On Sunday morning I arrived in Vitoria. I took a bus from Cataguases, which was about an 8 hour bumpy ride (overnight). I didn't sleep much, so I was able to watch the sunrise as we drove along the beach. Taciana picked me up from the bus station and we drove through the city. Vitoria is very beautiful. Unlike Rio, the city is much newer, and it seems to be cleaner too. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the beautiful aquamarine ocean that it resides on. Like Houston, Vitoria is a major port for ships in Brazil. You can see dozens of ships not far off the coast at any time of the day. With these ships comes a great deal of pollution in both the air and the water. Mix this with the area being a center for petrochemical facilities and oil and gas refineries. Really, didn't realize it at the time, but I think I'm living in the Houston of the Southern Hemisphere. The beach that we live so close to is one that you don't want to swim in, but we did go to a nearby beach (to the south, i.e. downstream) that was much cleaner and wow was the sun strong! I needed SPF 1000.
On Monday I had my interview at UFES, the University I will be attending for my PhD. I was definitely nervous to meet my professors and the head of the department here, but they were very nice and intrigued about my choice to come to Brazil to do my PhD. Actually, intrigued is an understatement. They were puzzled! Brazilians want so badly to live the American life that they can't understand why an American would choose to live in Brazil. But I assured them that I do want to be here and that I have good reason to be. Everyone here in the atmospheric group of the environmental engineering department has been warm and welcoming. I like it here already