Life in Rio

A little update from the last weeks

Yes it has been more than 3 weeks since my last post. I’ve been really busy taking care of family and involved in a new project. I feel so bad for being away for such a long time, but at the same time I wanted to write a new post, I felt it was still difficult to talk about Rio in a positive way. Of course things are not bad all the time! We have good days, we have bad days, and life goes on.

In those last weeks I had been offline, Rio hosted some of the first Olympics Test Events.

We had test events for Triathlon, Rowing, Equestrian, Sailing, Road Cycling and the Marathon Swimming this past weekend. I was able to follow the Triathlon event, the Olympic and Paralympic competitions, and it was really exciting to  watch closely all those high level athletes competing in the beautiful scenario of Copacabana beach. There was a strong security scheme and everything went on peacefully.

Public security is definitely the big issue that still needs to be figured out to turn Rio into an Olympic City. As far as I have seen by those test events, while the neighborhoods which hosted the test events were very well patrolled by police, other neighborhoods were completely abandoned.  And sometimes not even the security scheme for the test event could avoid some incidents, like the one that happened during the Road Cycling Olympic test event, when Rio City Hall’s media team had their equipment robbed while covering the event.

I don’t doubt that there will be a very strong Security scheme for Rio Olympic Games! I even read that Rio Olympics will have more than twice the number of security personnel than London had in 2012 . But  I’m still worried if we are going to be able to guarantee safety not only for the athletes but also for the tourists and of course for Rio citizens.

Well, enough of talking about Rio concerns.

I share with you some of the photos I took while watching the Triathlon event.

Hope you like them!

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Counting down for the Olympic Games 2016, The Test-Events

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In less than 13 months, Rio will face one of the biggest challenges since the 2014 World Cup, the Olympic Games of 2016.

If you happen to be in Rio in the recent past you might have seen with your own eyes how much is being done in the city for the Olympic Games.

The huge subway construction of a new line that will make Rio metro reach Barra da Tijuca neighborhood; the VLT (light trail) being constructed in downtown to connect Airport Santos Dumont to the port area; the expansion of BRT (bus rapid transit) in west zone, connecting the international airport to West Zone, were Barra da Tijuca neighborhood is located and were many of the olympic competitions will take place; the construction of the Olympic Park and much more. But we all keep wondering if everything is going to be really ready and working in a good service level for the Olympic Games, when Rio will be on the window for the whole World to watch.

The preparations to turn Rio into an Olympic City are coming to a crucial point and in this next August and September, Rio will host 9 competitions, that are part of “Aquece Rio – Test Events” (Warm up Rio), when the Olympics organizations will have the opportunity to test the competitions sites and venue operations. On the other side the athletes will have the chance to compete at the locations where the Olympic Games themselves will be held.

It is a kind of rehearsal for the next year real Olympic competitions.  Olympic authorities like IOC (International Olympique Committee) will be watching and observing how things are gone come out.

Last July, 18th, we had the opportunity to watch one of the first of those Test-events, the Semi-finals games for the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World , in Maracanãzinho, the volleyball Arena in the Maracanã Stadium Complex. (check here)

This weekend, August 1st and 2nd, there will be the paratriathlon and thriathlon competitions taking place in Copacabana neighborhood. Then, in the end of next week, there will be the rowing competition in Lagoa  Rodrigo de Freitas and then the Equestrian eventing in Deodoro, a north zone neighborhood.

You can check all the complete calendar for the Test-Events here.

Around here, my family and I are very excited with the Olympic Games, and we are anxious to see how Rio will come out in those test-events. I hope there will be enough time to fix eventual mistakes and problems and we are counting the days for the Olympic Games themselves (#being positive!!!)

We applied for the tickets of many Olympic events, but as the offer is lower than the demand for tickets, we are waiting anxiously for the results of the lottery, hoping to watch as many sports events as possible.

Despite all the social problems Rio is living recently we are anxious to attend at least some of the competitions of Rio Olympic Games. It will be an extraordinary experience to watch the Olympic games going on in our backyard and we don’t want to lose this chance.

This morning I went out for a walk in Copacabana sidewalk and had the opportunity to see and photograph part of what is going on here. Workers making the final preparations for tomorrow competitions and athletes from different countries training and checking the conditions for tomorrow paratriathlon competition! Yes, the Olympic sports are already in the air!!

