Monday, June 30, 2008

One of the worst movies in a long time

This may have spoilers for you so go away if you were planning to go see The Happening sometime soon. Actually, if you are planning to go see The Happening, don't. Its bad. Real bad. Like its so bad that Scott and I were laughing at inappropriate parts and if I didn;t have to be somewhere later we would have left and gone to see the Zohan movie. At least then you go in knowing its gonna be crappy but hilarious.

Seriously, if given the option to watch The Happening again or I Know Who Killed, I might go for the Lindsay Lohan flick. The Happening did have some good points:

- you could always rely on that Zoey chick to make her super sad digitally blue eyes look really huge and super sad

- Marky Mark is always cute even if 75% of the time he is a horrible actor

- Everyone loves death by lawnmover

- lots of bodies but not enough to up the stars to 3 out 5. I am still torn between giving it 1 or 2 stars so I think 1.65 stars out of 5 is my score.

There were no gratuitous sex scenes and in fact it was rated PG-14 or something like that for sensuality. Um, if the wind blowing is sensuality then maybe it was in there but I only saw some hand holding. Not even one brief flash of panties was present.

To sum it up, if you pay 10 bucks to go see this movie you are a dumbass. I like almost every movie I have ever seen but this one sucked. In fact, if you pay to see this at the movies you should just throw your wallet in the trash because you are obviously not good with money and financial decisions.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lori's Travel Tip

Avoid making eye contact with anyone asking for anything. Storekeepers will harass you until you buy, beggars will make you give up change just to get rid of them, and most importantly, monks will make you feel like you're going to hell. Scott's brother got snagged and his peace cost about 20 bucks. Those guys are good! He pulled out a list of donation and they were ridiculous, they were all the same amount, and all written in the same handwriting. Chances are the monk made that list. But Scott's brother did get peace and a bracelet and a little metal thingy.
The cabs will also try to get you. They'll ask if you want to see "so and so". It could be their brothers store, it could be a museum, it might be a factory (like the pewter, leather, or chocolate factories we were offered). Beware, this could be a 3 hour tour. And the reason they do this is to get a commission. so if I go to the pewter factory and spend 50 bucks they might get a fiver out of it. Plus they have an increased cab fare. Its a crazy world out there.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This is an awesome photo from Malaysia. I like the patriotism and the dirty building with bars. It really represents the place to me but then I'm bitter because I got pickpocketed. I actually was mesmerized by their air conditioner placement.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Practice makes perfect

This is what happens when you get pick-pocketed in Malaysia and your camera gets stolen and then you get a brand new one. You have to practice for the next day. Its important to work on action shots so you can accurately gauge how long between button pushing and shutter release. Additionally, its important to have a good model who believes in your project.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Photos coming soon!

I have to get an adapter for my camera. since its all asian it has a funny plug. I also just woke up at 3:30 so I succeeded in sleep even if Turkey (my dog) wallowed all over me this morning.

Traveling sucks

But getting there is cool! We finally got in last night around 10:20pm after a gruelling 26 hours or so in airplanes and airports. I went to bed around 3 and now at 6 am I cannot sleep. Ugh. I will eat a snack and try again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our last day here

I started out the day going back to Eng tiang huat, the music store. It was really cool even the second time. Then we went to meet Scott's dad for lunch. We went to a mall food court and had Carls Jr. It was 11.80 for a value meal! I had chicken tenders. Mmmmm. With the spicy chili sauce they're the bomb! Then we split off and I went shopping with Scott's mom. We hit the craft store and saw nothing fancy or different from the states and then just browsed mall after mall. Every super cool piece of clothing was super tiny as I am a giant. I am an XL if not an XXL. Its like shopping in the juniors department EVERYWHERE. We eventually worked our way to the foot massage place. I got a 40 minute foot massage to try and fix my tired dogs. It was wonderful even if I had to wash my feet. I didn't understand most of what they said and had to watch other people before I realized they were telling me to go wash my feet. The massage hurt at times but in the end my feet were 100% happier.

Tonight we went to accomplish Scott's last request. Scott was watching No Reservations back in the states and they were talking about bone soup. Its called Soup Toulong here and its actually a red gravy-like broth that is spicy and filled with red No. 5 to make it look like blood. Then it is filled with mutton bones. You chew the bits of meat off and then suck the marrow out. If you're ever here its in the basement of the Golden Mile food center. Make sure you don't go to the shopping center across the street because thats all karaoke and thai places. Oh and no one around there has great english so thank goodness there are pictures of all the food at each hawker stall. I sensibly ate wonton soup which came with a cup of broth. So far this trip it has been a chicken-y vegetable broth but this time is was fish broth. Mmmmm. Yuck.

After we finished our meals we had to clean scott up. He's still dyed red but its not too bad. Make a note to always bring wet wipes on vacation. When Scott asked for napkins they brought him a box of kleenex.

