Monthly Archives: May 2013

Breaking Bread in Malaysia

Eating is like the unofficial national pastime in Malaysia, and I was more than happy to give it a go. We headed to a local night market that was famous for its delicious food and had a wonderful time.

I can’t even tell you what we ate as I’m suffering from a possibly deadly case of food bliss, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I do know that I tried stingray for the very first time. It was tender and a bit on the oily side but not entirely as bad as I assumed it’d be. Of course there was a heap of seafood, veggies and soup and all of it was a tad on the spicy side for a novice like me. Still, I didn’t let my tum-tum hold me back and gobbled down all that I could regardless of the aftermath.

The company I kept that night was the best part of all. I couldn’t have asked for better friends and hosts with whom to share my Malaysian experience.

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Filed under Food, Malaysia

National Elephant Conservation Centre

Reena and I headed out to visit Malaysia’s National Elephant Conservation Centre, an educational center that also works to move elephants that encroach upon and cause harm to human populations.

The Centre is located near the small town of Lanchang, so we took a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Lanchang and hired a taxi to take us the rest of the way. Even getting a bus was a bit of hassle as the KL taxi drivers insisted that there was no bus and strongly encouraged us to just hire them for the entire way.

Once we arrived in Lanchang, Reena and I had a small breakfast, which included some steamed buns and toast with butter and sugar. Afterwards, we arranged for a taxi and headed to the Centre.

When we arrived, we watched a video about the work the Centre does to move problem elephants in the wild. Due to constant human development, the elephants’ habitat declines each year. They’re forced to forage for food closer and closer to civilization, and sometimes begin to cause financial damage to farmers’ crops. When the elephants are deemed too dangerous to stay, the Centre relocates them to less populated habitats farther in the forest.

After the video, visitors hand-fed the elephants by purchasing bananas. The animals stayed behind a wooden fence, but their long trunks made snagging a treat a breeze. The trainers also showed us how they bathed the elephants in the river and demonstrated some of the skills the elephants learned in a short performance.

These resident elephants aren’t only on hand to entertain tourists. Relocation teams use the elephants to guide wild elephants to safety. Wild elephants are more trusting of the team if the resident elephants are around to calm them down. It makes the entire process run more smoothly and causes less stress on the animals.

Reena and I had an incredible day even if the heat and humidity made us feel a bit sluggish. When we returned to KL, we hit an air-conditioned mall and splurged for a meal at TGI Fridays.

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Filed under Attraction, Malaysia

A Little Bit of Pampering Goes a Long Way

As a backpacker, you try not to spend your money on frivolous things. Unfortunately, as an “older” backpacker, some things can’t be avoided (well, they can but I’m too vain to ever let that happen), such as a decent cut and color.

Now I’ve gone to two salons (although both were not high-end by any means) in New Zealand to get my hair layered and colored. I didn’t mind the long length but the split ends were killing me. Of course, using the cheapest stuff on your hair only adds to the problem, but again, with a backpacking budget some things must take a hit. Both places charged a scandalous amount (but normal if I was at home and not backpacking), especially since my hair is really thick. To put it in perspective, if I skipped these two trips to the salon, I could’ve easily squeezed in another skydive!

But Reena found a place with a special offer and it came out to be really, really cheap (especially when converted into U.S. dollars) so we both splurged and had a girly day at the salon. It was wonderful and we walked out feeling like rock stars!

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