THE BLOG
02/14/2014 12:28 EST | Updated 04/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Here At Last: Some Surprises From Sochi

2014-02-14-sochibanner.jpg Booked three weeks ago on a whim, my trip from Vancouver to Sochi included 40 hours of buses, trains, taxis, layovers, and flights. Not to mention the four hours of standing in lines and two hours of wandering looking for wifi that were required before I could make this post. That said, I'm here and I'm pumped!

Booked three weeks ago on a whim, my trip from Vancouver to Sochi included 40 hours of buses, trains, taxis, layovers, and flights. Not to mention the four hours of standing in lines and two hours of wandering looking for wifi that were required before I could make this post. That said, I'm here and I'm pumped!

Our tech startup -- Shnarped Hockey -- is used by six Olympic hockey players, and the opportunity to meet this many influencers in one place doesn't come around too often. So off I went leaving cofounder Kamil Sikorski to hold the reigns with me gone for two weeks and our third cofounder -- Kyle Hagel of the Portland Pirates -- taking it easy sipping specialty brewed fair trade coffee in Maine over the AHL All Star break.

Below are some quick hitters about my journey followed by my Fan, Civilian, or Athlete of the Day selection.

Days I'll be Sochi... 12

I'm Travelling... Alone, but know a number of people that will be in Sochi

My Trip Philosophy... Be the yes-man (the Jim Carrey type, not the Trainspotting type)

Surprises...

  • Based on language, national colours, and my half-day here, I'd estimate the games are being attended by 95 per cent Russians, 2 per cent Canadians, and 3 per cent other. Canadians are by far the easiest to spot
  • Power plugs in Russia =\ power plugs in Canada and adaptors don't grow on trees
  • An aircraft's safe landing earns a polite "birdie-on-a-par-five" type applause from Russian passengers
  • There are tonnes of young volunteers everywhere; the ones at customs in Moscow were fantastic
  • Yesterday was 23C out and people were tanning and swimming in the Black Sea
  • The only toilet controversies I discovered were on the bus to Seattle; AirBNB came through and my accommodations are way better than anticipated
  • Like not clearing your plate in Italy, buckling up a seatbelt in a Russian vehicle appears to be a sign of disrespect. Related -- singing Bon Jovi songs requires very little knowledge of the English language
  • Coffee (which costs more than triple what beer costs) and wifi are almost impossible to find outside of the Olympic Village. I walked around for 90 minutes this morning before Nyera (see pic in slideshow) saved me

My Fan, Civilian, or Athlete of the Day is... Keith Doan of Windsor, Canada! A little about 'Doaner':

Doaner was Spotted... At the Moscow gate wearing a Team Canada jersey signed by Jamie Benn. Overheard talking about the time he played blackjack with Justin Williams

Doaner Lives in... Dallas via Windsor, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and Denver (note a common theme?)

No. of Jerseys in Doaner's Suitcase... Eight. He is most proud of the Windsor Spitfires' Spezza signed jersey given great memories watching the Spits growing up with his late father

Tickets Doaner has this Week... 20 events including 16 hockey games in 10 days, costing over $6k

Doaner's Claim to Fame... Had the Sports Illustrated 'Tweet of the Week' in April, 2012. Google "@Doanertouque," "the Kardashians," and "circus animals" and it should come up.

The Greatest Game Ever Played According to Doaner... The 1975 New Year's Eve Canada-Russia game that pit Ken Dryden against Vladislav Tretiak

Doaner is Most Excited for... The Russia-USA hockey game given the political backdrop

Check out the slideshow or Instagram @DustinSproat for the runners' up. On tap for today will either be attending the Austria-Canada hockey game or a German House party up in the Alpines. Can't lose!