Comments: 655 • Responses: 75 • Date: 2013-11-10 18:22:57 UTCsource
DeliriumWigger154 karma2013-11-10 18:40:21 UTC
Are all the people there really bears on unicycles?
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metarinka327 karma2013-11-10 18:49:37 UTC
No, it's a common myth that they all have unicycles.
cyclealltheway125 karma2013-11-10 18:51:34 UTC
Do you see any large-scale or small-scale corruption? If so, how bad or blatant is it?
I'm actually from Russia, so it is interesting seeing it from a different perspective.
metarinka175 karma2013-11-10 19:25:13 UTC
first hand i have not seen any corruption or any signs of anyone paying off the police or what not. The cabs will try to rip you off if they think you're a foreigner, luckily I speak enough russian to shame them into giving me the local rate.
Teaandchips77 karma2013-11-10 19:43:18 UTC
luckily I speak enough russian to shame them into giving me the local rate.
luckily I speak enough russian to shame them into giving me the local rate.
Is Russian somethng you picked up when you went over or did you know it before you left.
metarinka107 karma2013-11-10 20:09:31 UTC
I dated a lovely ukranian girl for a few years in college. My roommate was from siberia and the other from kazahkstan, so i learned a little bit of russian and had practiced then. I've been studying while i'm here and surrounded by it. The writing is phonetic so once you learn to read you can at least sound out most all words.
Robertooshka54 karma2013-11-10 20:12:41 UTC
Damn, you are lucky. I learned Russian by myself and Russian speaking women want nothing to do with me in America.
cbartlett22 karma2013-11-10 20:49:06 UTC
That's interesting. I learned Russian on my own and every Russian-speaking girl I meet is fascinated with an American who speaks Russian. It has ehem, paid dividends, if you will.
metarinka13 karma2013-11-10 21:14:41 UTC
I think most russians are happy when you try to speak russian with them. It goes a long way.
cyclealltheway14 karma2013-11-10 19:34:38 UTC
Any work related corruption like people taking bribes to buy materials from a certain distributor, or something like paying people off for looking the other way regarding building code, environmental or safety violations or other similar things?
metarinka22 karma2013-11-10 20:10:41 UTC
not that I've seen, I'm working on a specific installation and our russian counterparts handle all the purchasing and the like. I haven't seen a lot of environmental or safety type oversight it's not like OSHA is there to shut you down for safety violations.
TheMasterOfNone4 karma2013-11-10 20:53:18 UTC
What's the local rate vs the foreigner special? How do you shame them?
metarinka4 karma2013-11-10 21:18:59 UTC
From Nova Viyek to my hotel is about a 30 minute walk or 5ish minute car ride no traffic. Local price is around 140 rubles which is 4ish dollars. As they see that I'm american I had people try all the way up to 700 rubles ( 22 dollars).
I tell them that I'm american, not dumb, and ask them "is that what you charge russians?". I tell them no more than 200 hundred. Some take it, some refuse.
RittMomney-4 karma2013-11-10 19:56:32 UTC
of course you'd say that. no offense, but i would guess you're one of the few black Americans working on this, so if you call out any corruption, well, i wouldn't want to be the one dealing with the accused Russians...
metarinka1 karma2013-11-10 20:11:41 UTC
they've been cool to me, I'm more of a novelty and I haven't had to deal with any racism, cops haven't hassled me yet but my white coworker has been asked to show his passport 4 times already.
poikjnb22112 karma2013-11-10 18:43:28 UTC
As an American do you experience any animosity in Russia from colleagues or locals?
metarinka326 karma2013-11-10 19:08:41 UTC
Not animosity no. But I'm black and I've never been stared at more in my life. I kind of knew that when I went over here, but a lot of these people have never met an american let alone a black guy so they just stare the fuck out of me, or leer and giggle. It's okay though. lots of people want to take a picture with me or touch my hair. A few locals have bought me beer or offered me vodka or chacha(bathtub vodka)
The guys I worked with are all cool and super helpful, they joke with us and are cool to work with. Russians are known for being cold at first, but warm up once you know them.
thatchersbritain159 karma2013-11-10 19:31:08 UTC
Your black and you went to Russia? You have big balls.
metarinka105 karma2013-11-10 20:13:18 UTC
I volunteered. I speak a bit of russian and I always wanted to visit. i stick out soo much though, and people just stare and stare and stare. Lots of girls want to take a picture with me or touch my hair.
