Journalist on thin ice as a skater

TURIN -- The 50ish man in the park with the ferret -- furetto in Italian, he writes in my notebook -- keeps repeating "Ballerina? Ballerina?"

"No," I answer.

He asks my name and writes his own in my book: Vittorio. He doesn't speak much English.

The children flock to Vittorio because of the ferret, which doesn't mind being touched, but prefers to sniff around the park.

He gets some help with translation from a little girl, who doesn't know much more English than he does.

They still want to know if I'm a ballerina.

"No," I repeat.

"Skier?"

"No. Journalist," I say.

"Skater?"

"I can skate."

That makes Vittorio smile and nod his head as he goes to get his ferret.

I think he walked away believing that I was an Olympic skater.

Or maybe Vittorio used to be an Olympic skater . . . or a ballerina.

* * *

It's an adventure whenever you're in a vehicle in Turin. Although there are special lanes for transport for members of the Olympic family, it's never a fast thoroughfare.

Because they're so big, the buses cut off everything on the roads.

Cabs aren't much better. They go into small places they have no business being.

Haven't seen any accidents. It's a minor miracle.

* * *

In Village Mortara, one of the accommodation areas where journalists, volunteers, technicians and event organizers are staying, red and white wine is free with dinner, but you have to pay for water.

There is no age restriction for buying or ordering alcohol in Italy.

* * *

Turin is considered by many locals to be a magical city.

Crossed by the 45th parallel, it is one of the corners of what is known as the white magic triangle, along with Prague (Czech Republic) and Lyon (France). It is also a corner of the black magic triangle with London (England) and San Francisco.