RSS

Tag Archives: Malaysia

Reflections Of A Year Abroad…Part 2

Here continues my final reflections from my year abroad.. and just in time to start my new adventures coming up…

New Zealand

New Zealand, like Australia, was one of the top contenders for “where I might want to live when I grow up…” While Australia was vast and overwhelming, NZ was stunning and easy to travel in. The people were also downright “nice” as the Aussies put it. Heck I was even wished happy early birthday by an immigration office when they had to double check my info that apparently is similar to a person of interest

I loved NZ and the Kiwis and got to amazing things there. Like dig my own hot tub at Hot Water Beach. Cover myself in thermal mud and take relax in a sulfur spring in Rotorua. Jump off a mountainside and paraglide, screaming all the way, in Queenstown.

Free as a bird

I even ade it to all THREE islands: North (right upto the tippy top), South and Stewart Island (the 3rd) where I did trade work at Bunkers Backpackers, one of the best spots in all of NZ.

A drink with the locals

The Worst Part Of NZ: would have to be the hacking cough I developed for about 3wks, felt so bad for my fellow dorm mates, oh and the price of lamb (so much for my bday roast 😦 )

The Best Part of NZ: friends, paragliding, mud and Stewart Island.

A Reason to Come Back: Everything

Malaysia and Borneo

The plan post NZ was to go volunteer in Sri Lanka at an animal shelter. They had contacted me and asked me to come promising accomodation and no fee. Sounded perfect and I was all set with tickets. Mid Tonga I got a message saying a returning volunteer was staying for 6mths and they were giving her my accomodation, but I could still come I just had to pay to stay… Well that blew that plan out of the water. My ticket on air asia was a ticket to Kuala Lumpur and then to Sri Lanka. I had great friends who I hadn’t seen in years in KL. So I scratched my 2nd ticket and ate the losses, planned a short visit to KL then discovered a converted oil rig in Borneo (a short flight) for scuba diving. Sounds like a perfect recovery plan to me.

I can’t tell you enough about how great it was to see my friend Chauw (first time in 7yrs) and meet his fabulous wife, Viven, and dog Pakkun (who really runs the house). They welcomed me like a long lost relative and put me up, fed me, and showed me around. It felt like home and I can’t thank them enough. I only wish I had had more time to stay.

Great Friends/Family

But Borneo beckoned and since I had to go through immigration it counts as a country on my list. The Seaventures Dive Rig, a converted oil rig, was incredible and with a sealavator that went straight into the ocean a diver couldn’t ask for more. This was my first DIVE VACATION and my first in tropical water, the rig made it truly spectacular in every way.

THE SEAVENTURES RIG!

The Worst Thing in Malaysia/Borneo: Leaving

The Best Thing in Malaysia/Borneo: friends and diving

A Reason To Return: Friends, diving and so much more.

Nepal

Nepal is a country I have always dreamed of going to and never thought I would. Most people go to trek, to get to base camp at the very least. For me, I wanted to buy myself a singing bowl. Since the first time I saw one of this beautiful bowls that “sing” as you pass a wooden stick around the outside, I have promised myself to only get one when I got to Nepal. It took me almost the full 3weeks to find the right one, but she sings just perrtty for me and I love it.

Nepal was fascinating and, unknown to me, would introduce me to someone who would change my life for good in many ways, but bring it crashing down with a terrible betrayal.

But you can’t blame a country for the actions of one person and so I focus on the people like Laksmi and her family who essentially adopted me in Pokhara. I went to dinner at their house, helped my new little brother, Gaurab, with his homework, even moved hotels closer to them (with Laksmi’s husband’s help). I spent many good hours chatting with Laksmi and I will miss my “sister” very much.

The Worst Thing in Nepal: The traffic and pollution

The Best Thing in Nepal: The people and the shopping and the history

A Reason to Return: The people, the shopping and the history

Germany

Cathleen, who I had met in my first country of Peru, and I had joked about me coming to Germany on my way home. Low and behold fate saw to it that I did. While I was super sad to leave Nepal, I was super excited to Cathleen again and well Germany in December means: Gluwein, Bratwurst, Christmas Markets and Christmas Cookies. Woohoo!

