Flying Across The United States

I’ve often heard Europeans criticize The United States as being a multiracial nation of immigrants. They say with outright distain that the American forefathers were people who had no opportunities in their native European lands, so they boarded ships and set sail to a new land. These are cruel, uneducated people with no cultural background, so they dare to make up such truly appalling stories.

However, young Europeans speak about The United States with an opposite tone of voice. When I asked the students in the Gironde area of France if they felt fortunate, the French in particular and the Europeans in general didn’t. They all reluctantly said no. I asked them if they could choose another place to live where would it be, and they all said without hesitation: The United States. I then asked them why they would choose The United States. All of them shyly said they didn’t know, but their red faced, embarrassed teachers explained that it was because they watched many Hollywood films, so they were enchanted by the American glamour.

Some older Europeans tried to be fairer when talking about America by saying that it had vast national parks and spectacular natural wonders. I realized, though, that The United States has had a large impact in the world economically, politically and culturally. The U.S. dollar has always been the benchmark currency for the real value of the currencies of other countries. Whenever The United States has a presidential election the entire world can watch the event and get the latest updates on TV. As for movies, music, and all the current trends, the young people across all five continents quickly imitate the American living style. Therefore, I had looked forward to going to The United States for a long time, but hadn’t yet found a suitable opportunity. I had also witnessed the daily scene of people lining up in the sun at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon to apply for a visa before they finally became discouraged.

Then one day I did go to The United States, and on that trip I visited several cities on the East Coast, so when I returned I intended to write my impressions about what I saw and heard in dynamic New York, intellectual Boston, and historic Washington D.C., but the time flew by and I had no time to write about my experiences in America. Then I traveled to The United States again, and after a few days on the East Coast I flew across the country on a six hour flight. The sunny West Coast was very different from what I imagined. The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas were all unique. The Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park were also truly magnificent natural wonders.

Compared to Europe, where I’ve had the opportunity to explore many times, I’ve had only one chance to fly across The United States. However, I believe I have many interesting experiences to share. The information in this book may not be very extensive, but as I wrote it I experienced very powerful emotions.

Duong Thuy