Next we took a cab to little india. It is exactly like I would expect India to be. It was hot and crowded with flower garlands everywhere and so many stores filled with crap trinkets. It was worth a visit but not as cool as china-town. We're back home now. We're packed and kicking our feet up. My flight is at like 8:30am and I'm looking forward to seeing friends family and most of all my puppies!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

For my architect friends

I forgot to tell you all about the awesome urban planning exhibition they have here. Its a 2 floor exhibit with so many informative panels about how and why the city is like it is. The first big attraction is the model of the whole island that is on the first floor. Its cool to be able to pin point where pulau ubin is in relation to Scott's parent's house. Then on the floor above is a huge model of the actual city. It has the ferris wheel and all of the buildings are so amazingly well done. The mirrored buildings are even mirrored in the model. They have a light show that highlights certain areas and tell you all about the area.
Today is our last day here. I want a foot massage and to go to the mall. Thats not asking too much is it? I have at least 5 more pounds of space in my luggage.

Our day with Daniel

I woke up dizzy this morning and after researching it, I have decided it was dengue fever and not malaria or typhoid. I'm waiting for the fever to kick in suddenly. Actually I have no idea what was going on except maybe I took two Mucinex instead of one. I also drank the last of my Robitussin so maybe I almost OD'd.
Well, once I got up and going we went to meet Daniel at his office. We immediately went to Chinatown and grabbed an AWESOME dimsum meal. Real dim sum in asia is the bomb! It actually was super similar to dim sum in Atlanta at Happy Valley. It wasn't weird or anything, just awesome. Daniel ordered for us and we were the only round eyes in the place. Luckily Danile was with us and ordered in Cantonese to make us legit and not get poisoned. Actually I think the cleanliness here is fantastic and haven't had a single problem with food and my tummy. Of course I brought ums, pepto bismol, and immodium AD like any prepared traveller would.
After lunch we went to the Budda's tooth relic. Apparently someone found a tooth once and decided it was Buddha's and they built a temple for it. Daniel thinks its a cow tooth as it is quite large and flat on top like a cud chewing cow. We will probably go to Buddhist hell for not believing. Anyway, the temple was impressive. You have to wear pants and cover your shoulders so Daniel had to say outside. We were going to go to the jungle so he wore shorts. Unfortunately the sky fell out so we got no jungle tour. We did go to a nice reservior to try and see monkeys but they don't hang out in the rain. Bummer. The military was doing exercises so there was a series of huge explosions but Daniel assured us that the artillery shells would not hit us.
We took a driving tour around the suburbs to see how the real people live. There aren't really any slums. We rode the subway and no one stole my camera this time because Singapore is awesome. And at every subway stop there is a mall. I'm telling you, this place is shopping paradise! Daniel brought me to a foodcourt where I could get a real fishball. It was really good! It was just like fish but rolled up, and on a stick. Scott got a soya which was like liquified soybeans. It wasn't good like choco-silk, it was just soy juice.
The last stop on our tour was the Images of Singapore Museum on Singapore. Its a fantastic exhibit that shows the history of Singapore. 150 years of life here displayed in lots of diaramas and photos. It was really well done and explained a lot with small blurbs that made it possible to actually read all of the markers AND get the just of things around here. Sentosa is basically an amusement park resort and EVERYTHING costs. It cost to get on the island and it cost to bring a car onto the island. But the single exhibit was well worht the adventure.
After we got home from our adventures with Daniel we went to the movies. The movie theater here is tha bomb! The seats are all luxurious. When you buy your ticket you get reserved seating. Oh and if you get food other than snacky things and popcorn they DELIVER it to your seat! Wild! We saw Get Smart. Oh, its not open there? Well, thats because I am living in the future. Its well worth seeing.
I've got to run. Night night!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Olivia, I found our mecca

There's a place here called Orchard Road. Its the fancy schmancy shopping district. They have everything I want and need. I would have to inherit some money first. Then I would need to inherit some style and class and maybe then they would let me in.
Today we shopped a lot. We startled at Raffles Landing where Raffles first discovered singapore 400 years ago. There were natives of course, but he was the first Brit to hang out. After that I held a python. Oh, I fogot to tell you that I ate an octopus yesterday. It was an octopus ball which was like a fried ball of octopus inside a doughy fried something. It was chewy and didn;t taste like much but at least I ate one. So after the snake and the landing spot we went to the Long Bar. Thats where the Singapore Sling was invented. Its super sweet and tastes good but it was 22 bucks. My coke was 9 bucks and the only other time I have spent 9 bucks on a coke was in a strip club in Vegas which was equally disappointing. Lesson learned is that expensive cokes do not guarantee good times. But the building was cool and well preserved for a 400 year old building. Florida should learn about the maintenance measures here and maybe it wouldn't look so dirty and rundown.
After those sights we went and shopped until my feet broke off. At the grocery store in the candy section they have tiny dried spicy crabs. They looked like sand crabs with paprika. I bought them.

Tomorrow we trek into the jungle with Daniel. He is Scott's dad's coworker and he's bringing us to dimsum and then the jungle and maybe a temple or something. It should be a great time!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thailand continued...

