Monday, January 31, 2011

“I realized I did not have to be part of it, rather it could be a part of me” Truman Capote
The past three days were filled with great conversation and meeting new people. I think that having an overnight really opened my eyes to the possibilities on the trip. On the ship it can be hard to branch out from the groups that people have inevitably already formed, but on overnight excursions the dynamics are different. They bring new people together in smaller groups and there is no doubt that you will have the opportunity to get to know people you might never have had the chance of meeting in another setting.
As I said, Karissa and I got very lucky with the girls we were assigned to room with and we also had one of the nurses from the ship who we also really hit it off with. We would sit at dinner for hours because of good conversation. Everything from the wonders of the world, issues that had come up on the ship, politics, and personal lives. We discovered that there are more than 7 wonders of the world because there are natural wonders, manmade wonders, and other odds and exceptions, but we would be seeing to on our voyage. One was the meeting of the waters that I talked about before and the other will be the Great Wall of China. How amazing is that?!
Another amazing thing that I have to mention are the Life Long Learners are in the ship. Life Long Learners are adults who are travelling with us just to see the world. They sit in on the classes that they are interested in and they sign up for excursions that they want to do right along with the students. There were several Life Long Learners on our trip who must be in their 70’s at least, and I was just taken aback at how amazing it is that they were trekking through the jungle right alongside a group of 20 year olds. On top of that, they were loving it. Some of the women with us were taking this trip on their own due to various life circumstances which made them feel like doing Semester at Sea would be the right thing and this was the time to do it. Now or never right?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1/25 Continued

The rest of the day was much better. I guess that’s not hard to do considering how much I did not enjoy the jungle. We had some time to relax by the pool, had lunch, and then it was time to go fishing for Piranha’s! we loaded these little man made boats and headed out onto the Amazon River. We stopped at what I guess was a good place to find piranha’s and the boat drivers gave us bamboo fishing sticks and cups of raw red meat to put on the hooks. I was initially grossed out and not wanting to touch the fish bait, then realized that you touch raw meat when you cook so it was really not that unbearable. I threw my hook into the water and waited for a nibble. I got several but every time I pulled the line out of the water the fish had already gotten the bait and was no longer attached to the hook. I decided I reloaded my bait and threw the line back into the water several times until finally I felt a nibble, pulled my line out of the water and had a piranha! That was satisfactory to me so I had let the fish loose and retired for the afternoon. The sun started to go down and it was literally the most beautiful sunset I have ever experienced. We were in the middle of the Amazon River, surrounded by trees, the water was like glass, and there were green marsh areas dispersed throughout the area. The sky gradually changed from a light purple with orange shining through the clouds to a dark blue and has it got darker the trees became silhouettes. Once again, I’ll be posting pictures as soon as I can. While we were all watching the sunset our boat driver and his assistant, David, were on an alligator search. When it got dark they pulled out a small spotlight and David hung over the front of the boat scanning the marshes. In no time at all he pulled stood up, baby crocodile in hand! (It was actually a Cayman, but I don’t know what the difference is, they look the same). But it was sooo cute! I think just cause it was a baby cause they boat next to us got one too but theirs was a little bit bigger and not as cute. We all oo’d and ah’d at the crocodile and then I got to hold it!
A few things you probably don’t know about crocodiles:
1) Their sex is determined by the temperature that their eggs are kept in. if it’s over 30 degrees F they are usually female. If under, they’re usually male
2) An adult can smell its victims from 3.75 miles away
3) They have 36 teeth on top and bottom
4) They don’t have a tongue
5) Their eyes close sideways and upside down
6) The Portuguese word for them (which I don’t remember) means “the one that can see on both sides” because their eyes can turn 180 degrees on the right and the left
7) When it closes its mouth it’s like 400 kilos coming down
8) 70 percent become female because of the heat of the Amazon.
When we got back to the hotel it was the usual dinner then chatting and sleeping. We convinced our guide to depart the next day at 9am instead of 8am for the rubber factory. We got there and realized that this was just a model of what a rubber plantation used to be, or something like it. It was really not fun, and not that interesting since we had already seen people who really were making rubber…so I’m not going to write anymore about that. After the rubber plantation we went back to the hotel for lunch and to collect our stuff, then it was back to the ship for some much needed showers and homework time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Once in a Lifetime


…because I refuse to trek through the jungle EVER again!