GorillaBallet28 karma2013-11-10 20:19:15 UTC
That sounds promising, hopefully while you're there you can engineer an amazing porno or two.
metarinka16 karma2013-11-10 21:20:15 UTC
I did have a lovely group of ladies hitting on me today, I've got a nice girlfriend back home that I'm looking to keep though. I've already dated a russian I don't need a repeat.
MichiganMan1221 karma2013-11-10 20:31:17 UTC
That's not all they wanna touch OP, they wanna touch your big, black, American penis.
metarinka2 karma2013-11-10 21:20:53 UTC
as someone from michigan I approve of your message and user name.
Townsend_Harris4 karma2013-11-10 21:06:38 UTC
If you get a chance, you have an open invitation to come up to Saint Petersburg. PM me if you're interested
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 21:23:52 UTC
I would totally love to, but I unfortunately have to get back to the US to start the next project. My co worker is taking vacation in st petersburgh because he wants to visit. he doesn't speak a word of Russian. If I PM would you be willing to meet up with him?
redeyedstranger23 karma2013-11-10 20:43:32 UTC
I live in Moscow and there's actually a lot of black people here, mostly Africans who went here to get education. In Sochi they're far less common, thus the reaction. A lot of foreigners actually quite overestimate racism and homophobia in general population in major Russian cities, usually you'll get a surprised look at most. The animosity will only come from skin-heads and bigots, who are hardly more common here than anywhere else in the world.
metarinka6 karma2013-11-10 21:25:30 UTC
yah I have an afro so i definitely stick out, I haven't felt any hostility or what not, but I'm definitely a novelty here in Sochi, I only ever saw one other black guy and he worked for the IOC.
foobleen29 karma2013-11-10 19:59:28 UTC
When OP says he's never been stared at more in his life, he isn't joking. I've met people here (American living in Russia) who have never seen a black person before. I can only imagine how you felt your first week or so in country OP lol.
metarinka66 karma2013-11-10 20:15:42 UTC
I was kinda expecting this, I visited the russian district of new york city back when i was dating a russian girl and they all stared at me too, at the time I thought it was cause I ordered in russian and I was hanging out with a russian girl, but common that was new york city there are plenty of people crazier looking than me in NYC.
Did I mention I have an afro... that just puts it over the top for them lol. I've even caught a few people trying to take stealth pics.
foobleen18 karma2013-11-10 20:22:53 UTC
Yeah, I get stares when I'm just speaking English with my wife, and we live in a city of half a million people.
You have an Afro and you speak English, heads are exploding.
DEATH_BY_CIRCLEJERK121 karma2013-11-10 20:53:47 UTC
Afro confirmed in the shadow of a pic in OP's post history:
metarinka61 karma2013-11-10 21:26:49 UTC
oh shit, I gotta delete all those gonewild comments now... "oh baby you have beautiful ear lobes"
OutInTheBlack11 karma2013-11-10 20:36:51 UTC
Russian district of new York city
Russian district of new York city
metarinka4 karma2013-11-10 21:27:20 UTC
is that it? I always want to say Coney island. Only been to NYC twice.
fromrussiawithwow8 karma2013-11-10 20:45:54 UTC
I was once in Moscow with my friend who is black and two boys aged 14-16 came to me and asked if they can take a picture "with the black one" because they wanted to show it to friends in their village.
metarinka10 karma2013-11-10 21:27:48 UTC
oh yah I've lost count of the number of people who wanted a picture, todays count was probably 4 or 5.
toddlersnake24 karma2013-11-10 19:56:02 UTC
metarinka46 karma2013-11-10 20:13:36 UTC
sadly i probably sound more like Q-tip.
consilioetanimis10 karma2013-11-10 19:59:58 UTC
Just a side query: How did you end up learning Russian?
metarinka28 karma2013-11-10 20:17:11 UTC
dated a ukranian girl in college. Ahh lena how I'll miss your homemade borscht... My college town had an oddly high percentaged of russian immigrants so I started learning then. I'm far from fluent but I can get around.
EgXPlayer3 karma2013-11-10 20:46:59 UTC
Ukrainian food is great right?