Cathleen met me in Hamburg with her amazing friend Hendrik, who put us up for a few days. Then came the whirlwind tour of Hamburg and Berlin with a final stop in Leipzig where Cathleen lived. Fate also allowed me to catch up with Carolin and Nadine, friends from Australia.

The Worst Thing in Germany: My heartsickness at missing a guy and ending a trip (not really Germany’s fault).

The Best Thing in Germany: Gluwein, bratwurst and Christmas markets… and fabulous friends.

A Reason to Go Back: need I repeat the above?? Oh and add the bakeries and the cold meats, mmmmmmm…..

Home

So after 347 days on the road, just shy of a full year, I finally made it home! For those of us who love long term travel, going home is both a blessing and a curse. We get our own bed, we see family, have home cooking, and 3 days later we want to pack our bags and head out again. As someone once explained to me, finally giving me an explanation I could use for non travelers, “traveling is a double edged sword…you live you grow you explore but you never feel settled”.

Starting my job as a vet nurse with a mobile vet barely 3 days after getting home at least helped that trapped feeling from catching a full hold. And being mobile kind of felt like I was still moving.

Ready to Monitor in Surgery

Something I learnt on This Trip: I am stronger than I look, and I love being near a warm ocean.

My Most Memorable Experience: Shaving my head for charity

My Worst Experience: Can’t say that anything was terrible, but let’s just say I learn a lot of lessons about life.

One thing is for sure, I prefer living abroad and plan to find work that gives me that. As much as I loved all the travel, there are times you want to stay put for longer than a month or 2.

So stick around and join me on upcoming adventures including Italy, Korea and Thailand…

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Germany, RTW, Travel, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reflections of a Year Abroad…Part 1

2011 was an epic year in so many ways, good and bad. I still can’t believe that I visited 8 countries (9 if I can count Malaysian Borneo separately, I did have to go through immigration) in under 12months.

Ready to Go…

Here are a few flashbacks and memories. The titles are all linked to the first blog entry of that country with a few others scattered around. Hope you enjoy…

Peru

When plans to volunteer in Botswana fell through I felt I needed somewhere else to replace those months before heading to Australia and New Zealand. It’s not like any tickets were bought or anything, it was just something my mind had decided on, there had to be a country or two before. I was at a loss of where until a friend said “don’t you know someone in Peru?”. Why yes I did, a co worker from the Seattle Woodland Park Zoo. Fernando was our imported penguin expert for the new exhibit and all of us summer employees got on really well.

So I contacted him and it was on, Peru was destination 1. I honestly had no idea what to expert, I had never been to South America and the only Spanish I knew was hola. But ever the one to shrug off obvious adversities I booked my ticket the day after my 33rd birthday. Now only 4months and 5 days till I would leave.

Peru was amazing, and I loved every minute of it. Cusco is now one of my favorite cities, although next time I am definitely pre-dosing on the altitude tabs… Man that hit me hard.

Fernando and Me

Machu Picchu was at first unimpressive, just a ruined city in the rain… the the clouds parted and it all became clear why it was so revered as a must see, that and the thought of “what bloody crazy idiot would make his people lug thousands of stones up a mountain side that scares the living daylights out of on the bus ride…and down??”. Seriously, it was breathtaking.

Good Friends: Cathleen and Me at Macchu Picchu

Lake Titicaca, just giggle everytime I say that, was awe inspiring and I would love to go back. However, the port city of Puno was a real dump and I was glad for fellow traveler advice to avoid it as much as possible.

Lake Titicaca Local Kids

The worst thing to come from Peru : The altitude sickness that actually had me bed ridden for a day.

The best thing to come from Peru : A great new friend named Cathleen!

A reason to go back : I haven’t tried roasted guinea pig yet 🙂

Ecuador

I was almost to the point of buying tickets when my mom held out a newspaper article about volunteer travel. It had a 2 sentence blurp about Amazoonico Wildlife Refuge in Ecuador. The part that caught my eye was the minimal cost of $120/month for food and accomodation. Bonus! I dropped them a line and soon had that on the map. Or actually I couldn’t even find the town of Tena on the map, but Ecuador was right about Peru so how hard could it be.

