Fieldtrip through Southeast Asia :: Part 3 - Kuala Lumpur & Singapore
Hello again! And welcome to the 3rd (and final!) installment of me & Rob's trek trek through Thailand and Malaysia (bonus: Singapore!). When we last left off (part 2!), me and Lt. Moore we're lounging on a luxury bus from Georgetown, Penang en route to Kuala Lumpur. Have you been paying attention? If so, you'd remember that the whole reason for this trip in the first place was to get down to KL so we could spend a few days visiting Rob's sister (she's a school teacher in KL).
Well after 4 days in Bangkok, 2 in Krabi, 1 in Railay and 1 night in Penang, we finally made to Kuala Lumpor (capital of Malaysia, btw). We rolled in off the luxury bus around 7pm, dialed up Pam the cellie and took the most expensive cab ever to meet her and Darren (her husband!) down at the Hard Rock (happy hour!).
A few drinks at the Hard Rock and then off to Pam and Darren's favorite Mexican hangout. Aw, what a cute four-way reunion pic (Rob, get some!).
Followed by drinks, pirated DVD shopping and drunk dialing our families back while at the outdoor plaza up the street. (Mr. Moore, I *swear* it was Pam's idea!)
Day 2: Kuala Lumpur was like a vacation within a vacation for us. For the past, what?, 8 days Rob and I were running around, map and notes in hand, trying to fill our days with as many sightseey things as possible all while hustling our way from one city to the next.
But now we were crashing at Pam and Darren's place in KL (in Bukit Antarbangsa - about a 20 min drive from downtown) which means unheard of luxuries: Our own rooms! Hot showers! Free water! Laundry! And this awesome view overlooking the suburban valley below. So super nice.
And Pam and Darren were nice enough to have planned a few things for us to do while in KL. First up...
Fieldtrip through Southeast Asia :: Part 2 - Krabi (New Years!) and Hat Yai
Hello! And welcome to Part 2 of our adventures through Thailand and Malaysia! Sorry about the two week month delay (I'm busy!) but I believe when we last left, me and Rob had just finished up 3 days in Bangkok (Wat Po! Muay Thai! Snake Farm! - recap here) - and we were on our way to Railay in Southern Thailand for New Years. So, ready for Part 2?
[recap from part 1] :: So remember, the "zero itinerary" part of this story? Our only plans were to have a rad New Years and then somehow make it back to Bangkok for our flight to Kuala Lumpur on the 2nd? Well, we currently have a one-way flight to the beautiful beaches of Krabi (ha!) and currently no way of getting back to Bangkok. While at the airport, we chatted up some travel agent folk in search of flights back... nothing from Krabi (etc) to Bangkok till at least January 3rd. Which leaves us with a few sketchy options: (a) try to find a 10 hour train ride back to Bangkok, (b) try to find a 15 hour bus / pickup truck ride back or (c) find someway to skip the flight and cross over into Malaysia by heading through the dodgy areas of southern Thailand (click it!).
Ah, we'll figure all that out later! We've got Krabi-time to look forward to!
Soooo we caught our 7pm flight from Bangkok -> Krabi. Last two open seats on the plane means we get to sit in the last row (aka the seats that don't recline). As an added bonus, I got to sit next to The Huge Guy. Upon landing, we took a quick cab ride to downtown Krabi (aka "Krabi Town" according to Lt. Rob).
Though the magic of The Book (Lonely Planet Thailand, remember?) we booked a room ahead of time at the awesome-sounding KL Mansion. Rolled in around 10pm or so..
... checked into our not-so-awesome hotel room (eh, but $10 US/night).
I don't so much heart these combo toilet + shower rooms. Ah, the sweet luxury of Krabi Town. Combo bathroom + shower: bathroom is wet and dirty when you want to pee, shower feels dirty cause you just pooped in the same 3x3 space.
Now remember, we kind of came to Krabi on a whim. We were looking for some New Years plans, couldn't book any plane tickets to any of the "destination" islands and when the travel agent was like, "I can get you to Krabi" we said "Sure!" having no idea what we were getting ourselves into (in fact, the only reason Krabi sounded familiar at all was because Marc.J put it on his "Hey go here and check it out" list - I think as a rock climbing destination?).
Anyway, we rolled in expecting lush beaches and a bunch of tourists hanging around getting all fired up for New Years... instead we found a pretty dumpy port town, no beaches in sight, no tourists anywhere. This place was dead.