Being a ukrainian who lives in germany, it makes me happy to see that other people like our food as much as we do :)
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 22:30:29 UTC
amazing, I was a poor college student and her family would feed me. I loved visiting their house.
ajuju3 karma2013-11-10 20:36:18 UTC
This makes me feel better! I'm looking to do an exchange to Sochi. I was nervous because I am black, and feel like I'd be really uncomfortable. I read a little and am overjoyed in knowing I'm not the only black person with an interest in Russian culture.
metarinka9 karma2013-11-10 21:30:21 UTC
if you speak Russian that will go a far way and no one has been hostile. Be prepared to be stared at constantly, you will also gets lots of offers for pictures and maybe drinks and such. I partly wanted to learn russian just because no one assumes a black guy from the US would ever know it, I love demolishing expectations.
Overall it's not a bad place and I've certianely felt more hostility in certain places in the US. I can't say what it would be like long term. Best of luck!
Vmoney1337108 karma2013-11-10 19:24:07 UTC
Hey man! Im acctually a resident of Sochi, and my house was torn down to build a larger railway at the train station for the athletes. What are your big plans for our city? What problems have you come across?
EDIT: Seems like a ton of people are interested about Sochi. If you guys want me to do an AMA, i'll happily answer questions about the city, government, and vodka from my perspective!
metarinka93 karma2013-11-10 20:21:54 UTC
oh really!! man I was looking for locals who spoke english I would have loved to hang out. If you are still available I'd be willing to buy you a beer tomorrow (pretty busy after that, then I leave). I'm staying in Adler and I could propose a few places to meet. Send me a PM if you are interested, better yet I'll send you one, my inbox is flooded with comments right now.
Better ask the Mayor and Putin what the plans are with Sochi, I just assist with the building. Problems... I can't talk about problems... no problems here everything is under budget and ahead of schedule that's why they sent me last minute...
lazerwo1f6 karma2013-11-10 20:58:32 UTC
Dude, I was in sochi last weekend, went over by the boardwalk and did that weird thing where they let fish nibble away at your feet. Freaked me out. We went to a Georgian restaurant there (don't remember the name) and saw/heard a sketchy group of wealthy individuals making degragatory comments towards Germans from their private balcony seating. Back in good ol' Krasnodar now. You doin' any traveling while you're in the region?
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 21:32:47 UTC
nope we are glued to the worksight 6-7 days a week not a lot of time to travel. I actually walked by the little fish nibble thing ont he board walk today. If you happened to see a black guy with a fro you definitely saw me.
redcorn12272 karma2013-11-10 19:35:20 UTC
Have you installed a dashboard cam yet?
metarinka20 karma2013-11-10 21:34:21 UTC
I take the bus, I do see them quite a bit and all the local electronic stores sell them... you really do need them here.
hardcore_fish3 karma2013-11-10 21:50:39 UTC
How are the Russian bus service compared to the American?
metarinka4 karma2013-11-10 22:12:37 UTC
the service seems pretty regular. They get absolutely packed during the evening commute I was forced to spend 30 minutes standing in a cramped bus with a group of 4 teenage girls squished around me... I loved every minute of it.
You would be extremely lucky to find a bus driver that speaks english. some of the lines don't have a fixed price they ask where you are going and charge based on distance. The price is reasonable but you need to know the name of the place you will get off.
ElChalif47 karma2013-11-10 18:40:45 UTC
Sochi was sold to host the olympics with a 'zero waste' program, to ensure that these would be the cleanest games ever. Didn't take long for journalists to find out that this clearly wasn't the case. As an engineer working for the construction for these games, were you aware of the illegal dumping happening? Was this news to you? Was this zero waste program even mentioned to you prior to your arrival? .. Really what do you know about this at all?
metarinka70 karma2013-11-10 19:00:45 UTC
first I've even heard of a zero waste program. Mind you I'm pretty low on the totem poll, i work on just one project under a local general contractor and hence things like waste streams I am not directly involved in. I have seen no signs of anything like illegal dumping, but obviously that would be happening somewhere offsite. To my eyes it just looks like a normal construction site, not particularily dirty or clean, there will always be the normal environment impacts of large scale construction and just simple things like concrete dust run-off into rivers.
If there was illegal activity it would definitely be at a higher level in the forms of bribes or the big contractors doing under the table deals. They probably woudln't want us american contractors to catch wind of that.
