Monday, 29 August 2016

Rio 2016 (Part-3)

There were at least ten approved volunteers from Bangladesh that I know of however some of them were unable to come to Brazil due to the limited time they had for the preparation. However five of us managed to come from Bangladesh. 

Olympic Symbol!!! Rio 2016 Olympic Park at Barra da Yijuca!!!
My roommate Md. Mashurul Hoque is an Ex-Employee of Contact Center, Grameenphone Ltd. Resigned for Rio 2016 Olympic Games. See the level of dedication and willingness to represent his country. Don’t just question what is the point and what will you get in return? Trust me you will understand his explanation. Only few of us will understand. Anyway he came one day before me and he is assigned as an International Relationship Protocol Member. He looks after IOC and NOC family members at an Olympic venue named Sambódromo & Olympic Stadium. He also missed face to face training like me as he came here late.

With Razon Vai!!!
Pial Rezwan is another volunteer from Bangladesh who had to miss a semester from his university in order to participate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He is based at Olympic venue Maracanãzinho and volunteer as a press operation member. He looks after all the press and media people at Maracanãzinho. He is staying at a hostel near my apartment.

Olympic Mega store at Rio 2016 Olympic Park. Barra da Tijuca!!!
Transport team member Aynul Islam Shakib is based at the Barra Olympic Park and he arrived Rio before all of us. He looks after athletes and team official at the pickup and drop off location at the parking area. There is another volunteer from Bangladesh named Dr. Bari who is based at Tom Jobim International Airport. He works as a member of International relationship protocol. 

                                                                                                                                 < To Be Continued >

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Rio 2016 (Part-2)

Missed my venue specific and fist two shifts because of the flight cancellation. I am currently volunteering with the Event Services Team (EVS) based at Olympic Stadium. EVS team members are responsible to do variety of tasks with the main focus of spectator management both inside and outside of the stadium.

EVS Team at the Workforce Entrance!!!
I work at the main entrance of the stadium where we are the first point of contact for the spectators. We guide them to pass the security check and scan their tickets and finally guide them to their designated seat written on their tickets. It’s not as simple as it sounds as the Stadium can accommodate around 47,000 people and managing them before the games is tough. But we enjoy what we do.

Olympic Stadium!!! Bangladeshi Flag!!!
Most of our spectators do not speak English at all but it does not create too much problem as my Brazilian team members are awesome and always extent their helping hand.

And we have the opportunity to go inside!!!
I have nine days of work for the Olympic Games at the same location and at every shift we have one hour lunch break. We are provided with one meal for every shift we do. They have different menus for every day.

Before coming here my colleagues, friends and family members warned me as Brazil considered to be an unsafe place. Even my Brazilian friends and colleagues share the same feelings about the security situation in some part of Rio de Janeiro. To some extent they are right as some places are dangerous. However bad thing happens everywhere not just in Brazil but in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

Olympic Stadium!!! Rio 2016!!!
I consider myself a traveler not a tourist and want to experience real Brazil. I want to see how they lead their life and I am sure by the end of my journey at Rio 2016 I will be able to taste a real Brazil.

< Stay Tuned >

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Rio 2016 (Part-1)

I am staying at a one bedroom semi-furnished apartment located on top of a Mountain near Rio Central. View from the apartment is priceless however the apartment does not come with a proper bed and other auxiliary home appliances.

View from My Apartment
My host Rosemberg De Araújo Silva Araújo is works with the Brazilian Military and also a volunteer for Rio 2016 but he does not speak English at all and I don’t understand Portuguese. So we have to depend google translate app which is very useful.

With my Host at the Airport (GIG)
I was tired of nearly two days of flight and needed a very good sleep. I told him that I need to sleep. He left and I went to bed straight. Before leaving he informed me that I should meet him tomorrow so that he can show the way to the Uniform and Accreditation Collection Center. I went to bed and slept really well. Next morning after having breakfast I and my host went to the Uniform and Accreditation Collection Center which is around 10-15 minutes walking distance from my apartment.

My Olympic Kit!!!
It was like 8.30 AM and the line was not that big. It took around 30 minutes to complete the whole process. Now I am with my accreditation and uniforms and ready to do my part. I was so excited to meet my team. 

Pier Maua!!!
At the center I met a native volunteer who came to collect his uniform. His name is Savio Ferreira Ribeiro he is part of Doping Control Team. After uniform collection we went to central to buy a SIM Card (Brazilian call it CHIP Card). After trying several SIM cards it appeared that my phone does not support Brazilian SIM. Sweet!!! But I am so grateful to this guy.

