The Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program encourages our students to travel within the United States during their cultural exchange program. Here, Muhammad Haris reflects on his West Coast road trip. Haris is a NWCCI participant from Pakistan, who is studying project management at Edmonds Community College.
I had never visited another country before coming to the United States. Everything was new for me and more modern than my country. Many things attracted me about this diverse, powerful and developed country and I was especially determined to visit the famous cities of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.
In order to fulfill my dream, I decided to visit those famous cities during my winter break. My EdCC friends and I planned a seven-day road trip. We wanted to make sure that we could enjoy the journey with nice views and visit many different places on the trip. I was lucky enough to travel with people from different countries; there were five people from Pakistan, one from Iran, and one from Hong Kong. During the long ride, we shared songs in our own language and I realized the power of music to bring people closer.
The day we started our journey was rainy and cold but it didn’t affect our excitement. After a long 18-hour drive, we reached San Francisco in the early morning. The first attraction we saw was the Golden Gate Bridge. I was shocked and excited when I saw it. I just sat silent and staring at the bridge for several minutes. I had seen it often in the movies and I couldn’t believe that the Golden Gate Bridge was right in front of me. Then we visited the Palace of Fine Arts. Those buildings are beautiful. We stayed that night in a hostel.
At 4 a.m., we started our journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Normally, it takes 7 hours, however, we didn’t want to miss the chance to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, so it became a 16-hour ride. It was definitely worth spending that much time to enjoy the impressive views of the Pacific. We reached Los Angeles in the evening and we stayed in a hostel on Hollywood Boulevard. We were so excited to walk around Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and find our favorite stars. The next day, we went to the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory, Universal Studios, Beverly Hills, and the Wax museum. I was so thrilled every moment because I was wondering what I would see next. The next day we went to Santa Monica beach before leaving Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, there are many luxury-designed hotels and casinos. We counted down to New Year’s there and there were nice fireworks. The most impressive thing was how, after the countdown, the crowd went home in such an orderly manner. Then we walked around at the Las Vegas “strip”. After that, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and we ate typical American food. On the way back, it was Bashir’s birthday and we gave him a surprise birthday cake.
It was an unforgettable road trip. We spent seven days with not enough sleep because we were in a rush during our journey. We were tired but we had a lot of fun and we felt happy. Two days after we arrived home, we were sharing the pictures and remembering all of the unforgettable moments. If anyone wants to visit these places, I highly recommend that they plan a road trip, it is the best way to enjoy the experience.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.