Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thank goodness for internet...

We FINALLY have internet back at camp…it went down on Saturday, was in and out on Monday, and was out until late last night. It’s so frustrating being isolated from the rest of the world! So to backtrack a few days, here’s what’s been going on…

Saturday: Sarah, Katie and I decided we needed to get out of camp for a while and get away from everyone in our very small living quarters. We spent the day in the village just relaxing and hanging out. We saw Leap Year (which was super super super cute) and went out for Mexican. When I was trying to fall asleep, a train kept blowing its horn. It was bizarrely like I was back in Columbia haha

Sunday: Sunday was pretty lame for me…a bunch of people went bungee jumping, but since trying to kill myself isn’t really my thing, I opted out. I just did laundry and caught up on schoolwork and sleep. It is so nice to be in the only person in the room for a few hours when there are usually ten.

Monday: Monday was fairly uneventful…I worked in the office all day, trying to figure out how many beds were available in the camp. It’s nearly impossible to tell by just walking in a room because everyone moves around and puts their stuff everywhere. We labeled every bed with a number and are now ensuring that people are assigned to (and staying in) just their specific bed number. After work, we went to pick our accreditation passes. This allows access into venues…I feel very cool and official J

Tuesday: Tuesday was probably the worst day here so far. The camp where the entire Olympic security team (a company called CSC) is being housed called our company and asked for help, because 500 people were due to come in the next day and NOTHING was ready. All of the Cleanevent interns were pulled out of camp and their venues to help prepare the rooms. We spent the morning sweeping rooms and distributing linens…then spent the afternoon carrying full-sized lockers down three flights of stairs and then into other buildings. It wasn’t that any of us minded help, but the site was completely disorganized and nobody could figure out what they wanted us to do. It was also the first time I’ve worked on a construction site (completely male-dominated) and been disrespected and treated like a moron because I’m a female. When we finally left, there was a miscommunication with Cleanevent about when our shuttle was picking us up…we ended up waiting outside for 1 ½ hours. Needless to say, the day was rough for all the girls.

Wednesday: Definitely the best day I’ve had. I got to spend the day with Hugh (Hughie) Carey, the precinct manager for Whistler project. This basically means he is in charge of all the venues. This is his 4th Olympics, and he seems to know EVERYTHING. When I got to his house, we just talked for a while about what the company did. He was explaining about how cleaning is just a tiny part of the job; it’s more about managing people. If they’re not fed, housed, uniformed, and in good spirits, they’re not going to get the work done. In the morning we visited Whistler Olympic Park (WOP), where there are three venues: cross-country skiing, biathlon, and the ski jump. These places are absolutely incredible. The ski jump is higher and steeper than you can ever see from on TV, and I had to wonder if the people who fly off the ramp are suicidal or mentally unstable. At WOP, I got to sit in on a meeting with Cleanevent, VANOC, and another company about snow removal. All of the companies here at the Olympics have very specific contracts and it’s amazing to see how they interact with each other. For example, our snow removal contract is for steps, landings, ramps, bleachers, and only 1 meter around buildings at most venues, while another company handles plowing, etc.

After WOP, we spent a few hours at what will be the Celebration/Medals Plaza. This is where medals ceremonies for all events occurring in Whistler will be. There will also be a concert there every night during the Games. There are some pretty big name acts coming, including Usher, The Fray, and All American Rejects. This is the first time managing a venue for the guy that Cleanevent has stationed there and he needed some help organizing his stock room of cleaning supplies.

Later in the afternoon, we had to go back to WOP to handle an issue with another company. Our guys had put sheets of plastic on all the bleachers so the upcoming snowfall wouldn’t get down between them. Another group was coming through and needed the bleachers uncovered to put the seat number stickers on them. It took forever but finally we worked it out that they would only let our team move the plastic (so it didn’t get damaged) and that they’d be done by Sunday, since a huge snowfall is predicted for Monday. It’s really the random little things that seem to cause the biggest headaches. Before we headed back to camp, we got to drive through the Athletes Village. It is absolutely AMAZING. I would definitely be okay with living there.

Last night, my parents finally got Skype and it was so great to talk to them/see them. My mom was so excited about getting it working. Later, Sarah, Katie and I went to this pub in the Village for a few drinks and nachos. It was a really cool place that had these huge heaters so we could sit out on the patio. We’re trying to figure out plans for this weekend…it’s down between going to Vancouver for an NHL game or going ziplining here. I’m definitely looking forward to it, either way.

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