NickTheGoonie44 karma2013-11-10 19:26:47 UTC
Have there been any instances of security threats that have gone un reported here in the states? Also how extreme is the security there?
metarinka43 karma2013-11-10 20:19:03 UTC
Good question. Security at olympic park right now is super tight. Krasnodar district (where sochi is) borders the closed border with Georgia and is also very close to Chechneya. not too long ago someone bombed a bus I'm not sure if that made news abroad. There is definitely hyped security here as no one wants an incident I haven't seen anything happen more than police picking up drunk people.
thebobstu43 karma2013-11-10 18:43:29 UTC
What was the biggest misconception you had about Russia?
metarinka129 karma2013-11-10 19:11:08 UTC
I figured it would be cold, considering it is winter. But Sochi is pretty far south and is hot. I was sweating crazy amounts today in a t-shirt. It was 70 degrees and sunny! That's way better than the Michigan winters I grew up in.
They have palm trees here, and I dipped my bare feet in the black sea this afternoon, people around me were in bathing suits. So much for Russian winters.
superdupergiraffe111 karma2013-11-10 19:15:27 UTC
The joke is that Vancouver was the canadian city least suitable to host the winter olympics and Sochi is the russian city least suitable to host the winter olympics.
Based on the pattern Honolulu will be the competition for the next Winter Olympics.
metarinka40 karma2013-11-10 19:28:04 UTC
yah the winters are very mild here by the coast, I guess it gets a lot of snow up in the mountains though. THey are trying to turn sochi into an international sports city and destination so I think it was intentional.
NorbitGorbit30 karma2013-11-10 18:49:13 UTC
why do they use american engineeers -- is there shortage in russia? any other interesting shortage in russia where they import american expertise or products?
metarinka59 karma2013-11-10 19:26:48 UTC
I'm working on a very special project that's a specialty, we are one of the few companies that does it and we have a lot of proprietary technology. I dont' want to go into details but I doubt there's a russian company that does what we do. For the most part all the work is done by domestic companies. I know "show canada" is here which is a company that specializes in stage shows, I believe they are doing lighting and such for the opening ceremonies.
marzipandancer24 karma2013-11-10 18:24:25 UTC
How does Russian work ethic and culture compare with America?
Also... Are you guys going to be finished in time?
metarinka69 karma2013-11-10 18:30:25 UTC
All the construction crews that have worked under Us have been professional in terms of getting their stuff done and we are all out there working 10-16 hour days. Overall Russians are much more lax about things like safety, and have more of a "get it done" as opposed to "do it right" attitude. Lots of stuff they do would get shut down on an american job site, but that's how most of the world is.
As far as things being done... that's the question everyone is asking. The project I'm on will definitely be done with plenty of time to spare. The hockey stadiums are already done, i haven't been up to Krasnaya polyana where the downhill sports are taking place but I imagine there wasn't as much building up there. Some of the other stadiums are going to be really close.
I have a feeling it will all be done... but I wouldn't put faith in those buildings being around in 10 or 20 years. The city itself is under constant construction right now, there's no way all the roads and sidewalks will be done in time. but that's kinda an ongoing process.
marzipandancer17 karma2013-11-10 18:37:06 UTC
Interesting. So... as an engineer, have you had to make any compromises in your "do it right" attitude that you're less than pleased with?
metarinka34 karma2013-11-10 18:52:09 UTC
on the work for my project, no. We haven't had to cut any corners on anything that would be unsafe or what not. However I can't say the same for some of the other sites. Also a lot of this stuff will not really be used after the olympics in any big capacity so a common attitude is that it only has to work for a few months.
FLT20 karma2013-11-10 18:40:18 UTC
metarinka37 karma2013-11-10 19:23:17 UTC
not heard any anti gay stuff, but i try not to poke hot button political issues in foreign countries, that can be one question away from a bar fight or verbal harrasment. I swore I saw two gay guys on a bench at the beach today, but i didn't have the balls to ask if them if they were.
I'll be leaving in a few days, someone from my company will be here to make sure our stuff works without any problems during the opening ceremonies, but I doubt it would be me. Those of us who will be here will probably be able to wrangle "backstage" type passes because we have the keys to all the literal back doors.
