Over the past summer, students had the opportunity to travel internationally since the first time since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic. Those who were traveling were required to follow certain precautions depending on the destinations.
Freshman Sundiata Dumisani discovered how difficult it can be to travel during COVID-19 when flying to Hawaii.
“I had to take a couple COVID-19 tests before I got onto the plane, and then I had to show that I was vaccinated,” Dumisani said.
Dumisani doesn’t travel often and went to Hawaii for the first time during summer break.
“This was my first time being out of this state,” he said.
Dumisani went to celebrate the graduation of his older brother, Kenyatta Dumisani, ‘21, and cousin.
“We went zip lining, we went to a couple of museums, and we went to a plant park,” Dumisani said. His favorite activity was the zip line.
“We got to do flips and tricks and stuff like that on the zipline,” Dumisani said.
There were a lot of activities that Dumisani was unable to do because of COVID-19.
“There were a couple beaches that we couldn’t go to because they had closed, and then we had to stay inside for a couple of luaus,” Dumisani said.
“We had to just sit in our hotel, and they did the luau in the middle of the hotel circle,” he said.
He said he would definitely go back.
“I like the general atmosphere, the beaches, and I just like the people,” he said.
Sophomore Paxton Graham spent their summer far away from Sacramento, taking a 12-hour flight to Paris and then traveling by train to both Lyon and then on to Switzerland.
To go to Europe, Graham needed proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.
From traveling up the Eiffel Tower, touring the Louvre, visiting Disneyland Paris and walking through Monet’s Gardens, Graham had a trip without much rest.
“There wasn’t much time to sit down and relax, but I’m not complaining,” they said. “We got to eat in the Eiffel Tower, which I didn’t know was even possible. It was surreal to look out on the city and watch everyone turn into ants.”
Graham spent most of their time shopping and relaxing in Geneva, Switzerland, which was a break from all the action they experienced in France.
Graham’s favorite part of the trip was going to Disneyland Paris.
“I’ve been to both DisneyWorld and Disneyland, but this one is completely different,” Graham said. “They have a lot of things that the others didn’t, such as the rides and food, but both are equally amazing in my eyes.”
Graham also went to “The Artichoke,” a Michelin rated restaurant. They said it was some of the best food they had ever eaten.
“I had the foie gras (goose liver) and it was by far one of the weirdest things I’ve ever eaten. But, it was super creamy and salty, nothing like I’d ever expect,” Graham said.
Graham said everywhere they visited wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but did look just a little less packed than they expected.
Freshman Wyatt Hall flew to New York City over the summer to see live shows like concerts and comedian Gabriel Iglesias. Hall said that he thought Iglesias was funny and made good jokes. As for the concert he enjoyed the musician talking about his life experiences and the music.
Despite COVID-19, most places were open, he said.
“Most of the major stuff that you’d think of doing when you go to New York was open, like on top of the Empire State Building,” he said.
Although places were open they had limited capacity and mandatory mask usage.
Hall stayed at a hotel called The Refinery, which had its own restaurant.
“The atmosphere was kind of a chilled back place,” Hall said.
Hall compared the city to San Francisco.
“The big city, the aesthetic, most big cities are similar. It’s the tall skyscrapers and the blocked out sun. It was bigger and more hectic than SF, the traffic there is crazy,” Hall said.
This was Hall’s first time in New York, and he said that he would definitely go back.
“It was a cool place and there’s plenty of things I didn’t see that I’d love to see,” he said. “I’d like to go to the top of the Rockefeller Center.”
Freshmen Ashley Lattyak spent her summer seeing family in Tel Aviv, Israel, and going back to her birthplace: Toronto, Canada.
Lattyak took a 14-hour flight to Tel Aviv and spent two weeks there.
According to Lattyak, the process of getting into Tel Aviv was difficult because the country was only letting in primary relatives. Along with that, proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test were required to enter.
“It was great to see our family after two years of being away from each other,” she said. “We also were able to go to the beach and relax which was nice.”
Lattyak said the city was like how she last remembered it, most likely due to their high vaccination rates.
Lattyak then spent nine days in Toronto visiting her mom’s side of the family.
Senior Lilah Shorey went to Kenya this summer, saying she wasn’t going to let COVID-19 ruin her vacation like it did last year.
Shorey hadn’t been out of the country since 2019, when she traveled to both France and Spain. Unfortunately, going to Kenya didn’t come without its negatives.
Shorey had to take five COVID-19 tests total on the trip. Along with that, Shorey took a 21-hour flight to Nairobi.
However, the positives far outweighed the negatives, and the trip was refreshing.
“It was so nice to finally be out of the U.S.,” she said. “It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m extremely fortunate to have had the chance to go.”
Although seeing things like zebras, giraffes and big cats was life changing, Shorey said the food there took the cake.
With Indian and Swalihilian influences, Shorey loved the taste and vibrant colors each meal presented. Her favorite was Swahili pilau.
“The pilau had so much depth, and it had a nice balance between spice and creaminess,” she said.
Shorey said the best part about her trip was staying at a hotel called “Loisaba Star Beds,” located in Loisaba, Kenya.
“It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” she said. “It’s pretty much only a bed, no walls or ceiling out in the wilderness. My mom and I just lay there surrounded by the dark, watching the stars and listening to the different noises Kenya had to offer.”
Freshman Imani Thiara travelled to Disneyland over the summer.
Thiara visited Disneyland with her close family for the first time since she was 7 years old.
“All the rides seem a little bit smaller because I’m taller now, but it was still fun,” she said.
The flight to Southern California had some COVID precautions.
“You had to have proof of your vaccination, and you had to have a mask on,” Thiara said.
“A couple restaurants were closed, but most everything’s open and you can get in with a vaccination,” Thiara said.
Despite some closed attractions Thiara still enjoyed the experience and had a couple favorite rides.
“Either Guardians of the Galaxy, or Incredi-coaster, I like that sinking feeling, when your stomach comes up to your throat,” Thiara said.
Thiara also enjoyed the food at Disney, especially the burgers.
“I had burgers three days in a row,” Thiara said.
Living in California makes revisiting Disneyland much easier, and Thiara said she’d definitely go back.
This summer, sophomore Grace Zhao went on a three-day trip to San Francisco with her family. There, Zhao visited The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Zhao said she doesn’t go to many museums, but thinks she’ll start because she loved it that much.
“It was like stepping into a new dimension. Everything was so clean and aesthetic. I felt so small between the large white walls, and everything was unlike anything I’ve seen before,” she said.
Although Zhao loved shopping, going to the museum, sleeping in at the hotel, going to Chinatown and visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden made her trip.
“It’s been such a long time since I’ve been to those places, so it was really nostalgic for me,” Zhao said. “The botanical garden was extremely tranquil, walking through rows of various plants, breathing fresh air and listening to different birds chirping.”
Zhao added that the city hasn’t changed much since she’s last visited in 2018, still drawing large crowds of people. Consequently, Zhao said her family was very strict on using masks and sanitizing often to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19.
— By Jacob Chand and Alex Zinn