Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Three Days, Four Nights in Malaysia

At the end of May, Chris had to take a trip to Malaysia, so instead of eating zongzi (rice dumplings) for Dragon Boat Holiday, I jumped on a plane for three days and four nights in Penang, Malaysia.

Friday Night- 5:30 PM

I, along with many others, arrive at Pudong International Airport to hop a plane to Kuala Lumpur where I meet up with Chris.

Traveling in China the night before any holiday is like traveling through any American airport the night before Thanksgiving.  Make sure to arrive at least 2.5 hours at the airport before any flight before holiday travel.  BTW, international flights depart from both terminals in Pudong.
Saturday Morning- 12:15 AM

After a somewhat comfortable flight I finally see Chris for the first time in a week. We spend the night in a semi sketchy hotel 5 minutes from the airport. 

I was so happy to see this guy in Kuala Lumpur. 

Saturday Morning- 9:00 AM

After eating a birthday doughnut, we board a plane and head for Penang, Malaysia. 

Saturday Afternoon- 12:00 PM

We check in at the Holiday Inn at Battu Ferrenghi Beach.  Our room isn’t quite ready, so I eat my birthday noodles for good luck.

Chinese tradition states the birthday girl must eat noodles on her birthday to ensure a long life.  This wonton noodle soup hit the spot!

Saturday Afternoon- 2:34 PM

My long journey has worn me out, so we decide to have a down day by the pool.

I loved my down time by the pool!

Saturday Afternoon- 3:00 PM

I decide that I want a seaside birthday massage.

Luckily, the massage hut by the beach was open for business!

Saturday Evening- 6ish

We decide to take a stroll on the beach before we go to my birthday barbecue.

Sunset on Batu Ferrenghi beach was beautiful.
The "Look Out for Horses on the Beach" signs weren't just for show.
Sunday Morning- 9:30 AM

After a night of meat and sleep, we hop on a boat to Monkey Beach.  I am only somewhat concerned that that our boat captain is 14 years old, and his first mate is 12.

 Christopher did a great job of caring for the boat and making sure our lines were baited. 

Sunday Morning- 11:15 AM

We are ensured that we won’t starve after catching a few fish.

Chris and I caught a bunch of fish, which would become our lunch.  I was very impressed by his double catch shown here.

My favorite catch was my helicopter fish.

Sunday Afternoon- 12:00 PM

I decide to take a pre-lunch nap in a hammock. 

Sunday Afternoon- 12:03 PM

A looming visitor startles me.

I woke up to find this guy right over my hammock. 
I guess there really are monkeys on Monkey Beach.

This little guy was looking for some lunch.

Sunday Afternoon- 12:30 PM

We eat our catch…and a little more.

Some locals grilled us a feast for lunch.  I decided to bypass my "I don't eat anything that is staring at me." rule and dug in. 

Our first mate, Ahmed, shows us how to rock the tree swing.

Sunday Afternoon- 3:51 PM

The skies start to open, so we head to our room for a disco nap.  After resting, I make some very interesting discoveries.

When opening up the drawers, I found a prayer mat.  This was the first time I stayed in a predominately Muslim area, so this luxury surprised me.

An arrow on the ceiling of our room pointed to Mecca so guests would know which direction to face when praying on the aforementioned mat. 

Sunday Evening- 8:00 PM

We select our dinner from the wall of fish tanks at Bali Hai Restaurant. 

When we first heard about Bali Hai, I was expecting a glamorous restaurant with state of the art tanks.  Instead we found a semi-outdoor seafood market/ restaurant.

Bali Hai claimed that if it swam, they served it.  They were correct. 

Throughout the meal, runners would fish out patrons' dinners.

Ordering at Bali Hai can be overwhelming.  Chris had a tough time picking out his dinner, but finally settled on Red Snapper.
Sunday Evening- 8:41 PM

Our food arrives just in time for the call to prayer serenade. 

I ordered the Lobster Thermidor.  This was hands down the best meal I had eaten in years.

Sunday Evening- 10:00 PM

We make a trip to the night market outside our hotel.

The Penang Night Market has all kinds of DVDs, purses, jewelry, and other goodies.  I have to admit, I have become a fake market snob so I passed on the purses. 

Monday Morning- 6:30

Chris gets up to go to work.  I turn over in bed and sleep some more.

Monday Morning- 11:15

Since I will be flying solo, I decide to have another pool day with a mindless beach read, Crazy Rich Asians.

I always wondered if women who wore burkas swam.  Apparently they make a swimsuit to meet everyone's needs!

Monday Evening- 6:00

We meet up with one of our dear friends from Shanghai, Vivian, for a sushi dinner.  One of the best things about living in an international city is the ability to visit your friends all around the world!

It was great to see an old friend in a new country!

Monday Evening- 9:45

I board my flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Tuesday Morning- 12:15

After three additional security screenings, I finally board my plane to Shanghai.   Luckily I am able to sleep on the plane.

Tuesday Morning- 7:00

I land in Pudong, grab my bags, and head for home for a 3-hour nap before I have to teach my second and third graders.  I am proud to say I made it to work on time and fairly well rested! 

A trip to Malaysia was a fun way to spend my birthday!  Afterwards, it was time to gear up for the rest of the school year.