VeggiePorkchop314 karma2013-11-10 18:45:23 UTC
I'm heading there for the duration of the games to volunteer, any tips? Also what was your biggest culture shock?
Lastly I heard that the costal venues will be moved to different cities after the Games, can you explain how this will be done?
metarinka45 karma2013-11-10 19:20:09 UTC
tips hmm. Traffic is terrible on the main road. Make sure you get housing in Adler not Sochi, it's all technically the same city but adler is where the stadiums are and it's about 30km to downtown sochi. very few people speak english, learn some basic russian so you know things like how much the bus or taxi costs. If you smile a lot in public, people will think you're an idiot. There's only one mexican food place in all of sochi, but it's really awesome and authentic, i suggest you find it. Beware of the chacha.
No huge culture shocks, pay toilets always bugs me on some level. Drinking and smoking is way more tolerated and prevalent here. Ive seen a lot of people trashed at 1pm on a work day. Also everyone drives like a maniac.
I've not heard of any costal venues being moved? I have heard they are bringing in cruise ships as temporary housing though.
iamjust1nh13 karma2013-11-10 19:00:15 UTC
How is the food?
metarinka32 karma2013-11-10 19:37:45 UTC
delicious. Very hearty, lots of potatoes and meat and tomatoes. They are big on pomegranate or at least it seems.
MoleHairs13 karma2013-11-10 18:45:38 UTC
Have you witnessed anyone die while building these stadiums? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Poelite22 karma2013-11-10 19:33:19 UTC
0 accidents only. Any deaths are built into the stadiums, increase structural integrity.
metarinka17 karma2013-11-10 20:30:08 UTC
haha that gave me a chuckle. I could totally see the locals joking about something like that.
metarinka14 karma2013-11-10 19:14:49 UTC
No. I've never seen an ambulance called to the work site, but it's huge place with many stadiums if it happened at one of the other ones I would never know. I'm surprised though they are very liberal on their use of things like safety harnesses... Not that different from most construction sites that aren't in the western europe/USA
mickeyspouse13 karma2013-11-10 18:39:45 UTC
Are russian contruction workers rude?
metarinka63 karma2013-11-10 18:53:47 UTC
They've been really nice to us, especially once they get to know you. Construction workers are kind of a universal bunch in any country. They leer at women, they swear, and they are usually pretty grungy. The ones here in russia would fit in on an american job site.
iamiamwhoami10 karma2013-11-10 20:21:19 UTC
Deep down, we're all the same.
metarinka7 karma2013-11-10 21:37:54 UTC
it's the carnie code.
EBCEEB10 karma2013-11-10 20:06:51 UTC
Thank you for great AMA!
metarinka29 karma2013-11-10 21:01:12 UTC
cheers, in russia AMA OP up votes you!
niickfarley10 karma2013-11-10 18:42:09 UTC
What are the percentages in terms of nationalities of construction workers? Are there alot of Russians, or have many foreigners been brought in to do the work?
Also, in terms of free time do you have any? And if so what do you do in it, are you allowed to go to the pubs or is there strict rules on what you can/can't do?
metarinka25 karma2013-11-10 19:06:10 UTC
well for the worker types. I would say it's about 70-80% russian, the rest would be mostly armenians, chechneyians or any other former soviet block country. As you can imagine this is a huge construction site and brings in thousands and thousands of construction jobs way more than the local population of 300K could fullfill.
In terms of outside contractors, I've met Brits, french, Canadians, austrailians, belgians and a guy from south africa. but only a handful of the thousands of people I've seen. Outside help is usually only for specialty work that would be hard to find domestically. As you can imagine most countries aren't keen on sending the money overseas if they can find a domestic company to do the work.
