2016 Rio Olympics

The Olympics in Rio are Fast Approaching

Olympic-Games-closing-ceremony-and-handover-to-Rio-2016Although the 2016 Olympics in Rio is not currently on our daily news radar, 2016 is fast approaching and the Brazilian people are working extra hard to prepare for it. Added pressure reigns down on this nation since this is the first time that a South American country and the first time that a Portuguese-speaking nation has hosted the Olympic Games – all eyes are looking to this nation with great anticipation. Unfortunately earlier this year, several complaints had been lodged against the leaders of the Rio 2016 Local Organizing Committee to a point where the International Olympic Committee was concerned that they might have to step in to assist in their efforts to ensure that deadlines could be met.
For any nation to prepare for an Olympic Games is a herculean task especially when the Brazilian people, a predominantly poor people, must support its government who is spending billions of dollars towards an event which will last for less than one month – the Olympics will be held August 5th to August 21st, 2016. The hope of the Brazilian government and its people is that the funds spent on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will inject billions of dollars back in to their economy just as the World Cup of 2014 had done. It has been reported that the World Cup added $4.4 billion to Rio’s economy. So the members of Rio’s Local 2016 Olympic VenueOrganizing Committee together with the city, state and federal governments are all working in tandem to ensure a memorable but profitable celebration to come for its people and for all attendees.
In keeping with the goal of the Brazilian government and its people, the Olympic Park is bustling with activities in preparation of the big event. The Park is made up of four competition zones. They are as follows:
1. Barra da Tijuca, which is centrally located. This will be the home of the Olympic Village.
2. The Deodoro Sports Complex which was started on July 3, 2014. It is the second largest Olympic zone which will include a few venues previously used in the Pan American Games of 2007. This Sports Complex, which will host several Olympic events, will house among others, the equestrian arena, the Bike park and the Canoe Slalom. The Deodoro facilities are currently on schedule and well under way to being completed before the 2016 deadline date.
3. The Copacabana Zone will naturally be the site for the water and beach events such as sailing, canoeing, beach volleyball and others. In fact for one week this past August, sailors from around the world gathered on Guanabara Bay for the first test event to be held in that Zone. It was considered a grand success although there were many complaints about the conditions of the water – several people complained about the high water pollution levels and as a result, the event became a situation where dodging unseen objects below the surface of the water was the ‘order of each day.’
4. The Maracanã Zone where the majority of the events will be held includes two stadiums, the Maracanã Stadium (also known as Engenhão) where the opening and the closing ceremonies are to be held and the João Havelange Olympic Stadium, where track and field events will be held. Of all the four zones, this zone is more ready than all of the others because the two main complexes are already in place, although they do need some repairs before their final opening.
Of course if travel tips to Brazil are to be of benefit to any visitor, one would need to know not only about the Brazilian food, and the Brazilian people, but also about transportation, and how to get to and from the facilities. Now that more Brazilian people have greater access to wealth and education, they are buying more cars and congestion has become a major problem in many Brazilian cities. The Rio government together with private investment intend to spend over $8.5 billion to upgrade its urban transportation system in order to increase the use of public transportation by 300%. Major improvements will be made to the metro system which being extended about 16 km and to the bus-lines so that they can move people around that city more quickly. Much improvement had been made to the infra-structure in preparation of the World Cup and now efforts continue in earnest as the deadline for the 2016 Olympics in Rio is less than 2 years away. I encourage you to read my articles on each of the referenced topics because they will give you many travel tips on how to ensure that you experience an enjoyable yet safe trip to Brazil and will also give you the Do’s and Don’ts of travelling in and out of that beautiful country.
Come August 2016, over 10,000 athletes from around the world are expected to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Therefore in order to support its efforts, the Brazilian Organizing Committee is in search of thousands of volunteers to make their 2016 Olympics a roaring success. Whether you serve in a food pavilion, or you become a part of the security team, whether you work online, if you serve as a translator or on the front lines meeting and greeting the attendees, Rio’s Local Organizing Committee will need over 70,000 volunteers to make this event happen. So if you are interested in helping, you must be 18 years of age or old and you must be available for at least 10 days during the events. If you meet these criteria (and there may be others), you can apply to be a volunteer at: http://www.rio2016.com/volunteers/. I am certain they will need all of the help that they can get and therefore they will welcome you with open arms.

