by Julian ’17
Today was the most memorable experience of the trip this far. We began with a tedious road trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. While we were comforted with tourist attractions and foreign snacks, most of the morning was spent anticipating enormous road bumps from the poor infrastructures work that sent us soaring as I sat in the back of our bus. I observed the rural scenes around the road with keen interest, feeling both sorry for the immense amount of poverty yet also amazed by the simplistic life style and geography. Arriving at Ha Long Bay felt a bit strange with all of the tourism surrounding our every step, but everything changed once we got on the boat. While our boat was not luxurious, I could still indulge in a remarkable display of seafood that was provided on board. When we finally departed for the cave, I experienced one of the most surreal and thrilling feelings as we started to pass the monstrous cliffs that rested dispersed throughout the ocean, all of these thousands of islands were mostly untouched by humanity and it was incredible to be immersed in such a detached environment. We left the boat at one site to explore a remarkable cave that tunneled far into the depth of a particularly large island in the bay. I was bewildered by the magnitude of the space as it continuously descended through vast spaces and tight tunnels. The tourism was unattractive but made me conscious of my privilege in being capable of visiting such an extraordinary place. I am now excited to finish our leisure and begging the serious service we are here to carry out in this beautiful country.