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Penang, Malaysia and Indonesia

CHINA | Wednesday, 16 January 2008 | Views [487]

I didn't think I would go this route. I was ready to go back to Cambodia, Krabi and Phuket. I somehow am going to Penang in route to Sumatra, Indonesia. If I don't go with Kelly, I won't make it to Indonesia or the Philippines on the trip. I'm going to continue with the scouting vs. volunteering and relaxation.

Penang has the best tandoori chicken I have ever had in my life. Singapore claims to have the best food but hands down it is Penang. A blend of Indian, Malay and Chinese the people are nearly 3rd generation. The people are great. It is very western though. Malls and marketing for Christmas shopping.

Ferry...we take one to Sumatra....6 hours. I can't believe we are going to Sumatra. We are in Medan only short flight from Bande Acehe....the disasterous site of the tsunami. We are not going because what would we do there. No place to be a tourist and merely to see the sight of devestation and NGO's. It would be strange to go to the islands of Pala We especially when on the mainland people are trying to help and make a difference.

We go to see the orangatans instead in Bukit Lawand. Primates who could be our brothers. They are solitary, really cute, and always searching for food. I wanted to play with them but John the ranger said they could bite. I did hold Dara's hand. The baby of Selena. Her hand was soft and padded. I wanted to hold her like a teddybear but orangatans aren't exactly bug-free. I wish I could have spent the day with them but they run away when in the forest.

Sumatra we found out is the central for the famous teak wood and marijuana. It is strange a country....so strict on drugs coming into the mainland but has farms of pot in their backyard and offers foreigners majic mushroom omelettes on their breakfast menu. No mom and dad we did not try and a special visit to Indonesian jail was not on our agenda.

We book it from Bukit Lawang to Lake Toba. Like the movie- Abyss....this lake is supposed to be the deepest lake in the world. We dare not test to see. I love Lake Toba. I love the farming rice communities, I like the villagers, I like bike riding, I even like the rain. I want to spend more time here!!!

Yogakarta....we fly to Java. We see the epic story of Ramayan...indonesian ballet, I buy silver bc it is known for some of the best silver production, we visit more stupas and temples.

Fly to Bali....go to Kuta....a beach during x-mas that is washed up with debri. Do not go to Bali in December.....best time is march-may. We visit the Hindu water temples which are spectacular. We go to Ubud....a spa village where you can get an aromatherapy massage, flower bath, and seaweed scrub for $15 U.S. quite amazing how cheap this is in comparison to a day at the spa in the U.S.

Next we take a ferry to Lombak to the Gili Islands. Beautiful but the beach is rocky...difficult to swim. I went snorkeling and I couldn't believe it but I saw huge turtles. One actually came up from the bottom of the ocean for air and was swimming right beside me. It was so beautiful. He came up, swam with me and then went down. For a moment I thought he knew what he was doing. Coming a float just for me but I later learned turtle come up for air every 30 minutes. For those who know me....I have always loved turtles, whales and underwater creatures. This was a dream cometrue bc this would be last chance I had to snorkel on the trip and the last hour to spot one. I was really blessed and lucky today bc this memory will last for an eternity.

Pottery...Indonesia has the most beautiful pottery. Much is shipped out to Spain, Japan, Poland. I visited a village where the guild has been passed down for generations. I promise I will be back to Indonesia to buy furniture and home decorations. Pottery Barn and Pier One is Indonesia. The world is very lucky to have Indonesia. It is one of the main exporters for rubber, coffee, cocao, and fine products like teak wood, carvings, mosaics and pottery. Can't wait to go shopping here...

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