By Alex Abraham, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Vietnam’s Halong Bay was a breathtaking experience and something I will never forget. We arrived at roughly 1 PM and when we got there it was not hot like Ho Chi Minh, but a bit cool, almost chilly. The temperature combined with the layer of fog, gave the bay a level of mystique that left me with a sense of wonder. After a delicious lunch, we embarked on a canoe trip that was the highlight of my Vietnam adventure. We were so close to some of the cliffs, we could almost touch them. Each cliff had its own unique textures and shapes that made them feel unique, like they each had their own history. Eventually we arrived at a small fishing village. It was impressive how seriously the artisans took their craft. One woman had been taking pearls from oysters for almost 50 years! After several people in our party purchased some pearls we headed back to the boat. The ride back was one of the most peaceful experiences of my Semester At Sea trip. The water was silent, the cliffs quiet and no one said a word. When we finally got out of the canoe, I felt like I had been woken up from a dreamy trance and an almost out of body experience. Halong Bay was a beautiful place and gave me a sensation that I hope to replicate again on this trip. I wonder which other experiences, if any, will give me a feeling like this?