ISo behind the resort was a little village. To find it you were supposed to take the path behind the bar. Well, one pat leads way into the jungle and the other path is by the OLD bar and is crawling distance. There were about 10 ramshackle huts of restaurants and one of them had like 6 kinds of seafood, for two, for 600 baht. Thats about 18 bucks. But we chose to eat at the fancy Thai fusion place instead. I couldn't find the fusion part but it was delicious and up on the hillside near the spa. So the village is a series of huts and then there is a monstrous footbridge. I'm not sure how much stuff was pre-tsunami and how much was post tsunami. There are signs everywhere with the directions to flee in case of tsunami. A small tsunami really would have made this vacation even more exciting! Or cannibals. Since it was off season you can really see evidence of how many tourists will show up in the winter months. I bet the place is hopping but luckily its not like ton sai bay where you can get Che Guevera shirts, McDoobie shirts with pot leaves and any number of cheesy bullshit american-ized crap souveniers.
When it was time to go back to Phuket we caught a ferry back. First we had to take another speedboat around to Ton Sai bay and then get on the ferry. The ferry is gross. It was packed to the gills and pretty rocky. It didn;t leave until 2:30 so we checked out at 12, caught the speedboat at 1ish, then waited some more for the ferry. Asian people, apparently mostly Chinese and Japanese, push a lot. It makes you want to pop them and tell them to cut it out. It happens getting on elevators, escalators, they steal in line for the bathroom, and yes, on ferries too. But I am much bigger and stronger and I block them well. Push away tiny lady, I'm still in front of you and a giant. Oh, and someone puked on the ferry and just left it. And then someone had to sit next to it the entire ride. I would rather bake in the sun on the upper deck. In fact I just gagged thinking about it. Once we arrived at port we had another ride and it took about an hour to get to the next hotel. It was really far from Phuket town and the debauchery of that place so we didn't get to go. I was tired from all of the travel anyway so it was nice to hang out at the Naithonburi hotel. We swam in their gorgeous pool and then ate there. The food was good and sleep was much appreciated. We had to catch our cab at 7 am so we just relaxed.
The next day we got up, ate and took our ride to the airport. We did the customs game again of stamp out and then waited for two hours in the airport. Its a tiny airport and we had much time to try and spend the rest of our bahts. I succeeded with gusto!
Once we got back to Singapore we waited to get our stamp into the country and by the time we got home it was 1:15 to 1:30. Thats the problem with travel is that it takes for-EVER. Basically from 1pm sunday until 1pm Monday we were working our way home.
Yesterday after getting home, dropping off our bags and resting for a bit we headed out to Bugis Street mall. We ate lunch in the basement food court. It was like the mall food court but there were tons of places with food on sticks and there weren;t any places to sit unless you went to a restaurant that had its own seating. I ended up with fried scallops, fried shrimp, and miso soup. YUM!!!!! Scott got a delicious noodle bowl of sorts. This place really knows how to hook up some rice and noodles! Afterwards we went to the Bugis Street market. That place sucks. It could be cool but only if you are in the mood for swealtering steamy alleys of shopping for tacky clothes and cheap trinkets. There were hundreds of pushy people and with 4 people in our group its a pain in the ass to keep up with each other. So we got out of there quick. We eventually met up with Scott's dad and we decided to go to the night safari! The animals were so close you could touch them. There were fishing cats and giant tapirs. The binturong was cool too. The night safari was completely pitch black dark except for these lights that weren't too bright but bright enough to help you spot the critters. They feed them so the animals are out and about when you're going by. Hyenas, tigers, rhinos, and a variety of cool deer. I loved the night safari!
I'm not sure what all we're going to see today. My feet are dying a slow painful death but I must press on!

PS- Susie, I will be home Friday night super duper late. The plane lands at 9:30 or so but by the time we get through customs it'll be like 11:30 or 12 I imagine.

Thailand was fantastic!

Friday morning we flew to Phucket Thailand. We flew on AirAsia. Now, many of you have never flown on the free seating airlines. Its like running the gauntlet. People push and shove and line up like 30 minutes early. Then they take you ticket and its like a sprint to the plane to ensure you get the seat you want. I guess this ensures people get to the plane in time but it sucks. Another thing that sucks about traveling in Asia is that you constantly are going through emmigration/immigration lines. It gets old and trip by trip my carryon gets lighter and lighter.

So, upon arriving in thailand you can see the ocean from the airport! We had an arranged ride to the boat and we were wisked away immediately. The scenery was so different from what I'm used to. There would be a brand new house painted vividly and almost leaning against it would be a shanty town made of scraps screating huts. Then there would be a ginormous temple all painted red and gold and very ornate. Dogs lay in the street and motorbikes zip in and out of traffic. There were even girls riding side saddle.