We got up in the morning knowing we would be walking through the jungle, but I was not expecting the adventure that was awaiting our group. We began the mission along a narrow pathway covered in leaves with typical jungle nature all around us which is fine. About 5 minutes into the walk we stopped and our tour guide asked for two volunteers…thank god, I did not raise my hand. the guide grabbed a nut of a tree and cracked it open and but the substance that was inside the nutshell in the palm of my friend Sloane, then proceeded to tell her to eat it without giving up any information about what it was. She realized that she was already in this so she popped it in her mouth, bit into it once and swallowed it. Then Terry, our guide, told us that it was the larvae from the butterflies that lay their eggs in the nut shells… ew. We continued on our walk and came to a tree which we learned was a mahogany tree. Cool….Then we came to another tree (which is hard to describe so I’ll try to post a picture in our next port) but basically the base of the tree kind of has little cubbies, so you can stand in them. And this is good to know because if you are about to be attacked by a jaguar you should put your back against a tree such as this one because jaguars and other similar animals don’t attack from the front. Next we saw a hut in the middle of the jungle. The ground was cleared out underneath it so it was just soil, no leaves. I feel bad for the people from our trip that we learned would be spending the night there because at this point we had come upon several bugs that I cannot identify and we saw what ringworm grows in because it was EVERYWHERE and to be honest, that is what put me over the edge of hating the jungle so I’m going to spare you all the description of that. Anyhow, seeing this hut made me appreciate the fact that I was only going to be in this environment for another 1.5 hours tops. Next we came upon a vine that grows from the ground so its roots were at the top. Next stop on the tour, a tree swarming with little tiny ants. This doesn’t look cool to someone who doesn’t know things about the jungle, but I now have the knowledge to tell you that if you rub these ants all over your body they have a scent so you smell good. Honestly, who thought to do things like this! Needless to say, I did not test this, but I watched others put their hands up to the tree and lets the ants crawl on them and then rub their hands together and there was indeed a smell. Next we came to another tree with guess what, MORE ants. But these were not little ants that smelled good. These were the biggest ants I have EVER seen in my life. They were about the size of a fat marker cap. Don’t you worry, I have pictures! We saw a few more things after that but my attention span was long gone in the moment as it is writing about it. So that’s all I have to say about the jungle. I learned a lot, I’m not gonna lie, some of it was interesting, but I DID hate it.

coming up next, piranaha fishing and crocodile searching

Amazon=The Tribe of Native Warrior Women


“It’s like you’re putting cream in your coffee” I heard someone comment. Perfect description, but doesn’t do it justice.

Today was the beginning of my first overnight excursion which Karissa and I happened to both be on. Our first stop on the excursion was the meeting of the waters, the Rio Negro (from Colombia) and Solomon’s(?) River (from Peru). This is one of the natural wonders of the world and it is certainly a wonder! “It’s like you’re putting cream in your coffee.” Perfect description, but doesn’t do it justice. From far away it looks like you’re coming up to a beach but as you get closer it is a clear distinction between the dark river and the light river and they absolutely do not mix! There are three reasons for this, density, temperature, and speed. If you’re bored, I encourage you to look it up because it is really amazing.

We crossed from one river to the other and went to a small island that you wouldn’t even know is inhabited. The people there sleep in hammocks as one of the guides told me, “they’re tree people”. Who knew! The boat we were on docked at a tiny man made wooden dock that was more like a plank and we walked up a bridge, more planks of wood, to the town. I felt like I was walking into the Dharma Initiative community (and Lost fans?) because there was this community in the middle of an island. It just felt so out of place. We wandered past the houses, further into the island and were shown how rubber is made. Rubber comes from trees. I did not know that. What they do is they carve a diagonal line and this white liquid substance starts to appear. They put a tin cup at the bottom of the slash and the liquid drips (very slowly) into the cup. When you rub a little bit of the substance around in your hand, it turns to rubber for the body heat. So what they do is, once they have collected enough of the liquid they put it on a stick over a fire and it turns to rubber and they gradually add more and more liquid till it becomes a rubber ball about the size of a large water melon.