And you, are you planning to come for the Rio Olympic Games, or is there anyone you know who is planning to come? I would love to hear your plans!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Our experience in the Semifinals of Volleyball World League in Maracanãzinho

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We are starting to breathe a lot of sports here in Rio. While waiting for the results of the lottery process to get tickets for the Olympic Games,  we bought the tickets to attend the semifinals games of the FIVB World League as soon as we knew that Rio would host the final phase of the competition, hoping to watch Brazil national team arrive in the Final Game.

Unfortunately, Brazil didn’t classified and was eliminated in the previous phase of the competition and the games we watched were Serbia x USA and France x Poland.

For those who are not familiar with Maracanãzinho or “Little Maracanã”, it is a multi-use arena, used mostly for volleyball events, located inside Maracanã Complex, which will be the official Volleyball arena during the Olympic Games. For World League games, the entrance to Maracanãzinho was the one just next to Bellini Statue, one of the most popular entrances of Maracanã Stadium in Avenida Maracanã.

Although we could have gone to Maracanãzinho by subway, which is in my opinion the best public transport and easier way to reach Maracanãzinho or Maracanã Stadium, we decided to go by car to simplify our logistics for the other appointments we had later that day. This is something that I wouldn’t recommend to do if you are going to Maracanã for a soccer game, as you probably will reach a lot of traffic and will find many difficulties to find a place to park your car. Anyway, we had the opportunity to park the car in my husband’s friends house, so we didn’t have to worry about it.

Talking about the game, we had a lot of fun!  USA was one of the responsible for Brazil’s elimination in the competition and the whole Brazilian audience was supporting Serbia team, including me and my husband. Well, the only exception was my little boy! He was one of the few supporters who were on the side of the USA team that day. He sang “Go USA” and screamed “Ace, ace, ace” when USA was the serving team.  He definitely wasn’t embarrassed for being one of the few supporters for USA, he was just being loyal to his two american cousins.

But all my son excitement about USA team wasn’t enough to make them beat Serbia. Serbia won and the crowd got happy! Serbia had conquered Brazilians that day.

In the second game, Poland x France, the audience was on Polland’s side (this time my son decided to support the team that the majority of the crowd was supporting, and I don’t blame him for that). As Brazil wasn’t any longer in the competition, everyone supported the weaker team, Poland. But it wasn’t enough to make them beat the strong France team.

We watched two great games and had an awesome experience! Feeling a little bit of the atmosphere of a sports event like that made us dream about how things gone be during the Olympic Games and pray to get as many tickets as possible for the Olympics.

For tips of how reaching Maracanã complex by subway check here.

 

 

Last days in photos

It is been a while since my last post. It seems I’m not managing to post so frequently as I’ ve planned before.

Here in Brazil, we are in our Winter holidays (yes, July we have Winter holidays), although it is not looking at all like winter.

The weather has been really hot, around 30 Celsius, and the city is crowded with tourists and citizens enjoying their vacations.

I’ ve been busy keeping my son busy during his vacation. Going to the beach,taking him to practice sports and to play with friends and things like that are making my days go fast and it doesn’t leave too much time left for blogging!

Anyway, we’re enjoying our time together and this is great!!

mourning

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I’m extremely sad while writing this post. What happened last Tuesday night could have happened to anyone, including myself or someone of my family. Mourning! That’s the word that define what all of us, cariocas, are feeling this week!

Last Tuesday, a man cycling along Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas cycle path at 7.30pm was attacked and robbed. Criminals stabbed him and get away with his bicycle and wallet. The man, a doctor, got seriously injured and didn’t survive (check here).

This is just another case of the wave of violence we’ve been living in Rio lately. It is not a question of being at the wrong place, at the wrong time, there isn’t any longer the right place or the right time not to be robbed and eventually attacked or killed by those cruel criminals.  Violence is everywhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been posting so little lately. It is difficult to get enthusiastic about Rio those days! The natural beauties of this city are not enough to smooth the fear when walking down the streets.

If once I used to say, “well in case you get robbed, just give everything the thieves ask and everything is gone be fine”, now this is not truth anymore. Lately what we have seen are criminals attacking first and then taking your belongings. We are living a very difficult situation!!!

I’m so disappointed that this is happening to Rio, and I really don’t see light at the other side of the tunnel. Unless  Government take urgent steps to prevent violence I really don’t know how the future of Rio will be.

Sorry for such a negative post, but I had to share with you guys what I’m feeling about Rio. And I’m just being realistic. And I know that this is not simple!

In case you are in Rio right now, avoid walking or cycling along Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, as well as in Aterro do Flamengo. It is just not safe.

Hoping to share with you guys good news about Rio soon!