42hours later my bus (with the locked bathroom) pulled into Quito. Have you ever experienced the need to pee so bad that you can’t… Let’s just say when I could finally see through the wall of water in my eyes, I was in love with the loos of Ecuador. At least the one in the daughter’s home of a lady I had met in Spanish class and who was kindly putting me up for a few days.

My two months at the refuge came with high highs and low lows. The first month was tough as I was the only new volunteer, all the others were girls averaging 21 and had Spanish as a common language. By now I think I could almost say my name and ask where the bathroom was. In short it soon became apparent I was back in highschool and … I still wasn’t popular. My amazing volunteer co ordinator, Sarah, took me aside and said “you can leave, or you can stay and it will change your life”. Who am I to argue with authority, I stayed and in that first month got through a good number of books and enjoyed my alone time since group time was in Spanish, which I was picking up quite well.

“Walking” a Monk Saki Monkey

The second month was much better, we had a new cycle of fresh blood, English became the common language, I was a senior volunteer (and ok I admit I love being the one who needs to teach others), and I discovered my gift for making cookies… That pretty much made me popular in high school! It was very hard to leave.

Beata Relaxing at Sunset

At the end of my time in the jungle I went to the ocean and saw blue footed boobies… again another thing that just makes me want to giggle.

The worst thing to come from Ecuador : Struggling with the volunteer dynamics that first month.

The best thing to come from Ecuador : Blue Footed Boobies!! Oh and discovering an inner strength.

A reason to return : Perhaps a chance to see the Galapogos.

Surprise Easter Visit

It turned out cheaper to fly back to the states and then to Australia rather than from Peru to Aus. So I found myself with 8days in the states. I decided to surprise my parents for Easter. Officially the best surprise I have ever pulled off. The first time they were ever speechless.

Australia

Australia and New Zealand were always on my list, part of the reason for this trip was to find a place I might want to live and since they were on the “most likely” list.

My first impression of Australia, especially after 3 months in South America, was “Oh shite!!! I can barely afford a coffee”. I was shocked at the prices and the Aussie dollar was stronger, of course that changed a few weeks after I left… I quickly worked out plans to mooch… I mean visit any friends and family I had, along with sorting work trade with hostels.

Yes my finger is down its throat


Forcefeeding Kookaburra at Currumbin Wildlife Center

Australia ended up being a country of many new experiences:
I attempted work trade at a farm that has now become known as the Looney Farm by all of us who were there.
I saw Koalas, Kangaroos, Platypus and many other strange and wonderful critters.
I saw friends I hadn’t seen in over 10yrs.
I shaved my head for charity.
I swam with manta rays.
I force fed Kookaburras.
I swam in a freezing lake.
It might have been expensive, but I have some amazing memories that are worth every penny.

Carolin and me!!


Carolin and Me on the Day I Shaved my Head for Charity

The worst thing to come from Australia: The cost.

The best thing to come from Australia: Shaving my head for charity.

A reason to come back: Friends and a little town called Coral Bay.

Tonga

I discovered this amazing organisation that spent a month on the island of Tonga every 3months running a vet clinic. I contacted them months before arriving and was super excited. Accommodation was included and there was no fee to volunteer. A great way to experience island life and do something good for the community.

This was a month of extremes, as it turned out there had been a misunderstanding and I went from being a vet nurse to designated pee/poop cleaner and coffee maker. But I had committed to a month and so I pushed through proving my skills on more than one occasion when they needed me to monitor during surgeries when no one else was available. I think one of the biggest problems was that I was there in the middle of a year long trip and to volunteer while reserving my finances, the others were there as a vacation and had money to spend.

My Favorite Puppy

At the same time I met some amazing people, locals and expats (including 4 South Africans, what are the odds) and got the chance to visit one of the outlying islands.

No Matter What, It Sure Was Pretty!

The worst thing to come from Tonga: My treatment by the other volunteers and the organisation.

The best thing to come from Tonga: Fulfilling my commitment and discovering an amazing culture.

A reason to go back: maybe for a vacation and not to volunteer.

