Archive for May, 2012

Goodbye Malaysia!

May 31, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m getting ready for my flight tomorrow morning! It will be a long day as there are stops in Shanghai and Chicago but I’m excited to get home.

Today I had a very easy and fun day. I slept late, got some tapioca balls tea for breakfast and then got a nice manicure and pedicure. After that, I went shopping, and then had a japanese ramen lunch. Then more shopping and wandering around, and for dinner I had this Korean feast. KL had a major rainstorm in the afternoon into the evening.

I was pretty sad the past few hours and last night and missing my dog. I’m anxious for the flights, excited to get home, and also a little sad to leave KL. Anyway, hope all is well and see you from USA!

Love, Annie

Finished with Work!

May 30, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Ahh. I’m thrilled to be back in Kuala Lumpur. I’m finished with work, so now it’s all shopping and eating delicious food. And, I am able to stream TV again (couldn’t do it in Ipoh or Lumut) so I am psyched to catch up on Mad Men, Girls, and 30 Rock. This morning I left the hotel at ten, and we got into KL at two. We hit some traffic because it’s school vacation at this time. I was driven by Mr. Rao, the son of the nice driver that picked me up a week ago from the horrible hotel in Lumut. We had a nice time and then I took him out to lunch.

I learned that he met his girlfriend three days ago. His dad set him up. He told me that in his culture (Indian culture) it’s important that at least six things in your horoscope line up with the other person. There are ten possible things and he and this girl are ten for ten, so his parents are Extremely excited, and so is he! After we parted, he went to get her a gift. Aww.

In the afternoon, I went for a walk, and now I’m trying to decide where to get dinner. The people at the hotel remember me “Welcome Back!” and it’s so nice!

Love, Annie

Damai Laut and Working Monday

May 28, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!

Hope all is well. I’m still in Lumut and it’s monday afternoon.

There’s really not much here so I’m getting a little antsy to get back to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to shop and eat delicious food and then go home on Friday!

Yesterday, I went to the golf course “Damai Laut” on the hotel’s property because I had to get some peace and quiet from all the little children running around the hotel / resort. I was also a little irritated by one of the recreation men at the because he called me room at about nine in the morning and Woke Me Up to ask if I wanted to do something. I was very annoyed because I really wanted to sleep for hours after that. This guy has been a little too friendly towards me, not in a threatening way, just really irritating.

The golf course was nice. I did some work and then walked around the “lake nine”. They have the hill nine and the lake nine. I’m not sure if I was supposed to walk around the golf course because I’m not a golfer.

I’m doing research so people can afford this golf course… so no one should give me trouble and they should be okay with my scoping it out (really I just wanted some peaceful exercise!)

It was a very pretty view, but I imagined a golf course to be more pristine (like grass perfect, no dirt patches that aren’t supposed to be there) than this was.

This morning, I woke up early and went to a meeting and to a few other outlets before heading to some great Indian food (different restaurant this time) with my driver. We had banana leaf rice and they had a great vegetarian option. We also went to another Chinese temple.

In the afternoon, I hung out in the sun and went swimming at the little beach area by the hotel. Just as my sand castle made out of all “private parts” was taking nice form (you can really do what ever you want when you’re alone!) that annoying guy I described earlier walked over to me so I had to destroy my awesome castle and make a pyramid so he didn’t think i’m a big weirdo.

That’s all! Now i’m going to dinner. Love, Annie

Pangkor Island!

May 26, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are having a nice weekend. Today I went to Pangkor Island, a ten minute boat ride from the hotel.

Here I am on the boat. Before the day trip, I had a nice lunch experience. I walked into the restaurant and a couple invited me to eat with them! Nice.

They are newly retired and from Austin, Texas, and have basically been traveling full time. It was great to hear about their travels and to enjoy the company. After lunch I headed to Pangkor island. The boat ride was fun and bumpy.

When I got there, I rented a (very rusty) bike for $5 an hour and rode around the town then up and down the hills toward the beaches area. At one point when I was walking the bike up a hill (the hills are very steep), I nearly stepped on a snake. It was about two feet long (at least) and it’s head was raised in a scary almost going to strike you way. I freaked out and swore at it very loudly.

I stopped at an area where there was a nice beach and people were swimming about a half hour away from the main town, ordered some white wine from the beach restaurant nearby, and then swam and soaked in the ocean until my fingers got super pruney. The water was warm and very fun to be in.

Jellyfish are still an issue, but the guys at the bar said that the  jellyfish near the coast will sting but aren’t dangerous. The dangerous ones are in the middle of the ocean (strait)? Fortunately, I didn’t get bitten.

Love, Annie

Friday in Lumut

May 25, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was my first full day in Lumut.

I woke up relatively early and worked a full day. I finished my last supermarket of the trip, which is always Extremely exciting. In the late afternoon, I came back to the hotel and went for a swim in the ocean.

You’re not really supposed to swim in the ocean (Strait of Malacca) because there are jellyfish, but I read a sign that says that they are mostly there from June to September (or maybe September to January?) It was September and a J-month.

So, since it’s still May, not in the major jellyfish season, I took a cautious dip. I really wanted to swim and hate pools. The water was warm and I wish there weren’t jellyfish so I could swim longer and without fear. The hotel manager said that the jellyfish situation is a huge setback for the hotel.

I had dinner with one of the apartment sales managers at the hotel and it was nice, and even though it’s extremely buggy here (the worst mosquitos of the trip) and we ate near the water, I didn’t get any (more) bites. I’ve been really cautious with the bug spray. She probably thought I smelled a little silly.

