We left later that afternoon for Danang. We traveled up the coast until we made it to Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi. While we were there we saw Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, Vietnam’s first university and Ho Chi Minh’s quarters while he was president of Vietnam.
After Hanoi we went on a cruise through Vietnam’s legendary Ha Long Bay. There was a slight fog over the water, but you could still see the different landforms protruding from the water. When we reached our destination, we took a smaller boat to see the Cave of Surprises. After that we went to another island that has a pagoda at the top. I wasn’t in good shape at the time, so I had to battle to the top. The view was worth it. After a night’s stay in Ha Long Bay, we went back to Hanoi and departed for Singapore.
We spent only a few days in Singapore. One of the themes of our trip was sustainability, and we visited the New Water plant, which cleans sewage water and makes it suitable for drinking or use in industrial processes. It took time for the people to accept New Water. We were given a free sample, and it tasted perfectly normal. During the nights we were able to explore the city and areas along the water. I remember reading about Singapore in my sixth-grade social studies class, and it was awesome being able to experience a place that we were taught about in class. Everything there is high quality and very diverse. In terms of food, you can get anything from Korean barbecue to German cuisine. If I ever had the chance to work as an expatriate in Singapore, I would definitely take the opportunity to do so.
We concluded our Asian Study Tour in Kuala Lumpur. This part of the trip wasn’t as exciting. Although we did go on a tour of the city and visit some sites, we were mostly working on our papers and presentations. At this point I was ready to go to Australia. I loved seeing the different countries in Asia, but after three weeks of traveling you become worn down from constantly going from place to place. I was ready to get settled and to see the land down under.
On February 14 we left Kuala Lumpur and landed in Perth. I embraced my second summer while thinking of everybody back in Dallas dealing with the severe winter storms. (Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, its summer is America’s winter.) School commenced on February 28, so we had two weeks to get oriented and set everything up. The best part was the orientation camp. We woke up early the first morning and traveled an hour and a half to a popular surf spot for a surfing lesson. That is when it really hit me I was in Australia. Later that day, we saw kangaroos roaming freely and koalas relaxing in the trees at the zoo. It was the quintessential Australian day. Better yet, we finished off the day with a little Veggiemite and toast, which I have to come to really enjoy. That’s all for now. Cheers!