9th Mar, 2010

Day 2 – Sunday

The adventure all really started for me, I skytrained into the Vancouver Olympic village and grabbed a quick steak breakfast in the workforce dining hall (it was actually lunch, since it was steak and it was noon, but it was my first meal of the day, so it was breakfast).

I then headed to the ‘Welcome Centre’, where every athlete is lucky enough to have their baggage x-rayed and everyone goes through a metal detector before entering the olympic village. I received my instructions on who to pickup and a laminated Kazakhstan flag, then took a car to the airport to pickup the Kazakhstan Chef de Mission – Viktor. After waiting for the delayed Frankfurt plane for 30 minutes, I got a call from a guy in baggage reclaim saying he had my delegate – Constantine. What happened to Viktor? Turns out he was sick. A second call a few minutes later revealed that actually the whole Kazakh delegation had arrived – 3 people! I wasnt expecting the athlete and coach too, as well as all their luggage, so that was the first surprise!

We had a quick photo session, during which the Kazakh athlete attempted to have his photo taken with as many girls as possible! Fortunately, the 7 seater GMC Acadia swallowed all their bags, skis and vodka (2 bags full of vodka alone! Really!). We then spent the 30 minute ride to the Vancouver village admiring the views of Vancouver, the decorations on Cambie street, and the GPS screen in the car! We also established that KAZ-KOM pay as you go phones probably dont work in Canada. Only the Chef de Mission speaks a little English, and my Russian and Kazakh are slightly non-existent, so it was an interesting car journey.

Upon arrival, I took the Chef de Mission to his DRM meeting. I cant remember what DRM stands for, and since it doesn’t matter now I`m not going to look it up, but its basically when the Chef registers all the athletes for their events and does lots of bureaucratic formal and incredibly important stuff. While this was occurring, I grabbed lunch and the Kazakh athlete unsuccessfully chatted up the DRM manager, in Russian.

During the afternoon, Besso, another NPC assistant allocated to Kazakhstan, arrived in the Vancouver village. Besso turns out to be incredibly useful as he speaks fluent Russian. After some more paperwork I picked up the teams allocated car – an identical GMC Acadia, and we moved all their baggage into it and headed up to Whistler. Even with Besso sitting in the 3rd row, we still managed to fit everything in! I cranked up the heating so everyone fell asleep for the journey up to Whistler. Except me.

Upon arrival at Whistler, we went through security, sorted out the keys to the athletes accomodation, drove 10km into Whistler main village to get Bessos room keys and had a midnight snack in the Whistler workforce dining (ok I actually wrote workflow then instead of workforce, tragic eh!).

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