Mar 25
2008

Where in the World–Finale.

in Uncategorized

Thanks for indulging me–you have made this so much fun for me!

As some of you already guessed/figured out, I was in Langkawi, Malaysia. The name Langkawi combines 2 old Malay words: helang (eagle) and kawi (strong). A Malay legend claims the island as one of the resting places of Garuda, a mythological bird. What a beautiful place. Seriously, if you ever want to find a bit of heaven on Earth, Langkawi is the spot. Lush jungle, beautiful beaches, turquoise water, sweet people, yummy food, cute conniving monkeys (macaques)–it’s got everything!

We stayed on the main island, Pulau Langkawi. On one of our days we went island hopping. We visited 3 islands: Pulau Beras Basah, Pulua Singa Besar, and Pulau Dayang Bunting. At the the first island, Pulau Beras Basah, we enjoyed a beautiful white sand beach with interested big black rocks. We swam and looked for interesting shells caught up in the rocks.

At the second island, Pulau Singa Besar, we enjoyed watching some monkeys steal food from some other visitors and another beautiful beach.
On our way to the third island we stopped to watch some eagles feed (we saw brahminy kites and sea eagles). There were tons of them. It was breathtaking.

The third island, Pulau Dayan Bunting, has a lake called Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden). It is a freshwater lake surrounded by gorgeous craggy limestone cliffs and dense jungle. Legend tells that a childless couple, after 19 years of unsuccessful effort, were blessed with a baby girl after drinking water from this lake. It has thus become a popular pilgrimage destination for those hoping for children. Legend also tells that the lake is inhabited by a giant white crocodile. We went swimming with the crocodile, though we never saw him.

Another day we went on a boat tour through the Kilim Geoforest Park.
This park is spread over an area of 100 square kilometers, and is made up of a mix of protected green mangrove forests, beaches, and beautiful lagoons. The park is home to tons of animal life.
We saw more eagles feeding, and saw some cute macaques that had babies.

We also saw some interesting fish and crabs, and most notably, a mango viper, curled up on the exposed roots of a mangrove tree out in the water.

We went into Gua Kelawar (Bat Cave) and saw thousands of bats.

Then we went and had lunch at a little hole in the wall place sitting on the water, that was conveniently named “Hole in the Wall”. The restaurant was attached to a fish farm where we got to see what some of the local fish life was like. I fed some of the stingrays and got to hold a horseshoe crab (weird looking thing).

On another day we rented a motorbike, a little Honda, and went exploring around the island.

Then we flew back to Kuala Lumpur for a night. The Formula 1 races were going on, so the city was extremely crowded.

We did enjoy an incredibly yummy dinner at an Iranian restaurant called Naab. I tried their Ghorme Sabzi Stew (a very traditional lamb stew with kidney beans in it), which was to die for.

Then we flew back to Singapore for one more day before returning to Tokyo. On our last day in Singapore, we had Hainanese chicken rice one last time and enjoyed some refreshing freshly made sugarcane juice.
We also went on a cruise along the river that goes through downtown Singapore. What a beautiful city!
Of course no vacation would be complete without chocolate, which believe me, I consumed plenty of on this trip. However, the best chocolate find of this trip was that last day in Singapore. We were walking out through the Esplanade to find the boat dock for our river cruise, and stumbled upon a Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. I had never had any Max Brenner products previously, so we stepped in for a quick mug of hot chocolate. I had the Venezuelan hot chocolate, a dark chocolate. It was to die for. Take that Switzerland!

It was a wonderful trip, but it is so good to be home and back with Squirrel! Squirrel had her own adventures while we were gone, hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa Fuji as they explored more of Japan.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kasia March 26, 2008 at 4:37 am

I love your traveling pictures. It seems that you guys know how to have tons of fun! Picture with the fountain is my favourite so far! Hey, next time come to Switzerland and I will make you one of our hot chocolates (did I mention that I run a teashop/tearoom?) :D
It’s so good to know that I’m not the only one crazy enough to read the whole Proust ;) Anyhow, I read it in Polish, because my French is good enough to communicate and 10 years ago, when I read it, I knew no French what-so-ever ;) There’s a really good translation of Proust, by one of the leading translators of French literature, so it was very smooth and mouthfilling to read. I must say that I like Proust a lot. In that particular time I read quite a lot of the conciousness-stream literature, and found it very stimulating for the imagination. What I love about Proust is that each word has a real meaning, has a weight to it… you know, not the light words which come easy in and out, but words which are heavy enough to make you slow down and almost taste them in your mouth. Words, which call in the picture or indeed a taste. How about you and your impressions from reading Proust?

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gleek March 26, 2008 at 8:20 am

wow, that’s a lot of traveling.. and without the squirrel too! must have been nice to have a little baby break :)

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Melissa Hodgen March 26, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Glad to hear you’re back safe and sound. I believe that a good vacatin inculdes some kind of beach so I’m glad to see you feel the same.
Interesting story about that lake of fertility…if a little one comes in 9 months, it means it must be true!
Once again, after reading you blog…I’m hungery, but peanut butter and jelly just won’t do!

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Jean March 26, 2008 at 6:14 pm

What an amazing trip! Thank you for sharing your adventures. I love the vicarious thrills. The fountain picture made me laugh out loud.

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Jackie March 26, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Why am I sitting here reading about this instead of tagging along with you?!?! I loved the pictures and I am so glad you shared with us! Probably the only time I will get to see these places will be on your blog! … sigh… you are making me want to travel right now

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My Inner French Girl March 27, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Thanks for sharing! I’d forgotten that Malaysia and Singapore are popular places for gaijin to visit. ;-) I went there twice in the two years I was in Japan. Good times. And you just stoked my nostalgia again!

Too bad we’ll miss each other. B. and I will be heading to the peninsula in September: research trip for me, first time to the area for him. And now I’m putting Max Brenner chocolate on my list of things to indulge in while I’m there.

Salut,
Marjorie

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Shea March 27, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Hi! First time visitor to your blog. Thanks so much for sharing the great pics of your travels with us! I’ll be back daily to check out more of your great stuff – including the knitting!

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SheepsPyjamas March 28, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Another first time visitor, and wow am I glad Golden Purl suggested your link… What great photos, I’m quite envious of your travels and looking forward to reading more!

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windloop March 31, 2008 at 7:54 am

Glad you have a nice time in Malaysia, is very interesting reading trip to Langkawi. I been to Langkawi a few time, but never to any other island except the mainland…hmm..I must visit the lake of fertility next trip..it sound interesting.

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