Thursday, October 18, 2012

Summer Adventures: Penang, Malaysia

Seriously, we got directions here from a street vendor who made my necklace. He gave us everything from landmarks to bus ticket prices to ferry times... and it was all correct. Forget you, expensive (yet somehow outdated) travel book! It was incredible.
Downtown Chinatown (hey, that rhymes!)

So after a long journey full of rude, pushy people and third world smells, we finally arrived to Penang. We ventured down to Chinatown- the backpackers' area and found residence at a family run hostel. It was awesome there, except for the fact that the power was out our last 24 hours there. Definitely got good use out of my 100 yen flashlight.
First dinner: cold {gross} Malay food from a hawker stand
Second dinner! Pizza Hut!! Muchhh better
We spent the next day hiking to the biggest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.
Caught the local bus with school kids and the monks
"Liberation Pond" Pretty sure this is the exact opposite of liberation

Adorable stone benches
Emma placed a prayer ribbon for health and safety of her family
 Another installment of the video series!! Our second lift on the trip, this one was much more to my liking ;)

We had many misunderstandings of American English to British English translations (Me asking Emma if she saw that girl "eat it, like five times" and Emma responding "No, what was she eating? But I saw her fall a bunch of times"), my favorite was when Emma turned to me and said "Oh, that guy is cute!" Me being the ninja photographer that I am, smiled and very sneakily took a picture of Emma and her "cute guy"
Turned out... what she ACTUALLY said was "Oh, there's a guy in the queue". Right.

Stopped to refuel at a Hawker Stand. Actually legit and AMAZZZINGGG food. Top #3 favorite meal of the trip
Hawker food with freshly squeezed sugar cane juice

Ended the day at a ghetto salon.
Newly purple tinted hair
Leaving Penang! Onto Melaka!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Summer Adventures: Cable Car death adventures


Well there has been about a month of radio silence. 

I took a some time off for life. For laundry, for doing piles of dishes, for taking day time naps, for reading fluffy chick lit novels. 
(our first dinner in Langkawi)
I even wrote this teenage angst-y post about my fears and insecurities, and not being funny enough for the six readers out there. And then I deleted it. Because as boring as I can get, no one wants to read that amiright?

It was a beautiful island, very reminiscent of the island of Hawaii (The Big Island). Huge, very green, very cultural, and very green. Although Langkawi has a couple things that Hawaii does not.  
  1.   A very pugnant sewer system. A very well-ventilated sewer system. Meaning… about every two feet on every sidewalk, there was a sewer vent. And 24 hours a day, hot, vomit/poop/rotting food smells were spewed out into the world and made a very hot Malaysia even HOTTER. Another plus? The grates were made of plastic. Plastic+hot steam+hot Malaysian sun+ overall summer weather= THEY WILL CAVE UNDER YOUR WEIGHT. One of my true fears was coming true. Every two feet, I would walk entirely around a grate. 
  2.  Prayer hour. At sundown every night for about two hours, some sort of chant/song was blared over the loudspeakers across the island. The first night, it was cultural and interesting. The second and third night? Pretty much downright annoying. I know that sounds insensitive and politically incorrect (although according to John, I am always politically correct. Unlike my hilarious and awesome parents), but Emma and I would scream at each other across the table trying to have a conversation. 
  3. Men who will stare rudely and obviously at your boobs and then take pictures of you. Your face may or may not be in them. Now this didn’t happen to me (hello, I still have the body of a prepubescent 12 year old), but Emma is more gifted than I am and therefore attracted MUCH more attention.
  4. A cable car that will make you whimper and squeal and momentarily contemplate upchuck.
Our incredible seafood BBQ dinner, Night 1 in Langkawi
Fried rice in a pineapple boat and we each picked out our own fish
Finished with drinks at a cocktail bar
Onto the good stuff… 
More than once, Emma would turn to me after seeing some random billboard for a tourist attraction and say "OOoooohhhh Tango!!! Can we pleasseeeeeee do that?!??" So when she suggested cable cars, I said "Sureeee Emma!" Not the biggest fans of heights where you can DIE but I rock climb, you know and what's life without a little danger? 

We arrived to Oriental Village (PS. "Oriental" is not offensive in England. Emma went about three weeks referring to Asians as "Orientals" before some light shone through), paid our fee, and boarded the glass capsule of death. I'll let the pictures/video tell the rest. 

death drop while you are enclosed in a tiny box.
 The motivating factor to start blogging again: sharing this video with the world. To accurately show you HOW much I was freaking out, I present the first of The Summer Adventures- video series...

 And yes, apparently stress impairs my vocabulary ("really" "really" "really"...), math skills ("6,500 feet? Or meters?" Nope, both wrong), and British accent ("If you want to?"). I will not be pursing a career in reporting, clearly.

At the top... 700 meters high (2,296 feet)

Glass all around for maximum view/ scare factor
Horseback riding through the jungle!!

Emma's turn to freak out a bit. And our guide looks thrilled about life
Overall, Langkawi was awesome... although I'm not quite sure I'll miss it. Next stop... Penang, Malaysia!!