To continue, we were driven to the dock where we caught a speedboat to Phi Phi. I don't like boats because I am both scared and very prone to being sea-sick. My sister once told me that if you fall overboard, you will get ground up by the motor. Then the sharks will eat you. I think deep down inside I still believe this. Anyway, I held on for dear life and eventually ended up laying down trying not to puke. But we made it safe and sound to the beautiful Phi Phi islands. When we arrived they pulled up to this amphibian truck that scooped us out of the boat and drove us to land. Our bags were wisked away to our rooms and we were led by many beautiful thai people to the reception areas. They gave us delicious coconut drinks with orchids and flowers hanging out of them. Everywhere I looked were fancy flowers. They were lining the steps, sprinkled in the ashtrays, floating in decorative urns, and spilling out of the numerous fruit bowls. We were sent to our rooms to freshen up and our room was our own little thatch hut. It had ac and cable, a huge bed and yes, flowers in the toilet. Fantastic! Before dinner I promptly booked the spa session for Scott and I to have a massage the next day. For dinner I had heard that "the" place to go was a little village behind the bar. Well, we chose the wrong bar and ended up walking halfway across the island. We passed workers housing, a soccer game, chickens, toads, a mountain rise, a twisted ankle, and 2 snakes before we finally conceded that yes, its dark and maybe we should head back. So we gave up and hightailed it out of the jungle and this tiny path trailing through the wilderness. We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant and I got my first taste of thai food. I ordered a prawn something or other and asked for one spicy instead of 3. Well, it was still to hot for me to eat so I switched with scott after breaking into a full sweat. He had a rock lobster thingy. The house band played wonderful renditions of Fleetwood Mack and the Eagles. The breeze off the bay into the open air restaurant was fantastic and whatever they do for bug control works wonders! So that was our first day in Thailand.

Day 2 we got up early and had a delicious continental breakfast and then rented a longtail boat for 4 hours. Yes, after 30 minutes I was terrified and motion sick. I toughed it out and eventually spent the trip laying on the floorboards. We made it through choppy seas to the place where they filmed "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio. When you park your boat there a park ranger turns up and wants a sum of money that was paid by Scott's Dad. There were so many tourists and its kind of too crowded. But it is still beautiful and I was certainly glad to get out of the boat. So, the scenery out in the water is miles of sea with theses crazy rock formations jutting up at impossible heights. Its so foreign and beautiful, even if you're queasy and scared to death. After "The Beach" we went to a cove on the other side of the island and snorkled. I saw some HUGE angelfish, and some other cool brightly colored yellow and purple and blue fish. There were anemones and colorful coral piece everywhere as well. It was beautiful. Luckily, when Scott's mom fell into the boat the didn't hurt herself except for a bruise and a scrape. Once we were finished snorkling we headed back. We passed viking cave that has cave paintings and stuff but we didn't stop. The locals also harvest birds nest for birds nest soup. The birds make nests with spit and its a delicacy. I will eat some if I see it. I eventually puked a little but not grossly violently. I just heaved a little over the edge and laid back down. We next went to Ton Sai Bay which is where Scott and I would have ended up if we made it over the mountain. Its like a small bustling village city filled with dirty shops, expensive crappy food and hippy backpackers galore. I'm sure that it gets much worse in the on season. But it was still wonderfully dirty and gross and exciting and new. This is also the same place where we caught the ferry on Sunday. This is also the place where I broke all of the CDC rules and let a monkey sit on me. It was a gibbon and so impossibly cute in his little tank top and diaper. He gently held on to my head for the photo ops and I loved every minute of geting rabies and lice and some sort of flesh eating virus that begins in my liver. When we finished our lunch of amazing difficulty we headed back to the resort. I had to get back for the massage.
The massage was wonderful. They sent a cart to pick us up and brought us up onto the hillside. They gave us tea and then brough us to our room. Scott and I got our massages in the same room and they made us disrobe in front of them while making a halfassed attempt to pretend to sheild us with a silk scarf. Scott got a dude massage therapist and I got a chunky happy little lady. My lady immediately jumped on the table and crushed my spine. I didn't realize it at the time, it took a day or so. But she twisted and poked and prodded all of my muscles and then they put boiling rocks wrapped in towels all over us. It was wonderful unil I woke up crippled the next day. Everything they do at that resport makes it feel like their entire job is to worship you. Everyone smiles and it so sweet and they bow with the little pressed hands thing. It was truly a new kind of heaven. All of the rest of my food at the resort was fantastic and I had a variety of prawn dishes and that delicious coconut milk soup like at Surin. The soup is better in thailand.
So thats all I can write for now. Tomorrow I will tell you more about the village, the ferry, the next hotel and today. Its not as exciting as the stuff I have already told you but its still gotta wait. I'm exhausted, its 10:20pm and I've been up since 5:30 or so.
Good night!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thai time