That’s all. Tomorrow I think I’ll go to Pangkor Island and rent a bike.

Love, Annie

Hello Lumut!

May 24, 2012

Hi Family and Friends,

I’ve made it to Lumut, my last location and will be home in a little over a week. I had to change hotels because the first one I was in was absolutely horrible. The new one is much better. I found a driver today by coincidence that was extremely cool, and he took me to his favorite local indian place for lunch when I started to feel sick and tired (Super headachy) around four o-clock having not eaten lunch. I was too stressed about my hotel situation to even think of it. It was nice to eat with company! Pictures to come. The internet in the room isn’t that great, but that’s okay.

Love, Annie

Working Days in Ipoh

May 23, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

I apologize for not updating the last two days, they’ve just been pretty regular work days. I’ll describe some of the highlights.

Here’s a sunset from the hotel window. It was really cool in person, much pinker than you see here in the picture, but I thought I’d include it anyway. Today I dozed off in the afternoon and was woken up by an Extremely loud crack of thunder.  Probably the loudest I’ve ever heard. It scared me big time. There were a few more and then the storm passed pretty quickly.

The other great thing about Ipoh is the fabulous breakfasts. 

Here at the hotel it’s a great restaurant. For breakfasts, they I just ask for some fruit and yogurt and cheese and they’ve been making for me this gorgeous platter. The strange looking fruit in cubes is Dragon fruit.

Yesterday I was a little annoyed because I worked late at the supermarket until 8 pm and couldn’t get a taxi for 45 minutes afterwards. Eh. Tomorrow it’s off to Lumut, the last location!!

Love, Annie

Caves and Cave Temples around Ipoh (mostly pictures!)

May 20, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Today for my day off I went to explore some caves, as that is the thing to do here. I went to three cave temples and one just cave. Here are some pictures from the day.

The temples had so many stairs (that I had to climb… when am I going to come back here) so when I came back to the hotel my legs were shaking.

The pictures are out of order and I can’t seem to get them in order so I’ll just describe them as they show up:

1. Gardens outside of Kek Look Tong, my favorite temple.

2. Climbing up to the top of the last temple of the day. the Perak temple? Perulak? Perak is the name of the state of Malaysia I’m currently in.

3. Incense at the first temple.

4. Outside of Gua Tempurung.

5. View from the top of the third temple, from the top of all those stairs from the Second photo.

6. The entrance of Gua Tempurung from the inside.

7. Inside of Kek Look Tong.

8. My tour group inside of the “wind tunnel” of Gua Tempurung.

9. Self shot from inside of Gua Tempurung.

By the way, I’ve been looking up some more words that come up here often. “Jalan” does indeed mean “road.” “Bandar” as in Bandar Seri Begawan, means “City.” “Kuala” as in Kuala Lumpur or Belait means “Estuary” according to Google’s translator. “Lemak” as in my favorite dish Nasi Lemak that coconut rice, means “Fat.” Great.

Looking forward to a productive work day tomorrow.

Love, Annie

Hello Ipoh!

May 19, 2012

Hi Family and Friends,

Hope you are having a nice weekend. This morning, I slept late and checked out of the hotel.

After getting a bubble tea (I’m obsessed with those now) for breakfast, I went to the train station to take the train to Ipoh! Ipoh is three hours north of Kuala Lumpur by car, and about two hours by train. However, with all the waiting and getting to the station early, it would have been quicker by car. I did save my company about 100 dollars though!

The “KL Sentral” station was gross (worst bathrooms of the trip) but the train itself was pretty nice. It was the ETS, electronic train and all in all an interesting experience. I watched a movie with Katherine Heigl and a really nice looking actor and they get put in charge of taking care of their friends’ baby. It had subtitles which was good because there was no sound and I was a little disappointed that they didn’t even show kissing on the screen! But not surprised.

After arriving in Ipoh, I checked into the hotel which is a small and beautiful, and went for a sweaty afternoon walk. The pictures are from the walk. I explored some of the areas I’ll be surveying come Monday. By the way, there’s a Starbucks here. For dinner, I had a beautiful garden salad and sea bass. YUM. Tomorrow is another day off so I’m going to try to explore some caves.

Love, Annie

Day Trip To Melaka!

May 18, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Friday. Hope all is well.

Today was a day off, so I took a day trip to historical city Melaka (Malacca).

Melaka was conquered in 1511 by the Portuguese. Then the Dutch came, and then later, the British. It’s on the Strait of Melaka (obviously) where I learned in school there are a lot of pirates. It’s a major shipping passage. I took the bus to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur and it was an extremely pleasant experience. The ride was about two hours, and the bus was nearly empty, and had very large seats.

It was hot and sweaty walking around in the sun all day. In the historical section of Melaka there are a bunch of restaurants and little shops and remnants of forts. There’s a little India that I walked around a little. For lunch, I went to a local restaurant and had rice, some pretty regular tofu dish, and the highlight, eggplant sauteed in chili sauce. I got my brother and sister shirts from the Orangutan store that carries shirts made my famous artist Charles Cham.

Now I have a headache. I get these absolutely debilitating headaches once in a while. I think sometimes they are brought on when I spend too much time in the sun. So i’d like to get in bed and close my eyes. The headache is bad but not as bad as the one I had in Cape Town. I made the good decision not to have a glass of wine this time.

Tomorrow I’m off to Ipoh, I’ll be taking a train that will take approximately two hours. Not saying goodbye to KL yet because I come back here for two nights at the end of the trip (two weeks from now!).

Love, Annie