Friday, April 8, 2011

Eat, Pray...

Status Update: In a relationship.

Meet Jens.
He is quite the catch:
  • He is Swedish and speaks the language fluently
  • He can use chopsticks
  • He is a lazy genius, an undercover comedian, and a bit of a romantic

We have been dating for a little over 2 months now and have decided to make it public.
He is very sweet and makes me extremely happy... it doesn't get much better than that :)

Check out some of our best moments:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Birthday Party Planners

Planning Marshmallow Roasting Parties


Moral of the story?
Eat, Pray, Live
... and Love.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

FLASHBACK #2: Adventures in Singapore & Malaysia

For all you who follow me on Facebook, you already know that I went to Singapore and Malaysia from the 10th to the 13th of February! It was the ultimate adventure... no joke.

I have a lot of pictures that I think will tell the story of the crazy weekend my friends and I spent as backpackers in Southern Asia.
THURSDAY: Getting Settled in Singapore
 We left campus in the late afternoon via taxi. After checking in, we sat down for dinner at the Airport Food Court and talked about what the agenda would be during the trip. We were expecting an unforgettable/intense trip!

Catchin' Dinner at the Airport

On the Shuttle Bus to Our Plane
We arrived in Singapore in the evening and exchanged our currency before heading to Immigration. It was getting late, so we all wanted to get to the hostel ASAP...

Singapore Airport
Miguel and Brian were ready to get going
Exiting the Singapore Airport

Hej Jens!

From Left: Brian, Caroline and Honza
Outside of Our Hostel
Stairwell to the Hostel
(Walls were signed by past backpackers who had stayed there)
Caroline Checking us into the Hostel

FRIDAY: Exploring Singapore & Moving on to Malaysia
The day started bright and early: 8:30AM. We had a busy day planned and a lot to see and do.
Check it out:
Good Morning, Jason and Jonathan!
Breakfast in the Hostel: B-

Jens, Jason, and Honza Getting Ready to Head Out

Walking Around Downtown

Caroline and I

Marina Bay Sands Casino

Group Picture

Marina Bay

Michelle and Jason
Posing for a Picture :)

From Left: Caroline, Honza, Brian, Michelle
At the National Museum of Singapore

Dress Up in the Children's Section of the Museum
On our way back to the Hostel

Michelle Snackin' on Some Ice Cream

Busy City Streets
After returning to the hostel, we all met up with Chris. Chris is one of Brian's childhood friends from Connecticut and is currently studying abroad in Singapore this semester! We could not have had a better tour guide! After checking out of the hostel, we made our way to...

Having Lunch with Chris (Seated in the middle)
Chinese/Singaporean Restaurant = B

Chinatown's Busy MRT Station

Markets in Chinatown

From Left: Honza, Brian, Chris, Caroline, Miguel
Hoppin' on the MRT
Chris had a flight to catch that afternoon, so he left us at the Sentosa Station. Sentosa is a small island just a few minutes outside of Singapore. It has restaurants, amusement parks (including Universal Studios), and a pretty sweet beach... check it out:

Sentosa Train Station

Arriving in Sentosa

Merlion (replica)
ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Merlion (half fish-half lion) is the national symbol of Singapore. The real statue is located in Marina Bay, but it currently going under construction/modifications. We didn't get a chance to see it : (

Jason and Michelle Heading to the Beach
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Our favorite Australian, Jason, did not receive the memo that this trip would be a BACKPACKING trip. Because of this miscommunication, he packed a small suitcase which he had to roll around for most of the trip. This suitcase makes its appearance in many of these pictures, so I just though I should inform my readers about its background story :)

From Left: Caroline, Honza, Brian
Leading the Way to the Beach

Jens Climbing Around

From Left: Miguel, Honza, Me, and Caroline

From Left: Jens, Brian, Honza
Enjoying the view

Jonathan had the Best Seat in the House!

Heading down to the Beach

"Wait for me!"

Michelle Testing the Water Temperature

Jason... and his Suitcase

Miguel getting his feet wet
It was very warm... I'm talking "Texas" warm! We all felt like we needed to cool off and decided take a dip in the ocean. The water was great and it was nice to take a break from all the walking. Afterwards, we took what would be our last shower of the trip...

Group Picture after our Swim
Following a quick noodle dinner (B-) by the beach, we made our way back to Singapore...
From Left: Honza, Caroline, and Miguel
Back on the MRT
Singapore Skyline :)

Water Show on the Bay!

Marina Bay Sands Casino
ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Sands Casino is known not only for its twist on modern architecture, but also for the Skypark located on the roof! We decided to go take a look... it was worth it!

View of the Singpore Flyer from the Skypark
View of Downtown from the Skypark

Group Picture in the Skypark
We only got to hang out in the Skypark for 45 minutes since we had a night bus to catch across town! It would be a 6 hour bus ride to Malaysia and it was the last bus of the evening. We sprinted to the bus station just in time to brush our teeth and get on the bus. Check out the accommodations:

Caroline and Brian

Jens and I
Michelle and Jason
The bus seats were pretty wide and leaned back into beds! It was pretty comfortable and I went to sleep after passing through Singapore and Malaysia Immigration. I didn't even feel the 6 hours go by!
First Night Bus = SUCCESS

SATURDAY: Workin' up a Sweat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
We didn't plan the night bus transportation effectively... since we failed to realize that we would arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 4AM! NOTHING WAS OPEN! And to make matters a bit more stressful, the bus dropped us off in one of the sketchiest areas in the city  However, we made our way to the nearest McDonald's and started the day off with some breakfast and used the bathrooms to brush our teeth and change.


