9 Travel Tips for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games (Many from Yakov Smirnoff!)
1. Leave Your Dog at Home
Lest Lucky the Lab get confused for Sergi the Stray, do not bring your dog with you to Sochi. "A pest control company which has been killing stray dogs in Sochi for years told The Associated Press on Monday that it has a contract to exterminate more of the animals throughout the Olympics," Huffington Post reports.
Before you judge the Russians, the Greeks are believed to have euthanized hundreds of stray dogs before they 2004 Athens games. Killing canines: as much of an pre-Olympic tradition as the torch run, construction delays and controversy over who makes the figure skating squad.
2. Listen to Yakov Smirnoff
Between Russian president Vladimir Putin's repressive rule and Sochi being ill-prepared for the Olympics, Smirnoff's Soviet-era schtick will be back in style and give travelers some perspective during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Don't just take our word for it. The Today Show thinks Smirnoff's hot again too:
3. Bring Your Own Water
My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, "do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous." #Sochi2014- Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) February 4, 2014
4. Homosexuals: "Just Leave Kids Alone, Please"
This tip we outsourced from none other than Putin, who gave it in response to being asked about Russia's attitudes towards homosexuals.
As Jon Stewart noted on The Daily Show last week, in addition to being misguided and offensive, it was hypocritical too:
5. Pack a Bathroom Dividing Wall
Remember the twin toilets that went viral a few weeks ago?
They weren't a joke:
6. Olympians: Pack a Bedroom Dividing Wall Too
Olympic Villages make Vegas brothels seem chaste (organizers order 100,000 condoms per Olympics). But getting a little privacy in Sochi might be tough based on this photo:
One of rooms Canada men's hockey team will stay in pic.twitter.com/7OJQd2m4bq- Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 4, 2014
Forget your dividing wall? Smirnoff offers a local alternative:
7. Prepare for Traffic Congestion
"Maintain flexible itineraries as traffic congestion is likely to be severe," according to International SOS, a medical and travel security risk services company, and Control Risks, a global risk consultancy. "For example, journeys from Sochi to Adler can currently take up to two hours at peak times." So about the same time as it took to move six inches waiting for an NJ Transit ride after the Super Bowl.
8. If You're Going to Criticize Putin, Be Prepared to Hire a Crane [NSFW]
9. Remember, You're an American Damn It
The U.S. Embassy in Russia has an entire webpage devoted to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. In an emergency, it advises calling the U.S. Embassy's American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at +7-495-728-5577 during regular business hours or +7-495-728-5000 after hours.
And if it's really getting out of hand, head to the Black Sea and wave down the USS Mount Whitney or USS Taylor, two Navy vessels that'll be patrolling the area.