Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

Makanan (Food, Malaysian Style) 2014

June 30, 2014

You can’t talk bout Malaysia without talking about food.  Malaysian cuisine is as creative, as colorful, and as diverse as the Malaysian people are–not to mention tasty!  But…let’s let the photos do all the talking.

* With Cafe Owner

Ah…. The joys of street food!

* Fried Fish

Fresh fried fish with all the trimmings

* Satay Meal

Satay and Iced Lemon Tea

* 4 at Pewter Factory

Lunch at the Selangor Pewter Factory Cafe with the Sri Utama staff

* Local cuisine

Stopping for a side of the road treat on a hot, steamy night

* Lunch at Dato's

Lunch at Dato’s

* Salmon Salad

Cappucino and Salmon Salad at the Pewter Factory Cafe

* Local Fruit

Local Fruit

* Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak – Coconut rice, with chicken rendang, sambal, anchovies, peanuts, egg & cucumber – A breakfast favorite!

* 3 students eating

Student teachers enjoying the long Friday lunch at Selangor Pewter Factory Cafe, across the street from Sri Utama

Steamboat

Steamboat

* Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

 

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Jungle Adventure, February 2014 – Di Dalam Hutan

June 30, 2014

Ok, so it’s been a few months since we’ve been back. We’ve finished the semester and these student teachers have graduated. But we’re all still reminiscing about the adventures that we had just a few short months ago in Malaysia! Here is our story about one hot Saturday afternoon in February, when this group of student teachers decided to experience the jungle.

Ready for A Jungle Adventure!

Ready for A Jungle Adventure!

Now you may think it’s odd to have an ATV park in the middle of the jungle. But it’s there–the rock says so–and it’s truly IN the jungle.  We’d heard all about it.  We had to experience it first-hand. We got loads of directions from friends at the school on how to get there (all of them different).  Finally, we piled in the van and found our way in to the jungle.

a Jungle village

Village at the edge of the jungle

The further inside the jungle, the narrower the road....

The further in, the narrower the road….

We cautiously eased our van up the ever-narrowing jungle road, hoping to find the much talked about ATV Adventure Park.  And, finally, just when we thought the road was about to end, there it was.

With the motto “Respect the Jungle!’ the group was off on an adventure.

See you later!

See you later!

And what’s a jungle adventure without a little drama?

f Lost in the jungle

Lost in the jungle!

With two secondary science majors on board, they insisted on having the full jungle experience.

Jungle river swim… Is there anything more refreshing?

Back home, several hours later, these adventurers were washed and refreshed and ready for another adventure–this time on the town!

Paige, Rachel, Amanda, Chase, Robin & Mitch: All cleaned up and ready for more!

Year of the Horse

February 23, 2014
The gang amidst the New Year action

The gang amidst the New Year action

It is just wonderful to be over here during Lunar New Year.  Everybody gets off work, and the shops have great sales.  Restaurants and packed and generally, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle.

Hustle and bustle of New Year

Hustle and bustle of New Year

Long Chinese Lanterns

The only problem for us was that ALL of the cellphone and sim card places were closed because they were owned by Chinese Malaysians, who were busy celebrating the New Year traditions with their families.  So it took us about 5 days until we were able to phone our relatives back home.

Classical Chinese music

Classical Chinese music

Entertainment in the shopping centers

Entertainment in the shopping centers

Meanwhile, we certainly enjoyed the sights as Kuala Lumpur welcomed the Year of the Horse!

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Horse

Our New Home

February 22, 2014
We're here!

We’re here!

We spent the next day, January 31, getting used to our new home. We were joined by Dr. Linda Winkler of Wilkes University (above, far right), the Special Assistant to the Provost/Director of International Initiatives, who had come to meet our hosts at Sri Utama as well as potential partners at Malaysian Universities.

And it's NY

The first thing we noticed was that everything was decorated for Chinese New Year.  Bright colors, especially red and gold, were in every public place to celebrate this big national holiday.  What a time to come to Malaysia! With  a day off for the holiday, we were able to fight off jet lag and get acquainted with the neighborhood.