I must admit I had a hard time finishing this post for some reason. So many things that go through my mind and writing this entry makes the journey complete. Luckily there are still many more to come.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Australia, Germany, RTW, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Borneo Scuba!!!!

If someone told me at the beginning of this trip I would utter the sentence “Heading to Borneo to go Scuba Diving”, I would have thought them mad. Borneo is one of those near mythical places like Timbuktu and Zanzibar, you always want to go but never think you will get the chance.

It still seems a little ostentatious when I say it to myself. Add to that “will be living on a converted oil rig” and its downright pompous. I have been diving while traveling but I have never organised a trip or part there of directly committed to the act of diving, I am so glad I did!

Borneo anyone??

After my fabulous friends dropped me off at the airport, I headed through security and hung out in the waiting area. Didn’t have long to wait before boarding. The fun part was that 2 flights were boarding from the same gate, one to the left and one to the right, so you had to be extra careful you went on the right flight.

Borneo is an island off the south of Malaysia and it is separated into Malaysian Borneo and Filipino Borneo. I was leaving mainland Malaysia and Flying into Tawau part of Malaysian Borneo. On the flight I had thought how unnecessary it was to bring my passport and risk losing it. But it turns out you have to go through immigration! What do you know!

I had planned to take the cheap route of local bus into town then bus to Semporna from where I would take a boat to the rig the following day. Exiting the airport into tropical island heat soon made that thought waver significantly. I asked a guard how to get into town and he directed me to a tourist shuttle, which while still 6times the price of the local bus was still cheaper than the taxi. Oh what the hell, its too hot to argue. The drive took around 1.5hrs and except for the fishtailing and hydroplaning during a sudden rain storm the drive was quite pleasant.

Semporna Town

Arriving in Semporna the driver dropped me off at my backpackers and after relaxing for a bit I went out to explore. For being the entry way to some of the best diving in the world, Semporna is remarkably undeveloped and touristy. It reminded me a bit of Puno in Peru, gateway to Lake Titicaca, rather dirty and not very tourist friendly. However, the people were really friendly and their smiles blew you away. One little girl started following me trying to convince me her name was “Money”… When she realised my purse strings were shut tight she told me her real name, which I could barely pronounce.

Semporna is also a town of stark contrasts, the locals sell fruit and veggies on the side of the road along with clothes and fish, at hte same time there are 2 massive stores reminiscent of WalMart. In fact one is dubbed G-Mart. Here are some pics as it is the best way to explain:

Local fruit sellers


The local Mosque


well I guess "K" and "Wal" were taken already

But the people are wonderfully friendly and truly beautiful.

This old lady was selling sweets and juice on a street corner. She had such a beautiful face and acted all shy when, after buying a few sweets, I asked if I could take a photo indicating I thought she was beautiful. You wish you could sit down and hear all about their life.

Dinner

I went back to the hostel and on the way saw something in the water. At first I thought it was a large snake, then a crocodile, then I was certain it was a crocodile. After taking a photo and zooming in I realised it was a huge, freaking monitor lizard. That would surely give you a heart attack if it came swimming towards you. It must have been almost 2m long.

After a nice afternoon nap while listening to the rain, I headed back to town for lunch at a place called Scuba Junkies. I wavered between the pizza and the steak but on my waiters encouragement I went with the steak. I truly hate sitting alone at a restaurant, unless I have a book or a computer, something to do. A lone guy sat across from me at the next table and after about 10min of trying to build my courage to talk to a stranger I blurted out “have you been diving Sipidan?”. His eyes lit up and he said yeah and it was amazing. I asked if I could join and soon we were deep in discussion about diving and what it was like. My steak arrived and it was heaven on a plate. Perfectly medium and with the nice little crunch on the skin….mmmmmmmm steak!!!!!

He was from Scotland but lived in Bangladesh where his family ran a clothing factory. How random is that?? I told him I had a 10hr layover in Dhaka and asked advice. What is the likelihood of meeting a Scotsman, living in Bangladesh, having dinner in Semporna. Unfortunately he wasn’t due back for another week otherwise he would have come to pick me up at the airport. What a bummer! But still, you kind of want to break out in song…It’s a small world afterall…..

New Friends and the… RIG!

