Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I was looking at my monkey pictures and noticed a small resemblance between this picture and another I had....

photo credit: e chen

I loves my mama!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

eng-lay ?

some of my favorite Malay words... can you translate them to english?

ais krim
basikal <-- my favorite.
kad kredit

have fun!

does the rainforest have seasons?

The day after our firefly adventure, we left for the rainforest. We also had to join a tour for this one.. more cost efficient and it includes… everything. On the way to the jungle, we stopped at many animal attractions. A deer park, bear feeding, and elephant ride were among the stops, but I do not care to discuss these things. I do not really agree with the practice of housing animals outside of their natural habitat, and am determined to take these things more into consideration the next time I travel.

Anyway, we arrived at Taman Negara and took a boat taxi across the river to our hostel. As we walked past all of the nice bungalows, I thought we might get more than we paid for out of this trip, but I was sadly mistaken. We stayed in an 8-bed room in the hostel part of the hotel with a couple that had followed us from our hostel in KL. Even though our room was…interesting, the rainforest was amazing. We went on a night hike on our first evening, and I must say that we really lucked out with our guide. He was so well informed and made certain that everyone in the group heard/understood/saw whatever he was saying or pointing to. Throughout our time with him he showed us vines that you can drink water from, huge carnivorous flowers, wax that will burn for 3 days, snakes, scorpions, leeches, how to make fire, and the list goes on.

My favorite part of the trip was our canopy walk. They had built this 550m long bridge through the forest canopy.. about 40-50m above the floor. Walking on this 12-inch wide wooden board suspended in the trees was the most incredible experience. I don’t have the greatest balance, so I was stumbling a little – which was both terrifying and thrilling at the same time. It was so gorgeous, being in the trees with the river below. And because we had to be spaced about 10m apart, it was so peaceful..

just you and the forest.

i <3>

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

malaysian monkeys.

While in Malaysia, we had our share of encounters with these random monkeys.

first stop: Batu Caves.

Besides being one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India (we were 2 days away from one of the largest festivals ever…) Batu Caves is also home to a diversity of wildlife. I had almost forgotten about all of the warnings about monkeys I had read online until we got to the entrance of the cave and were greeted by a handful of crazed monkeys… wanting whatever food you had. Good thing I didn’t bring any… they were so aggressive.. sliding down the railings and hissing at you. Kathryn tried to touch one, but it hissed and bared its teeth at her.. so scary.. I watched as a gang of monkey bandits swarmed a woman carrying some flower garlands. The temple-goers constantly have to ward of the monkeys who try to steal the fruit left at the altars. Interestingly enough, the monkeys live at peace with the flock of hens and two cats that also inhabit the main cave.

There are 272 steps leading up to the main temple area, we learned later that for every step you take, one sin is forgiven…

Second stop: Firefly magical mystery tour.

I read online about this “INCREDIBLE” firefly tour. Apparently right outside of Kuala Lumpur is a river where thousands of fireflies congregate for no reason at all. We were advised to rent a taxi cab for 250 ringgit a day, but decided to just join a tour.. and I am so glad we did.
We were the only five on our tour, and our guide, Steven, was very informative on all subjects – the history of Malaysia, how to harvest the various plants of Malaysia, about the Hindu Temple we visited, etc. he talked non-stop for the entire 2-hour drive. Anyway, at one point he mumbled something about monkeys, but I thought he was joking. Until he pulled over to a street-side market to buy some beans “for the monkeys.” It was at this market that I spotted the most ginormous pile of durian I have ever seen..

Back to the monkeys… we are driving along, and we pull off of the highway onto this windy road and BAM monkeys everywhere. We are a little freaked out from our experience at Batu caves, but Steven assures us that these are Silver Leaf monkeys and they are docile. So we shove some green beans in our pocket, and set out to feed these strange animals. They are really eager to have our green beans, so sometimes they jump on you, or stick their hand in your pocket.. but no matter. Some of the locals gather around to play with them, and one of them has a rubber snake to wave at them just in case they get a little out of hand.

After feeding the monkeys, we went for our seafood dinner… we were a little wary after the random stop with the monkeys made this tour seem very similar to a trip we took in October which we deemed the original “Magical Mystery Tour” (more on that at a later date). We expected this ‘seafood dinner’ to be pretty gross, but we were pleasantly surprised to arrive at a Chinese restaurant on a river overlooking the sunset.. and the food was great and all you can eat!

The fireflies were a little disappointing – they mostly hung out in bushes on the bank. But it was nice to see a 5th generation family run business not yet commercialized. They had about a half-dozen little wooden rowboats and would take 4 people in each boat up and down the river. The fireflies weren’t really as advertised, but it was still very lovely, quiet, and you could watch both the fireflies and the stars twinkle. We all agreed this tour was more Magic than Mystery.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

welcome to KL.

We were greeted in Kuala Lumpur by a torrential downpour.. our hostel owner (who we refer to as Lex) said it was "nothing." Apparently the monsoon season is in the middle of switching from the east coast to the west coast, so we would be in for more rainy days..

we didn't let that stop us though.. we headed out for some awesome indian/malay food and took a stroll to the towers..

So, the Petronas Towers are basically Kuala Lumpur's claim to fame. And aren't they gorgeous at night?

Designed by Cesar Pelli, they were the world's tallest buildings until 2004 when Taipei 101 was completed and became the tallest... But they are still the largest Twin Towers. The decoration and the floor plan of the towers is meant to reflect the Muslim state of Malaysia. Also noteworthy: The towers are made of reinforced concrete, not steel... making it ridiculously heavy on its foundation.

we went a couple of days later to go up and walk along the bridge that connects the towers... which is the highest double decker bridge in the world! The view wasn't as great as I thought it would be, and the lights on the inside of the elevator didn't even light up! But it was still cool to actually be inside the towers..

Thursday, February 5, 2009

we're back.

So, I have finally returned to my little comfy abode in east asia.. and baby mao (my turtle) is safe at home again, after being left with our 4th floor neighbor.

after 3 weeks of travel and a lot of walking, my feets are happy, clean, and snuggled warm in my bed.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of photos taken (over 10 gigs worth, oh my!) and the number of events needed to be processed.. so I will start posting... tomorrow. :)

ps. i think my feets really want these shoes:

too bad they don't ship to asia. :/