I am sure this will be a super Winter Games. Exotic location by the Black Sea, “Russian Riviera”. My last visit to one of the resorts by the Black Sea was in 1967 – long time ago. Varna, Bulgaria. That was the week of the 7-day (Israel/Arab) war in June 1967. We arriving from the Netherlands, which was pro-Israel, wanting to also visit Odessa, Russia. But no can do ! Because of that war. Instead, at that time we took the boat to Istanbul, Turkey.

Now Sochi [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sochi ] very near the Georgian border also on the Black Sea. There is good things, and there is bad: The Good – shortly before the end of last year, the Russian Parliament has accorded Amnesty to close to 25,000 prisoners, many of those political opponents of the Regime. (Appreciated gesture.) And many newly constructed super facilities and resort hotels. The Bad – the Head of Russia is now accused of corruption as by-product of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, in the order of close to 30 billion dollar. (But then again, who is not ?) [Needs to be verified.]. More bad are the expected threats to the Games. Latest news: [ http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/ _news/2014/01/23/22418216-pentagon-will-send-two-warships-into-black-sea-in-case-of-olympic-terror –]

I like the Sochi official web site for the Games = [ http://talisman.sochi2014.com/en/ ]. Neat little videos showing the mascots. Among those, the Leopard.

The Amur Leopard (from the most easterly Amur region of Russia by the Pacific) one  of the very endangered wildlife species. Also, my most recent symbolic adoption on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund (I have a half a dozen of those adoptions). Almost the same day that I adopt my beautiful Amur Leopard, one more of those charismatic big cats has been killed in China [ http://phys.org/news/2014-01-rare-amur-leopard-china.html ]. Very distasteful, all that killing of endangered wildlife !!!amurLeopard0004