My First Trip to Vietnam
Written by Dao-Le Quy Dan (10 years old)
As long as I've lived, being Vietnamese was just another little fact about me. I never cared. That was before my parents actually made me go to Vietnam. All I knew was and all I got in my mind was small... poor... dirty...
So, as my father dragged his reluctant son to the airport, he told me I was going to be shocked at how people lived. And I wasn't going to argue that.
After 26 hours of airplane/airport routine, we made it to Saigon! One thing about Vietnam that I discovered on first sight was there were few cars, and it was mostly bicycle or motorcycle in the roads. There were a few taxis, but for something less luxurious, you could call a "xe loi", which is a bicycle pulled cart. Or for speedy errands, you could call a "xe om", which is when a motorcycle driver takes you. But to me, Saigon didn't look half that bad, especially at night. The lights, the cars, that mostly come out at night, the restaurants, and the tall buildings look exactly like any American City.
As planned, after arriving in Saigon, we left for Cao Lanh Town. It was a small rural area far from any major city. To get to the school, we had to go across a river (the school was on Phu My Island). When we actually reached the school sight, the only things left to do were to paint the desks, the doors, and the window shutters. It was hot and probably around 90 degrees Farenheit. But at lunchtime, the teachers at the school cooked us our own meals. That was good compared to the airplane food I had been eating. Really, it was good. So after that, I decided to take a break from working at the school to play games with the kids there. We played soccer. That was fun because they really are friendly. Most kids their age in America are a bunch of over-spoiled brats. One kid in particular was 3 years older than me, but he only came up to my shoulder! That was one of the things I will remember forever about my trip to Vietnam.