So we leave for Thailand today. Our flight is at 1:30 and apparently to aduls (not me, the parents) it takes hours to pack for a 2 day 3 night trip. I packed the lightest bag ever! I'm ready! I may go to the Chinese heritage museum to see the texile display but we'll see. Its hard to go away from the pack because you have to have a card to get up the elevator. But the elevator is the front door so that's pretty badass. Anyway, the trip to Thailand should be awesome. We fly in o Phuckett and then we have to check on weather to see if we can even get to Phi phi island. Yesterday was 8 foot seas so the ferries and speed boats weren't running. If its rough seas I really hope they aren't running but even if I throw up the whole 2 hours to get to the island, it will be awesome. We'll take puke picures. Once we get to phi phi we're staying at some resort with little thatch roof bungalows and the 5 of us have 3! One for Scott and I (sinners), 1 for the brother, and one for the parents. There is snorkeling, a cave to our by boa, sharks, a pool...I'm going to get fried but I will try not to. Its so awesome to have a vacation within a vacation. Scott's parents are rad for allowing this to happen. I gladly would have run my credit card up for this trip. Luckily I haven't had to very much at all!

You know whats annoying? I wake up at 6 am everyday. online sudoku, here I come.


Today we got up and went shopping. I finally have all the crap I am going to buy. Well, unless I buy more fabric. Today we went to the art museum and saw some exhibit that Scott wanted to see. I forget the dude's name. Anyway it was cool and when we were finished there we went to little India and Arab Street. It was sooooo nice. It was storefront after storefront of fabric. Most was Sari fabric and silks but there were a few shops with cotton batiks. I bought a ton of them. Its not fantastic stuff but its still fantastic to me!
Muhammed at the rug store was kickass! He gave us many free waters and then sold me a rug for 50 sing dollars. That would be 35 dollars US and it has machine guns and grenades and helicopters and stuff. Then he only charged me 45 dollars! It ended up being about 32 bucks. Its a sweet deal. Its not huge, but its kickass.
My dogs are killing me so goodbye! Thailand tomorrow! But aparently the seas are rough so we may not get to go to the phi phi islands. Damn. Even if we're just in phucket it will be rad!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The good of Malaysia

Now that the bad has been discussed, here's the lighter side.

So it took 5 hours to get there. I told you about all of the immigration lines and such. On the bus we received a meal for lunch. It was rice with gross chicken sausages that are like hot dogs. Then there was a side of fried fish even though the tour operator told us the only meat they ever served was chicken. The chicken sausages are like vienna sausages. Wierd and yucky. Its like eating a finger. We got to watch crappy movies like Freaky Friday and some horrible movie with Mathew Brodericks wife (who I can't remember her name for some reason).

We stopped at a rest stop on the trip and it was like any rest stop- dirty, grimy, and filled with awesome trash souveniers. The food looked a little scary but I ate some on the ride back. It wasn't good. Oh, and the bathrooms....the bathrooms are soooo scary. Everywhere in Malaysia almost. Except the fancy mall and the hotel, most bathrooms were scary places. You have to pay at some of them and a little lady sits there and takes 30 ringit (10 cents) from you. So you pay to step into hell. In Singapore they have all normal toilets and maybe 1 hole in the floor toilet. In Malaysia they have all hole in the floor toilets and sometimes one regular toilet. I used many holes in the floor but its awkward. Its dirty and gross and luckily you don't have to touch anything. But there's a mysterious hose hanging on the wall that I presume is like a bidet but I don;t understand why everyone doesn't have water all over them. Also, how do the ladies in the burka things do it? Their outfits are dragging the floor and they go in THERE and don't get piss all over them? Its perplexing. Also in Malaysia, I saw a lady folding trashboags. Standing in the washroom, folding trashbags. She had what looked to be 500 to do and was on about 50. Then another day, in another washroom, I saw a lady re-rolling toilet paper. She was taking the partial rolls and putting them on the new rolls. She was a restroom attendant so why not let the rolls run out and change it when its almost done? She's in there all day. Anyway, I digress. I was talking about the bus and rest stop. Anyway, the rest stops are as brutal as a central mississippi truckstop with no AC. The scenery on the trip was mostly palm plantations. They are #1 for palm oil export and it was quite lovely. The mountains and hillsides are all stepped and loaded with palm trees.

When we arrived we went to our hotel. It was the Hotel Istana and was really nice. It takes 26 people and 3 hours to check in. But all of the employees were very nice and had awesome outfits. The dudes looked like royalty and the ladies had these asian dresses with slits to the tops of their legs. Very hot. I've never stayed in a hotel with robes to use. Oh, and the water pressure was like turning a fire hose on yourself in the shower. I think I ripped the skin off my back.

The family decided to eat at the hotel for almost every meal. I wanted to be more adventurous but I think the pickpocketing made us a little wary. Anyway, the food wasn;t great. I had something called Wanton mee and it was like hot water with noodles and shrimp dumplings. It was lame. The breakfast bar the next day was odd and while it was stocked full with everyhing under the sun, I really wish I had some bacon. But since its heavily Muslim, almost all food is halal which means safe for muslims to eat.