The View from Wangsa Maju LRT station, very near to our condo

The View from Wangsa Maju LRT station, very near to our condo

Looking our the opposite platform at Wangsa Maju LRT station, you can see the Petronas Towers in teh distance.

Looking our the opposite platform at Wangsa Maju LRT station, you can see the Petronas Towers in the distance.

The condo where we were staying was just beautiful.  Situated next to the Wangsa Maju Mosque, it is nestled into the side of the hill.  We heard the call to prayer six times a day, and we loved the view from our 11th floor windows.

Wangsa Maju Mosque

Wangsa Maju Mosque

The weather was beautiful, about 80 degrees and windy.  We were able to get our bearings and explore the area, where the cat-lovers among us made friends with the cute cats that hung out on the ground floor (which we would call ‘first floor’ in the US).

Chase and Robin: Cat lovers

Chase and Rachel: Cat lovers

Chase & Cookie

Chase & Cookie

Coming up:  Malaysian pizza party

Selamat Datang! Welcome to Malaysia, 2014!

February 17, 2014

We finally arrived at Sri Utama School in Kuala Lumpur, after leaving our homes about 48 hours earlier.  We had had a great flight, but we were glad to be at the end of that long journey.  This was January 30, 2014, on the Eve of Chinese New Year.

We were greeted at the airport by Wilkes alumn Nicholas Barno, who now works as a teacher in the Johor Bahru Sri Utama School.  Nick took us to meet the administrative leaders of Sri Utama, and they took us out for roti canai and teh tarik– all time favorites in this country (and what we will probably miss a lot when we come home).  Kate McGurk and Becky Gallaher, also Wilkes alumni who work at the KL school, were there.  It was a happy reunion!  Have a look at this gang:

Whole gang

Above photo, from left to right: Nadia Hassan, Matthew Bryant, Nawwar Hassan, Gina Zanolini Morrison, Chase English, Rachel Gill, Nick Barno, Amanda Bast, Robin Sorber, Mitch Yamrus, Paige Trusty, Kate McGurk, Becky Gallaher, Omar Joseph.

 

Matt Omar Nadiya

Roti 3

Roti 3+

Nawwar, Nadiya, Omar & Matt

Paige ('14), Kate ('12), and Becky ('12)--Old friends together again.

Paige (’14), Kate (’12), and Becky (’12)–Old friends together again.

Thank you, Sri Utama, for welcoming us once again!

Goodbye, Istanbul!

February 17, 2014

We had arrived in Istanbul at 4 pm, and it was almost 10 pm–time to make our way back to the Ataturk Airport.  Our flight was leaving at 1 am and we wanted to be sure we arrived in plenty of time.  But before we said goodbye, we had to find just one more cafe and have a truly Middle Eastern meal!

(L-R) Chase English, MItchell Yamrus, Gina Zanolini Morrison, Rachel Gill, Amanda Bast, Paige Trusty, Robin Sorber

(L-R) Chase English, MItchell Yamrus, Gina Zanolini Morrison, Rachel Gill, Amanda Bast, Paige Trusty, Robin Sorber

 

Now it’s on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Sri Utama Schools!

Turkish Coffee, Apple Tea and Whirling Dervishes

February 17, 2014

Arasta Bazaar is not far at all from the Blue Mosque, so we ventured there to do a bit of shopping.  A cafe there had live musicians playing enchanting music, to which a Whirling Dervish twirled and twirled.

Here are Paige, Amanda and Rachel.... See the Whirling Dervish behind them?

Here are Paige, Amanda and Rachel…. See the Whirling Dervish behind them?

 

 

Robin, Chase and Mitch enjoying the hot coffee as much as the outdoor heaters!

Robin, Chase and Mitch enjoying the hot coffee as much as the outdoor heaters!

Whirling Dervishes are from the Sufi Muslim sect, who believe in love and service.  They seek truth and perfection through following the ways of Rumi, mystic and poet.  The ritual that we saw, as we sat and warmed ourselves with Turkish coffee and apple tea, is performed only by the Order of the Whirling Dervishes.