With Savio Ferreira Ribeiro, On our way to Central!!!
I had two days of work and then four days off. I missed my first two shifts because of ticket cancellation. My next available shift was on 12 August 2016. So I had three days to familiarize myself with the transport and venues. My host took me to my venue Olympic Stadium (it known as Estádio Nilton Santos – Engenhão to locals) and on our way back we went to see the famous stadium Maracana. After Maracana we went to see probably the most famous beach in the world. “Copacabana”

In front of Famous Maracana Stadium!!!
My workplace is just three stops away from my station which is good but it takes around 20 minutes’ walk from my home to the nearest station known as Central do Brasil. According to Wikipedia Central do Brasil is the most important train station in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. It is the last stop of Rio's railway network, as well as a hub for connection with the city subway and a bus station. However to locals it is one of the most unsafe stations at the City.

On very next day (11 August 2016) my host, his two Sons and I went to Rio Olympic Boulevard and Pier Mauá two of the most attractive places of Rio de Janeiro. Had a great day out. A good start of my Rio Journey began.  

< Stay Tuned >

Friday, 19 August 2016

Road to Rio 2016

It was a long flight from Dhaka to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I took a Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. From there took a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. From Istanbul to Sao Paulo with Turkish Airlines and finally Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro with GOL

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Ready to board!!! Rio 2016 I am coming!!!
No we can’t issue you a baggage tag till Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo as Malaysia Airlines does not have code share agreement with Turkish Airlines. That was the answer from the guy at the Check-In point at Dhaka Airport. He insisted that I should collect the luggage by myself from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). When I asked him do I need a visa to collect my luggage? He replied no.

On Board. Ready to Fly. Excited!!!
Flight to Kuala Lumpur was smooth and it was just under four hours although the flight was delayed by one hour. I had around four hours to complete all the formalities. However I was unable to collect my main luggage as I did not have a visa. I was told by the Turkish staffs that I should go to Sao Paulo and make a report at the Turkish help desk for my luggage and they will collect my luggage and send it to me through their next available flight.

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Changing Terminal to catch my next flight. 
I started to feel uncomfortable on my second flight that took off from KL. It took around 11 hours to reach Ataturk Airport, Istanbul. Reached Istanbul at around 4.10 AM Istanbul Time on 09 August and as usual seen massive crowds at the transfer desk that I have seen before. I had around 4.30 hours to spend at Ataturk Airport and if you love Turkish Delight like me 4.30 hours will fly so quickly that next time you would even want longer transit time at Istanbul. There are so many shops where you can try different flavored of delights for free and buy some for home.

At Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey. Waiting for my next flight to Sao Paulo!!!
My flight to Sao Paulo took off around 9.10 AM Istanbul time. It was a 13.30 hours long flight from Istanbul to Sao Paulo. Reached Guarulhos Airport, Sao Paulo at around 4.55 PM local time. I was so tired but excited about the upcoming journey. My flight to Rio de Janeiro was a domestic flight so I had to go through the passport control. After immigration control went to the Turkish Airlines help desk and made a report about my luggage. They took my details and asked me to wait for their confirmation.

At Guarulhos International Airport, Sao Paulo, Brazil. On my way to to Domestic Terminal to catch a flight to Rio de Janeiro
It was just one hour from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro. My friend from Rio de Janeiro was waiting for me at the airport. It did not take too long to find him. I was so excited. 

< Stay Tuned >

Friday, 5 August 2016

Road to Rio 2016

Rio 2016 will be my third Olympic Games participation and this time I am applying from my beloved country Bangladesh. Applying from a developing country like Bangladesh is fun and challenging.

Applied and got accepted as a volunteer. I was confident because of my previous participation in London 2012 and Sochi 2014 which gave me valuable experiences about the games and gave me confident that I needed to face the interview. Volunteers are the heart of the games. They make the games happen and make it memorable for the athletes, team officials and spectators. Games Makers from London 2012 were amazing and volunteers from Sochi 2016 were also been amazing. I am sure volunteers from Rio 2016 will also be amazing. However journey for Rio 2016 volunteers were not smooth and efficient. Organizing Committee made it to the last minute to send invitation letters to the selected volunteers.

A lot of national and international volunteers had to abandon their dream to Rio 2016 because they received their invitation in the last minute and did not have enough time to organize their journey.

Fortunately I received my invitation a bit earlier. I was told to apply for tourist visa however Brazilian Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh requires a long list of documents. Produced all the requested documents and submitted my application to the embassy here in Dhaka.

Bought my ticket about two months ago to get a better deal. However the agency that I bought my tickets from forgot to pay to the airline company so the airlines cancelled my tickets. I was supposed to fly on 28 July 2016 and reach there on 29 August. My shift starts from 06 August 2016 and I have a venue specific training schedule on 01 August 2016. I missed my training and surely going to miss my first two shifts.

The agency gave me another ticket for 07 August 2016 via Kuala Lumpur and Istanbul. All packed and I am flying tomorrow In Shah Allah. 

< Stay Tuned >