McDonald's is the same in every Language :)

Taking Shelter at McDonald's

Making our way to the nearest MTR at 6:30AM


Jens Demonstrating how hot it was that Morning with his MTR ticket

A beautiful Mosque on the way to our Destination

7AM: Destination Reached!
Petronas Twin Towers
ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin buildings in the world, rising at a height of about 88 stories. The unique double-deck sky bridge stands 170 meters (41st & 42nd floor) above street level with its arch support forming a symbolic gateway to the city.

Line for Tickets to go up to the Sky Bridge
However, since we got there so early, we were one of the first people in line to get tickets! The line pictured above did not become this large until around 9AM. While Michelle and Jason waited in line for our tickets, the rest of the group explored around the towers...

Group Picture I

Group Picture II

WINNING PHOTO: Jonathan and Jens

Park behind the Towers
Our tickets were for the 9:45AM tour, so by the time we returned, it was time to take the elevator up to the sky bridge. Take a look:

From Left: Jens, Honza, Jason, Caroline
On the Elevator to the Sky Bridge

Sky Bridge Entrance

City View from the Sky Bridge

Back City View from the Sky Bridge

Following the Sky Bridge tour, we decided to go down to the mall and eat. However, it was still a bit early for lunch so we had to kill 30 minutes. Most of the group sat and rested, while I took the liberty to do a little bit of shopping :) THIS MALL HAD A TOPSHOP! I hadn't been to one since last summer in New York, so I immediately went inside. The service and clothing was great. I ended up buying 2 pairs of shoes and a leather skirt. Soooo fetch. I got a 20% discount for being a student (10%) AND being a tourist (10%). WHERE DO YOU SEE THIS? Nowhere.
After paying it was time to grab a bite with the gang...

From left: Honza, Caroline, Michelle, Brian

From Left: Jonathan, Jens, Me, Jason

Thai/Malaysian Restaurant: A+

On the MTR again
Heading to our Second Destination

2nd Destination Reached!
Batu Caves
ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Batu Caves are located a few miles outside of KL. It is a 400 million year old limestone hill with a series of caves and cave temples. It is a sacred place of worship for Hindus, who make an annual pilgrimage there during the month of January. It consists of three main caves and a few smaller ones. The biggest cave is called the temple cave and you have to climb the 272 rock stairs to reach it. The world's largest statue (42.7 meters) of Lord Murgan, the deity the locals worship in these caves, stands just outside the entrance/staircase.

Jonathan Posing with one of the 200+ Monkeys that Hang Around the Caves

Brian Climbing to the Top

At the top!

Small Shrine

Inside the Temple Cave
It was so humid and hot in the caves (and in KL in general)! We were dying and needed a lot of water to keep hydrated. After descending down the 272 stairs and catching the MTR back to the city, we decided to go to the Nature Parks.


On the way

Takin' a break

Grabbing some Water at a Small Restaurant Outside of the Parks
The parks were not that special and it was going to get dark soon, so we decided to head to our 3rd and final destination in KL...

3rd Destination Reached!
Menara Tower
We only had time to go there and eat a quick dinner in the Rainforest Cafe (A-) located inside. Similar to Singapore, we were in a hurry again to catch a night train back to Singapore. It would be a 10 hour train ride back, but it was very comfortable and we were in need of some sleep. Check it out:

Last Glimpse of KL, before Leaving for the Train Station

Room mates!
(Bottom to Top: Miguel and Jens)

SUNDAY: One Last Stop in Singapore
It was a steady train ride, and we all got some sleep. We had planned to shower on the train but, thanks to Brian's investigation skills, we found out that the shower on board was simply a hose in between the train cars. I decided to pass... especially after seeing the conditions of the restrooms in the same area.
I am scarred for life. I repeat, I am SCARRED for life.

We arrived in Singapore at 8:30AM and started walking. Jens, Jonathan, Brian, Michelle, and I were leaving that evening at around 5pm, so we only had until 3pm to explore. Because of the "time crunch," we decided to visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens.


From Left: Caroline and Miguel Posing in front of the Entrance
(Can you see Jonathan, too?)
My camera died by this time, so I didn't get any pictures inside the Gardens. It was nice to see, and it is a popular place for locals to go running or spend time with the family on the weekend.
After grabbing a quick lunch, it was time to head out to the airport. We said bye to Honza, Miguel, and Caroline (who would be returning the next day to Hong Kong), and made our way to the airport.

We returned to campus around 9:00PM feeling completely exhausted a gross.


I know that most of us jumped into the shower immediately after arriving to our dorm rooms, while simultaneously doing our laundry!

Overall it was quite the adventure! I can now say that I backpacked through Singapore an Malaysia without any hotels, cars, or showers. All one really needs is a backpack, water, and a toothbrush and he/she will be fine...

Until the next adventure,