The first morning there we went to Peronas Towers. Its the picture above. We got there at about 8:25 and you go down one floor and stand in line for tickets. They limit the number of visitors each day so by 9:30 the tickets were all gone. We were in the early batch so we went up quickly. Its quite a view from the skybridge at the 42nd floor. And the elevators are amazing. You can't feel any movement and it took like 30 seconds to go 42 floors. Everything has a mall attached so there was a nice fancy mall at the towers that was like a 6 story Phipps Plaza.

After the tower we went to Outback Steakhouse. It was nice to have some home-ish food but I would have chosen elsewhere. But my chicken fingers were delicious! Everywhere are these open air curry houses and I would have loved to try one but they did look scary. The cleanliness factor is not like the US. Its more like the scary redneck karaoke bar I worked at in college. I can imagine the roaches and rats that scamper everywhere at night. And when I'm not looking. Nothing says great vacation like food poisoning and then a 5 hour bus ride. So all in all I'm glad we ate safe in Malaysia. I had enough bad there.

After lunch we went to Batu Caves. This is pictured above. You arrive and there are booths of people makinf flower garlands to offer to the gods I guess. Then you go in the gaes and see this huge statue. Its sooooo huge. I mean, seriosuly. Then you climb 272 steps to the top. The most awesome thing is that there are macaques everywhere! But daddy monkeys, baby monkeys, poo slinging was awesome! I could have touched one if I had a rabies shot and a deathwish. Some man had some bananas and the monkeys wanted them and he had them in his shirt and was trying to shoo the monkeys away. I thought it was funny. Silly, don't bring bananas to a monkey fight. Once inside the caves its beautiful. There's an opening in the top so its daylit and there are bats sqeaking and flying around. The birds are calling from their nests in the cave walls and there are shrines everywhere. I imagine 20 years ago it was much more fantastic as it is now littered and has big metal barriers to keep the tourists back and cantained away from the statues.
When it was ime to leave we grabbed a cab. They are very easy to get and you can debate your price with them. You do this at the beginning to ensure they don;t ride the meter or rip you off. We were very careful to ask at the hotel what the rates hsould be. 30 ringit from the caves was about 10 bucks. Thats very do-able. I wish we had one more day in Malaysia because the cab driver mentioned the chocolate factory "that is just fruit" and the pewter factory and the leather factory. But we were beat and it was rainy and hot and sticky, and a nap sounded just fine!
That night we ate at one of those Brazilian meat restaurants. It was tons of meat and good night to me! Oh, and we also discovered then that Scott's dad had his credit card compromised and someone in Calgary had a good time with it. Money woes abound but we did fine. Scott, Lenny his brother and I went walking around and enjoying the night markets. It was a totally different scene from the afternoon. It was like Buckhead in dayime and buckhead at night- minus the drunks and sluts. Well, they did have scantily clad girls offering Massage. heh heh.
We went to the KL towers the next day. Its like the skyneedle thing in Seattle. It has a 360 degree viewpoint and at the bottom- MONKEYS! These were different monkeys but still adorable. They had fuzzier heads. We walked around a bit afterwards and then went to catch our bus. This is when Scott decides to look for his passport. We can't find it. We emptied every bag and flipped through books and papers. Then we did it again. The bus arrived, Scott's dad is getting irritated, Scott runs upstairs to check the room again, his brother goes to the concierge and checks to see if it was turned in. I empty the bags again and Scott comes back and finds it immediately. Right where I looked 5 times. But now his brother is missing. The bus is waiting for us and where is Lenny? Finally he's back and the bus takes off. WHEW! I almost had to stay behind with Scott and go to the embassy and get a new passport. But then we would have had to stay and extra night and my credit card was turned off. But it would have been quite an adventure! Luckily we didn't have to do it though. Its nice to be back at home base. Today we go to Arab street and fabric shop!

Malaysia is number one for many things...

I'm really tired as I just got off our Luxury Coach and arrived back at home base. After calling to find out why in God's name is my credit card turned off and why did it ruin my Malaysian leg of the tour, I jumped right on the computer to talk to you all. Apparently my credit card was turned off due to worrisome spending. I bought one thing in malaysia and it sent warning flags even though I TOLD THEM I would be here and it was cool. So, since it would be a long walk to a payphone or a 1 million ringit charge at the hotel, I waited til I got here. I had to pass on all varieties of fake handbags but I'll live. I also couldn't buy any Vaierns (Vans knockoffs). Life it tough. Anyway, we arrived in Malaysia after a 5 hour trip. To cross the border you go through emmigration from Singpore and immigration to Malaysia. 2 stops about 2 miles apart. Its kind of a pain in the ass and the border fence is intense. Its what the US dreams of for the us border.
We arrived at our hotel and decided to check out the train system to get a feel of the city and locations of things. Unfortunately within 5 minutes I experienced my very first pickpocket! Yes, I got my pride and joy ganked from my bag by someone I hope chokes on a fishball. He stole my camera. I know which douchebag did it but I didn't realize it until a minute or two later. I think they saw me taking pictures, saw where I stashed the camera and made me as their mark. One bump, two bump on a bumpy overly crowded train and they can take whatever they want. Lucky for me there are lots of cameras in Asia. We got to negotiate and my tale of sorrow got me an excellent deal on the brand new latest on the market tiniest Cannon camera. So, my first few hours of Malaysia were tarnished, and my first 4-5 days of vacation are recorded for posterity, but they are out of my possession. Oh well. My mystical powers will avenge me. Oh, and in Malaysia they will walk on your feet. Muslim men look like they want to spit on you and all sausage is made of Chicken. Its a very odd place. I'm pretty tired so I will go for now but I have sooooo much more to tell you. I figured I would tell you the bad news first.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chili Crab

