My name is Vicky, and I’m a senior at Desoto High School. I’m passionate about the visual arts and oftentimes spend my days listening to k-pop music. Here’s a recap of my month-long road trip:
From East Coast to West Coast, I rediscovered America this past month. What started as a ride down to Austin for a business program ended as a journey through the United States - all in the backseat of a car. Although I didn’t personally drive through the crowded cities, I watched anxiously in the backseat as the driver maneuvered through various close calls in the city.
I hadn’t been to New York in years, so travelling through the state felt like a completely new experience. Hours of cruising past meadows and Gothic architecture ultimately led us to the concrete jungle of New York City. We were greeted by honking and the smell of exhaust fumes when we first stepped into the dazzling lights of Times Square that lit up the night sky. NYC brought surprises to this suburban traveler, even though I visit Hong Kong every other year. In New York, parking is always a pain. You have to pay parking meters wherever you go. Pedestrians always have to be on the lookout for cars trying to go when it’s not their turn. I even saw a driver madly honking at a pedestrian, who simply thrusted his finger at the lit up pedestrian light, emphasizing that it was his turn. Food stands met us at every corner, and people were bustling in and out of buildings, each on their own schedule. By touring the different subsections of New York, we found that the state is a mix of cultures with Koreatown on one end and a Little Italy on the other.
We explored the landmarks of the U.S. on the East Coast. We weathered hailstorms in Kansas under a tornado warning and dust storms in Nevada. We winded around mountains in Yellowstone, exploring the very features that bring in tourists from all over the world. The national park was immense, from the mud volcanoes to the hot springs surrounded by bison. After that was a visit to San Francisco, which was almost a mini New York, but the drivers were less impatient. There was definitely less honking, but the air was still tense with drivers rushing through the city. We visited Fisherman’s Wharf, whose sky was lit up with colorful balloons and giant, luminescent bubbles. A cascade of multicolored boats filled the pier as we circled around Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. Soon after California, Nevada welcomed us. I thought I knew heat until I went to Nevada and Southern California.
Death Valley stretched across the land for ages until the flashing neon lights of Vegas approached. For a person who’s under 21, Las Vegas still offered plenty of fun. After walking through the casino-centered hotels and Canal Shoppes and riding the nation’s tallest Ferris wheel, I emerged from the city in a dreamlike state. Just like New York, Vegas offered a multitude of cultures from its imitation of the Eiffel Tower to Caesar’s Palace.
I thought I knew the U.S. before this trip, but I realize that, after living here my whole life, there’s still so much to learn, especially about driving practices in different states. Most roads aren’t as vast as the ones in Texas, and driving courtesy varies from state to state. Of course, maybe the drivers would have been more patient and respectful if they had gone through a program like Aceable. ;-)