Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm baaack . . .

I got back from my amazing trip to Asia a couple weeks ago. I would have posted sooner, but it's amazing how much piles up when you're gone for a month! Somehow, even my clean house got dirty (a pesky layer of dust covered just about everything - eeew!). Anyway, take a peek! I have some of my favorite memories posted below.

Snorkeling off a gorgeous little island off the east coast of Malaysia.
This is a journey that has been in the making for nearly ten years. When I was eleven, I got the opportunity to visit my mom's home country of Malaysia. While I admit I was a totally snotty kid at the time and had a rough time getting over the culture shock, I came to appreciate the experience as an adult. It really set me up to be open to new and different things, as my mom would say. This trip was pretty amazing. My husband and I got to take a short four day trip to Rendang island, which was amazing. Taking a bus trip across the country was an unforgettable experience, as was this beautiful island in the picture above.

This market was busier than Costco on Sunday.
I have been meaning to make the trip back as an adult, but never could due to time or money. This year though, I just decided that we were going no matter what. My mom's side of the family has never met my husband, and we've been together for ten years at this point (married for five). I figured it was time!

A view of the lush countryside from the front seat of a double decker bus.
Travelling from location to location was a really cool experience, and something that most Americans can't imagine doing here for long distance travel anymore: taking the bus! When I was a kid, I took a round trip Greyhound bus from Washington to Colorado, and I can't even begin to tell you how unpleasant it was. Bathrooms didn't work on the buses, and lots of the bus stations felt like very sketchy places if you weren't careful. But it's a much different deal in Malaysia. The buses don't actually have bathrooms on them, which at first seems like a problem, but when you take into account that the bus drivers have planned stops, and you can always request a bathroom break, it's not an issue at all. One thing you definitely miss out on when you take a plane is the countryside - and in Malaysia it's breathtaking. We got to see much more than I did when I went as a kid, and as you can see, this method of travel was so worth it!

A sweet and frothy drink called teh tarik. It literally means "pull tea". 
Next to the stellar hospitality offered from my wonderful family (many of whom I had never met, and most of whom I haven't seen in over 20 years!), my fondest memories will always come from the food. I wish I had taken more pictures! The curries, veggies, fruits, and desserts are totally unbelievable. I actually came home with a million bags of spices to try and recreate some of the flavors. One of my personal favorites are the drinks. The picture shown above is a sweet concoction of aromatic black tea and sweetened condensed milk, and it is absolutely divine. Although it was always around 80+ degrees, there is something kind of comforting about having a cup of teh tarik at a food stall early in the morning. I'm so glad I finally got to go. In fact I'm already looking into planning my next trip ;)

Stay tuned for a post on our little adventure in Hong Kong!