I was awake early and had a 2hr wait till my pickup for the boat ride to the rig. I hung out at the hostel and had my free toast and coffee breakfast and finally the time came. I was sooooo excited. We drove to the office so I could sign my life away and pay the balance. As I walked in I saw a rather dashing young man, and we immediately started talking. Martin is a lawyer, 40 (although hard to believe) from the UK living in Australia, who has quit his job to travel for over a year and plans to study social work. He was super pumped about the rig as he had just walked in and asked about it and found himself set for 3 days 2 nights, same as me. We also met Dave and Urs who would be there the same time. Dave would be staying 5 days. It was then that the Fearsome Foursome was formed. We all got on ridiculously well. Martin from UK/AUS, Dave from USA, Urs from Austria (I think) now in Australia and me from SA/USA. What a mottled crew and perfect at the same time.

The lads

We loaded into the boat and headed out to sea. An hour long boat ride past villages and island and a community of sea gypsies. Sea Gypsies are people from the Philippines who left at some point to go fishing and the like. When they tried to return they had no documents and were refused entry. Now they live on the ocean or islands along the border of Malaysia and the Philippines.

a tropical island on the way to the rig

Finally, the RIG appeared on the horizon, and what a sight it was. None of us could believe we would be staying on that beast. Technically it hadn’t been used for oil but rather as a repair station for ships at sea. When a partnership, to build a luxury resort on Mabul Island, between 2 millionaires broke up the one built the resort the other brought the rig to Mabul bay and placed it right in front of the resorts view.

THE SEAVENTURES RIG!

We took the “sea-lavator” from the boat up to the rig platform and were greeted by the staff with juice.

Borneo Seaventures welcome party

Then we had our introduction, signed away our lives again and were introduced to the dive master, Jon. He gave us a run down of our check dive and then it was off to our rooms to get changed and ready for dive one. As it was low season we were lucky enough to have our own rooms.

Checkout dive

One of my biggest fears, especially after a couple of years without diving, is putting my gear together wrong. I had hoped they would simply set it up and place it on your back. But no, Jon pointed at my gear and said we leave in 10min. Racking my brain I remembered which way to attach the regulator and such and finally had everything set, including trying to work out how much weight I needed.

This was tricky as I usually dive in cold water with a thick wet suit using pounds and now I was in warm tropical water, my first time, in a short thin suit using kilograms. But after some math, never a favorite task, we figured out about what I needed.

Dive ready


Eventually we were all loaded and on the sea-lavator heading straight down into the ocean and the house reef below the rig. I have to say its downright awesome to just say “going down” and next minute you are knee deep in the warm tropical ocean.

The dive was spectacular with tons of amazing fish and nudibranchs and such. Unfortunately it was the start of some serious mask issues. Due to the smallness of my face and the only style of mask I had serious leakage problems and spent most of the dive trying to clear my mask.

Lion Fish

But on the upside the water was 28C, that’s 10 degrees warmer than my warmest dive so I was in heaven.

After an amazing dive, we headed up on the sea-lavator and had some lunch. Then after some mask discussions we tried a different one to see if we had luck there and headed down again to the boat for a dive near Mabul Island, just a 2min ride away.

Mabul Island House Reef

I had also requested a smaller tank and bcd as I kept nearly floating out of the bcd and the tank kept clonking me in the head. The dive was great but again I was miserable for the most part as this mask was even worse. But we saw amazing things, 2 broadclub cuttlefish and so many turtles that were gargantuan in size.

cuttlefish curtesy of instructor Ricardo


Turtle courtesy of Instructor Ricardo

I sucked my air as the mask made life difficult and so had to surface early with Urs and Dave. We hung out at the surface until the boat picked us up. Or rather picked them up, the instructor told us to swim and then when I got there told the others to wait and picked them up.

One more for the heck of it

Dave chose beer-o-clock when we got back but Urs, Martin and I went for one more late dive. And this time one of the dive instructors offered me his mask to see if it worked better. It didn’t work perfectly but it was a little better. We had decided to leave too late so it got pretty dark down there at one point. But still a great day of diving.