I had today (sunday) off, and it took a few days to get site clearance so I've had plenty fo time to explore. I usually walk around Adler or Sochi, today I took the bus into sochi and went to the black sea and bought a russian t-shirt. There's no restrictions, everyone has been really friendly, Sochi was a relatively insolated town and is not used to seeing foreigners. Watch out for chechneians though, seriously everyone always warns me about them.
bonniefied7 karma2013-11-10 19:42:39 UTC
out of curiosity, what do you hear about Chechans specifically?
metarinka17 karma2013-11-10 20:32:48 UTC
i was surprised that basically everyone said they were "uncultured" crazy, dangerous, and didn't share much in common with russians. I can't tell if it's russian racism or what. I haven't met any chechans to counter balance it, save for a few that tried to fight some construction workers I was drinking with.
cecinestunethrowaway0 karma2013-11-10 19:43:03 UTC
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/06/russia-migrant-olympic-workers-cheated-exploited Have you heard about this? I was wondering what your thoughts were, considering how close you are to the situation.
metarinka2 karma2013-11-10 20:36:18 UTC
no, I have seen long lines at the office building where you get a work pass that is needed to get onto the premises. I have seen lots of migrant workers, the brick layers that talk to me (some people assume I'm armenian because of my skin tone) are armenian. However I haven't been asking people about their working conditions. Everyone I have met on the job has been in good spirits and seems happy.
The contractor I work with has a fairly good reputation. I could certianly see plenty of room for exploitation and plenty of young guys from the eastern bloc coming to sochi to find work, but maybe it happens a little further away than olympic park center.
BunsenBeaker9 karma2013-11-10 18:49:38 UTC
What are your thoughts on the infrastructure within and surrounding Sochi? Are the events going to be accessible to the public, or is it going to be a total pain for everyone (including the athletes)?
Also, what is the general consensus from people actually there about Putin's view's and actions taken against gay athletes? Is anyone taking him seriously, or do people view it as political BS?
metarinka13 karma2013-11-10 19:35:47 UTC
This is the million dollar question. The city is in constant consturction work everywhere, piles of dirt or sections of road missing where it's being reworked. I'm not sure if it's a cultural thing but there's not a lot of street lights, at night a lot of streets are VERY dark and feel super sketchy the locals always tell me to take a cab at night, but I've never actually felt in immediate danger. Traffic is a nightmare they are asking the locals only use public transportation during the games. Very few people speak english and you can tell most of the local shops aren't used to seeing foreigners. When I talk to people some say they've never seen an american before or only ever seen one or two, let alone a black guy like me. The city is accessible but it's definitely not a polished urban experience.
Only ever taked politics with one person and they weren't too keen on putin, I'm guessing he's just as polar as Bush or Obama is. Even if you win a majority that still means 49% of the people didn't want you.
rah32d8 karma2013-11-10 19:57:24 UTC
What building desgin codes do the Russians use (eurocode, ibc, etc)?
Any unusual design considerations that have come up that we engineers in the US would not typically see?
Any engineering philosphy that differs from ours in the US?
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 20:57:59 UTC
wow you know that's a very good and specific engineering question i can't answer. I work on a specialty product so we provide a print package and it's up to our local counterpart to make sure they conform to code, as their code tends to be more lax than ours they don't send back many requests for change due to code issues. I wasn't involved in the design of this project just construction therefore I never dealt with any code questions and my role is more to make sure they are working to our prints and to answer questions during install and fab.
daflasch8 karma2013-11-10 18:48:08 UTC
What if any enviromental considerations have been implemented in olympic related construction/design, and is there an effort to showcase environmental initiatives or are they not existent?
metarinka9 karma2013-11-10 19:41:17 UTC
not that I've seen, construction seems pretty standard for large steel and cement buildings. not overly clean or dirty. The city itself is very green lots of parks and such and it's relatively clean despite all the construction.
GaryMFINGOak7 karma2013-11-10 19:12:28 UTC
Is there anything specific you need to consider when building a stadium in Sochi, as appose to a stadium in the United States?
metarinka5 karma2013-11-10 19:39:27 UTC
not that I've seen, a stadium is a stadium lots of civil engineering went into the planning. Also i've only been here for a little bit, most of the stadiums are pretty close to done so I haven't been involved since groundbreaking.
Vectorface7 karma2013-11-10 19:58:27 UTC
What surprised you about the Russian people?
metarinka10 karma2013-11-10 20:38:03 UTC
people are actually more more warm and friendly than I thought they would be, everyone seems to warm up real quick.