Well, except for this carnival going on literally across the street from our hotel. Krabi seems pretty tiny - maybe a 10 min walk from our hotel (which looked like it may be on the outskirts) to the other side of town. We took a lap around to get our bearings (er, try to find a beach) and when we came up empty, hit up the carnival (sketchy rides, people selling chocolate-covered bugs, some pop-the-balloon game, and a lots of vendors selling everything from camo shirts of tube socks to videos of people on superbikes doing tricks - rad!)
Hello again! I haven't done a teendrama recap in what seems like forever, and this one will, without a doubt, be the longest one yet (300 photos?) so I think I'm going to have to break into into a bunch of smaller entries (otherwise it'll never get done).
So anyway, around October my buddy Rob from high school started kicking around the idea to visit his sister (Pam) who's been living in Kuala Lumpur (er, the capital of Malaysia - I had to look it up too). I was in - especially considering the last time we made a trip to visit Pam (2001) we ended up flying into Madrid and making our way to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls (much fun, very dangerous). So we started drafing up some travel plans - initially really ambitious (Tokyo! Hong Kong! Bangkok! KL! Dubai!) and eventually scaled down to Thailand -> Malaysia -> Singapore. After a good month of procrastinating, we got some last minute tickets (expensive!), packed our backpacks and on Christmas day (seen here in my new Christmas jacket - thx Pam!) drove from Medway, MA -> NYC in order to catch our 8am flight.
I'll save most of the details of the trek from NYC -> Bangkok... some 25 hours of travel time (NYC -> Chicago -> Shanghai -> Bangkok). In hopes of being able to sleep on the longer leg of the flight, we got pretty liquored up back in NYC - we hit pretty much every bar we could find open late night on Christmas Day (Motor City, the place next to Local 138, 7B). For anyone that's ever tried this before, you've probably figured out it's a dumb idea to get nice and drunk before a long flight as you're pretty likely to wake up somewhere over the Atlantic / North Pole / wherever pretty hung over about 6 hours into it. (er, which is exactly what happened to us). So anyway...
I set the stopwatch on my Future Watch. 12 hour trip from CHI -> Shanghai. When all the bars fill up on the watch, we're there! Delicious little ramen snack pack almost makes you forget how shitty spending 12 hours on plane without seatback TVs can be (Hint: don't fly international on a domestic airline. F U United!). "Oh, what's that in the background?" you ask...
... Zelda for Nintendo DS! I heart you boomerang!
Out the window. Somewhere over the North Pole? (flight goes up and over the globe rather than all the way around it - huh!)
Annnnddd 12 hours later (well, 15 if you count Chicago airport transfer) and we're in Shanghai.. and looking at a 7 hour layover before our flight to Bangkok. Rob and I both figured we'd pass the time with a workday's-worth of Super Mario Kart battles, but much to our surprise we were able to get a special visa that let us leave the airport in between flights. So, where to??
Downtown! We asked the guy who was selling tickets to the MagLev train (Magnetic Levitation) where he'd go if he had 7 hours to kill in Shangahi. He had no idea what we were saying, but he pointed to this one spot on the subway map ("People's Square") so we hopped on the train and headed in. BTW, MagLev = awesome. Magnets! 300 km/h (that's about 186 mph! Rumor has it it maxes out around 270 mph). The train tilts to its side when making turns - kind of like Mike Yap racing a superbike I suppose. Amtrak, would it kill you to build this between NYC and Boston? (@ 185 mph = 1h 20 mins!)
600 mile double-header weekened: Sara + Stephen's wedding in VA + lobster cookout back in MA
Friends, hello! And welcome to yet another wedding recap (this time Sara + Stephen of DC!). But wait, that's not all, scroll down and you get *special bonus footage* of the lobster cookout at Mom + Dad's back in Medway!
Let's start with Sara + Stephen. Sara = friend from high school. Stephen you would have recognized from Mike.D + JC wedding recap had my laptop + photos not been stolen). And yes, this is wedding recap #3 (of 5!) this summer. So let's rewind a little - back to July 21. Wedding was all the way down in Richmond, VA so I split the trip in two and trained it down to DC on Friday night to meet up with Lt. Rob.
Hey, speaking of which, here's the Lt. holding a picture of himself with the bride to be! Apparently taken a long time ago... what, 1993... aka, back when Rob had hair. Hahahah!
And speaking of good 'ol Rob (again), he just fwd'ed me this. And while GI Joe has no business making an appearance in a Sara + Stephen wedding recap, can Cutter be any more of a rip off of the Rob M. brand??? (even down to the "Lt JG" status! - come'on!)
