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Mac & Gaydos

Canadian journalist recounts Sochi hotel horrors

Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, left, ambassador of the permanent representative mission of Syria to UN New York, shakes hands with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, right, during a round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the UN Special Envoy at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. The talks are the first hosted by the U.N. in Geneva since last April and follow months of bloodshed, stalled aid deliveries and stop-and-start diplomacy _ with the United States now largely sidelined. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

One of the biggest stories of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia has been the poor accommodations for athletes and journalists alike.

While the athletes have been fairly quiet, some journalists have been commenting on unfinished hotels, lack of electricity and general chaos when it comes to getting a place to stay.

Mark Connolly, who works for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, is one of those journalists. His place basically proved the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

“From the outside, they looked fantastic,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Friday. “But as I got closer, I could see the foyer of my apartment building was just a disaster. I mean, it looked like they were still building it.”

Connolly said there was garbage and debris everywhere and it smelled like drywall dust. But that wasn’t his favorite part.

“There were about 150 stand-up coat hangers…in the hallway. It was like trees.”

But his place wasn’t the worst. He had friends and colleagues who had no power, no hot water or, in one case, an open sewer pipe in their room.

So how do they house all the journalists? Connolly said some of his cameramen had to sleep on couches because they did not have beds and others are constantly on the move.

“They’ve been moving people around to different apartments if their apartment isn’t quite done,” he said.

Connolly brushed off rumors of cameras in the hotel rooms.

“I’ve been looking around for cameras but I haven’t seen any,” he laughed. “If they’re watching me, that’s fine. I don’t have anything to hide.”

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