FUN-travel: Malacca, Malaysia – Day 49

April 11, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Malacca, Malaysia – Day 49 

Monday, March 14th

  • By night – Yonkers Street in China Town is pedestrian only and filled with “hawker” stalls and wall-to-wall people!
  • By day – it’s much more civilized as you can actually walk on the sidewalk and get a peek inside the stores.

55 Melaka, Malaysia 2016

  • Peanut Pedi Cab – knows no boundaries! There was no begging here, just the locals trying really hard to get the tourists to hand over some of that money.

45 Melaka, Malaysia 2016

FUN-food – Hard to believe I know…but the AC and the really good noodles beckoned us…so it was back to the Hard Rock for lunch again! Our waiter Zuqi  greeted us with his crooked, sweet smile when he spotted us coming through the front door.

  • All Dolled Up – and the Cycle Rickshaws Rocked! Totally adorned with music blasting, this 7 Melaka, Malaysia 2016Frozen theme with flowers and fringe was quite fancy. And at night they are all lit up with strobe light ropes pulsing to the beat.
  • We chose to visit this city on a recommendation from a friend who grew up in Singapore. Since I was in Singapore 25 years ago I knew that four days in Singapore would have been too many for Chris. In hindsight had we known how long it was going to take for the immigration stops required for both countries (45 minutes) outbound and (over an hour) inbound we probably wouldn’t have gone. Over 5 hours each way!
  • Majestic Malacca Sultanate Watermill – on the bank of the Malacca River opposite the Casa del Rio Melaka in the old town.

FUN-fact – The city is named after the Malacca sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511.

35 Melaka, Malaysia 2016

FUN-travel: Malacca, Malaysia – Day 48

April 11, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Malacca, Malaysia – Day 48 

Sunday, March 13th

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  • We boarded our luxury motor coach at 8 am. With front row seats our view out of the city was pretty spectacular. The perfectly manicured landscape consisted of colorful bougainvilleas and jacaranda trees mixed with palms and pines running down the center median and on both sides of the motorway. Every overhead pedestrian bridge had flower boxes that ran the entire length and were overflowing with fuchsia and magenta blooms.

2 Melaka, Malaysia 2016

  • Upon arrival at Casa del Rio Melaka we received a very warm welcome served with refreshing ice cold wash cloths and yummy sorbet. This sweet city was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Dubbed “The Historic State” it is located on the southern region of the Malay Peninsula.

14 Melaka, Malaysia 2016

  • We set off to explore the city and get some lunch. Under normal circumstances I would never choose a chain restaurant over a local one, let alone an American one in a foreign country! And I really hate to admit this… but I succumbed to the lure of sitting with “full on” air conditioning at the… Hard Rock Café. In Malacca? The last time I was in one was in Tokyo in 1992! Oh well, apparently they’re still hip.

FUN-food – Seafood Char Kway Teow – stir fried fat rice noodles tossed with bean sprouts, fish cake, egg, prawns, squid, sweet and spicy soy sauce and thinly sliced red chilies in oil on the side.

56 Melaka, Malaysia 2016

FUN-fact – The most famous person Melaka has produced: Datuk Wira Dr. Gan Boon Leong AKA the “Father of Bodybuilding in Malaysia.” Born in 1937, he is Malaysia’s most successful bodybuilder – having won countless prizes, including Mr. Asia and even Mr. Universe.

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 19th Port – Langkawi, Malaysia – Day 44

March 28, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 19th Port – Langkawi, Malaysia – Day 44 

Wednesday, March 9th

  • I hate to sound jaded but in the words of Chris, “How many islands can you see? You can be anywhere in the world and you’d never know it. They all look the same.”
  • Ashamed to say it, there is a bit a truth in what he says. At this point we were on one of 104 islands (108 in low tide) in this archipelago in the Andaman Sea. Langkawi is about 16 miles long and slightly wider with over two thirds of it dominated by forest-covered hills.

5 Langkawi, Malaysia 2016

  • Bikinis and Burkas dotted the Beach – along with all the typical things you’d expect – lounge chairs with umbrellas and motorized water sport toys. After a short walk I took a dip in the nice warm water to cool off. Then we strolled through town to spend the last of our ringgits before hopping back on the shuttle to the ship.

Komodo Island, Indonesia 2016 2

  • To prove his point Chris says, “Do you have any idea what island this is?” And the answer is….Komodo. Pretty much looks like all the rest wouldn’t you say?

FUN-fact – The Straits of Malacca is a narrow 500 mile stretch of water between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra and for centuries was an important maritime trade route between India and China. Today 40% of the world’s traded goods pass through the Straits.

Not so FF – Captain Phillips (played by Tom Hanks in the movie) was hijacked by the Somali’s in the Straits of Malacca. And we foolishly thought it was off the coast of Somalia!

