, and unfinished and poor hotels for journalists. Such reports are not fabricated, simply follow @SochiProblems on Twitter to see photographic evidence and commentary. You've also seen various reports all over LiveJournal. However, I don't believe it is the norm. Several friends already are on the ground in Sochi and they report most everything is in order. My Austrian friend works for the International Luge Federation, has traveled all over Russia, and attended multiple winter Olympics. She's not a fan of Russia, yet had very kind words to say about Sochi. Yes, there are minor annoyances and problems. This is still Russia. Tourism infrastructure is not the country's strength, and I'm certain there are many things in Sochi to which Westerners will not take kindly. We're spoiled in many ways, used to a lot of conveniences. To me, it's all part of the adventure. Next week, I'll go and make my own conclusions. I'll travel with a Russian, but want to be there as an American. Assess the situation from a foreigner's perspective, not relying on my companion for constant assistance with communication at venues, restaurants, etc. unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

There's one thing I always find amusing in Russia - the signs! Here's one that was published from a Sochi restroom. No fishing permitted in the toilets! Most of the images are self-explanatory, but what is the last image on the right? Seems to me the person is holding a bottle of some kind. No vodka drinking or drunkenness permitted in the WC? :)) Let's have another reader contest. I'll send a prize to the person who comes up with the most original and funny description for the image on the sign. Btw, the winner of my last contest was rollson. I forgot to congratulate him.

Look here or here to see examples of recent American news coverage. Why is it all bad? Well such sensationalist stories draw ratings and intrigue from viewers. It's the same on LiveJournal. Tonight coverage of the actual sporting events begins, and I believe the tone will turn more warm and fuzzy. Unless something tragic happens, the media should shift its focus to background stories about the athletes and competition results. At least I hope, because Russia already has become a bit of a joke and laughing stock to Americans unfamiliar with the nation. And this makes me sad.

Comments

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siberian_cat
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
I have to say, Canadian press is more benign to Sochi. Although it provides its share of criticizm, never missing the issues you mention, in general the reports are quite positive. Reporters note that many of these problems are not unique: overspending, missed deadlines, last-minute fixes are quite common for many Olympics.

The last image probably means "do not use karate to fix plumbing problems".

peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)
I think the terror threat is definitely heightened in Sochi compared to other Games, but the other problems are typical for all Olympic events. "Do not use karate to fix plumbing problems." It's creative! :)) Maybe I should have another contest for the most original interpretation of the sign.
sergechel
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
He is trying to remove the cross )

peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:01 pm (UTC)
You will watch the Olympics, or no?
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fesma94
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
Image: " don't cool vodka in pan ! "
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:02 pm (UTC)
:)) How is Israeli media treating the Olympics?
(no subject) - fesma94 - Feb. 7th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
girlspell
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, the American press is a thin veil of poking fun at Russia. But this all part of the threat of terrorism too. I was talking to my Russian co worker. She used go to Sochi for vacation to get away from the cold of Moscow. It's a balmy 46F today, so the only "hot" spot in Russia is really nice.

I"m hoping for a great Olympics. I've been watching NBC Olympics.com in the hopes they will show some skating (today) or skiing, but so far no. Looks like we will have to see the summary every evening from 7:00PM to 11:00PM. I'm already hating NBC. The network seems reserved from Sochi. In other Olympics the network would work it's morning show from the Olympic site. This time the anchors are staying home. I've been watching information on the men's short program. They will give you the scores anyway. Pairs are up next.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:04 pm (UTC)
NBC will show the events in the evening, during prime time viewership. I like the figure skating best. :) Such coverage and poking fun at Russia seems common with Western European media also. I love Russian snowy winter, so the warm temperatures aren't attractive to me.
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joe_chip
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)
Last picture is about molotov cocktail, like "don't explode toilets"
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:04 pm (UTC)
It makes sense now, but that explanation is boring. It's more fun to create funny interpretations of the sign. :)
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denis_berdnikov
Feb. 6th, 2014 04:58 pm (UTC)
Hi Shannon!

Sorry, but what did you expect from the western media especially US outlets? They should keep eyes close when they have a lot of evidences of Russian stupidness? Of course not, firstly Russia does the same things and even worse sometimes, we love to underline weak points of the USA. Secondly, as a Russian I support a total boycott of Olympics, we don't need it and all this "the show" is a giant fraud for majority of Russians. Thirdly, looks like (from the outside) the USA is screw up with Kremlin on the battle of informational war over Syria (and perhaps over the whole Middle East), and now they take revenge for it, but I'm not an expert just saying what I see. I think, that the best way of acting toward Russia is ignoring, like they have been doing for the last 20 years, because every time when they pay attention (black propaganda) to Russia they treat us equally but in fact we aren't in a club of "big daddies" anymore. Funny thing, we depend on the west and provide our own foreign policy at the same time, am I only one who thinks it is weird?</p>

Ps. Sorry for mistakes guys :(

peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Here your English is almost perfect! Yes, it's okay to make fun of stupid things like wrong English translations on menus, etc. There's no excuse for this. Very simple to find qualified English speakers to ensure the translations are accurate. However, U.S. news is typically more balanced in its opinions. So, they should also show good things about Sochi.

