We are changing things up a bit for 2013 here at LiveLoveTravelDream. This blog is a story of our life’s adventures and we want to keep everyone updated with stories of our travels. For 2012, Nancy and I kept separate blogs. This was tough for both of us. My blog suffered because I am busy a lot of times managing my music business and Nancy, combined with all the action of our travels, doesn’t always find time to write. So… we have decided we are joining forces! I have deleted my blog at my website, www.JeremyArndt.com, and would like to stop in here from time to time to help others live vicariously through our stories. Granted, we would never want anyone to live vicariously… we all have dreams that are best lived personally. We advise everyone to live their dreams and follow your heart to happiness. But, in the meantime, we hope you enjoy our stories!
First, I would like to tell you about Malaysia. We are in Thailand now, and have finished our twelve days of travel through Malaysia. It’s tough to make plans while you are traveling, and if we had stuck with our plans, we would be in New Zealand right now. But… Nancy spontaneously suggested the idea of coming to Southeast Asia a couple months ago, and the more we read, the more exciting it seemed!
Malaysia, to me, felt like Asia for beginners… at least from what my expectations are for the rest of SE Asia! It was free from hassles that one would expect like hustlers trying to get your money, easy to get around in, and it was pretty modern and clean. We really enjoyed our time in Malaysia and spent our time in three places, Kuala Lumpur (the capitol), Pulau Pangkor, and Melaka. Malaysia was very laid back, comfortable to travel through (luxury buses for cheap, cheap, cheap), and for the most part was pretty friendly, although we didn’t mingle much with the locals unfortunately.
We started in the capitol, Kuala Lumpur, and didn’t have the best first night. We arrived to our hotel late, after taking the hour-long bus ride from the airport to our section of town, Puduraya. When we arrived, it took us about 30 minutes of dragging around all of our luggage (we packed too much!) around Chinatown looking for our place. In the end, it was only a 5 minute walk from where the bus dropped us off… but we weren’t armed with any maps. Only a vague description that it was near a 7-11 and a Hindu Temple!
We started off by skipping the street food and going straight to a restaurant. We figured it would be a safe bet for our first night. We were WRONG! We both got food poisoning. Within minutes of leaving the restaurant, we could both tell something was up. We had ordered vegetarian to skip the “mystery meat” for the night, and were brought lukewarm food that had been sitting under a warmer. Big Mistake! I was sick for two days and Nancy fell very ill, and was bedridden, for about four days.
The next morning, we managed to visit the Batu Caves area of KL, just before the biggest part of the sickness kicked in. It was magical! They were just getting setup for Thaipusam, a hindu holy festival that brings in millions of devotees from around the world. Devotees can be seen carrying various forms of Kavadi, or burdens. These are an offering to the divine. Simple ones can be carrying a pot of milk, or they can get very sophisticated and the bearers will use various forms of skin-mortification such as piercing the cheek or skin of the back in many places. Parents may also shave their heads or the heads of their children. They will partake in a pilgrimage from the center of the city, up to 15km to Batu Caves. It can talk all night and the early morning. At some point, the procession went right past our hotel while we were sleeping, but we didn’t wake up.
We didn’t see the main festivities of Thaipusam because of not knowing the schedule for the festival and Nancy’s food poisoning. After she was better though, we explored a large part of Kuala Lumpur! I loved the city for its ultra-modern architecture, especially Petronas Towers. The city also had a wide variety of great food due to its mixed population of Malay, Indian, and Chinese people.
After KL, we wanted to get a little bit of sun and a layed-back Island lifestyle, so we headed to Pulau Pangkor, a sleepy island on the west coast of Malaysia. We went there due to its population of hornbills and because it was a rather low-key tourist destination. The Oriental Pied Hornbill was a spectacular bird and, Nancy being a bird enthusiast, this was the perfect spot. We had heard a guy on the island feeds them every night and you could witness this for free. When we arrived after 6 hours of travel, we were surprised to get right in on the action. We were walking and looking for a cheap place to rest our heads and the hornbills were already gathering for their nightly feeding. They were amazing birds! We came back on our last night and actually got to feed them bananas from our hands. We found a cheap little place to stay in, had our own A-Frame hut, and lots of hammocks to lounge in, and had a nice lazy time on the island. The beaches weren’t spectacular, and the food was not nearly up to the standards of KL, but we had a great time! Our little village of Nipah was pretty much a ghost town… So one day we rented a motorbike and toured the island. We had a blast doing this, my favorite part being the “discovery” of a Chinese Temple tucked away in a Chinese neighborhood! After some much needed relaxing on the island, we took the bus to Melaka.
By now, Malaysia had started to take shape for us as a food destination… we were always talking about the food… and Melaka was known for it’s food, unique multi-cultural history, and laid-back vibes. It was a large city, but had a very small-town feel to it and the people were so welcoming. We had wonderful Indian food our first night, and then the second night we decided to pick our meal as we went along, from the various vendors of Jonker Street in Chinatown. This was our “tourist day”, as we aimed to try all the recommended local specialties of Lonely Planet. The strangest was the Cendol, a shaved ice treat with coconut milk, condensed milk, ice cream, red beans, little green noodle-like things, and sprinkles on top. It was so weird, but wonderful in it’s own way. Our favorite was Poh-Piah, a local spring roll delicacy. We also wandered around sampling other street foods throughout the night. To our surprise, we stumbled on a fantastic Chinese New Year parade! The locals were so inviting and even let Nancy hop into the Parade and surrounded her for a good Chinese New-Year’s welcome!
After Melaka, we made our way to Thailand, where we are currently. Stay tuned, as there are lot’s of stories to come. We love hearing from everyone via the comments and on our facebook pages. It helps to keep the random bouts of homesickness at bay.
See you next time!