Its 3am and I can't sleep. Last night we went to a french Walmart-ish store called Carrefour. Its huge and well stocked with lots of walmart-esque items. Funny thing is that they still didn't have anything awesome. They had awesome stuff buth nothing distinctly awesome enough to bring home. Well, I kinda wanted the 21 dollar tent which would have been like 16 dollars US money. After that we went to some seafood restaurant called Long Beach. They had some seriosuly crazy seafood but no seahorse. Our waiter and apparently the whole staff understoof about 3 words of english. It was awesome but the family hated it. Scott order something called chili crab and its basically a crap with all of the insides scooped out of the shell and blended up into a gravy of sorts and then poured over the shell and the other parts to make the hugest bowl of mess ever. It was super spicy to me so I only had a teeny portion. I instead had live drunken prawn which was a bowl of monster shrimp, 2 sizes bigger than super jumbo shrimp. They bring a bowl of live prawns to the table, pour a shot of liquor in, swirl them around and then run away and cook them, heads and all. Scotts poor brother is going to starve here. He had a chicken dish and nothing else. He hates scary food.

So let me tell you about the super futuristic state of the art everything here. You buy this card at the gas station (7-11's are everywhere). You insert the little credit card like thing into he card reader in your car. Each car has one. When you go to parking decks, a machine reads the cards and when you leave it automatically deducts the fee. The same thing happens on pay roads. It just magically deducts it and you never have to stop. So in the parking decks they have sensors at each space. If the space is empty there is a green light and if its full there is a red light. Blue is for handicapped. The garage won't open the gate if there are no available spaces. But when one comes up, the gate opens and the signs direct you to the openings!!! Its so cool!

Tomorrow we get up early and meet the luxury coach at 9:30ish to go to Kuala Lumpur. We will ry to see the Petronas towersand the Batu caves. I imagine there will be a good deal of walking around just looking at everything. I probably won't be computerized so I may not be able to update for the next couple of days.


Changi village and pulau ubin

Today we went to Changi. Its a tiny ramshackle town area where the boats to Pulau Ubin converge and depart. We ae some vendor booth foods immediately upon arrival. I had some steamed dumpling type things and scott ae some fish and chicken and rice concoction. Everything so far has benn close to delicious if not actually delicious. Scott's brother is one of the most finicky (sp?) people in the world. Seriously, I thought I was bad. But he's making due and not starving to death.
So after some food we caught the ferry to Pulau Ubin. The ferry should have sank. It was a scary number with peely paint and scrapped together benchs. The limit per ferry is 12 passengers and there were 14 at one point. Thats not too many so I was okay with it. It wasn't like those busses in India with goats and chickens and people hanging off of the sides. The exhaust almost killed me though. As its motor struggled along I coughed and coughed. Seriously, the engine sounded like a jackhammer outside of your bedroom window after a hard night of drinking. Pulau Ubin is a small island off Singapore and it is like falling into the 50's apparently. I believe the island is a national park but maybe only parts of it are. We rented bikes along with everyone else and took off on a small adventure. My bosses would be proud that I went mountian biking on vacation and didn' get hurt! Well, we don't know if we have Malaria yet but we did indeed forget bugspray. A lot of tin huts line the paths and everything is rusty and old. Its truly awesome though. We rode all over and made our way to an awesome wetland area. The parents and Lenny Jr opted out of the strenuous climb to get there so Scott and I did it on our own. At the end of a long and gruelling climb there was a tower to look out over the water. Spectacular. Its cool being above the tree line. Then we walked across the path to see the jetty and the welcome center. The welcome center was very well done with informational displays about the wildlife and a big aquarium for rehabilitating injured sealife. The birds around there were crazy too. One sounded like Mariah Carey stuck on a high note but uop in the trees. And maybe it WAS Mariah Carey up in the trees but I couldn't spot her. Fresh coconut milk is gross.
Oh, after the island we went to the Changi prison museum. Apparently the Japanese were real assholes to Singapore during world war II.
Thats all I've got for now. I'm going to rest up before the night adventures.
Claire, to answer your question go to to see dragon boats. It should be on there. And Scott said hi.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Where I stay

So, Scott's parents have a nice condo on the 16th floor of a highrise. It has 3 bedrooms and quite the view of the harbor. You can see all the huge ships at port. I don't know anything about ships or I would tell you more, all I know is that they are large to huge in size.
Anyway, where we are staying has a really beautiful pool and a nice gym. The condo itself has its own bomb shelter! Traditionally the bomb shelter also doubles as the servants quarters. Its the size of a small to medium walk-in closet. I can't imagine living in it. But it does have a huge super thick door and could pass as a walk-in cooler. The servants room is right next to the tiny servants bathroom. It doesn't have hot water and the whole room is a shower with the toilet and sink in it.
Everyone takes a while to get ready and so I sit here, dressed and ready to go, watching TV and playing on the computer. Usually on vacaion this is a no-no, but I'll let it slide this time.