Oh, see? NYC -> DC. Thanks Google maps! ps: Amtrak is such a joke. Like $170 one-way to DC.
teendrama welcome back party (starring Mike.D's bachelor party!)
Holy sweet Jesus! The first teendrama entry in, what, two months!? Friends, in just a few short hours I will be in my busted ass truck driving back to Boston Cape Cod for Mike.D + Jos' wedding. And on this kind-of lazy Friday afternoon (I just ate about 8 pounds of gnocci), I figured what better way to kick this off with a recap of Mike.D's bachelor party (June 16)!
So, background? Mike.d = one of my bestest pals from high school. Bachelor party = also falls on Father's Day wkd (two for one!). Mike.d's brother Dave was in charge of organizing the whole thing - grabbing us 10 tix to the Sox v. Giants game and planning dinner and drinks. Big Dig scored a handful of tix to the game last minute (Crowley family outing) so me + J ended up catching the early Saturday morning Amtrak back to Boston together.
Amtrak = looonnng. We passed the time with nostalgic hangman. "Things you look forward to?" Middle school half-day! "Things Jonathan hates?" Acorns dumped on this head! Hahahahaha!
2:30p. Dad picked us up at Rt. 128 and gave us a ride into Fenway...
... where we had a contest in the parking garage to see who could create the most realistic throw-up scene given a mouth full of milkshake and a punch in the stomach. Fun!
Annnddd onto Boston Billiards (our default location for pre-game meetups) where we hooked up with the Driscolls (x3), the rest of the bachelor party crew, Katie and Matty (Katie's bf!) and Mom (?). Wait, Mom, where you there?
To the game!
Teendrama superfans, may recognize some of the regulars. Left to right, MF, Rob, mini DPS, Mike.D, Adam.K (aka Mike.D's roommate from school).
Christmas with the Crowley's - ver. 2007 (and bonus New Years in VT coverage! oh, and a video of Matt operating on his toe with a red hot skewer)
Hello Christmas 2006 recap! Man, I was gone for a good, what, two weeks? And just look at all the action packed excitement you missed! Let's start this off with Christmas Eve (we'll just fast-forward through those three days worth of last minute trips to the mall).
Now, if you remember from last year, Christmas Eve's main event is the Yankee Swap. 20 people + 20 gifts + everyone draws a number. Lowest number picks first, and after you pick (and open) your gift, you have the option of swapping for someone else's (already opened) gift. That person's gift (the one that just got taken) is then allowed to make *another* swap from all the opened gifts (though they can't take back what was just taken from them). Got it? Oh, and since whoever draws the #1 spot doesn't have anyone to swap with, that person gets their choice of *all* the opened gifts at the very end. So, #1 = the best number to draw. #2 = the worst number to get.
Now, let's hand out some numbers!
Poor Gam got stuck with #2(, sucker!)...
... though she chose wisely and got blessed with this this year's Must Have Yankee Swap gift, the garden gnome.
Meanwhile, Rob with #11 traded away whatever crap gift he got (scented candle?), quickly trading up for the gnome. I think the gnome traded hands two or three more times before Rob skillfully ended up with it after the final trade.
Anne drew the Golden Ticket which awarded her my gift - a mini reindeer made from recycled Christmas tree pieces (and yes!, purchased from the same dude that sold Mike + I the reindeer we dragged to Clay's holiday party).
Meanwhile.... Michelle, a dartboard? Other amazing gifts included scratch tickets, bottles of whiskey, some African vase, scented candles, Dunkin Donuts cards and a toy Coast Guard helicopter. What else? (Sorry, no half-eaten hamburgers this year)
Late night (and post Yankee Swap) one of our departing guests found this Yukon Cornelious doll on their car. A crpytic note from the anonymous gift giver was attached. Me + Dig tried comparing the handwriting to the 100 or so Christmas cards my parents had hanging on the walls, but we couldn't find a match. (It's like CSI: Suburbia up in here!)
And then a few hours later, I got an email from Yukon! I tried dorking out with the email headers, but no luck. The gift-giver remained a mystery for another 24 hours until she revealed herself to me over some good'ol townie-bar karaoke.
Okay, Christmas morning. For the non-VIPs who haven't done Christmas with the Crowley's, it goes down like this:
Round 1: Stockings (from Santa)
Round 2: Presents from Santa
Round 3: Family presents
Round 4: Go to Auntie Jeans and eat melted fruit cocktail.
thanksgiving is soooo 11 days ago (bonus: becca trapped in a machine and first wkd skiing!)