Every Olympics is a "show," regardless of the nation in which they are held. Games in Russia are probably more corrupt than other countries, but I like the Olympics. Always have since I was a child, so I'm excited to go and experience it for the first time. I recognize many readers have a negative impression and don't support the internal resources dedicated to the event. I also understand this perspective.
fakes - (Anonymous) - Feb. 10th, 2014 10:05 am (UTC) - Expand
fakes - (Anonymous) - Feb. 10th, 2014 10:06 am (UTC) - Expand
moonrainbow
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
That's a shame.
You would still normally expect the visitors of an event to respect the event and the host country. It is OK to find reasons to amuse yourself and to show to everyone else, it is just the same way as we are doing. But not OK when you only report failures and forget about the main mission. I have no idea why American media dislikes Russia so much. Maybe they need to visit a psychologist to look for hidden professional problems. :)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:11 pm (UTC)
In general, American media pays no attention to Russia but the Olympics are an exception. It dominates our news here for the past month, but it is not objective to only focus on failures. On this point we agree. It's a pity we will not be able to meet on this journey. Again, I will have a very brief stop in Moscow to catch my return flight home. Please tell Maria I said hello.
a_nimaida
Feb. 6th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
my god .. and here, too, about the toilets ...
why you so like the theme of toilets? ))

well that athletes think about sport

Edited at 2014-02-06 07:00 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
Toilets are essential to life! I do not like the theme of toilets, but funny signs like the one in the photo always make me laugh. In Russia, I have seen horrible toilets. Here's a toilet at a stop right by the Estonian border. Awful!! How is a woman supposed to pee in this? But I also experienced the best toilet ever in Russia! It was at a gas station on the drive to St. Petersburg. Heated toilet seat and big TV screen in the WC. Russia - a country of contrasts! :)

 photo photo20_zps7d891183.jpg
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Just be accustomed :) - xpo_xpo_xpo - Feb. 22nd, 2014 05:21 am (UTC) - Expand
notabler
Feb. 6th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
Forgot one cross: don't hide your gun in the toilet tank :))) But 'Independent' gave a proper explanation of last picture: don't do drugs in the bathroom. Means - do somewhere else
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
And how is UK press treating Sochi? Favorable, or only focusing on all the bad?
(no subject) - notabler - Feb. 6th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Feb. 6th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
This reminds me American signs, actually, which warn you about virtually everything to avoid legal issues.
Like "do not dry pets in a microwave" :)

Picture on the right is likely about drinking from a bottle.
But it can also be: sucking a huge dick, looking at something through a spyglass (a piece of .... in hand?)

It think it's a coverall picture.
If something happens like somebody slips on a wet floor they would ask:
- Did you do _that_ in this restroom?
- Well...
- OK, then we owe you nothing!

qi_tronic
Feb. 6th, 2014 08:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, maybe they simply meant "do not drink tap water"!
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qi_tronic
Feb. 6th, 2014 08:03 pm (UTC)
BTW, it looks that _journalists_ got the _worst_ accomodation in Sochi, in cheap 3-star unfinished hotels.
I do not know if it is a big mistake of organizersor a bit of trolling: we know that you will never write anything good anyway so we'd better care for sportsmen :)
323mersy
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:39 pm (UTC)
Who are you talking with? She is person who is possible to say about:" Pig finds dirt everywhere"
323mersy
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am agree. The Olympics have not started yet but a huge American propaganda machine started to work :) I talked to my friends around the world and they said that publications are pretty neutral, but Americans... :))

What about hotels, they are perfect for me as far as have no rats, cockroach, bugs and bloody bedsheets like in New-York and some other American towns' hotels. I also prefer clean restaurants without inch-layer dust on lamps and furniture and fatty floors or dirty carpets like in most American "restaurants". Most of American people so nice but why they are so unpretentious and have some standards just for show but not the real ones.

Shanon, I would like to say the most of people who write in your journal is very specific and different from most Russian. They hate Russia. The same as you. It is really sad when somebody chose a slogan about "kindness" but hides in heart "hate" and "aggression". I have not so much friends like you around me. Fortunately, Americans are different from you.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
In this post, I am not defending the American press. In fact, the opposite. I've traveled all through America and stayed in a lot of hotels, some of them very cheap, and never experienced the conditions you described. Same with restaurants. Of course, there are shitty restaurants and hotel rooms but it's not the norm here. Why do you think I hate Russia? It's very strange for me that people accuse me of this. I only write about what I see when I travel there, and I would not keep traveling half way around the globe to visit a place I despised. Btw, there are a few Russian patriots who read my blog, but in general most of my readers have a Western mentality. On this point, you're correct.

I said recently that I hope Russia shines during the Olympics, and I mean it.
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(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC)
I've never been to Japan, but I trust your statement. I knew it wasn't an American design.
rollson
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:39 pm (UTC)
I think it is not a problem all these issues are present,
problem is what spent $50 billion, this is more than spending for all previous winter games combined.
Russia faces a lot of problem and no reason to try to cut a wide swath.
This is a national character trait.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
How did you use your prize? I hope on something good. :)
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pasha1980
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
The suspense is growing :) Now I'm really intrigued to learn about what you'll find out in Sochi. Godspeed.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 6th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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