Max shares his experiences of our first full day in Vietnam:
As we woke up yesterday bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7:00 a.m. on our first morning in Vietnam we were all very excited for the day ahead of us. Most of us (especially my roommates and I) had food on our minds because A: adolescent males and B: Vietnamese Food. After we were all ready we headed out to eat breakfast. One group went to get coffee and pastries and one group (including myself) went to get phố . Now, a savory bowl of beefy deliciousness might not seem like a typical breakfast back home, but in Hanoi, most of the phố restaurants only serve it as a breakfast option. Needless to say it was, much like everything we have eaten in this city, delightful. After our hearty breakfast we went on a stroll to the Temple of Literature. The beautiful monument to Confucianism was quite a sight with many traditional Chinese elements, symmetry from all angles, and a list of graduates written in stone that represents 1,000 years of history. It probably goes without saying that all that learning worked up an appetite.
After our walk through the Temple of Literature we headed towards the National Museum of Vietnamese History and on our way we happened to stop for lunch. We smelled the fatty pork cooking over charcoal long before our eyes saw the rows of mismatched plastic chairs with seats no taller than our knees. The fact that there were plenty of locals eating there and only one dish being served confirmed we had made a good choice. With our bellies full and our souls content, we headed towards the museum to fill our brains with knowledge.
The museum gave us insight into the ancient civilizations that once called the area of Vietnam home and the things they used to survive. We were particularly interested in the Cham culture when we started, but the thing that stood out most to me was the level of detail in the artistic pieces from the late 19th century. The mother of pearl inlay work was most memorable to me because of the way every detail was highlighted through color and composition. By American standards, this art is practically ancient, but it was the most recent section in the Vietnamese museum. Making those types of connections is what these trips are meant for and I feel grateful to be a part of it.
Dinner and laughs
Once we were done filling our brains with information we meandered back towards our apartment to have a little down time before our dinner outing. Some people got some well needed nap time. Once everyone was well rested, we had a brief meeting and decided to head to a place previously visited by Eva and Jay. With a wide variety of options, there was something to suit everyone’s fancy. After a dinner of laughs and good food we all headed home thoroughly exhausted and ready for bed. After a brief evening circle we wandered off to bed excited for the days to come.
It’s not too late to make a gift that will enhance the experience for all Explorations Academy students.