During this summer, I have gained a terrific experience traveling abroad. It was filled with great adventures, new discoveries, joy and laughter. But the most important of all, it was an opportunity to meet new family members and relatives, other than my uncle in Georgia. For those who are eager and have the desire to travel to Asia, I would like to emphasize that it was quite the trek to get there. One of the many difficulties I faced was enduring the twenty hour flight. It was ridiculous and I cannot explain how much of a nuisance that was. For starters, I had to deal with the headaches due to the dry air and noise from the engines. Then, I felt so irritated from getting woken up to eat breakfast. After you go through one of these flights, only then, you can understand what I was talking about. However, for now, just try to imagine the experience.
The specific country in Asia that I was traveling to was Vietnam. It’s a long strip of land that is bordered by Cambodia. When I arrived, I discovered that the city had changed greatly since the last time I went, which was when I was nine. When I started to meet my relatives, I felt really excited because I haven’t seen them for so long. This was definitely a priceless moment in my life, as described by MasterCard. The chance to taste authentic Vietnamese food was wonderful. But I noticed that the area had some familiar fast-food chains. I could not believe that Pizza Hut and KFC were considered three star restaurants! The center of the city, which is commonly referred as Saigon, is where the best entertainment and shopping is. I forgot to mention that mostly everybody traveled by a moped. Try to visualize in your head, hundreds of people on mopeds trying to get to their desired location on one small, narrow road. Then, throw in some construction activities, which blocked a good section off. You feel terrified and full of excitement at the same time while zooming past everyone else.
My visa allowed me to stay in Vietnam for one month, so I had the opportunity to travel to several nearby islands for vacation. I had the chance to stay at a five star resort called Diamond Bay. This resort was known for hosting Miss Universe 2008, a beauty pageant that is sponsored by the prestigious Donald Trump. Even with its reputation, in my opinion, it was the worst resort I have ever gone to. My family and I received extremely slow service and were treated unfairly. I felt that there were prejudice against us, but at least I gained some useful knowledge through this experience. It showed me how money brings the worst out in people but I made some friendships along the way which enabled me to look past all the bad moments.
Four weeks later, thinking back about this trip, I truly believe that it greatly changed my life. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the country and its political system. I witnessed first hand, the cultural differences between the different parts of the country. I learned about new relatives and their everyday life. Most importantly, I was given an opportunity to spend quality time with my family. Last but not least, it also taught me to value what I have, even if it is just as simple as the water we drink everyday and the nutritious food that we eat. I hope one day I will have an opportunity to travel back there again.
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