P_Barnez6 karma2013-11-10 19:19:15 UTC
I worked at the 2010 Winter Olympics and was blown away by VANOCs ability to recruit volunteers. Last I heard they were having a hard time finding staff and volunteers for Sochi. Have they been able to find people or are they still struggling?
metarinka5 karma2013-11-10 19:48:01 UTC
I wouldn't know, as it's still just a construction sight. I do know the cook at my hotel volunteered, he also speaks a decent amount of english which is a really rarity around here.
laur_laur6 karma2013-11-10 19:19:53 UTC
How are workers in there treated? Are you getting paid what you were promised?
metarinka9 karma2013-11-10 19:50:21 UTC
the workers on my project are treated well and they are all in good spirits. The construction workers seem pretty positive on the whole. I work for an american company and I'm salaried so everything is fine for me.
overit865 karma2013-11-10 20:54:45 UTC
How tempted are you to put subtle gay things in the construction of the stadiums? I know I would be drawing double weeners on EVERYTHING!
metarinka7 karma2013-11-10 21:39:34 UTC
that would be some free mason level prankery, arrange the stadiums as a giant berrys n twigs.
kl952104 karma2013-11-10 18:54:39 UTC
How's the progress on the formula one track?
metarinka4 karma2013-11-10 19:43:02 UTC
haven't seen any, don't think they can start until all the stadiums and such are done, a lot of the roads are torn up or literally missing right now as they trench in wires and the likes.
Anodynia4 karma2013-11-10 18:46:18 UTC
What's the best food you've eaten since going there?
metarinka20 karma2013-11-10 19:13:33 UTC
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borscht borscht was a favourite from before I got here, it's still awesome! they have some lovely local cheeses and Kvas is always good. Honestly I haven't eaten too much authentic local food, usually the hole int he wall type places don't have english menus or menus with pictures so i eat at more fancy places that typically serve more stereotypical western food like french italian or american.
Nicksaurus4 karma2013-11-10 19:19:28 UTC
Do you do any winter sports yourself? Will you be watching the olympics/x-games/whatever else relevant to the sports in question?
metarinka9 karma2013-11-10 19:48:58 UTC
I played hockey growing up in Michigan. I don't follow to many sports though. I'll watch the luge and bobsled cause it looks cool
Lj274 karma2013-11-10 18:58:58 UTC
Are the designs adhering to American standards or Russian ones? What are some notable is differences
metarinka11 karma2013-11-10 19:37:06 UTC
For my project they pretty much have to stick to our blue prints, but we can't possibly know all local ordinances so we work with a russian contractor who actually makes all the field drawings. Russians are much more lax on safety and it shows, harnesses, hardhats and steel toe boots seem to be much more optional.
SwedChef3 karma2013-11-10 18:51:35 UTC
As the site is planned to be used as the Russian GP circuit after the Olympics, how much preparation is being done for that now? As someone on-site does it seem like this was an afterthought?
metarinka5 karma2013-11-10 19:42:20 UTC
i heard it's more of an "if it's done in time" sort of thing. I haven't seen any evidence of a circuit that would probably have to be done after the olympics as the roads are getting torn up by all construction vehicles.
Wzup3 karma2013-11-10 19:52:39 UTC
Have you listened to the story of Bert Kreischer, Russian Machine? If so, have you seen anything mafia related? Who hosts you? Do you stay in a hotel?
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 20:55:06 UTC
I stay in a nice hotel. I've been keeping my eyes open for signs of russian mafia but I haven't seen any. I've seen a few nice cars at the work site that belong to construction managers, no clue if they are involved with mafia types at all.
ruttger2 karma2013-11-10 18:56:04 UTC
Where did you study?
Can you share what your path has been like as an engineer to get where you are today?
metarinka2 karma2013-11-10 19:46:09 UTC
I went to Pennsylvania college of Technology, my degree is in welding engineering. I'm not actually in a field engineering position, but I volunteered to come to Russia as it seemed interesting, so they let me go when there was a need.
I've worked my way up from a welder and machinist to being a welding engineer. now I've worked in several fields from defense to aerospace to nuclear and finally back out in the commercial world. School just kind of points you in a direction, what you do after that is all up to you.
Kempiet2 karma2013-11-10 19:20:41 UTC
Are you wiring the stadium with SMPTE fibre or triax for broadcasting infrastructure?
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 19:54:49 UTC
I'm not involved in that side at all, so I couldn't tell you. Red is hot, Black is ground, that's all I know. Save for russia where color convention doesn't seem to matter when wiring.
