Sunday, July 17, 2011


Day 12
The hostel had free breakfast from 9-10:30am each morning, so while we didn't like waking up, food is always an incentive. For breakfast, we had toast with jam and pan to cook our two eggs. It was a simple, delicious start to the day.
We took the MTR (subway) to meet up with friends of my Moms for... breakfast (didn't realize we were doing it until after we had eaten). We meet on Orchard street which is THE place to go if you like buying EXPENSIVE stuff. In the few blocks of shops, I think I saw 4 Pradas... Our second breakfast(brunch) was just as delicious as our first. We had freshly squeezed juice and a scone. Gretchen and her daughter Kristin lived in singapore and told us about all the places we should go to before we left. Kristin had grown up in Singapore but had just graduated from Bowdoin. Gretchen grew up in Minnesota but moved to Singapore 35 years ago.
After brunch we walked down orchard street looking at all of the huge shopping malls. We headed back to the hostel for... a nap. I am telling you, walking in the heat is exhausting.
That night we took a bus north to the Night Safari which simply put was AMAZING.
Our luck was with us as we adventured through Night Safari. As we started our walk through the park (similar to a zoo with more open enclosures and at night), a guide asked if she could walk with us through the park. She, in theory, was in training, but she was excellent. She walked with us for an hour as we explored all of the paths in the park. We then went to the animal show. We were able to get a seat in the front row and, of course, when they needed a strong man to go on stage they called on Garrett. He went up on stage and had to flex for the audience before holding a huge python. After the show, we were lucky again and got the first tram ride around the park. The tram took you through the park again but showing different animals than the path did. When we were finished we grabbed Ben and Jerry's on our way out. But before leaving I tried the fish spa. It feels like a ton of little animals are tickling your feet. (Well, that is sort of exactly what is going on. Haha). We left the park exhilarated by the excellent evening! It was definitely the best thing we had done yet.
Day 13
After grabbing the morning breakfast from the hostel, we headed to the river to both see a new part of the city and to try and meet up with a friend of mine from home that had just arrived in singapore to visit family. Boat Quay was a tiny street filled with restaurants on both sides along the river. The restaurants were filled with business men and women grabbing lunch. We found a good place to try the highly recommended chili crab. The crab was delicious and with one crab we were both surprisingly full. We walked north to Chinatown and poked around in shops before heading back to little india for... you guessed it... our afternoon nap.
For dinner we went to the Banana leaf restaurant, a highly recommended indian restaurant close to the hostel. After dinner, we walked around little india before calling it a night.
Day 14
We had to leave the hostel before breakfast had started which we were disappointed about, but made it to the airport with PLENTY of time to grab a unique breakfast of soft boiled eggs and toast with kaya butter(coconut and egg). We arrived to our gate 2 hours early to find they didn't open the gate until an hour beforehand. In the airport, the security check actually takes place at each gate rather than at the beginning.
After a 2 1/2 hour flight, we arrived in Bali. A friend of my family, who I had never met, arranged a driver for us while we were in Indonesia. We quickly learned how crucial that was. Bali has no public transportation and is a huge Island. Bali was the first place we were truly shocked by. The roads were small and overflowed with cars and there were expensive shops and stores next to poverty. We were staying in Kuta, which is the most touristy spot on Bali about 20 minutes from the airport. Our driver's english was okay. And he basically just drove us to where he thought tourists from America would want to go. We ended up on a beautiful beach as the sun was setting... with about 1000 other people. Tables filled the beach and the restaurants sold expensive fish BBQ. As much as the tourist scene upset me, it was beautiful and the food was yummy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


