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Sep 10

Mark joins Nancy in Rio on Friday, September 9th!

After being in Rio for two weeks solo, Mark joined me on Friday, September 9!

Nancy and Mark finally together for breakfast on our patio!

Nancy and Mark finally together for breakfast on our patio!

Traveling to Barra da Tijuca is not the easiest feat. Mark left on Thursday evening and arrived in Brazil Friday morning at 8 am. It takes two buses and about two hours with traffic to get to the Western region of Rio called Barra da Tijuca. (Pronounced Baha) Plus riding the bus is tough. It’s rare to find someone who speaks English, and it’s very difficult to know when to get off the bus and how to transfer. He finally made it, exhausted and burdened with luggage, but he was finally here!  Yay!!

He was able to rest for a few hours before he had to turn around and go north of the city to get his credentials and uniform.  It was another painful travel trip.  This time he used Uber, but found himself stuck in too much traffic.  Lesson learned – on a long trip, don’t select the “share a ride” option with Uber.  He had to go out of his way for two extra people and only saved a few dollars.

The volunteer coordinator in my department (International Relations Protocol) was able to assign him to our team, but station him at the Tennis Venue. As a reminder, our team takes care of the Presidents, Secretary Generals and guests of the International Paralympic Committees (IPC), The National Paralympic Committees (NPC) for every country and the International Federation (IF) for each sport. The leaders and their guests from these three groups are called the “Paralympic Family”. I was able to set his schedule to match mine and have mornings free for the beach volleyball class!

Although his first day was filled with too much travel in tons of traffic, at least he got it out of the way and consolidated the errands in one day. He was scheduled to work Sunday-Thursday.

After a day of traveling, I was able to introduce Mark to my new best friend in Rio, Claudia.  She met us at a nearby restaurant.

Claudia joins us for dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Claudia joins us for dinner at a nearby restaurant.

 

We didn’t stay out late – Mark was exhausted and he needed to rest for our volleyball class the next day.

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Mark’s first Portuguese/Volleyball class. Everyone loved him of course!

 

Chilled coconut water is served straight from the Coconut. You can buy them everywhere for about $2.

Chilled coconut water is served straight from the Coconut. You can buy them everywhere for about $2.

The tennis venue is at Olympic Park, and it also takes a while to get there. From our apartment, it’s a 20 minute walk to the BRT station (or a 10 minute bus-ride). The BRT is a new bus-line made especially for the Olympic and Paralympic games. The buses have their own lane on the highway, blocked off by a curb. There is an express bus that goes from our stop directly to Olympic Park. So although Mark gets the excitement of working at an event, it takes about an hour to get there and he is often stationed outside – today it was really hot! He also has to stay until the competition is over, and they have been running late. My assignment on the other hand is next door (3 minute walk) inside a comfortable air-conditioned hotel lobby, but not near the excitement of the competitions. I am happy with my job, it’s close and comfortable, I meet organizers from all over the world, and I can still fit in the games when I am not working.

Here is Mark at one of his stations at the Tennis Venue.

Here is Mark in his uniform at one of his stations at the Tennis Venue.

Aug 26

Meet my new best friend in Rio – Claudia!

As I was searching for a place to stay on Airbnb.com, I almost rented a room from a woman (Claudia) who had two sons.  But just before I confirmed the room, I found the apartment on the beach and chose that instead. In the process, Claudia and I became Facebook friends, and she seemed to have a lot in common with me. When I arrived in Brazil, I sent her a message and asked if she wanted to get together.  She immediately responded with lots of options and since I was pretty tired on my first day here, we decided to get together Friday night.

I had a terrific evening with Claudia on my second day in Rio. She picked me up around 9 and we went out to a great Arabian restaurant. Several of her friends from work joined us – including Roger, a previous Olympic soccer player (who also kite surfs) and Domitila, who is a reporter on SporTV. There were also a few famous actors and comedians that Claudia knew. Not a bad day 2 in Rio! And guess what… Claudia roller blades too!

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Cheers to my new friend Claudia. She lives in Rio and not too far from my apartment.

 

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Nancy, Roger and Claudia. Roger was a famous soccer player in Rio, and has won medals in past Olympics. He is not a sports broadcaster for a channel called SporTV.

 

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Nancy, Domitila and Claudia. Domitila also works with Claudia at SporTV and is a well-known personality.

 

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A typical bar/restaurant on the trendy street in town. I can walk here during the day, but not at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 26

The Official Paralympic Uniform!

The second day I traveled to downtown Rio to get my credentials and uniform. I took the scenic route by bus and connected with a new train called the VLT. Very few people spoke English. Thank goodness for my phone and Google Translate. The line was super long, but they pulled out the volunteers and moved us along. The uniforms are very nice. They include a lot; 2 pants, 3 shirts, tennis Shoes, 3 socks a jacket, hat, bag and water bottle.

 

Web-lineOne of the volunteers in line with me pointed out that my credentials didn’t look right, so after I got my uniform, I had to wait at the help desk to check.  Indeed, he was correct and I had to get my credentials reprinted.

Also in the line I met Curry.  He is also a volunteer from China and speaks English. He is in Rio about a month, but only has a 4 day assignment.  Turns out that his apartment is close to mine, so we exchanged numbers.  Everyone here uses an app called “Whatspp”  It’s like Facebook messenger and free to communicate.  Using Whatapp, I do not need to get a Brazilian telephone number.

Curry is 25 and is staying with friends at Barra beach also.  He has many friends in Brazil and is doing a lot of traveling/exploring.  For only 25, he has already traveled the world and is a great travel buddy.  You’ll see more of Curry.

 

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This is my new friend Curry from China. He is excited to just get his credentials. He is also staying in Barra da Tijuca.

 

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Trying on my new uniform at the credentialing and uniform center!

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Aug 25

Nancy settles in her Rio apartment and it’s amazing!

I settled in the first day, found the market got a few directions and ate dinner at a small kiosk restaurant across the street on the beach. The area seems to be pretty safe and everyone is very friendly and helpful. It’s winter here but still perfect beach weather day and night. I haven’t seen any mosquitoes yet

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Restaurant Kiosk across the street – on the beach!

 

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View from my restaurant table on day one!

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The logo for the Paralympics is not the Olympic Rings. They have their own logo, and there is an awesome display across the street from me!

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Here are some pictures of my apartment and the view across the street.

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This is the view from my balcony. Not a bad place to drink my coffee every morning! I still can’t believe how lucky I got on this apartment!

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Aug 25

We are volunteers for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

In 2012 after the London Olympics, Mark and I decided to volunteer for the 2016 Paralympics.  After three years of applying, interviewing, and training, the time is finally here!
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I decided to accept the one month roster that I was assigned, so I arrived on August 25. Mark arrives two weeks later, and will volunteer during the games.

The 2016 Paralympics in Rio take place after the regular Olympics,  they run from Sept 7-18.

I took an overnight flight and arrived at 8 am.  After a two bus trips, I arrived at the apartment that I found on Airbnb.com.  I tried to find a place to stay close to my work assignment.  Turns out it is next door.  Score!

 

First Day in Rio!!

Bom Dia (Good morning) from Rio everyone! I arrived in Rio on August 25.  Rio is beautiful and the beaches are amazing. My assignment is “work force ops” in the Paralympic Family Hotel.  ThIMG_5756e hotel I work in is actually the “Windsor Barra” hotel and I live next door.  My one-bedroom apartment is across the street from the ocean and I have an ocean view. I can’t believe how lucky I got with my choice.

 

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