This assignment is not normal.
I’ve said that before, right?
In fact, I have probably detailed it quite a bit in this space over the past few weeks. I have discussed how this three-week Olympic experience affects my diet, sleep, and health.
But I probably have not described much of the minutiae.
Here, then, is this list. As my assignment winds down (I leave Monday following the closing ceremonies), I bring you 16 odd observations from covering the 2016 Olympics:
- I could never handle the traffic in Rio de Janeiro on a full-time basis. And I say this as someone who lives in Atlanta and grew up outside of New York. Rio traffic is special.
- I am staying at a perfectly fine hotel with an outstanding restaurant, which I appreciate on those nights where I can’t snag a full meal before heading home.
- In terms of wearing one’s national pride, the Canadian fans seem to do it the best. As I walk around the park, I always spot people decked out in full Canada gear.
- I have met a lot of people not from America wearing Team USA basketball jerseys (or just NBA jerseys of particular American players).
- According to my FitBit, I am averaging more than 16,000 steps per day at these Olympics. I’d say at least a third of those steps involve carrying camera equipment.
- I cannot believe this considering the monumental lack of sleep I have received, but I have not drank an ounce of caffeine. Not coffee, not tea, not soda. Not an ounce.
- I have not been bitten by a single mosquito. But I put on repellent every day. My skin may end up permanently covered with a thin layer of DEET.
- The NBC commissary, for which I am supremely thankful because of its endless supply of free food and water, has served five different types of tater tots.
- One version featured tots with smiley-faces baked into them.
- The bathrooms in our workspace are labeled with computer print-outs of superheroes. The women get Wonder Woman, while the men get Batman and Superman.
- The most scenic views of Rio at our workspace facility are at the smoking sections.
- At the beginning of our second week, I discovered the “Quiet Room” in the main press center. It exists to enable journalists to take naps if they need them. I have used the Quiet Room for 20-30 minutes nearly every day since.
- The “Quiet Room” is separated by a thin wall from a loud, working newsroom. I bring headphones.
- In addition to being recognized accurately as American, I have been identified incorrectly as Italian and Israeli.
- After eating at a Brazilian steakhouse in Rio, I feel obligated to find one back home. Terrific suff.
- I just fell asleep on the bus while typing this blog post.
Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.