Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Savannah!

One of the many alleys here in Koh Phi Phi.  Rows and rows
of shops and restaurants.

Our first week in Thailand has been pretty fun.  We’ve hopped from island to island and have landed in Koh Phi Phi Don for Christmas (Remember the movie “Beach” with Leonardo DeCaprio?…this is where they filmed it).  The boys have been playing non-stop and we have a big dinner planned for tonight (Christmas Eve) with a few of the boats here.  In some ways it's hard to believe we're in Thailand.  It's not like most of the tourists where they got off a plane and the scenery has suddenly changed drastically...we've slowly eased our way into SE Asia and Thailand doesn't look so different from Malaysia.  The biggest change is that there are very few muslims and way more tourists and hippy backpackers.

Posing with the monkey.

As much fun as we're having,  it’s the first Christmas on that boat that doesn’t really feel like Christmas.  The anchorage is a bit rocky with all of the boats zipping by and the evenings are filled with “boom chick a boom boom” coming from the shore non-stop until 2 in the morning.  And I have to say I’m a bit home sick.  It’s been a lot of Decembers away from home…I was telling Andy how pathetic I am…sitting in an anchorage in one of the most popular beaches in Thailand having trouble being happy.  So, I’m adjusting my attitude today and getting into the spirit.  I called my mom, wrapped presents and now we’re cooking up a storm (at least Andy is). 

So here’s to all of our friends and family wherever you may be, wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the crew of Savannah…all the way from Thailand! I'll leave you with some pictures from the aptly named Monkey Beach!  BAD Monkeys!

Making good use of the stick...shooing the
monkey away.  They get a bit aggressive at times.

Mama monkey, winding down after a long day of harassing tourists.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Boys, boys, boys

The last few weeks have had their ups and downs on Savannah, but today I’m going to focus on the ups…  I cannot explain how happy it makes me to see Jake playing with these two wonderful kids on Love Song.   Despite it being a threesome, something that rarely worked in my circle of friends growing up, they get along great and never tire of each other.  It’s also fun to hear Jake talk to Morgan about dinosaurs.  Jake thought he was the authority on all things prehistoric and well…now he’s learning a few things. 

Andy and I took them to the War Museum in Penang and stopped by a “Snake Temple” on our way back to the marina.  Both were fun, but strange in their own way.  First, the museum was also dubbed a paintball park.  And it had a ton of what we thought were leftover decorations from Halloween….still not sure if some of them are decorations or part of the recreated scenes.  The area was a fort built by the English way back when (don’t you love my historic details?) and long ago deserted.  It sat for 60 years being looted and growing over.  A private party bought the land and decided to restore the old bunkers, walls and tunnels as much as possible.  They did a pretty good job with that, but it’s a little weird walking around old tunnels and fort walls and then seeing a miniature model of a tank.  The boys enjoyed running around shooting each other and climbing out escape hatches….something that would NEVER be allowed at home for fear of a law suit (crawl through a dark tunnel, then climb straight up an old metal rung 9 meter ladder to the outside).  From a museum perspective, it was just ok, but it was perfect for a few boys to let off some energy.

This was the exit for the escape hatch.

There is a danger sign here that says don't enter, but it didn't say anything
about exiting.  The lady at the front desk was the one to tell us to do it.

As for the “Snake Temple.”  The deceiving thing here was the word temple.  It’s a temple all right, but it’s way more touristy than religious.  We lectured the boys about showing respect and keeping their voices down, etc. and then we walked in to find about 20 people snapping photos and waiting in line to pay their RM30 (about $10 USD) to hold a python.  There were snakes all over the place, but some of them were so lethargic (full?) that the boys weren’t really convinced they were real.

Note the snakes on the branches where the kids are looking.

Not sure exactly what this face is supposed to be.

Now we’re here in Langkawi, on the hook in Telaga Harbor.  This is a huge cruiser hangout simply because of the duty free status and the proximity to Thailand.  Andy and I aren’t quite sure what the draw is yet, but it’s growing on us.  The highlight is still watching the boys play all day, only now they have a whole beach to run around on.  It looks like it will be Jake’s first Christmas in years with more than just mom and dad and some other old people.  We’re all excited.

I managed to get my paddle board out again and even found
someone to paddle me around!

Sunset in Kuah, Langkawi

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Penang, Malaysia!

I hope this post finds everyone fat and full of turkey, ham and whatever else you like to gorge on at Thanksgiving.

We finally made it to Penang after days of motoring with a few hair raising experiences thrown in to make things interesting (a tug boat almost ran us over in the middle of the night on the one night we decided to keep sailing).  We anchored outside of the Straits Quay Marina because that's where Jake's friends are staying.  This place is swanky.  It's right up there with any waterfront town marina in the states, complete with nice restaurants, a mall and a pretty decent grocery store.  Our expectations were exceeded.  As were Jake's... He picked right back up with his friends Morgan and Wyatt like they had just seen each other yesterday (when in fact, it's been three years).  They've had sleep overs, play dates, gotten some taste of freedom (staying alone!), and he's now spent a day at their school with them.  All in less than a week.  One of the unexpected outcomes of this has been a positive little 6 am wake up call is now delayed to at least 7:30... poor thing is so tired he can't get out of bed!  Awesome.

It was a cloudy day, but this was one of the views from
Penang Hill.  You can't see the actual city behind all that.
We've managed to do a little touring as well.  We bought a 24 hour ticket on a double decker tour bus where you hop and on and off at all the different stops around town.  We rode a crazy train up to the top of Penang Hill, climbed a gazillion steps to the top of a temple (what's with Malaysia and all their stairs?), and stopped at Fort Conwallis for a little history lesson.  The next day we used our last few hours on our ticket to hit the Butterfly farm...very, very cool.

We were lucky enough to be there when they
were releasing some butterflies. 

We were able to enjoy our Thanksgiving here in Malaysia at a nice hotel nearby with a special "Thanksgiving" Buffet.  I'm not entirely sure it resembled turkey day, but there was plenty of food and it was huge hit for our group.  The boys spent most of their time at the chocolate fountain...  I have to say it was a strange experience for me.  Good, but different.  First off, we have never, in my entire life, gone out to eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving (at least not that I can remember).   I did cook brunch and make Andy a pecan pie but other than that, I got off relatively easy in the cooking department.  Secondly, it was truly an international experience.  Our group alone had fewer Americans than Aussies.  When I looked around the restaurant I saw Chinese, Malaysian, Australian, British, and a few other nationalities I couldn't quite place.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit behind on pictures so the Thanksgiving ones and the boy's pics will have to come later....until then, enjoy!

We're a LONG way from home!

This was about half way up...

Finally made it to the top!

Wouldn't want to meet him in a back alley!

In the middle of all this extravagance...Jake found a place to
rest his tired dogs.

Our budding photog...not too bad...