After seeing the rubber demonstration, we continued walking through the island along the river and to my surprise, there were neighborhoods! There were only a few houses in each one but they were separated by gates and there was a footpath that went through all of them that we referred to as Main Street (more like Only Street) for the day. At the end of the road there was a large wood building which was set up with long dining tables where we had lunch cooked by the people on the island and it was amazing. Oh, and outside the building there was a young girl with her pet sloth…
After the island we went to the Tiwa Amazon Ecoresort where we would be spending the next 2 nights and 3 days. The resort is located on its own beach and the cabins are built along both sides of a lake. When we arrived we gathered in the lobby/restaurant and were given room assignments. Karissa and I were split up which was good because we are SO tired of each other. JUST KIDDING! (Incase anyone was wondering were getting along great and shockingly not tired of each other and not fights. All love in cabin 4143!) HOWEVER, we do recognize that splitting up means meeting new people as individuals instead of as a duo. That said, our 3 day roomies were great! My roommate and Karissa’s two roommates already knew each other because they all go to Michigan but the 5 hit it off and so a beautiful friendship began.
We had the rest of the day and evening free to spend by the pool, with the pet parrot. No, really. There was a parrot at the hotel and its bird stand was right by the pool so we would be sitting on the lounges talking and all of a sudden it would swoop down and start yelling so try to picture a bunch of girls jumping out of their seats and screaming at the shock of this creature flying through our conversation. It was probably pretty funny to watch and equally as embarrassing to be watched in the situation. But anyway, it was hot and muggy so the pool was great! We hung around the pool for awhile and unfortunately nobody brought homework since we didn’t realize there would be this much free time, bummer, so we just spent the day hanging out.

Dinner was served at 7:30. It was gourmet spread of vegetable, fruit, breads, meat, chicken, fish, salad, and probably more that I don’t remember (this is how every meal at the hotel was). We were informed that the hotel had free wi-fi and although everyone was disappointed that we didn’t have our computers so that we could take advantage of that luxury which we don’t have on the ship, it was nice because we ended up sitting at dinner for 4 hours every night just talking. So that was the end of night one. We went back to our nice air conditioned hotel rooms and thought about our friends who were either out in the jungle or on riverboats sleeping in hammocks. We had to get a good night sleep because we would be leaving the hotel for our jungle trek at 8 am the next day.

Oi, Abrigado! (Hello, Thank you)

Manaus, Brazil Day 1 Monte Salem Orphanage 1/23

If you have ever looked for the port of Manaus on a map (which most people probably haven’t) it is difficult to find because you have to go through what looks like a very narrow canal but is in fact the Amazon River. Coming down the Amazon into Manaus was truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and the photos unfortunately do not do it justice. The river is lined on both sides by the jungle. You can see the uncovered soil below the tall trees and the thick grass because the water level is currently low in parts of the river. The colors change throughout the day depending on how sunny or muggy or dark it is, and the sunset is breathtaking. That said, the actual docking in Manaus, is not so sensational.
Our view from the ship is of the rundown city. The building look like they were once painted bright and vibrant colors but they have become dull over the years. We can see a storage port further down the river where storage units filled with electronics are imported to, and right next to our ship are the riverboats which people use to travel from place to place in around Manaus and sleep on.
When we got off the dock we emerged into a city in action. As with most ports, there are cabs waiting to take you wherever you would like but what was out of the ordinary to me is that the people just hang out on the streets, if not in them. There is an island in the middle of the road where people sell drinks and are BBQing. Some people have their lounge chairs out and seem to socialize right there in the middle of the traffic and the bus stops. When we walked further into town it reminded me of Canal Street in NY. There are street vendors selling everything from notebooks with Justin Bieber’s face on them, to popcorn. There are shoe stores coming out of shoe stores that sell more Havaianas (a Brazilian made sandal that is popular in the US) than I have ever seen in one place and more little kid backpacks with sparkles and characters than I have never seen before.
My activity for the day was going to Monte Salem Orphanage. We loaded the bus and our guide took us through Manaus instead of going straight to our destination. A few facts about Brazil:

1) Private school is “expensive” 200-300 dollars a month
2) Government (public) schools you are required to wear a uniform but a lot of people cannot afford them so their kids can’t go to school

3) Girls start having babies are 11

4) 4:1 women to men

5) The government gives houses but you have to take classes to know how to live in them. The problem is that one they move in they don’t practice any of the things they learned. The people who are eligible for these houses are people who live in stilts houses and they can live there for five years then they have to sell it

6) There are HUGE problems with human trafficking in Brazil- When babies are born there are often people waiting in the hospital to steal them and on some occasions the mothers are already planning on selling their babies because they need money. The traffickers are between Brazil and Venezuela and according to our guide the traffickers buy them and then sell them into adoption.
We got to the orphanage and learned that there are currently 25 kids living there between the ages of 0 and 16. The way that this orphanage works is that the children are removed from their home because of various reasons but then when the parents have gotten their acts together, the children are returned to them. There is one building with a kitchen, bathrooms, one room for the boys, one for the girls, and one for the babies, and sitting with a couch and a TV, and on the grounds there is a play ground and a school.

