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Wordless Wednesday ~ June 18

Wordless Wednesday ~ June 18

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Kuala Lumpur ~ Petronas Towers

They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 before the Taipei 101 was finished. They glimmered like diamonds as we rode into town on the VIP bus from Singapore. Later, sitting down to dinner in an outdoor pavilion and checking out the situation around me, I was shocked when I saw them looming in the distant horizon. They are beautiful to behold, and I think better from a distance. Cell phones selfies omnipresent in the glowing white light will surely be a highlight of anyone’s travel to the KL.

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After the immense viewing of the twin towers, it was nice to find these two little creatures sunbathing in the powerful halogen lights of a nearby wall.

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These were the local areas lit near a construction site.

Unfortunately, I never brought my camera out to dinner in KL. It’s a real shame to have nothing to document the deliciousness of the Malay cuisine. Spicy, fragrant collages of vegetables and meat, delicious seafood and perfectly BBQ’d prawns and meat skewers. It was some of my favorite food during my SE Asia travels, which may account for why there are no pictures. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the camera in the backpack when there is steaming food in front of you.

Kuala Lumpur ~ Hindu Temple

Wandering through the “Buy this!” “You like?” “Good price.” “Take a look.” (salesmanship at its finest) of Petaling Street in downtown Kuala Lumpur, it was nice to find this little bit of Indian culture among the craziness. There were two men: one playing a cool drum with his fingers and another playing some harsh wind instrument. Together with the incense and drizzle they created a wonderful environment for exploration of a strange and beautiful religious shrine.

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A detailed story seems to be depicted in these carvings.

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I’m sure there are some magical tales of talking animals and mustachioed men saving the world herein.

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This was a cool 3-D vision of, presumably, the many Hindu Gods.

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Ganesh, the many limbed elephant God who helps remove the obstacles of life.

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The temple men performing water rites.

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This has nothing to do with the temple. He was just spotted outside, and I’d be remiss not to include his extraordinary mullet.

Singapore Streets and Towers

The architecture of Singapore reminded me of an ultra-modern Chicago–lots of various styles and magnificent skyscrapers coupled with the gritty urban design of immigrants and blue collar workers. It was such a change from months walking around the less vertical cities of SE Asia.

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And they’re still building more.

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This is the Fullerton Hotel and Raffles Hotel respectively. Fullerton is on the marina and was built where the old naval base was located. The Raffles was built to commemorate the British founder of Singapore. Both were glorious 500-700 US$ a night affairs.

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And of course, the famous, Korean built, Marina Bay Towers. It looks like a subway train got trapped atop some giant Lego’s. It was impressive, but there really wasn’t much to see in Singapore. It felt like a place to eat and enjoy the locals in their environment.

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What better way to finish the day than by some quality (albeit overpriced I’m sure) massage and champagne room time. Our hotel was located in a red light district where girls in tiny dresses were visible day and night. Businessmen were constantly flowing out of the rooms with stupid grins and a satisfied gait.

Singapore Eats

The tiny little island nation of 5 million people likes to eat. There are food hawkers everywhere. Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street all offer local versions of their distant flavors. The weather is hot, and they fight fire with fire. But, you can’t mention anything about Singapore without talking about price. In other words, it’s silly expensive.

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How much would you pay for this Singapore Sling (from Raffles Hotel (the origin of this sweet sweet drink)) and a plate of baby sliders? The answer: 52 US$. Yes, the peanuts were free, and we ate lots of them, but 52 dollars for a drink and a mediocre appetizer? That’s ridiculous!

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This was a noodle soup that left my mouth burning for hours after consumption. I was panting like a dog and unable to finish it.

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A nameless Indian buffet that was pretty good and reasonably priced.

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This was from the first restaurant I saw after exiting the subway in Little India. It was a preachy vegetarian restaurant with lots of facts and Gandhi quotes about how being a veggie eater was morally and intestinally superior. Despite the proselytizing, it was excellent food. It was a thin bread stuffed with potatoes and peas. The dipping sauces were so good, and it’s always fun to eat with your hands and not get too messy.

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On a rainy day, there’s nothing better than a warm soup with a tasty, delicate broth.

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This tasted like it looks, burnt. Not too good for being so famous–some kind of chicken hot pot.

My feelings are not very mixed. Singapore is tasty but frustratingly expensive.

 

Island Sunsets, Sand, Love, Cat

On the islands of the West coast of Thailand, sunsets are a quiet reminder that time is actually still passing despite the slow pace of your day. There were some really spectacular views over the ocean, as if the sun was bleeding into the water. We got lucky with really good weather, cloudy and sunny with morning or midnight showers. It’s never easy to leave paradise.

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Not all the sand was so coarse. Phuket’s beaches were so fine they made a squeak when you walked.

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This is one of our favorite sunset pictures together.

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Our only beachside hotel was here in Phuket. We swam in the rain and ran home wet in bathing suits receiving stares from the locals in jackets and boots.

 

And of course, this lovely little cat who followed us all the way up our extremely steep stairs to hang out with us.

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Tiger Kingdom Redux

My girlfriend, Jordyn, joined up for the last month of travels, and she loves cats just like me. We skipped the chained up tigers of Bangkok and went to Phuket’s Tiger Kingdom. It’s the same as Chiang Mai, just more expensive. The tigers were more active down in the islands. Some of them were playing in the water with coconuts. Basically, it’s always a rush to be so close to such a glorious animal, so I was happy to go again.

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Then, on the way home, we spotted a baby elephant by the roadside. Yes, he was chained up (which made us sad) but he was fun and gave us vacuum suction kisses on our cheeks. We fed him bananas and he ate about 10, skin and all. He was a cute lil’ bugga.

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Koh Phi Phi

This is a magical island. It’s got the cute, friendly cats ready to love on your leg. It’s got plenty of shopping, eating and drinking available. It’s got Scuba and snorkeling in the crystal blue ocean you expect of paradise. The Banana Bar has a rooftop bar with several big screen projectors and a dynamite sound system. Watching Kill Bill with excellent sound made me appreciate Tarantino’s movie soundtrack all over again. Although it’s full of shirtless, tattooed post-grad or gap year douchebros drinking to excess and discussing debauchery in loud voices, you can easily ignore them to fully enjoy this fantasy island. Cosmic (near the party area) is a restaurant with homemade ravioli that made me smile. What a place!

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Quiet, lapping waves on our semi-private beach with the little kitty who followed us home and slept every night in our room.

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View from 3rd floor of Phi Phi Good View Hotel.

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The fire dudes before the daily fire show. They showed us all their fire scars.

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Sunset soccer at low tide.

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The “main” street is full of snack stalls, bars, and traditional tattoo parlors like this one.

Koh Lanta ~ Cook Kai’s

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There were a few places with this name on the island, but the only one open during low season was close to the main town of Saladan. It was raining and we ducked inside, hungry as usual. It’s big and cozy, seems to be family run and has a few cute cats wandering about underfoot.

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This was the “meatball” sandwich. Technically they are correct, but it’s not what I was expecting. Nevertheless, very delicious.Image

Gotta get your veggies in there.

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White or Yellow noodles, you can’t go wrong. Both were balanced and clean.

This place was an eating highlight of a quiet, wonderful island.

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