Sipidan list

That evening we eagerly awaited the list for who was going to Sipidan Island, the place to be when you are in the area.
Finally the list was revealed and everyone, except for Martin, had got a pass. He was rather unhappy about this but he was on the list for diving at some of the other islands.

the List

So tomorrow morning at 5.30am the alarm will go off. Dave has an extra mask and so I will give that one a try and pray that I have better luck. Day 1 has been incredible, the food fantastic and the staff awesome. Can’t wait for day 2.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Scuba Diving, Travel, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Malaysia Bound!

I love travel, I dislike the traveling part

Being stuck in a bus longer than 3hrs or an airplane longer than 8hrs and I start losing my mind. Especially if it is a full bus/flight. Add being a tad hungover, totally my fault and everyone should point and laugh without any sympathy, but still I will whinge about it, and it is not a pretty site.

I got to the airport and through security no problem. Then I sat and wallowed in my misery of feeling like I had been hit by truck, a small one maybe, but still a truck. No major headache but just “thick” all over. Am sure some of you know this feeling. As I sat there mindlessly texting and calling my kiwi friends trying to get the most out of the $20 I had to spend to recharge (only to go to places for 2wks without signal), I realised that my seat number sounded decidedly like a middle seat. With only 10minutes before my Airasia flight was due to board I popped over to the counter (well maybe it was more like plodded) and asked if my hunch was correct. Unfortunately, yes and add to that they said the flight was 11hr 15min….. I would surely go insane or my seat partners would as a flight that long would have me up and down every hour at the very least.

Bless their hearts they were able to change me to an aisle seat, and I could have kissed them, they couldn’t do it electronically as the system had already closed. But they called someone important and got it sorted. Thank my lucky stars.

A final bathroom run, taking 15min as every other women had the same idea, and onto the plane to head to the tropics and scuba diving. Other than a 5 day live aboard in Southern California (still considered cold water) about 7yrs ago I had never done a diving holiday and this was the first time that I would be diving in warm water.

The plane was pretty full and except for those few lucky bastards with a full row, including one girl slightly behind and to the left of me, everyone else was chock-a-block.

I had ordered the entertainment unit, which was a very good idea, and meals, so was all set. I could just lean back, as far as the seat would go, and relax, but maybe if I cross my legs or put my feet on my bag or put one leg under the other or or or……ahhhh I hate trying to get comfy in an airplane seat.

Dispelling a myth

Many people, especially those of the taller persuasion, assume that short people have it easy while traveling as obviously our knees don’t get crammed against the seat in front. Well I wish to dispel that myth as it is not so. True our knees are not trying to crash their way through the person in fronts seat, but many of us of the not quite little person height but pretty damn close, have the opposite problem. Our feet don’t touch the ground. Once again the tall folks would think this a blessing. But in truth it is exceptionally uncomfortable. We are too tall to curl up in a ball or cross our legs in the seat but too short to comfortably have our feet dangle. This puts a lot of pressure on the back and hips and butt.

Solutions:

– Placing bag under feet to elevate them. But this often results in the attendants telling you to put your bag in the overhead compartment forcing you to try and hide it with a blanket.

– If you are in a bulk head seat sometimes you are able to slouch far enough for your feet to press against the front, thus making it more comfortable, often we are too short to reach.

– Trying to put your legs crossed on the food tray, but this too is frowned on by the attendants.

– Squeezing your feet into the space between seats and creating a pretzel effect to balance both feet up.

– Being resigned to being uncomfortable.

Benefit

The one and only benefit to being of the shorter statue is that give us 3 seats and we can literally stretch out and sleep like a baby… So I guess in the long run we have it better.

Wasting a perfectly good seat

After about 8hrs I glanced over at the lucky wench who had a full row and saw her sitting upright in the middle seat. Not even putting her feet up. I mean if you are going to have a whole row the least you can do is use it and not make the rest of us even more jealous than we already are…or maybe that’s just me.

Finally I couldn’t stand it as I was desperate for sleep or at least getting horizontal! I leaned over and asked if she would trade with me for just an hour. She looked at me a bit confused, think she was Malaysian, and then said sure and we traded.