We got to “work” entertaining the kids. People brought all sorts of toys: sticker books, face paints, bubbles, foam airplanes, etc. and the kids were loving it, especially the face paint. Trying to interact was a challenge because of the language barrier. The older kids were more patient and creative in trying to explain things to us by showing or pointing or hand motions, but the little ones had difficulty getting their point across because they didn’t know how to tell us what they wanted. Non the less, we made it work and it was clear that having visitors was an uplifting sentiment not only for the children but also for the staff at the orphanage.

Dominica Day Two 1/17

The second day in Dominica was unplanned and not too eventful. We walked around the town looking for souvenirs and a grocery store to get snacks. We found the grocery store “Save-A-Lot” at the end of town right by the water located next to a KFC. Dominica is not a modern town and it is pretty rundown so the KFC looked extremely out of place. We went into the grocery store which was somewhat of a shock but more of a relief. Most of the items they had there were American. We stocked up and ran into one issue which is that you cannot bring drinks on the ship unless they are closed and wrapped in plastic. I am a cereal lover, and I bought cereal, but couldn’t figure out how I was going to get milk on the ship. As we were browsing the isles we came upon something that looked like formula in plastic bags and we asked the ladies working there what it was. They told us that it was powdered milk. This was the perfect solution to my problem. So I bought the powder and when we got back to the ship I added water to it and put it in the fridge. A few days later, I still hadn’t tasted it so one of my friends decided to be brave and check it out. She said it was fine but I was still skeptical. Eventually I had it with my cereal, and I will never do that again…It may be in my head, maybe not, but there was a funky taste. So that plan failed. Dry cereal it is!
Now onto Brazil!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dominica 2-Travel Writing Assignment 1

We heard the music lingering in the streets of Roseau and we found ourselves determined to find the source. We followed the music to a street filled with people drinking-some locals, some who appeared to be from Semester at Sea-and behind the crowd, we could see the club. Before we were able to get to the entrance cab drivers were offering rides for “2 dollars a head to Crazy Coconuts!” left and right. Trying to stay with the crowd in this unfamiliar town, we turned down the cheap rides and fought our way into the club. Once we got in there was no sense of personal space because it was so packed, yet the air was surprisingly fresh instead of stale and minimal as it typically would be in a space so full of sweaty body’s. I looked up and saw the moon, which explains it. I heard someone next to me yelling “there is no roof! There is no roof at this place!” clearly, the girl had noticed the same thing I did and took quite a fascination to it. As the music blared on we became increasingly more curious about “Crazy Coconuts”. We squeezed through the mob of people and found ourselves once again on the street, not knowing where to go. So we started walking aimlessly, waiting to either think of what to do or stumble upon something. As we wandered up the street we continued to be offered cab rides to “Crazy Coconuts” and as we watched people pile into vans all headed toward that destination, the idea grew increasingly more appealing. “What the heck! Let just go” one of my friends made the executive decision. So we bargained with a cab driver who offered us a ride for 2 dollars a person, “How about, she rides free because it’s her birthday?” I pointed out. “Okay okay, let’s go!” The cab drivers who loiter outside the bars in Dominica are extremely friendly and it can be mistaken for sketchy. Or is it the other way around, they are very sketchy and can be mistaken for friendly? Regardless, we jumped in a van and once we were joined by some locals the driver started the engine, and we were on our way.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Believe in the Face of the Moon-Dominica

I spent the past two day on the Island of Roseau, Dominica (Dom-in-ee-ka). The night before we docked, the door to the deck of my floor was open; Karissa and I could feel the mugginess in the hall, an indication of the humidity we would be subjected to the next day. The tour I signed up for was of the Emerald Pools and the Carib Indian Territory.

I got ready for my excursion and realized this was the first time I was pretty much on my own for the first time in awhile (Karissa and our other friends had signed up for other activities). At first I felt a little lost, and then saw a familiar (someone who had been in one of my orientation groups) so I reintroduced myself and realized it’s not that hard to make friends if you’re willing to put yourself out there.

We boarded the buses that awaited the SAS group at the end of the pier and were on our way. Our guides names was Sherri and she filled us in on the history of Dominica on our way to the Emerald Pool, which by the way is named that because the area that surrounds it is so green. A few interesting facts:

1) They grow sugar cane in Dominica, but not for sugar, it’s for rum

2) They have three universities on the island. Two for medicine and one that is general studies

3) There are 365 rivers, “One for everyday of the year” where they go fishing and do their laundry every Sunday

4) They “believe in the face of the moon…for cuttin’ da yams, makin’ da babies, etc.”- I want to look further into this idea because I don’t remember everything she was saying about it, unfortunately, internet on the ship is not really worth using other than for necessities…email, facebook, school work on occasion…

We got to our first stop which is part of the rainforest so we hiked/walked through the rainforest and learned about different trees on our way to the waterfall. There was one tree that was stripped of its bark. Any idea what tree grows in Dominica that’s bark would be useful? I don’t know the name of the tree either, but, its bark is apparently like Viagra… interesting.

We got to the Emerald Pool and saw the waterfall then continued on our way through the rainforest back to where we started. As scenic as this part of the tour was, I personally did not find it much different than the waterfalls I’ve seen anywhere else. The next part of the tour was definitely the more interesting and worthwhile part. We drove up a long windy, somewhat paved road to where the native Carib Indians still reside. We got off the buses and were greeted by the man who used to be the Chief of the tribe. When he was appointed, he was only 21 which made him the youngest leader thus far. Our tour would consist of seeing a home, watching one of the natives cook a native dish, and learning about sugar cane.

We were split up into groups of three and my group went to view the home first. I found this to be the most interesting part of the tour. We were greeted by the man who owned the home and had built it with his own hands. There was an outdoor shower, the walls were made of tin, a stove with a roof over it and a shed next to it with cooking materials, a gazebo type thing where a woman was sitting making baskets, a man made pond (which the man of the house makes use of by going to the river and catching little fish, then putting them in the pond located next to his kitchen, and catching them when they are ready from there), and the main house that was up on stilts where we could see the faces of little boys peaking out the windows, running away when they saw us notice them.

The man who lived there showed us every plant in his garden and explained what they were all useful for. Some were for inflammation, some were for fever, some were good for cancer, some were good for rashes, there was literally a use for every single one. As the tour went on we were curious about the actual house, on the stilts. We weren’t sure if we were welcome inside but one of the girls decided it couldn’t hurt to ask, so she did, and after the mother went inside and perhaps scanned the room to make sure it was appropriate for other people, she welcomed us inside. We learned that she was the mother of 5 boys and they all lived in this two bedroom house that had two rooms and a living/family room kind of area with no furniture. One of the rooms was for the parents, and the other, which consisted of one bed, was for the boys. The clothes hung from the beams on the ceiling and some were thrown under the bed and sitting on the floor outside the bedroom, one of the boys was playing video games on his laptop. Next to the laptop was a shelf with an enormous set of speakers hooked up to a boom box, and on the shelf next to that, was a little Nokia cell phone (it reminded me of my very first phone) plugged into its charger. It was crazy to see these self sufficient people who live on the outskirts of a city in order to maintain that lifestyle, using these modern technologies. I suppose that says something about the world and how we determine what we spend money on these days. At this time, having access to a computer, and a cell phone to reach people is basically a necessity even in communities where you wouldn’t think that to be true. The speakers however, I can only assume those were there for fun…?

Next we went to see a young girl, about to turn 21, demonstrate making a type of bread. What was so different about this demonstration was that 1) the base of the “stove” was made of rocks, the fire was from wood, and it was outside with just a cloth covering and 2) this bread was cooked in a pan, over heat, but it was made from grains and the girl didn’t add any water to the substance. What resulted from this was what looked like pita bread with the texture of coos coos.

We then wandered over to another house where a man was demonstrating how to squeeze the sugar cane. He had a wood contraption that he put the cane on top of, and lowered a wood beam onto and it, which squeezed all the sugar juices out.

We ended the evening with some snacks from the land. There were fresh picked bananas and coconuts, cooked bananas, saltwater fish curry ( I didn’t try that. Sorry!), some kind of root which they was served cooked and uncooked (the cooked one tasted like a potato chip, the uncooked one tasted like a baked potato), and some kind of baked bread with a filling that tasted like what I would imagine Velveeta tastes like, so we determined that the filling was not fresh.

All in all, I’m glad I chose to do an excursion that was exclusive to the place I was in instead of something like hiking or river rafting that you can do anywhere.

When I get to the next port I’ll try to put pictures up and those will hopefully help you all to understand the stuff I’m talking about

Ship Life

After unpacking, I realized that I have way too many clothes. The original plan was to take only what I needed and not try and fill the empty room in the suitcases with stuff just because I could, that was a fail, but challenge number 2 was mine! Lucky for me, the closet is much bigger than I expected and although a bit cramped, everything fit just fine.

We boarded the ship yesterday morning and have been in orientation meetings with the entire ship, our floor (sorry, im supposed to call them decks), and another small group which we can refer to as the reflection group, until right now, 10 pm of day 2. Luckily in between all of that Karissa and I had time to set up our room so it is really very comfortable. We decided to bring duvets with us so that it didn’t feel like we were leaving in a hotel for 3.5 months and I’d have to say it was a great idea cause our room definitely looks like its our own. Ill post pictures as soon as I can. The internet connection isn’t usually strong enough to upload them so ill have to find an internet cafĂ© in port.

We had club sign up’s tonight and I signed up for photo club, service learning/community service, arts and crafts with the kids of teachers onboard, and a program that semester at sea has called extended families where you get a member of the faculty/staff or a lifelong learner as a “family” member along with some other students and you have dinners and activities with them.

Challenges number 3 and 4 made themselves evident today:

3) As I was thinking about what to write tonight, I realized that I am writing this blog for my friends from school, my family, and everyone in between. I usually write for the person that I am writing to and I hope you can all see where this is a challenge when writing to such a huge span of ages, personalities, and interest in what I’m doing. So, I have decided that I am going to try to write for me, and I hope that I don’t bore any of you, but you can all let me know how im handling that challenge with some emails! (we don’t have to pay for internet to use our SAS email account).

4) Making friends. I have to keep telling myself that it really is only the second day on the ship (referring to this vessel as a boat is a NO NO!) It took me about a semester, maybe a little longer, to form my group of friend at Bentley, and for those of you that are reading this, you are really the best group of people I could have ever imagined getting to know and enjoy at college. In our reflection groups tonight we discussed the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, some of you may have heard of it. Im not going to go into a synopsis of the story but the title comes from the following passage

“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stanger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you take tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything…”

Perhaps in the American culture tea can be substitude for meals, or in the instance of college…shots (haha). But in all seriousness, for most of you reading, we have already shared three cups of tea. So to summarize my blabbing on about challenge number 3, it is to have three cups of tea with the people ill be surrounded by day in and day out for the next 102 days. Wish me luck!

First Things First...I'll Eat Your Brains

(mom, grandma, auntie, it’s just a song!)

I guess I should start from the beginning. I was born on February 13, 1990 in Santa Monica, CA…

Just kidding! As eager as im sure you all are to know my life story, im going to try to keep this blog to my travels and experiences on Semester at Sea. The beginning of that story, I don’t clearly remember. There used to be a TV show that is a vague memory at this point, but it was a high school on a cruise ship, im pretty sure my interest sparked there. Add to that the many cruises and traveling I’ve been fortunate to do with my family and a craving to experience new things, and you get the desire to study abroad on Semester at Sea.

A lot of people like the idea of being in one location for their study abroad programs because it gives you the opportunity to become a part of another culture and get to know an area as if it was your home. I chose to do Semester at Sea because I’m curious to learn about all different cultures and hopefully will be able to go back to some of the places one day. Not to mention, most of the places im going to get to visit are countries that I probably could never in a million years convince my mom to take me. Europe, she is all for it, Ghana, not so much!

The first challenge of the trip has already come and gone. That would be, packing. If you know the depth of my closet, and you saw the size of my cabin, you would understand. As my cousin Allie once said, “I don’t like editing my papers and I don’t like editing my clothes” touchĂ©. Hence the reason I have two overweight suitcases, a large carry on, and there will probably be some spelling and grammatical errors in my writing. Challenge number 2, fitting it all into my room. Karissa (my cousin who im rooming with) and I have already decided that there will be stuff everywhere, but hopefully we will be able to see the beds and the floor for the first few days…stay tuned for the results!

Around the World in 104 Days


Depart Nassau, Bahamas Jan 12, 2011

Roseau, Dominica: Jan 16-17

Manaus, Brazil: Jan 23-27

Takoradi, Ghana: Feb 6-10

Cape Town, South Africa: Feb 17-22

Port Louis, Mauritius: Feb 27

Chennai, India: March 6-11

Singapore: March 16

Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam: March 19-24

Hong Kong / Shanghai, China: March 26- Apr 1

Kobe / Yokohama, Japan: April 4-8

Hilo, Hawaii: April 17-18

San Diego, CA: April 24


Welcome each new bend in the road with wonder and anticipation
And taste every magnificent adventure…
At the end of the journey you will be wiser…at peace with yourself…and you will see the world through new eyes
-Patsy Gaut