Monday, June 17, 2013

Belem, Port City

Founded in 1616 by the Portuguese, Belem is a port city serving as a gateway to the Amazon. It's a thriving city with a vibe similar to New Orleans.  The people are laid back, music plays on every other corner, and the smell of local eateries wafts through the streets as one walks from place to place.  Belem is my kind of city.

After weeks of excitement and anxiety about learning the language and packing I was finally at Gate E7 in Miami Airport with my pal Adewale.  Last time I had seen him, he was playing a hard bargaining Guatemalan unwilling to trade milk for food. Now he was looking just as nervous as me as we both realized we were hours away from being in the fabled country of Brazil.

Our flight was more or less okay. A layover in Manuas Airport gave us a good chance to adjust to the culture before being immersed in the Brazilian way of life. When we arrived in Belem we were greeted with the smiles of three lab members Mrs. Eliza, Ms. Letecia, and Ms. Isabella.  That's when it happened, I was slapped in the face by the heat of the tropics as soon as the doors opened but it was all good because I was in Belem, Brazil.

Our first week has been an absolute blast.  We have made many friends from Belem that are showing us the city inside and out.  We are also regulars at the mall so, we have friends at the different stores that want to take us out.  There is also a few Americans in the area and we have mangaged to find each other in the most random places.

Most important is our lab work.There is a great team of graduate and doctorate students here that are always willing to help.  Our project is for ocular physiology and the methodology for gathering data is very interesting.

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