Zachjl2 karma2013-11-10 18:52:24 UTC
How is the pay
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 19:31:10 UTC
well I'm salaried and I'm just here on site for an american company, pay is the same as it has always been high 80's, which is pretty median for an engineer at my experience level and title.
BrushGoodDar2 karma2013-11-10 19:38:21 UTC
Any funny story of Russian's impression of Americans?
metarinka8 karma2013-11-10 20:49:05 UTC
no, but I do recall some workers who didn't speak a bit of english blasting 50 cent from the boombox, they kinda stopped in their tracks when me (a black guy) walked by.
rmurph141 karma2013-11-10 19:01:33 UTC
What are your opinions on Gay Rights in Russia? Have you seen anything that would constitute as a violation of human rights? Do you think there will be protests at these Olympics over these issues?
metarinka9 karma2013-11-10 19:29:32 UTC
haven't seen anything really, I swore I saw a gay couple on a park bench today but I was afraid to ask. Usually that stuff is hush hush or people would be thrown in the back of a police car pretty quick. From my experience with russians in the Us, most guys seemed a little more homophobic, but that's a gross generalization.
QuackAddict1 karma2013-11-10 19:19:57 UTC
What are your thoughts on the prospects of the stadiums you are working on being barren and abandoned within decades? Sarajevo, Athens, Beijing being some previous examples.
metarinka2 karma2013-11-10 19:51:11 UTC
they know it and are intentionally cutting corners. Why do something right when it just has to last a few more months for the olympics?
Olelko1 karma2013-11-10 19:13:28 UTC
How is Sotchi as a city? Enjoyable? Do you see / foresee development?
metarinka2 karma2013-11-10 19:54:01 UTC
Sochi is a nice city, I actually like it and would come here to visit if I was in the area. Sochi is under lots of construction and will be for many more years, Russia is trying to turn it into a vacation destination. It's already big for domestic vacationing, but they want to open it to foreigners. hence lots of development.
mogkogkog1 karma2013-11-10 18:40:44 UTC
How much does an olympic stadium cost these days?
metarinka7 karma2013-11-10 18:54:24 UTC
I dunno, more than i could afford. My guess is a few hundred mill per?
HeartyBeast3 karma2013-11-10 19:18:26 UTC
The London 2012 stadium cost ~ US$780 million, the Beijing Birdsnest around ~ US$423 million according to Wikipedia (somewhat surprised the London one was so much more).
Edit: People are commenting on the comparative cheapness of Chinese labour. My surprise was mainly in the context of the Beijing total budget coming in at US$43 billion, compared with London's US$13.9 billion.
metarinka1 karma2013-11-10 19:40:01 UTC
wasn't built using chinese labor and workmanship standards is my guess.
kaspar7370 karma2013-11-10 19:18:32 UTC
What do you do on your spare time there?
metarinka3 karma2013-11-10 19:47:06 UTC
I walk around and see the sights. On the weekends if I walk around I can garuantee some locals will notice me and invite me for drinks, I've done that several times and always had a blast.
rg25-1 karma2013-11-10 19:14:13 UTC
Did you major in construction management/engineering?
metarinka1 karma2013-11-10 19:52:25 UTC
No, I majored in welding engineering. However I'm not actually a field engineer. i volunteered to go to the field for this job because I wanted to see Russia.
vtjohnhurt-6 karma2013-11-10 19:11:32 UTC
Is alcoholism a bigger problem on the job than it is in the USA? Does everyone have a buzz on?
metarinka1 karma2013-11-10 19:56:47 UTC
public drunkeness and overall levels of drinking is much higher. Olympic park is under tight security and I think that cuts down on some of it, plus people don't want to lose their jobs. That being said it's not uncommon to smell alcohol on guys at all times of day. No more drinking than the college town I grew up in though.
Tux--8 karma2013-11-10 19:08:55 UTC
How many liters of vodka have you drank as of yet?
metarinka1 karma2013-11-10 19:57:19 UTC
only like 5-6 shots worth, the chacha is all 120 proof that stuff puts you down quick.
Jimboooooo-16 karma2013-11-10 19:11:35 UTC
Why, WHY do you hate gay people?
doubleplushomophobic6 karma2013-11-10 19:22:33 UTC
OP is a black guy from Michigan.
metarinka1 karma2013-11-10 19:57:41 UTC
thanks for having my back haha.
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