Tag Archives: Malaysia

ESCAPÉ! *voice of Dory from Nemo*

Once in a Galaxy far, far away….

There is a place called Escape…

*pushes fast forward button*

So Escape is similar to a place PlanetAir. It is mainly an outdoor ropes course kind of place. We went there with my Dad’s friend Onn, it was really fun! Here is a list of all the thing/rides we did. Then I will tell you about what it was like.

  1. Flying Lemur (Very fun! Mom almost wet her pants)
  2. Trapeze (Mom kept yelling Noooo!)
  3. Awesome Rock climbing
  4. Sledding with tubes
  5. Monkey business

Flying Lemur description: The Flying Lemur is a ride when you are partnered up with another person and someone paddles you up very high on a bike. Once you get really high you pull a rope next to you and you free fall and swing really fast with lots of adrenaline.

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Trapeze description: You climb up a ladder and go on a platform. They hand you a bar that is connected to some ropes. They tell you to jump off and you swing. A man down on the ground tells you to swing your legs up and hook them to the bars so you are dangling by your feet. Then they tell you to flip off the bar and you fall easily on the net.

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Awesome Rock climbing description: There is a wooden tower with things like tires, fake windows, fake air conditioning systems, holes you latch onto, and more! You climb to the top as fast as you can and hit the button at the top which is the time you completed it. The guy that worked there could do it in 6 seconds! I did it in 20 seconds.

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rock climbing

Sledding description: You pull your tube up a steep hill and slide down the hill really fast! It is really not worth it if you are tired from the other things you did (I guarantee you will be if you did it in our order)

Monkey Business description: It is a ropes course with ziplining, rope ladders, and much more! It contains 3 levels; the higher the level the harder it gets!

Onn taking on level 3 of Monkey Business!

Onn taking on level 3 of Monkey Business!

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Ziplining

 

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Mom on the trapeze

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Coconut Tree Climbing

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So True!

 

 

GastrOnn Delights in Penang

I thought about naming this Fun, Fitness & Food in Penang but really, none of that occurred without our dear friend, Onn who brought us into his family, friends, and some amazing experiences with food, fitness, and fun!

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Old souls give thumbs up to life!

Branson Buds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onn & I are high school friends that stayed in touch over the past 30 years mostly via fb but occasionally in person when our paths crossed. I’ve seen him as a newlywed, a father, and a friend; on every facet, he is nothing short of a classic gentleman while also being a kid that loves to have fun! So enjoy this blog ride…

One of the blessings of travel is food. A mere 25 years ago, I recall eating the spiciest pepper EVER at a Penang hawker food stand with my good friends, Eustace, Randall, and Onn’s father. No surprise that my return is just as spicy and memorable only this time we had an expanded familial experience.

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Georgetown Wines

 

The photo above is one of our big nights with our families bonding at Mee Lyn’s restaurant wine bar in Georgetown. We enjoyed a feast this night of steak, bruschetta, and of course churros – the best I’ve ever had! More important are the people in the photo: behind Leticia is Onn, his wife, Mee Lyn, and his father who hosted me 25 years earlier. Onn’s mom is next to Louisa and myself and she can do ropes (more to come in fitness) like you won’t believe! Behind us is Wilson and his wife – he’s a jazz musician that adheres to the classics when he’s not sharing his knowledge of wine. An entertaining night was enjoyed by all.

Before we connected with Onn, we trooped around the historic area of Penang which is pretty cool. Onn’s father eloquently described it as, “The only place where you have a church, a temple, and a mosque all on the same street.” He is absolutely correct and they are not far apart; what’s most impressive is the fact that “these places of worship have never once in all of their history fought nor attacked each other.” And Onn’s father could not have explained it any better – Penang is a diverse and peaceful place. If only the rest of the world understood!

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Red & Black – Georgia colors! At Onn’s garage

A hawker market is an open area with food stands; think of it as a mini food trucks area with anywhere from 10-25 or more trucks. They started in the 1950s so if you thought the food truck thing is new, then you’re a bit behind. Regardless, you should feel jealous because they are awesome.

Before we met Onn, we went on a hawker search and failed – it was closed! But that didn’t stop us because our mistake discovered Passion of Kerala where we feasted on southern Indian food with our right hands (ok, just me). Then life changed when we connected with Onn. It really started to blur over time, especially with the hawker food, but I’ll give you my best recollection of the dining smorgasbord.

Zealand’s was the sight of our first feast with full family eating around a fast moving round table. To me, it was a reunion seeing Onn, his parents, Mee Lyn, and Wilson – all of whom I had not seen for years. I can only recall some delicious noodles, fish, stews and fried chicken that was extra crispy with Asian spices as I wobbled out! Another highlight evening was what I call the VIP dinner at Green Ocean which included stuffed crab (see photo) and great friends.

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Zealand’s Family Lunch

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Stuffed Crab

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entertainer of the night was none other than Onn who broke a chopstick in half…with a paper napkin!

Chopping chopsticks!

Chopping chopsticks!

Mee Lyn’s Georgetown Wines restaurant was the home base for the week. We met friends, family, and many glasses of wine with great food.