Today we plan to go to Changi village, whatever that is, and later to take a dragon boat ride through the harbor to see the big ships up close.

Medicine in Singapore

So, you know how you always think about asia as a place where you don't need prescriptions to get almost any drug you want? Well, thats all lies in Singapore. I am having an allergy attack. The post nasal drip has been consistent since I arrived. First the plane trip sucked all of the moisture out of me and now I have a cough that is irritating me to no end. Oh, I'll just get some Claritin or something- its a city right? Wrong. You need a doctor prescription just to get ibuprofin here! The medicine section of stores is non-existent. Luckily they have ricola so that will have to do. It'll do until I go get some foot reflexology! I may get some acupuncture or acupressure too. This place is teaming with Chinamen that know exactly what to do.

Day 1

We did some sightseeing today. It was rainy all day so that put a damper on things. We did some driving around town and saw some neat things. We went and had lunch at a food court. I ate at the booth next to fish ball soup and got a duck and rice concoction and some wonton-y things. Afterwards, mostly we shopped. We went to this crazy mall, actually all malls are some sort of crazy, but the mall we went to was electronics only. Its HUGE and everywhere are people trying to get you to buy their camera or i-phone or other gadgets. Oh, and in the same mall was the dirty sex toy shop. I didn't go in but I took some pics of gadgets in the window. heheh. We went to an awesome music store where the awesome salesperson taught us all about everything. Seriously. He was super cool and patient and loved teaching us about gongs and guitars and flutes and he let me wear a dragon head and it was awesome. Later we went to a different mall and looked around. The place was filled with incense and the salespeople are much more aggressive than I'm used to. My jet lag caught up and I had to nap after a bit. When i got up we went to dinner. It was a place like Ciao Baby in Alanta where you collect your veggies and noodles and meats and then the sauces and then they cook it for you. It was very pricey but I think it was mostly due to location- it was in a fancy complex that reminds me of the Hard Rock complex in Ft. Lauderdale or Underground in Atlana (but fancy, not seedy). I ae fish balls in my noodle bowl concoction. It was good! Later, after dinner Scott and I went to Chinatown. His brother and father wanted to go see Kung Foo Panda but I didn't fly for 26 hours to go to he movies. So we caught a Trike-shaw, the bicycle rickshaw, and went to chinatown. I think thats where the dirt in Singapore goes. This town is sparkly clean except there. Scott went to a bathroom and someone shat right on the floor in a pile of tissue. Um, sir, they provide a hole with water to take that icky away. Chinatown is like booth after booth of exactly the same stuff. I did smell a Durian fruit though. BLECH! It does smell like wha I imagine a dead 89 year old womans underwear would smell like. Vomit! And people eat that! I'm beat. No more from me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I made it!

Well, I made it to Singapore, but just barely. See, afer the toruous flight from Chicago to Japan, I decided to sretch out on a bench and get some rest. I wasn't able to sleep on the plane because it was just too cramped. Oh, and they had so many movies for me to watch! Anyway, I stretched out a few rows away from Scott's broher. I thought he knew where I was sitting but he must not have heard me say where I was going. Anyway, I stretched out and resting my eyes turned into full slumber. 45 minues later I woke up with a start and realized I was all alone. I ran to the counter, dizzy and confused with sleep. I even had a sleep stripe/ wrinkle down my face. Scot was there at the counter trying to get them to page me. He thought I was shopping when acually I was snoring away. So I did make it onto the plane.
Speaking of planes, let me tell you that if you ever get the chance to fly Japan airlines, do it! Not only are the flight atendants the cutest thing EVER, the service is phenomenal! We were fed a mysterious concoction of items that were salas, some sort of dumpling-ish thing, a peach custardy thing and a rice and fish entree. hey also brought sooooo many beverages! Teas, coffee, water, soda, the works! I'm really looking forward to eating more weird items and seeing my atendant friends on the way home.
So I'm going to go now. Its 9 am saturday and we're gonna go do fun stuff.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm on my way!

I'm in the airport in Chicago. Scott says I should just say O'Hare. So I'm at O'Hare. Don't think I'm fancy- this isn't my computer. I'm using his brother's computer because he IS fancy and not only did he bring a computer- he brought TWO! We take off in 2.5 hours. I wish I could have gone to see Rachel while I was here. So close and yet so far away.