Wooo! Thanksgiving recap! Don't tell nobody, but I went home a few days early this year to spend some quality time with Mom + Dad + Princess Zelda. I have a few days of pictures to get through before we get to Turkey Day, but I figured I'd kick off this Thankgs.06 recap off with this pic of my brother with his balls hanging out. Happy holidays!
Wednesday. Picked up Jonathan at the Amtrak in Providence. Mom says no homecooked meals the day before Thanksg. so JJ and I hit up the Dave and Busters in downtown Providence. After milkshakes and ribs, we battled it out on the free throw machine under the understanding that loser is stuck saying Thanksgiving Day Grace. I got smoked. (And I'll take this opportunity to blame my lack of basketball skillz on the fact that I never had a hoop growing up. Thanks a lot, Dad.) video
While sinking crazy threes (er, sure), we missed my big debut on Boston's Channel 7 news talking about The Dodgeball. (Okay, okay I did catch it the night before in town w/ Rob + MF). Mrs. Moore caught the piece and said that I had a "handsome haircut." See for yourself (you'll need to click the "Watch the video" link on the top).
I logged some quality time at the Papa Ginos in Medway Center. Lunch with Mike, dinner with Rob. Fat Denny reprezent!!! Seriously, all this for under $10!
Wednesday nights are for townie reunions at Medway's finest townie bar, Sabina Doyles Mickey Cassidy's. We've been going for years (ever since they cancelled the alumn night at the VFW because there were too many fights) though every year there seems to be fewer and fewer people from our class (1994). I think we may have been some of the oldest dudes there. WTF!
Twenty minutes in and ran into everyone's favorite ex-prom data: Andrea.J!
This one's for all the fans. I was txt'ing back and forth with Caroline (who was also at some townie reunion back in the midwest) and told her I was hanging out w/ my crunked ex-prom date. She wrote back...
Okay, one entry down so I got Little Sister Katie off my back, but now MF is all up in my grill about the Philly recap (which is, er, so three weeks ago - May 20th).
So, rewind to 2003. I'm bored with my summer job @ MTV. Rob and MF are living in Boston. Steve Simmons is dating my friend Jill (ps: now engaged!). One of us managed to throw together a masterplan that got us to Philly for a weekend eating cheesesteaks and watching the Red Sox play the Phillies in that old shithole of a stadium they had back then. Oh, and sorry, friends of teendrama, but that recap never really made it online (though the 2003 photos are here). A quick outline of that weekend might look like this:
* To which I replied, "I am in the suburbs... the suburbs of New York City, bitch!". Just kidding, i never said that. That would have been a one-way ticket to stab-city.
Anyway... so, 2006. Mike just finished his first year of law school (cue: "Baby's All Growns Up" reference). Rob's living down in D.C. and we're no longer even friends with Steve (har, just kidding!)... and MF planned up Philly Roadtrip Part II. Rob and MF ended up spending a Friday night in NYC, eating dinner w/ Steve.S + Jill, hitting some random glam-rock-wig-party (huh? models!) and eventually crashing on my couch.
We lounged on Saturday, leaving for Philly around 2pm. God bless Lt. Rob for still pimping the dodgeball.
And got into Philly around 5pm or so. We got lost. That's the famous Philadelphia Arch in the background.Continued...
We did New Years up in Vermont for the 2nd year in a row (sorry, no pics from 2004/05 - teendrama sucks!). You know, New Years in VT is so much better than dealing with New Years in NYC, Boston, etc. You see, up in Vermont you're kind of just stuck there - there's no better parties to go to, no $100 bar covers, etc... just a bunch of random people and 800 beers. And if you can't make good times out of that, it's pretty much your own fault.
So anyway, we had a good crew up there this year - 13 people total? This pic is actually from, er, our *last* day riding (sorry, Rob + friends for not making the cut).
I journeyed up on Tuesday night (right after Christmas) and met up with J and Katie and Will and Matt.
Holiday week = holiday lines. And this is about as bad I've ever seen it. (read: singles line!)
Okay, let's start with Wednesday - I skiied a half day with Katie in the pouring rain. Chairlift up = almost zero visibility.
Hi again! So it's Christmas. Actually, it's after Christmas and I'm at work, er, working from home, er, okay I'm up in Vermont (but not skiing today cause it's raining, so I have all the time in the world on this fine morning to update the teendrama.)
So Christmas. My employeer was nice enough to give us Friday off, so I packed up the truck and headed home late Thursday night with Bee and her bicycle-messenger brother (we left late as to avoid the crazy last-day-of-the-transit-strike traffic).