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Churros

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Bruchetta

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Cheesecake

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Durian

Did I mention hawker markets? One morning I hopped on the scooter with Onn to buy breakfast for everyone. The entire trip took 20 minutes and included 6 different food stallsfor noodles, dessert cakes, fruits, and Chinese snacks as well as a speedy ride to the market and back. Whirlwind! The kids love eating sweets in the morning!

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Another night we ate out with Onn and friends at another hawker area that really gave us the feel for the eating culture of Penang which is that you get to eat whatever you want quickly! Leti and the kids love pork buns so they got them; I ate shrimp curry noodle. And for dessert, Sebastian and I enjoyed flavored ice with strawberry ice cream on top; you mix it all together with beans and other ingredients at the bottom of the bowl to give it a delicious taste. Are you starting to get the picture? Yes, overwhelming in a gastronomically awesome way!

To work off all that eating, we trained with Onn and learned some awesome workouts. The two highlights are definitely the ropes that I mentioned earlier. Basically, you take a 50-60 feet rope 1-2 inch diameter and use it to workout; sounds easy peasy??? NOT!!! I guarantee in one minute that you will feel the burn! The second learning point was Onn showing the kids how to defend themselves; the only downside was that I was the dummy bad guy that he used as a target!

We also did what many tourists do including the cable car up Penang Hill, Butterfly Farm which is the best in the world, Snake temple, Spice garden, 3D Museum, Peranakan museum, and of course Onn’s family temple to name a few.

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3D Capture!

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Me & My snakes

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Buddhas

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Photo Bombed at Penang Hill

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Olympic Gymnast Leti! At Escape, Penang

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Yoha!

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Ziplining Crew

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15 years strong! At Penang Hill

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29 years Strong!

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George Town, Penang

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And then there was Escape: pronounced like Dory: ehs-cap-ehhh but I’ll let Sebastian share that story for you. Yes, Penang is a truly diverse place for religion, food, and experiences – I will be back only this time it will be less than 25 years from now!

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Climbing competitors unite!

Sorry but carried away with the photos this time around…hope you enjoy a few more to end:

Ladies Night

Guys Night or maybe this should be Ladies Night or Cool babes with Dork Night…

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Family Night @ Georgetown Wines

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Team Es-caw-peyyyyy!

save us

Da Boyz

 

Kuala Lumpur & Malacca

We left Singapore in style riding a comfortable bus to Kuala Lumpur; the kids were happy because it had a movie screen in each seat. The experience was quite unique for us, but nicer than going through the maddening security lines at airports. We stopped at Singapore immigration and then at the Malaysia border for passport processing. No problems except for the one bottle of wine we brought as a gift for our host (they let us through) and a few hours later we arrived in Kuala Lumpur to meet our new friend, Wai Fung.

One of the best things about our trip is all the people we meet and KL was no different. My friend, Kin, who is from Malaysia but lives in San Francisco, introduced us to her dear sister, Wai Fung, and her lovely family. They were incredible hosts! We really felt at home thanks to Wai Fung and her husband, Derrick, who lent us their beautiful apartment and welcomed us into their lives. We shared many meals together including Italian, Japanese, and a delicious Chinese dinner with friends. Just as in life, it is the friends that made this a very special stay in KL! Thanks to Wai Fung and her family.

KL turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for us. We enjoyed visiting the Batu Caves and hiking up the stairs to see the huge cave. Wai Fung also booked the tour for us to go up the Petronas Twin Towers, the highest twin tours in the world. It was a clear day and it was pretty cool to be in the Observation Deck at level 86.  These towers are the tallest twin towers in the world (only to have been eclipsed by the World Trade Center Towers). The surrounding area has this really cool mall – Suria KLCC – where we had lunch and did some window shopping as well as a beautiful garden with this amazing playground that the kids let some energy go while we chilled. At night there is a colorful water show that reminds me of Las Vegas.

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KLCC

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Petronas Twin Towers

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View from the Petronas

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86th floor at Petronas Twin Towers

 

We also took a day trip to Malacca, which is about 2 1/2 hours from KL. As much as I don’t like organized tours, it was a convenient way to visit Malacca, the bus was comfortable and it took us to the main sites. Malacca is a UNESCO heritage site, the Portuguese took control of it in 1511, when Afonso de Albuquerque sailed from Goa to Malacca. It remained a Portuguese trading center until 1641 when the Dutch took control. A vital port and given the same name as the crucial Malacca Straits that is the sea between Malaysia and Indonesia’s western island of Sumatra; Malacca is named after the Sultanate that ruled the area in the 15th century. We visited the main sites that included churches and forts before a nice lunch with our fellow bus tourists – an engineer from Chennai, India, and a dentist couple from Barcelona – before heading back for our final night in Kuala Lumpur.  We all thought we could have stayed longer in Kuala Lumpur to explore more sites and visit the southern part of Malaysia, certainly a great place to visit.

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Batu Caves

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Batu Caves

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Malacca – restaurant Keng Dom (!)

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Malacca

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St Paul’s Church, Malacca

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Japanese lunch with Wai Fung and Derrick