by Joan Valentine

The Olympic Pat Down, Sochi security. Our safety in Sochi was a much discussed event prior to departure. And getting through the layers of security seems to be an athletic endeavor! But true to human nature, the standards seem a bit more relaxed each day. As in any airport, one cannot take liquids through the X-ray machines. Unless of course, they are a major sponsor. While water is prohibited, Coca Cola is accredited! Yesterday, I managed to get through with half a cup of coffee. I was told, it was okay if it was less than a liter.  Mind you, it was in a McDonald’s paper cup. Now that’s what I call the true Olympic Spirit.

Once you go through the Xray machines, there are at least 3 variations on the pat-down,   And to be clear, we go through a lot of X-ray machines. I am surprised they don’t have them outside the public toilets.  There is the Full Grope, the Partial Grope  and the Cursory Grope.   My first day I experienced the Full Grope, administered by a nice young Russian girl. She was very polite and business-like as she put her hands all OVER my body. And to think she will do this, all day and every day for the next two weeks.  The Partial Grope, involves removing your lip balm from your pocket and explaining why cow bells are important at a ski race. The Cursory Grope is a quick pat down, followed by an immediate request for a souvenir pin or trinket from your person so that they can trade with their friends.  All in a days work, young comrade!