Friday = all day shopping marathon. Saturday = half-day shopping marathon. Saturday afternoon = Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve. Family comes over around 4:30 and then we leave for church at like 5pm (for the 5:30 mass - gotta get there early to get a seat!). JJ + Katie + me left a few mins later so we could execute "Operation: Raindeer Made Out Of Xmas Lights" (which I was surprised to learn my dad spent all day constructing in the basement - go Big Dig!)
Jonathan said my Dad's only instructions where (a) put them where Mom will see them when she drives up the driveway, and (b) don't make them look like they're humping each other (sorry, Dad).
We threw some $20 in the air for that classy Champagne Room effect.
The Crowley Family @ church. Katie, gang signs aren't for church!
... or are they? I found this pic hanging in the chuch hallway that leads out to the parking lot. Middle School Youth Group Harbor Trip REPREZZZZZENT!
six day thanksgiving adventure (+ first day of the season @ mount snow)
Six days worth of Thanksgiving pics. You ready for this? I think there's like 60 of them? (Longest. Teendrama. Entry. Ever?)
Start on Tuesday night where after a quick stop at Andy Krucoff's See You In Four Weeks When You Get Back From Israel party @ Lolita, me + JJ + special Thanksgiving guest British Jess started the trek back to Medway (oh, don't forget Jon Marcel and his pal, English Jess, who won the Free Ride Home raffle). We got home around 1am.
Wednesday afternoon = uneventful. Ran around doing Thanks.g errands - bought some scratch tickets, got my headlight fixed, and saw Harry Potter (all 5 hours of it) with my sister.
Wednesday night = Medway reunion at Sabina Doyle's Mickey Cassidy's. As legend has it, every year, the one townie bar in my cow-tipping small hometown of Medway, MA is packed wall to wall the night before Thanks.g with pretty much everyone you knew growing up.
Me + MF + Rob dined on fine chicken parm subs at Papa Gino's before heading on over to brave the crowds. We picked up Mike.D and his girlfriend Jocelyn on the way.
ps: not a typo.
Regardless of what the digi has to say, I can assure you that Lt. Rob is NOT losing his hair.
Rob laying the groundwork with the British Kitten. (let it be known that he's no MF when it comes to macking on Thanks.g. guests). By the way, that's a lot of beers.
Friday afternoon and MF dials me up and asks if I want to go to DC for the weekend.
Me: "Why would I want to go to DC??"
MF: "It's Rob's 29th birthday, idiot!"
Me: "Oh yeah."
So, despite the fact that I was all fired up for my first weekend in NYC all summer, I packed my shit up on Saturday afternoon and got on the Amtrak.
I get down there at like 6:30, take the Metro out to Dupont Circle and try to rendevous with MF and Rob. MF, the sneaky sucker that he is, didn't tell Rob he was coming down and managed to surprise him as he was coming out of a Chipotle (delicious, btw). Meanwhile, I'm walking around aimlessly (Rob didn't know I was coming down either), until I spot the two of them walking on the other side of the sidewalk. I give MF the 007 secret spy nod, walk past them, cross the street and start following them. I tried to get as annoyingly close as I could without Rob noticing, which was pretty close. At one point I was literally on his heels for like 2 blocks, then on his heels and coughing, and then finally just kicked him in the legs which caused him to figure it out. Har har - best surprise birthday party ever! (and poor Rob was looking forward to just hanging out by himself).
We went to dinner (Chipotle!), got some beers then headed up to Rob's friend Brooke's apt (two floors up). She made him a cake.
Which I nightshot-blogged the shit out of. My Mom is going to be so proud of this shot.
Hi there. Have you met my friend Katie? You may recognize her from the first teendrama entry ever or from elementry school photos (er, she's actually not in this photo, but you get the idea). I've known Katie since kingergarten and we've been pals since 6th grade (she actually introduced me to the world of hanging out with Rob + MF + Mike.D).
Anyway, she got married this weekend. To a fine lad named Scott. I took a bunch of photos.
The wedding was at Boston College. I spent the night in Boston so it was no problem to pick up Mike.d at BU, drive him to pick up his dry cleaning, then go to his apt, then go to the liquor store and then go to the hotel and then race to the wedding in Mass Pike traffic.
Anyway, at the wedding. Actually right before. Me, Mike, Mike and Rob. All pretty well put together (if I do say so myself) with the exception of Mike.D's brown shoes.
(says MF: "Are we not 30 years old?! Get it together!")
After finally wrapping up with ConQwest (and MF was in post-election mode), I headed up to try out place in Vermont. I think 10 of us went in all - special guests Rob (and Vero) and MF (and Meg) from Boston.