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 18th Port – Penang, Malaysia – Day 43 —

March 28, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 18th Port – Penang, Malaysia – Day 43 — 

Tuesday, March 8th

23 Penang, Malaysia 2016

Kek Lok Si Temple

  • Today I had high hopes of creating a real adventure. They touted the UNESCO World Heritage downtown Colonial District as a “major attraction.” Chris says, “You are always searching for the pearl.” And that I am!
  • Since it was a short walk from the ship, we headed off on our own. As soon as we hit the cruise terminal we were overwhelmed by yet another onslaught of taxi drivers. All of which were attempting to get our attention by waving a laminated sheet (they all had the same one) with pictures asking us where we wanted them to take us. And their price of 50 ringgits (basically $12) an hour never wavered, even at the end of the line out on the street. No bargaining here. They’re clearly unionized!
  • Our short four block stroll along the waterfront promenade started with Fort Cornwallis, the largest standing fort in Malaysia, and ended at City Hall before we took a hard left and headed into the city center. More unbearable monsoon heat and humidity had sweat pouring from our faces after only 5 minutes.

86 Penang, Malaysia 2016

  • After an hour and a half of walking around looking for “the pearl” (which I never49 Penang, Malaysia 2016 found) and no longer able to stand the unbearable heat we found a taxi to take us to the sites. And guess how much? 200 ringgits for 4 to 5 hours! I told you there was a taxi union. Eric was his name and he was a quite nice gentleman with pretty good English skills. And this taxi had a meter so he was a “real taxi driver” which he highlighted and assured us that we were in the hands of a professional driver.
  • 1st stop – Kek Lok Si Temple – The ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’ AKA the Temple of 10,000 Buddha’s, Malaysia’s largest Buddhist shrine stands a striking 98 feet high. The seven-tiered alabaster pagoda is the highlight of the complex. The design is said to be Burmese at the top, Chinese at the bottom and Thai in between. We took the cable car – bypassing “way too many stairs” as the ascending tourists grumbled to us – that whisked us to the highest level. It was presided over by an awesome 110-foot-high bronze statue of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy.
  • 2nd stop – The Reclining Buddha Thai Temple – No question about it, the Thai’s know how to do a colorful temple! With paintings and mosaics of mythical creatures and statues inside and out, not to mention, the giant gold plated reclining Buddha at 108 feet in length. Turns out it’s only one of three that’s this size in the world!

55 Penang, Malaysia 2016

  • 3rd stop – Just across the street from the Thai Temple was the Dharmikarama Temple. The only Burmese Buddhist temple outside Myanmar. Very large in scope and pristinely maintained, it included a lovely landscaped garden with a bridge over a small fish pond, and a tall bell tower. The statues in the temple are modeled after the different branches of Buddhism from several Buddhist countries.

75 Penang, Malaysia 2016

FUN-food – Eric took us to his favorite place to have lunch. Wok fried rice noodles with shrimp and red garlic chili sauce cooked on a cart in the street. And we didn’t get sick! Thank god we have iron clad stomachs.

Most Bizarre FUN-dessert – Cendol – layered in a bowl is unrecognizable jellied black fruit, corn, kidney beans, shaved ice, coconut milk sweetened with brown sugar and topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I kid you not! And I ate most of it.

70 Penang, Malaysia 2016

  • “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” Well apparently here you can. With a population of 64% Chinese, 20% Muslim, and 10% Indian; Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Taoists all live together in harmony!

FUN-cocktail – Real Martini – Bombay Sapphire, straight up, extra dry, extra olives.

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 17th Port – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Day 42

March 24, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 17th Port – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Day 42 

Monday, March 7th

  • Quoted from Reflections, our daily printed shipboard update “Crystal Cruises is pleased to provide complimentary shuttle service from the pier to the Bukit Tinggi Shopping Mall in downtown Port Kelang (sic). Service begins at 9:30 am and is scheduled to run every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour. The drive to the Bukit Tinggi Shopping Mall takes approximately 30 minutes. The last shuttle leaves at 4:30 pm. Please note that the Bukit Tinggi Shopping Mall doesn’t open until 10:00 am and there are no other points of interest in that immediate area.”

Borobudur,Indonesia 2016 78

  • So who wants to guess what we are going to do today? Certainly not that! The movie is Avengers: Age of Ultron. So I am pretty sure it’s “read a good book day!” Or maybe some smoochy, smoochy?

FUN-fact – Petronas Towers is closed on Monday and so glad I booked it ahead of time and knew that!

Komodo Island, Indonesia 2016 64

More FF – Any idea what this is? A mushroom on a downed tree trunk with the sun doing its best to peek through the heavy tree canopy in Komodo.

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