Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Three Month Adventure: Travels in the USA!

After completing my 2013 spring semester and packing, I embarked on a three month adventure. First, I started my trip with a visit to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. In these two cities nestled away in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I came across some of the most friendly and hospitable people I had ever met. From there, I went eastward to visit Denver, Colorado, Kansas City, and Saint Louis, Missouri. In Kansas City, I experienced hurricane force winds of up to100 mph while I was on my way to watch a WWE event. Luckily, I made it out of Kansas City unharmed! Being a big fan of the English Premier League, I enjoyed watching a soccer game between Chelsea and Manchester City at the Saint Louis Cardinal's stadium in Missouri. In Independence, Missouri, not too far from Saint Louis, I visited the American Harry Truman Presidential Library. This historical landmark was of particular interest to me because I enjoy American history and all of the politics associated with it. Continuing with my adventures in the American Mid-West, I then visited Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. For some of you who do not know, one of the biggest malls in the world is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although I spent nearly an entire day wondering around this mall, I still did not see every single store in it. I then traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and got to visit the Harley Davidson Museum.

In Chicago, Illinois, I then met up with my parents. Put simply, Chicago is the most beautiful city I have ever visited. With my parents, I toured many parts of Chicago including the house that President Obama lived in while he was a senator for Illinois. We also visited DePaul University, where I did my MBA (in Bahrain). We then traveled to Boston, Massachusetts where we got to visit many attractions including the JFK Presidential Library. After that, my parents and I traveled by train to New York City. In the Big Apple (New York City), we did all of the tourist stuff including the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. Adding to the list, we also visited Ground Zero, Wall Street, and Central Park. During our five day stay in New York City, we also took a one day trip to Niagara Falls. Continuing on America's East Coast, my parents and I traveled by train from New York City to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) was fun because my parents got to catch up on some shopping they needed to complete before heading back home to Bahrain. From Philadelphia, we then traveled to Washington, D.C. Being a political enthusiast, Washington, D.C. struck a special chord with me because I got to visit the White House, Congress and most importantly the AMIDEAST office where I met Hayley and Heather (my Fulbright team at AMIDEAST) for the first time. Not too far from Washington D.C., my family and I also visited the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Although my parents left after Washington, D.C., I continued my trip and made my way to Baltimore, Maryland. I then went to Charlotte, North Carolina where I went white water rafting for the first time! I also took a day trip to South Carolina. I then visited Atlanta, Georgia where I went to the headquarters for World of Coca-Cola and CNN. Afterwards, I visited Nashville, Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati where I got to tour their Country Music Museum and Underground Railroad Museum. I was slightly disappointed when I visited the Underground Railroad Museum because I thought it would be about transportation which is my interest. Instead, the museum detailed the harsh reality of slavery in America before their civil war. Nevertheless, the museum offered an incredible educational experience. I then visited Indianapolis, Indiana where I met with my friend. I then visited Detroit and Dearborn and got to tour the Ford Museum and celebrate the 4th of July. Making my way eastward again, I then visited Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York and Niagara Falls for a second time. Lastly, I visited my friend in Burlington, Vermont where we toured different parts of the state. Marking the end of my tour of America, I then traveled to Boston where I stayed for a night before traveling back home to Bahrain for Ramadhan.

Ahmed Al Saleh is a Bahraini Fulbright grantee pursing an MS in City and Metropolitan Planning at University of Utah.

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