Archive | April, 2012

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Cat Tales: April 2012

Posted on 30 April 2012 by brett

Brett & Kevin 2008

Brett & Kevin (2008)

Where do we begin? Okay, deep breath. Here we go. April was to be our best travel month to date. We had toured the Villages of Northern Thailand where the local tribes still practice their long-neck traditions for tourists. We finally found children to give our writing books purchased in Luang Prabang, Laos during March. Spontaneously, we booked a flight to the Perhentian Islands at the Northeast Coast of Malaysia. Our idea was to rent a car and drive down the coast to Singapore for a bunch of business meetings. That quickly turned into a flight to Kuala Lumpur, then bus to Melaka, Malaysia for a few days before bussing to Singapore. The plan was super exciting with trips set for Bali, Lombok, Flores, Komodo and the treasured Maluccas “Spice Islands” in Indonesia.

And suddenly with one email on April 17th, life changed forever. Continue Reading

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Singapore: “Island at the End”

Posted on 15 April 2012 by brett

Sir. Stamford Raffles

Sir. Stamford Raffles

Since its independence in 1965, Singapore has grown leaps and bounds at 9% per year. It is now the second largest Asian economy by per capita GDP. The island lies at the southern tip of Malaysia and is super crowded with over 5 million people (1.4 million are non-resident foreigners). This makes Singapore the second most densely populated independent country in the world. The population is multicultural with 74% Chinese, 13% Malay and 9% Indian. English is the national language, although we heard Chinese more often. This diversity infused with a work hard, live healthy lifestyle creates a tremendous energy and buzz. Whether its shopping, exercising, talking technology or constantly eating… Singapore offers an ultra modern version of our New York City. Continue Reading

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Melaka, Malaysia

Posted on 10 April 2012 by brett

Surprising Kitty

Surprising Kitty

Melaka was a wonderful unexpected surprise. There were a plethora of great places to eat, sleep, shop and sightsee. Since its founding in the 1400’s, this quaint little city exchanged hands through the centuries from the Chinese, to the Portuguese, to the Dutch and then finally the British in the 1800’s. Hence the melting pot of people; Chinese, mixed Indian/Malay, and Eurasians (Malay/Portuguese). The dramatic differences in architecture is also predominate throughout the city.

Who's headstone?

Who's headstone?

As happens frequently in Asia, Melaka wasn’t part of our original plans. Our rental car once we got off the Perhentian Islands fell through last minute leaving us with no transportation to drive through Malaysia. The original plan was to pickup our rental car at the travel agent once we arrived to the mainland and drive through Malaysia down to the Singaporean border, stopping off at various spots such as the Cameron Highlights. However, the speedboat was three hours late picking us up and although our hotel said they called the travel agent, our hunch is that they gave our car to someone else. Our only option was to take a taxi one hour to Kota Bahru airport and rent a car or try to get a flight out. As it was getting too late to drive to the Highlands and pick strawberries and tea, we decided to hop on the next flight to Kuala Lumpur (the only place you can fly). Once in KL airport we decided to hop a bus to Melaka, which is 2.5 hours south of KL, getting us into Melaka around 8pm. Continue Reading

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Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Posted on 08 April 2012 by brett

Perhentian Kecil

Perhentian Kecil

Mainland Malaysia originally wasn’t on our travel list, but we are extremely happy that we decided not to skip underrated Southeast Asian country. The Perhentian Islands were a highlight of our stay in Malaysia. Getting to the South China Sea islands off the east coast of Malaysia can be quite a journey, but you’ll be rewarded with the most breathtaking lush green jungle islands surrounded by crystal blue waters. These gorgeous islands offer the traveler that laid back atmosphere and untouched natural beauty that’s often hard to find in much of Southeast Asia.

Getting to the Perhentian Islands

New Friends

New Friends

Choppy Boat Ride

Choppy Boat Ride

After breathing in the contaimenated airs of Chiang Mai we were in a hurry to get to these quiet little islands. We opted to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur, stay the night and then hop another one hour flight to Kota Bharu in northeastern Malaysia. Upon arriving at the airport we were greeted by a Malaysian woman directing us to a desk (near car rentals) selling roundtrip “taxi+speedboat” tickets to the Perhentian Islands. Travelers were teamed up with other travelers to share taxi costs. The total journey cost $ per person based on four people in a taxi. We were grouped with two women Continue Reading

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The Villages of Northern Thailand

Posted on 02 April 2012 by brett

Lisu Village Baby

Lisu Village Baby

We spent much of our time in Chiang Mai but we wanted to explore the outside region, so we took a day trip to the villages in Northern Thailand. The tour was by mini van with 12 other travelers. We drove 1 1/2 hours north of Chiang Mai to a set of villages tucked away in the mountains down a bumpy dirt road. The first village was called Lisu with villagers of Christian religion. Upon departing the minivan, we were greeted by a group of women dressed in traditional clothes trying to sell us souvenirs. One woman was carrying a baby around her dressed in “traditional” gear and headdress. The baby was so tired falling asleep and finally she passed him off to her “husband”.

Lisu Village Spinster

Lisu Village Spinster

Lisu Village
As we explored the village the woman continued to follow us offering souvenirs. We walked through the village visiting their huts, farm animals and saying hello to the locals chilling out during their lazy Sunday afternoon. We met the Lisu village “Spinster”, who was the oldest women in the village that had never been married. Brett had bought some lined notebooks and pens for the children while in Luang Prabang, Laos. He was handing them out as we passed through the village. The children seemed so happy that they could write or draw in their new books.  Continue Reading

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