Coffee Dervish dark

This thick, rich coffee is a little pick-me-up for Rachel after a full day of traveling--and with another day to go!

This thick, rich coffee is a little pick-me-up for Rachel after a full day of traveling–and with another day to go!

Ah-h-h.... Apple tea!

Ah-h-h…. Apple tea!

For more information about the Whirling Dervishes, visit http://www.whirlingdervishes.org/whirlingdervishes.htm.

The Blue Mosque, 2014

February 17, 2014
What an incredible sight!

At dusk we found the Blue Mosque.  What an incredible sight!

Words failed us when we saw the beauty of this historic mosque, which was built in the early 1600s, during the rule of Ahmed I.

Rachel in the courtyard, in front of those lovely arches.

Rachel in the courtyard, in front of those lovely arches.

It is called the Blue Mosque because of the tiles used to adorn this holy place, which is called Sultanahmet Cami in Turkish.

Dusk at the Bue Mosque

Dusk at the Bue Mosque

Fountains outside the Blue Mosque

Fountains outside the Blue Mosque

For more information on the Blue Mosque, go to their website at http://www.bluemosque.co.  But for now, just enjoy the sights of this wonderful place through our eyes.

Inside the Blue Mosque, the ladies must cover, since it is a place of prayer.

Inside the Blue Mosque, the ladies must cover, since it is a place of prayer.

The Blue Mosque offers visitors incredible beauty inside, at every angle.

The Blue Mosque offers visitors incredible beauty inside, at every angle.

Inside, lights have been placed throughout the Mosque

Inside, lights have been placed throughout the Mosque.

The dome from the inside

The dome from the inside

Above the door, inside the Mosque.

Above the door, inside the Mosque.

Mitch capturing the minarets at night

Mitch capturing the beautiful and intricate designs inside.

L to R: Mitchell Yamrus, Rachel Gill, Paige Trust, Amanda Bast, Robin Sorber, Chase English

L to R: Mitchell Yamrus, Rachel Gill, Paige Trust, Amanda Bast, Robin Sorber, Chase English

2014 First Stop: Istanbul

February 17, 2014

We touched down in Turkey and found ourselves in crisp, spring-like weather outside the plane at Ataturk Airport.  At first it felt warm, compared to the sub-zero temps back home, but as the sun went down we found ourselves relying on our jackets and scarves to keep warm.

Touch down at Istanbul, Jan 29 about 4 pm.

Touch down at Istanbul, Jan 29 about 4 pm.

We decided to make the most out of our 8-hour layover in Istanbul by taking a tour of Old Town and seeing some of the most historic sights.  So we hopped on the Metro for an adventure.

Beautiful mosaic at the Metro public transport, Ataturk Airport, Istanbul.

Beautiful mosaic at the Metro public transport, Ataturk Airport, Istanbul.

What we discovered were the most beautiful sights and the most historic landmarks from the Ottoman empire, along with the unique colors and designs we found in the many  Turkish shops along the way.

Shopping on the streets of Istanbul

Shopping on the streets of Istanbul

Islamic architecture everywhere

Islamic architecture everywhere

Turkish cat sleeping among the Turkish pillows

Turkish cat sleeping among the Turkish pillows

Pomegranates and fruits for sampling

Pomegranates with other fruits and vegetables for sampling

From the Ottoman Empire...

From the Ottoman Empire…

Brilliant bazaar lights

Brilliant bazaar lights

Yes, we made it to the Grand Bazaar!  But it was closed.... Something to look forward to for next time.

Yes, we made it to the Grand Bazaar! But it was closed…. Something to look forward to for next time.

 

Now, we’re off to see the Blue Mosque.

 

 

Jom! (Let’s get going!)

February 16, 2014

The 2014 cohort of the Wilkes University student teaching abroad program was packed and ready to go, here with our wonderful driver, Miss Beth Spencer of the Education Department.

Driver Beth

5 in the van

And here we are, waiting at the busy JFK International Airport.

Waiting at JFKReady for Takeoff