Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bali, baby!

After a couple of days spent with some friends in Singapore, I moved onto the beautiful and what I thought would be over hyped Bali. I was sure it was never going to live up to what everyone says about it...boy, was I dead wrong! It was beautiful, enchanting, serene and peaceful. I spent my first couple of days diving off the east coast and staying in Candidasa. We went to the USS Liberty Ship Wreck, diving through the caves that used to be the different compartments of the ship and checking out all the amazing aquatic life that now calls the ship wreck its home...beautiful. The next day we ventured over to "Shark Alley"...that's right I saw a number of sharks and one turtle that had to be the size of a small car. It was amazing...and I still have all of my limbs, fingers and toes! After Candidasa, I headed to Ubud. Ubud is known for its artists and Balinese handcrafts. The galleries, filled with local and international art work, were incredible. I stayed on a rice field pension overlooking the small river that runs through the town of Ubud. Each morning over breakfast, I would watch the rice field workers push the mud from one side to the other. After 5 months of rice paddies it's still unclear to me exactly what they are achieving by this task. When I was finished with the hippy artsy crew of Ubud, I moved south to the famous beaches of Bali. I spent my final days of my Southeast Asia Adventure relaxing on the beach watching the surfers make ever attempt had finding their perfect wave. I met some wonderful local surfers who tried so hard to convince me to take a lesson with them but I was happy sitting this one out. They then introduced me to this wonderful woman who made the most amazing Indonesian food and needless to say I had lunch and dinner at her stand everyday after that. When I would arrive at the beach I would stop to say good morning and she would tell me what specialities she cooked up for me for that day. On my final day, she made me a special dessert and had all my new Indonesian friends come over for a going away party...sooo sweet!! Bali is just as good as everyone says...if not BETTER!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thanks for the memories, Malaysia (& Tova)

After purchasing my first rough guide/lonely planet book for Malaysia (that's right I went 5 months without ever purchasing my own tour book...oh yeah and it was from a Borders NOT a second hand book store where the pages are photocopied), I was ready to plan our jammed packed 8 day adventure starring my dear friend Tova.  What a great time we had...we packed in the city life of Kuala Lumpur, the beautiful scenery and fresh air of the Cameron Highlands, the old British colonial architecture of Penang, and the beach resort feeling of Langkawi.  As always it's an adventure trying to decipher the menu (the ultimate fusion of Chinese, Indian, Thai, Malay), decide transportation methods that get you from point A to B safely (clearly safely is the key word), and explaining multiple times to the locals that we are not sisters just friends (that happen to look alike with our big brown curly hair).  Special thanks to Tova for a spectacular trip (and bringing a little piece of home to Southeast Asia for me)!  

**Tova had the fancy camera so those will be up soon

Unfortunately, the rest of my Malaysia trip did not work out as swimmingly.  Yet again, I was locked out of hotels for local holidays...I really should have a local calendar handy!  So instead, I've landed back in Singapore saying a final farewell to my friends here and then I am off to Bali for my last stop before heading to the states. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Destination: KL

That's Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for those of you not in the know. I certainly have arrived back in civilization and a damn good one if you ask me. While I await my dear friend Tova's arrival before we embark on 8 days worth of pure Malaysian fun, I have had some time to reflect on some of my new surroundings (while sitting in air conditioned malls and eating the newest Japanese frozen yogurt/gelato/ice cream craze...gosh they come up with some great stuff!):

1) I've now been pooped on 3 times by birds during my trip. Do I have a big bulls eye on me or am I just REALLY lucky...I love when people tell you that it's good luck because I just think it's super gross!

2) American movies, made in America, with mostly all American actors cost less in Malaysia than in New York City. (Movie in Malaysia: RM 11 or $3.14, Movie in NYC: $12)...incredible.

3) Malaysia defines multiculturalism. After arriving at Kuala Lumpur Airport, you are immediately greeted in four languages (Malay, Chinese, Hindi, English) and I couldn't help but notice how well everyone interacts. The Chinese teeny boppers hanging out with the Muslim headscarf wearing teens, the Christian Indians and the Mohawk wearing rockstars all enjoying their lunch in one of the many hawker's really nice to watch.

4) One thing I did find curious was the number of women wearing burqas and shopping in jewelry stores looking for earrings, bracelets, and assorted other accessories. One of these days, I might need to ask why. If I find them in a bathing suit shop, I promise I won't tell a soul.