More than 20 years later, it still surprises me that the paramedics did not cut off the moaning man’s freezing clothing and try to save his life right there in the hotel lobby. Instead, they put the dead man on their stretcher and asked my editor and I to help carry it to the ambulance. Only once the corpse was safe and secure did they attend to the man who was not yet dead. I would like to report that I had words of comfort for him, but I was too busy trying to keep my footing on the gangplank while holding the stretcher with one hand and the wobbly handrail with the other.
Other than that, it was a really nice hotel. We had a great time in Nizhny Novgorod. I only got a gun pulled on me once, but I did kind of deserve it. Maybe I had lived in Russia for too long by then, but it never occurred me to complain about the hotel. To me, it was an adventure.
So far, the worst thing anyone has reported seeing on the floor of a Sochi hotel lobby was the lack of a floor. The reporters whining about tap water should consider themselves lucky. If you go to a remote city in Russia in the winter expecting world-class hospitality, then you only have yourself to blame. You don’t go to Russia expecting everything to go right. You go to Russia because you’re going to end up with a great story.
Jason Stanford is a Democratic consultant who writes columns for the Austin American-Statesman and MSNBC.