Yesterday was our first day in Belem! It was crazy to go from a ranch that bordered secondary rainforest to a city of two million people in just a few hours time. Belem is a diverse city with everything from rundown neighborhoods to gated communities. It also borders two of the rivers that make up the delta which runs into the Amazon river and has therefore become known as a major port city of the Amazon.

Last night we met our host families for the first time. I was very nervous about being able to successfully communicate with my family but I was surprised to find that I was able to converse without too many problems. My family name is Sao Fracisco and is comprised of a mother and father along with their 24 year old daughter Lidiane and 21 year old son Thiago. I share a room with Lidiane and she told me that she was very excited to be able to speak in both Portuguese and English with me and assured me that she and I would be going out together at night and that her friends were also excited to meet me. I haven’t gotten to interact too much yet with Thiago, but I think it should be pretty fun having two siblings close to my age. The Sao Fracisco family seems of a relatively high economic status and has a pretty nice house in an attractive neighborhood in the city. I think it will be interesting living with a somewhat atypical family while in Belem and I hope that I still feel like I have attained a level of cultural immersion upon my departure.

I am very excited to get to explore the city and go out at night as I feel that so far I have only really scratched the surface of Belem. There are many interesting sights to see here including Ver-o-Peso, one of the largest outdoor marketplaces in South America, Basilica de Nazare, a famous church which hosts an extremely large catholic event in early October that nearly doubles Belem’s population, as well a fair number of ecological parks featuring native flora and fauna.

Today we also had our third Portuguese class. I really look forward to having these language classes as I sincerely feel that each day my knowledge of Portuguese improves. Every day holds many new experiences and I can’t wait to see what else today and tomorrow has in store!


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Barry said,

    Carra, I’m so glad your trip is going well. I appreciate your blog, your reaching out to broaden yourself, and your interest in others learning and growing from your experience. I’m very proud of you. Keep up the blog and I’m looking forward to more entries and seeing photos. Love, Dad

  2. 2

    Brandon said,

    dude, i am SOOOOOooooooo jealous.

  3. 3

    June said,

    Hi Carra,
    i love reading about your experiences, learning about the Amazon, and most of all understanding the cultural differences and the effect they have on your feelings and passionate plans for your future. It’s such a life-changing journey for you and I’m glad to be traveling with you.

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