Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I love Malaysia

I was did a lot during my time in Malaysia and really enjoyed my stay. I went throughout Penang my first day. We visited the Snake Temple, Reclining Buddha Temple, and a Mosque as well. The Malaysian food is so good! Best chicken I've had thus far on the trip....and I've been eating a lot of chicken! It was a really different experience going to a club in Malaysia. I was the only black person in the Malaysian club and the Malaysians loved me. They kept offering me things, taking pictures with me, and introducing me to their friends. People kept on coming up to me to shake my hand and ask me questions like where I'm from and how do I like their country. I suppose it was obvious that I was not from this country! I went to the Cameron Highlands the next day, which is up in the mountains of Malaysia. The Cameron Highlands was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The lush green mountains on all sides and different kinds of flowers and plant life was remarkable. We went hiking through the jungle and visited a local village where we met indigenous people of Malaysia. They took us to this beautiful waterfall and showed us how to use a blowdart, which was really cool. After leaving the Highlands we went down to Kuala Lampur, this ridiculously colorful and vibrant city that had a lot to offer. I was so suprised at how well developed the city was and how much it reminded me of Miami. The city had these immaculate malls, skyscapers, and beautiful scenary all throughout the city. I loved everything about Malaysia and I could definitely see myself living in this country sometime in the future.


This country is one of the most amazing countries I've visited. The food was amazing, the people were really personable, and the country was so colorful! I went south to Pondicherry where we visited immaculate temples and different markets. I also did an overnight stay in a Dalit ("Untouchable") village, which was the highlight of my Indian experience. It was during this visit that we had the opportunity to talk to Indian people on a personal level. I was shocked to see how black some of the villagers were and how some of them looked like they could be apart of my family! I learned how the Untouchables were discriminated in a similar fashion as blacks were in America. It was also very interesting to notice how the higher class Indians were typically of a much lighter complexion than then the lower class and Untouchables. The town put on a big performance for us and then gave us a tour of the village. Seeing inside some of their huts and hearing stories and talking with the villagers was a priceless experience that I will never forget.

For many SASers, the culture shock and way of life in India was overwhelming. It is apparent that the country is impovershed and is underdeveloped, but I feel that many people wanted to close their eyes to what was going on around them, instead of opening them to see how the world really is. I've been to really poor undeveloped countries before, but I think for many SASers it was their first time experiencing such in your face poverty and they didn't know how to react to it. I think that this visit to India should be looked at as an eye-opening experience to the realities of the world that we live in today. They should have left the country with a better understanding of how priviledged we are to live in such an amazing country that is America. Even with all the wrong that our country has imposed on others and has done to this world, I still love America and all the opportunities that our country has to offer, it's unlike any other.

An Eye-Opening Experience

Namibia was ridiculous! The food was really good too, which surprised me because I expected a desert climate to have bad food. I think my favorite port so far though was probably Cape Town. The city was gorgeous and the people there were friendly. I hiked up Table Mountain, which was a lot more challenging then I expected. The incredible view from the top of the mountain made the hike well worth it. While I was in Cape Town we visited a couple of townships where we saw how the Black South Africans live in Cape Town. If you think that there is an economic divide between races in America, it is more obvious overseas. Cape Town is even more interesting to look at because of the "colored" population that lives there and seeing how they live. Driving to the townships from where the ship is docked, we went from seeing beautiful homes where the white South Africans lived, to somewhat decent homes where the mixed or "colored" people lived (the official 2nd class citizens during Apartheid), to shanty homes in the townships where the black South Africans stayed. It has been an interesting experience traveling to these countries realizing how rare of a person I am in this world. Wherever I’ve been to so far whether its a nice area, store, or a restaurant, you can see the surprise on people faces and sometimes anger when they see that someone black like me can afford to eat at this nice restaurant or shop in this nice store, because that is very unusual for them to see. It has been a real eye-opening experience for me and I'm learning a lot about the world and how it really works.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Love with Brazil

Our first stop on the ship is Brazil, and the country was absolutely amazing! I fell in love with Bahia, the area was rich with culture and the people were so beautiful. I am really into salsa dancing and samba music is very similar, so I spent the first day just partying in the streets with the people celebrating their independence day, and it was a lot of fun. I left for Rio de Janeiro the next day, and fell in love with Brazil all over again! Rio is hands down, the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited. The mountains running against the gorgeous beaches, and all the historic architecture throughout the city was remarkable. We went to go visit a school in the favelas, where the kids were really cool. They were so happy to see us and we took a lot of pictures. One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to see Christ the Redeemer, an incredible statute that hovered over the entire city. The views of Rio from the statue were absolutely incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it! Overall I loved Brazil, and all that the country had to offer.

An Unbelievable Opportunity

I can’t believe I’m finally doing SEMESTER AT SEA! I've been wanting to be a part of this voyage ever since I’ve heard about it on Road Rules when I was younger. The concept of traveling around the world on a ship, sounded like such an amazing experience I just could not pass it up. I will be spending the night on the Great Wall of China, sitting under Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, climbing on the ancient Angkor Wat, and posing in front of the infamous Taj Mahal. How many people can say they have done that? This voyage is going to be a remarkable, life-changing experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I feel like I am opening the doors for future SAS students of color to be apart of this remarkable voyage. Being from Morehouse College, a historically Black college, it's very important that a representation of minorities is present on this ship. I think a diverse population of students on the ship will give a true reflection of all the different countries that we are visiting. Thank you Semester at Sea for giving me this life changing opportunity to join you on this amazing voyage!