Places to stay while in Brazil

Places of Stay in Sao-PauloThere are a number of places to stay while in Brazil, from hotels, to motels, to hostels, bed and breakfasts, you can stay with a friend or relative, but I need to update you on a few situations.  First of all, location is critical wherever you decide to stay especially if you are going to be out late into the evening.  Depending on where your accommodations are located, you need to decide whether you are prepared to take the bus, cab or metro back and forth to your destination. I suggest (even before getting to Brazil) that you can actually go online to Goggle maps which is the one I use most often, find the city or area where you will be staying and search for directions.  Then add the hotel address or where you are leaving from and the address where you are going.  The search will determine how long it will take to get to and from that address via bus, cab or metro.  I suggest you also read my Articles on Transportation – Part l, Transportation – Part ll and Transportation – Part lll to ensure that you are aware of those relevant matters of concern so that you are not caught unawares.

First of all, please take note that motels as opposed to hotels, most often, are known as places where the locals go to have sex and more often than not, will be frequented by persons of ill-repute and their clients.
This is not to say that this does not happen in hotels, or eslewhere, but my advice is, regardless of the price, there are other more reasonable alternatives that will assure your safety.

There are many hostels new and old that can accommodate a family for example.  I stayed in one myself for several months although I had never stayed in one before.  However the hostel I stayed in had opened its doors just a week or two before I moved there.  It was a beautiful place but I came to realise that hostels are places where you take minimum luggage for short periods of time although I stayed at that hostel for almost 3 months.

Lodging in BrazilHostel life is very different if you have never experienced it before.  We had 4 sets of bunk beds (8 beds in total) in our room with 1 toilet, 1 shower,and 2 sinks in the powder area. Imagine 8 women in a room barely large room to pass between the bunks with 1 toilet and 1 shower.  Storage space per person is limited to a tiny locker and one-half of the lower side of the bunk.  But the hostel had other amenities – a TV/stereo room, computer access, a full-kitchen, a pool table and a family atmosphere.   One problem that I experienced with this particular hostel is that we ate most meals outside under a covered patio which can be a very chilly experience when it’s winter in Brazil.  Case and point, the temperature in Sao Paulo dropped below 53 degrees farenheit several days while there.  Another problem that I experienced was with the toilets.  They were push button toilets BUT you cannot put ANY trash (which includes toilet tissue) in the toilet – i.e. the used tissue had to be disposed of in the trash can. I was most fortunate to have a bidae which we could use for added cleanliness. I was also amazed that the disposal of waste in the trash did not produce an odor mainly because the staff were great at ensuring rooms were thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.

Several hostels opened their doors this year in time for the World Cup, so they will do well to support those persons attending Carnival 2015 and the Olympics of 2016.  They really provide a safe place for an entire family to stay but I wil assure you that you may pay prices that are almost comparable to hotel rates.   Be careful to ask lots of questions because I did have one experience in Rio where the location and the price were great but the room was the size of my walk-in closet at home.  This really was not a major problem since I did not spend much time in the room, so do your research, check online for a place that is conducive to your desired means of comfort.  Look for a hotel, hostel, or for the accommodation with the amenities, location and price that best suits your needs. Enjoy!

How did Brazil handle the World Cup 2014?

I am certain that many of us, now that we have taken the time to reflect on World Cup 2014, realise that Brazil really did accomplished a tremendous feat, considering the many challenges that they faced.  With budget shortages, numerous protests by members of various local communities, missed deadlines and the like, they ‘pulled it off.’  Bottom line, we all have to admit, it could have been much worse.  It truly was the will of the Brazilian people that got them through.  I am certain that Brazil will need much more assistance to have a successful Olympics 2016.  However, I am encouraged that the Olympic Committee is overseeing their progress and hopefully they will put in place ALL of the necessary support to ensure that this struggling but flavourful nation will present to the world an exciting, colourful and memorable event as World Cup 2014.  CNN’s Shasta Darlington took time to review their successes and their failures.

Will Rio be ready for the Olympics – Part ll

CNN’s Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo, Brazil

I can appreciate this video even today because much of what is said in this video, no matter the date, is still current.  Brazil has made few strides until now even though they have just recently hosted World Cup 2014.  Yes, some of the venues that were completed and that were used during the Soccer Games will be used by the Olympics as well, but so much of their infra-structure is still non-existant.  The Brazilian people have a lot of work ahead of them.

Another major issue that cannot be ignored is the lack of English speaking labourers and service personnel.  That fact alone is a major hiccup also to be address by this nation.  See more reading on this sbject on this website under Language l and Language ll.