(Pictures take good internet to upload. Most of our pictures can be found here:
Day 5
After a good night sleep, Betty (cheech's Mom) gave us fresh fruit. Papaya, Mangosteen(DELICIOUS) and strawberries. We thought that was our breakfast, but that was just the start. We went out for Dim Sum at this delicious chinese restaurant. Over the course of our meals, Betty told us much about the Malaysian culture. While residents of Malaysia are allowed to believe in any religion. Native Malays (sort of like native Americans) must follow Islam. It is against the law for them not to be Muslim. She talked about the very racists culture of Malaysia.
After brunch, we headed to Petaling Street which is a street filled with knock off American products for very cheap. I bought myself a lovely swatch watch before we headed to KLCC, which is a huge mall at the bottom of the twin towers. Outside the Mall is a beautiful park.
Returning to the Chongs, of course meant more delicious food. We went to an authentic Malay street restaurant. What distinguishes the food here is the sauces. The staples are similar in each meal, chicken, rice, veggies, but each type of food has a different type of sauce.
After Dinner, Bryan took us to an outdoor food court with a large screen showing a soccer(futbol) game. Tiger is the Malaysian beer here. Beer in Malaysia is much more expensive than in the states because it is a Muslim country.
Day 6
In the morning, we went out for southern India cuisine. It was delicious. The plates were banana leaves and you picked out your meat and your sauces. We stopped by the National Mosque on our way to the worlds largest walk in aviary. The Aviary was filled with birds walking right next to you. We spent 2 hours walking around (in the heat) seeing all of the birds. It was very cool. And we escaped the park with only one mishap, a bird pooped on my head. I definitely think that the Southern Cassowary takes the crown in the bird world. It is the size of a Ostrich with the colors of a parrot on its face and neck.
In the afternoon we went to the Batu Caves. The cave itself was very cool. You walk about 200 steps up to the caves. Once you are at the top, you can look up and see a beautiful natural sight, but when you look at what is in front of you, you see cheap stores and trash. What I thought was the coolest part of the caves were the monkeys. They were picking up straps of food and walking right by you just like squirrels do in the States. At the bottom of the caves we grabbed our first coconuts as a refreshment.
After a delicious home cooked meal of pork and rice at the Chongs, we headed out with Bryan and a friend to Sky Bar. Skybar is on the top floor of a hotel looking out on the twin towers. It was an amazing view and the bar itself was very fancy and nice.
Day 7
On our third and last day with the Chongs, we drove 2 hours south to Malacca. Malacca is home to much Malaysian History. Much of the city was built by the Portuguese in the 1400s. For lunch we had the famous chicken and rice dish. For dessert we had Cendol, which is a cold cup of beans and sweets including kidney beans. When we expressed that it was strange to have kidney beans in a dessert, Patti expressed that that is the only way she had had kidney beans before traveling. Now she has them on her salads as well.
The most interesting part of our time in Malacca was the Cheng Ho Museum. We got a personal tour of the explorer Cheng Ho's life. Cheng Ho was the first great explorer and traveled with a HUGE fleet from China to South east Asia, India, and Africa.
On the way back from Malacca, we stopped to get satay. Our stay in KL had been very enjoyable and filled with delicious food!
Day 8
We caught at 9:30am but to Penang. That was very early for us as we had been sleeping a good 10-12 hours a night usually sleeping until around 11am. The bus ride was 5 hours and we were riding in style on a double decker with a big screen tv for movies upstairs and a social lounge downstairs. We were staying on Jalan Burma close to the main bus hub of the island Komtar. The hotel was cheap and nice. (I feel like an ad for them) but it was $10/night/person for a nice hotel room. (AC and wireless were add-ons that we decided to do without). We headed to the reclining Budda or Wat Chaiyamangalaram. This was a nice Thai buddist temple. On the walk back to the hotel, we ate our first "American" food. I ordered a Boston chowder, which had carrots in it. Garrett ordered chicken noodle soup that looked exactly like ramen noodles.
Day 9
We woke up and grabbed some snacks for the day and headed to PenangPantai Kerachut we jumped into the ocean. It was clear blue and 70 degree. We hung around the beach, swimming and napping for 2 hours before hiking back. It was our best adventure yet!
The bus took us to Georgetown which was just past our hotel. Georgetown had many European style buildings similar to Malacca. We wandered around and found a delicious Indian restaurant for dinner. When we returned to our hotel, we quickly passed out after a long day.
Day 10
I woke up with a small stomach ache which gave us a slow start to the day but we then headed to Kek Lok Si which is the largest buddist temple in southeast asia. The temple was beautiful and we explored it for a few hours. (It was also one of the hottest days yet and since we had a delayed start, it was the heat of the day). The temple was up on a hill that overlooked the town and in the distance the city. We were just a little sweaty from the climb as we admired the great view from the 7th floor of the pagoda.
After much needed naps, we headed out with Irene and her husband. Irene was a CS Masters student that past year at Cornell with Garrett. They took us to this hole in the wall thai restaurant called sweet cherry. Have I mentioned that the food in southeast asia is awesome?! After dinner they took us to try our first Durian. Its one of those things people have to try at least once. I think for Garrett and I, once was enough. Not only does the fruit have a very strong odor making it banned from many buses and hotels, but its taste was... less than ideal. I am glad that I tried it because it is an icon in southeast asia as the king of all fruits.
Day 11
We woke up early to head to the airport for our flight to Singapore. We waited until our favorite bread shop opened, grabbed the bus which we were told would take 30 minutes only to find ourselves arriving at the airport an hour later. We jumped in the long line to check in then realized that our flight left 30 minutes before we had thought. I was worried because I usually arrive 2 hours before my flight leaves... but we arrived to the gate as the slightly delayed boarding began.
The singapore airport takes the crown as far as airports are concerned. Real flowers and trees growing in gardens lining the terminal, huge ceilings, fancy fancy stores.
We went right to our hostel, Prince of Wales, in little India. It was our first dorm style hostel. The Australian bar was very fun and perfect for our stay in Singapore. We grabbed some aussie style food and watched Australian Rules (aka Footie). It is a game played with a rugby ball, with 18 players from each team on a cricket field trying to kick the ball between poles but passing or kicking the ball to teammates. Fun to watch.
We took our normal afternoon nap, then headed downstairs for more footie and some Australian beer. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Overview of my trip

Hello Friends and Family,
If I have time to write a blog while I am in SouthEast Asia, I will post my messages here.

Ways to follow me:

 Below is a outline and a map of my trip
June 13th - Depart from JFK New York
June 15th - Land in Hong Kong
June 18th - Fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
June 22nd - Bus to Penang, Malaysia
June 25th - Fly to Singapore
June 28th - Fly to Bali, Indonesia
July 5th - Fly to Jakarta
July 9th - Fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
July 12th - Bus to Angkor Wat, Cambodia
July 17th - Train/Bus to Bangkok, Thailand
July 20th - Fly from Bangkok to JFK, New York

View June/July 2011 Travels in a larger map