Monday, June 30, 2008

Asia Trip Continued...Malaysia

Monday morning Brett had to head to the office to work all day. We enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel. Sue came and picked Allden and I up at the hotel and gave us a tour of Penang. She is my age and works here at Intel. We had a great time hanging out together. She took me to the Botanical Gardens, it was very warm and humid but beautiful! There were little monkeys running around everywhere and it was so very green! Allden liked the monkeys. Then we tried some coconut water-the guy takes a whole coconut and chops it in half then pours all the juice into a little bag and you drink it. Then we went to Gurney Plaza for lunch. We ate at a nice little restaurant, it was very good and the waiters really liked Allden. The gurney Plaza is right on the coast, Sue told me when the Tsunami hit in 2006 all the cars that were parked in the basement of the parking garage were under water. After lunch we went to a big Budhist Temple, inside was a huge sleeping Budha and several other displays with Budha and statue’s etc. I don’t know much about the religion but it was neat to see their temple. While we were standing outside one of the temples Allden suddenly became famous as one lady takes him out of my arms to take a picture. Then a crowd is gathered around and he is being passed from one Asian to the next with people snapping photos as fast as they can. He took it pretty well but he was starting to get quite worried so Sue rescued him and we left. I should start charging money to take a photo with Allden, I guess it’s because there are no blue eyed blonde haired cutie’s here. Then we took a driving tour around the city and saw the old Fort with cannon’s pointing out to sea, it looked like the old fort’s we had seen in England. Then she drove me through a section of town called little India. Here they sell all the Indian attire and spices and snacks, it was quite interesting. Sue is Indian so she explained to me a little about her culture. Malaysia has a good mix of many different cultures and religions here, many people are Muslim so the women are always fully covered, I would think it would be very hot! We picked up Brett and Jose after work and went to dinner together at a nice Italian restaurant. I’m not so great at trying all different kinds of food. Then we walked through the night market. This is where they sell all the “fakes” purses and watches and sunglasses even DVD’s that just came out to theatre. The police are really starting to crack down on the DVD guys in fact they came and arrested those guys and took their stuff away the very next night.
Tuesday Brett went to the office again and Allden and I relaxed at the hotel. We have a nice view from our room with the green golf course, city and the ocean.This is a picture of the jungle walk we went on at the hotel.
It is a very nice hotel with a nice swimming pool and pond with fish- that was Allden’s favorite to go look at all the fish. In the evening we went to a German restaurant and then went shopping at the market, Sue helped us barter for a few things and it was fun shopping I just wish we had more time.
Wednesday was our last day in Malaysia. Brett went to work while I packed up and hung out at the hotel, we flew out in the afternoon to Kuala Lumpur. This is the capital of Malaysia. We stayed one night there in a nice hotel right by the Petronas Towers. The Towers are really beautiful and well lit up at night, so we walked around and enjoyed the night life. Everywhere in Asia has a lot of night life so we have been out late every night. We tried Persian food for dinner, it was pretty good. If we had more time we would have explored more and gone to the market here.
Thursday we spent the morning in Kuala Lumpur and tried to go up to the top of the Petronas Towers to walk along the sky bridge, it’s free to go up- that’s the problem. So there was a super huge line and they were giving out tickets to go in the afternoon and we had to fly out. We opted to go to the KL Tower instead. This is the 4th largest communication tower in the world. You take an elevator to the top and walk around the observation deck. You get a very good view of the city and even better you can see the Petronas Towers. We enjoyed the views and then headed down the elevator. There were some guys playing musical instruments, Allden loves music and decided he wanted to get down and dance, soon Allden became the center of attention and the cameras were turned to him. He makes a lot of people smile and gets a lot of attention here. We headed back to the hotel to check out and head to the airport. This is the view from the top floor of our hotel....We took a taxi where the taxi driver told us a few more interesting facts about the country. Corn in a cup is a treat here!They have a fruit here called Durian, there are signs at the hotel and airport that say no durian so I asked why. It’s a fruit that is very smelly and can stink up an area very quickly and smell for days. He said if someone brought durian into his taxi it would take 10 days for the smell to go away. I did smell it at the market and it is pretty bad. He also said they don’t send it to other country’s because it is only good for about 3 days and then it is bad. They also have palm trees everywhere he said they harvest the little fruits off them for the palm oil. There are many things that are made with palm oil. Anyways we arrived at the airport the low cost terminal to fly air asia. We had to wait in long lines and had to pay extra for our luggage. The long lines to check in and then passport control took forever and we thought we were going to miss our flight. Luckily our flight was delayed 30 minutes so they hadn’t even started boarding when we got to our gate. We took a 4 hour flight to Macau.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Phuket-Thailand Continued

Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel-we had a nice view from our room. and went for a scenic drive around Phuket, to explore the rest of the island. We went to several beautiful viewpoints, the most popular one was Phromthep Cape, up the steps from the viewpoint is a shrine to Brahma that is surrounded by thousands of wooden elephants of every size. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and views of the ocean and the island before we had to head to the airport to catch our flight to Malaysia.

Thailand is known for the kingdom of the elephant and we actually saw a sign driving down the road for an elephant crossing. We did see a couple elephants on the side of the road it was cool to see.

Phuket was a beautiful island and we really enjoyed our time there.

We headed to the airport about 3pm and flew Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia then had to transfer to another terminal to take another short flight to Penang. We arrived in Panang about 10pm and Jose (Brett’s friend from work) and Sue picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel. We are staying in the Equatorial, it’s a very nice hotel with a balcony and a great view. We were sad the weekend had to end and Brett had to go to work the next morning.

Allden has been a good traveler!

Phuket-Thailand June 2008

Early Saturday morning we checked out of the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore and headed to the airport to fly to Phuket Thailand. It was a short flight, when we arrived we picked up our rental car and headed out for a day of adventures. Thailand is not as English friendly as Singapore and it felt like more of a third world country. It was very green and jungle like and beautiful. We drove to Phang Nga Bay about 45 minute drive. We parked the car at a boat dock and luckily found an American that spoke Thai so we hooked up with him and his family and hired a long tail boat to take us out to see the beautiful Phang Nga Bay. Wow! It was amazing! There are views of literally hundreds of limestone cliffs rising over the sea up to 1,150 ft high. Inside many of the stacks are narrow tunnels and sea caves. The waters were very calm and it was covered so we were protected from the rain and sun, making it a very nice boat ride. The famous James Bond Island is located in this bay, this island was shown in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. All the tourists seem to stop here so it was very crowded but we stopped and walked around the island and explored some of the caves. Then we cruised over to Koh Pannyi (Sea Gypsy Island) This is a remarkable village, the whole of it built out over water on stilts and with a giant rock monolith behind it. We ate lunch here, they had nets of live fish and lobster and crabs and we picked a fish and they went and killed it for us and cooked it up for lunch. I usually don’t eat fish but I figured it was the safest thing to eat since it was fresh! It was actually really good, but they served the entire fish with bones and all, I couldn’t look at it so Brett picked it apart for me. We took a walk around the village and then got back on our boat. We cruised back to our car. What an amazing and fun afternoon!
We then had to drive another hour or two to get to our hotel for the night. We stayed in the Hilton Phuket Arcadia, right by Karon Beach. It was a very nice hotel with a view of the ocean from our room. We stopped at the beach and watched the sunset, it was beautiful, the ocean waters were very warm. Allden wanted to run straight out into the water, so I took off his shoes and let him put his feet in the water and sand but he didn’t like it too much and threw a fit. Our hotel was very nice and had a huge property with land all around it, a nice swimming pool and gardens to walk around. We ate dinner at the hotel and enjoyed the live music.