Blissful bliss, my head hit the seat and I was out for almost exactly 1hr. Just enough time to prevent the massive headache from forming and boring a whole all the way through my brain.

Kuala Lumpur

Finally landing around 10.30pm I got through immigration, customs and even picked up a free sim card for the phone. After grabbing my bag, I headed out into the glorious heat and humidity of Malaysia night time. Almost instantly I heard a happy shout calling my name and there was my friend Chauw.

I had met Chauw when I lived in Korea and trained Taekwondo, he is a master in KL and we had communicated about techniques over the taekwondo websites. When I left Korea in 2004 I had made a trip from Singapore to KL and he had met me then as well and showed me round. Now after almost 5yrs lost contact we had re-established communication and he had invited me to stay at his home with him, his wonderful wife and their little dog (who has way to much personality for a little fluffy white thing). It does amaze me how I am lucky enough to have such amazing friends all around the world.

Their house was amazing and I had my own room and bathroom. I was too exhausted to do much so went straight to bed.

Yummy breakfast

At 7am we all went out for breakfast at a local place. I had something I had had 7yrs before, roti (like a pancake type thing) with condensed milk drizzled over it. Chauw also got me something called a Roti Tissue, which is another pancake that has been made super thin and then folded to form a pyramid. It was smothered in sugar and delicious. The perfect compliment to both was a glass of Milo Ice…. mmm I love Malaysia. I was so busy eating that I forgot to get photos.

Recovering

I find these days recovering from flights like the one the day before takes a bit longer. Actually I don’t ever remember just bouncing back into a full day of activities after long flights. Add to that the blistering weather and humidity and I was pretty much motionless for most of the day, it was just as well Chauw and Viven had to go to work. Sleeping, watching TV, reading, writing consisted of most of my day. Making the kimchi ramen and trying to figure out how the tv worked was about the most active thing I managed.

The weather was 30+ decgrees C and the humidity was stifling, luckily the fan made the difference and if I just couldn’t bare it anymore I would move to my room with the air conditioning. You didn’t want to spend the whole time in the room as you needed to get your body aclimatized to tropical conditions. In the early afternoon the sky turned the color of midnight and a torrential downpour started. I love rainstorms and sat staring at it for some time.

An evening out

After everyone finished work we went out for Japanese and then to a bar for drinks. It was almost halloween and the bar was also in the middle of Octoberfest, the contrast in decorations were quite amusing.

Chauw with his Octoberfest beer


Viven and me with cupcakes


Halloween meets Octoberfest

Exploring, ATM’s and Super Plush Movie Theater

Saturday was my only full day in KL before heading to Borneo. Still sounds weird to me to be able to say that…Borneo. We all slept late and then went for dimsum for brunch. The choices were endless and quite overwhelming.

mmmm dimsum

Apparently the thing to do on a saturday afternoon is hang out at the enormous shopping center, its airconditioned and has lots of cool things. We had amazing tea at this tea and cake shop and then went to draw cash from an ATM. Then another ATM and finally lucky strike number 3, the 3rd one gave me money. Nearly gave myself a heart attack. Then onto exploring the market as we waited to go watch a movie.

sunglasses

Viven and I found a place to get our toes painted and relaxed for an hour doing that. I decided to go for the honey scrub as well and much to the amusement of the girls and customers squirmed as usual when they massaged and scrubbed my feet. Being ticklish is hazardous.

Finally it was time to go to the movies. We were going mainly because my fondest memory of KL last time was going to the movies and having hot caramel popcorn and ice cold milo, have no idea what the movie was. This time Chauw had treated us to the deluxe movie theater. The cost is about 3 times as much but you can go and relax in the waiting area with massage chairs and free soda and free internet. It was great. But that was nothing, the theater contained about 20 lazy boy chairs. The aircon was a bit extreme but you could rent blankets and pillows. The waitresses brought you your food and drink and you could recline all the way. So this is what it must be like to fly first class…

ahhh this is how to watch a movie

Borneo here I come

Next morning had an early morning flight and Chauw insisted on taking me. In fact the whole family came. Its crazy to know I have such good friends. The next week would consist of scuba diving, my first tropical water diving. Woohoooooo

Great Friends/Family

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: