Saturday, February 11, 2006

February 11, 2006 Ciao from Rosemary

It is 4:00pm here (10:00am EST) and I just finished watching the Cross Country Skiing event live on an Italian station, Rai Duo. While hearing cheers from the fans on TV, I could hear the cheers and a commentator coming from outside – as the venue is just at the bottom of the hill from me. I can actually see the grandstands, some of the skiers and the flags flying in the wind, from our bedroom balcony. I watched some of the ski jumping on TV this morning – they were the same people who cross country skied this afternoon. “Skeleton” is on now. Who ever thought this event up?

We finally got an internet connection in our room last night. It turns out it will be expensive to use: $5.98 US for 1/2hr, $9.58 US for an hour and $23.98 US for 24 hours (within the same 24 hours), so I may not be on it much. As an apology for taking so long to get it up and running, the hotel gave each room 24 hours for free. It has to be used today.

Last night was opening ceremonies. Willeta organized a dinner party in one of the hotel’s other restaurants, that is downstairs from the main restaurant. Last night was only the 2nd time of it being open…the first time was for another NBC event. They brought in a big TV for us to watch the opening ceremonies. Since the commentary was in Italian, most of us did not understand the significance of what was going on. I would liked to have understood why there were arms and legs coming out of the floor – it made me think of synchronized swimming, only that isn’t a winter sport. I was sitting next to a man who will do the commentary for the cross country skiing for the US and he was able to tell us who a lot of the flag bearers were from other countries. He was also the first one in the room to realize that the skirts of the dresses of the women who would enter before each country of atheletes, carrying signs with the names of each country, represented mountains. I was glad that Yoko Ono did not sing, but thought that Peter Gabriel’s version of “Imagine” was awful – perhaps Yoko Ono could have done a better job. We left after the flame was lit (another awesome way!) so did not see the last hour.

Oh, back to dinner, the 2nd appetizers served were HUGE – we each got crocks about 3-4 times the size of what we’d get onion soup in. We all, guiltily, sent back most of what were in the crocks as we still had the main course coming. Of course, dessert, which came on large plates, was about 1 tablespoon each of 2 delicious desserts – one being crème brulee. Too bad the desserts didn’t come in crocks!

At the risk of continuing to sound like a spoiled brat, some of you may get a laugh out of me continuing my saga of “The Housekeepers”…dun, dun, dun…now they come in packs of 3 or 4….zooming through the condo, yelling to each other from downstairs to upstairs, still leaving the front door open. The door opens out instead of in, so it is pointless to try to leave it only ajar when they are here (I’ve tried!) because it always reopens all the way from its own weight. I rarely see the same women twice. When they come, I now put more clothing on top of what I’m wearing - including my parka!! I sit on the couch, reading, as where else would I go? After getting the condo warmed up again after 40+ minutes of the door being open, other people trotted through here for a day or two, bringing the phone, then installers for the phone, or someone adding things to the TV – all leaving the front door open. The other day the housekeepers left the balcony doors in our bedrooms and 2 windows wide open. It was freezing in here! I complained, AGAIN, to the front desk and it hasn’t happened since. When coming back from lunch today, I passed the women who had cleaned the condo today and they were all bundled up with scarfs, etc. as it is really cold out. I did feel sorry for them. I’m sure they’d much rather clean rooms that they can access from inside a warm hallway – I wish there was a warm hallway outside my door too!

Yesterday, Gaya took me back into Sestriere, so I could pick up our laundry while she did other errands for the crew. The streets were full of security and people wearing Olympic clothing (meaning they were workers or athletes) and people coming to see the Olympics. I was surprised to see lounge-like chairs outside of restaurants that those sitting in them could lean back in. People at one restaurant will have a nice view of the downhill skiing as the hill is right a cross the street. When I left the laundry the day before, I didn’t think to ask them to not use scented fabric softener…I wish I had as the clothes came back with a strong smell. Luckily, I didn’t send much of my own clothing to them. I hung the ones I did send, out on our balcony railings today, to air out.

Ciao, ciao! Rosemary


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