You wake up on the 24th of February finding that 2022 would be a very different year than what the world would have anticipated. No, it's not happening, and it's not happening this way. But the reality is yes it's happening, and nothing can change the will of one single soul. Sad. Then you think. I've been more than once in places where I should not be....where the international news show you people being gunned down between where you are...and your local airport. So first thing first...do not let run your emotions...analyze...and your few moments of thinking do not send you straight to the airport...but tell you to be patient. You are not changing the course of history...and you are not making any difference as of this morning!
Well, this was 24th of February in St Petersburg. Three days later, on the 27th, we have our flights on S7 from St Petersburg and on to Sochi. By the way, that same 24th...all the South of Russia has become a no fly zone...and flights to Sochi re-started only on the 26th. It's normally a short 2 hours from Moscow...but now it's a 5 hours going on top of the
Caspian Sea. Are we going or not? That side, there is no escape by land, so let's pause and think again.
27th early morning...we are in our plane to Moscow and on to Sochi. Guess what, the flight to Sochi is full of happy Russian going down to ski! Sochi is just 500kms from the border to the West...you know what I mean! Trust me, I've done surreal, but the next few days are going to go way beyond any surreal I did!
I'm not a good skier, but I love traveling, and I can hold on skis in many places. Sadly, thanks to covid, my last ski trip was 3 years ago! This is also my 20th country when it comes to skiing!So here we are....land in Sochi, and in a 15usd taxi for the 70 minutes up to Krasnaya Polyana. If you tell me I'm crazy, I'll ask you...what did you do on the morning of the 27th morning. Most of you, just went to work!
Krasnaya Polyana is not Sochi! Sochi is at Sea level on the Black Sea, not the greatest place for skiing! Krasnaya Polyana, so
80kms away is were actually most of the 2014 Winter Olympics did happen. Those games were the game of mainly one man. So now, without going into any debate...go back to few weeks ago in Beijing...than forward way back into 1936. One think for sure, we cannot call the Olympic Games as the biggest guarantee for world peace. Not impressed and actually pretty sad!
Bear in mind how surreal all this is. You are surrounded by holidaymakers. All those people are domestic tourists. All of this is done in a country which is in a state that I cannot call by what it is without risking 15 years behind bar...if I walk back in tomorrow.
We are staying in the huge Marriott. Hotel may be 40% full. The suite is gorgeous, the welcome super nice. Yes, Marriott...in Sochi! We are staying here for 5 nights. The only time I heard someone speaking in English, he was the cook in the hotel. On the slopes, I must have been the only one not speaking Russian. Surreal, yes it is! When you are a guess in a place, you learn to look and listen, and yes,
in a place like this, to keep to yourself. You will ask..but do you know what is happening around? Yes, we have France24, CNN and BBC. The only channel that disappeared was actually RT Russia, true story! We still have access to all online media as well as social media, but remember, this is just the first few days of March 2022!
My phone was ringing non-stop with clients asking what to do with the markets. So I picked it up, in English or French...not a single bad comment or a single face...and still...the world was changing big time, here and next door, and not for the best! I did even chat with some Russians on the chairlifts. Trust me, they didn't like what was going on. Why are we doing this? Why do we need to go back more than 30 years? Why are we doing this to our brothers? Go figure out!
Futile, but how was the ski? Temperature was around 6 degrees...and the slopes are between 950 meters to 2200 meters. So there is lot's of snow, but it's melting fast! Few slopes are open as there is a high risk
of avalanches. Russian do ski decently...in their own country, so felt pretty safe on the slopes!
Food around was super nice, service too. Did I tell you how friendly the people are! Ask, and yes people are scared of what is coming! We still could find everything or anything. Today the place must have 75% of all shops permanently closed down due to be foreign brands. I don't even want to imagine the millions of people losing their jobs left and right...all this for one soul....while all those people are scared. Remember, if you live in Europe or the States, even in most of Asia...you can cherish your freedom! Now, we are back to one view that you can share...everything else is either very private...or will put you behind bars!
But yes, the food was amazing, the slopes nice...and more important....the people super nice and welcoming...but scared for the future!
Tot: 0.036s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 14; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0065s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb