Saturday, December 28, 2013


We arrived in Borneo a few days ago. We first landed in Kuching, the capital of the Sarawak state. We spent a day there, before we left for the Permai Rainforest Resort where we spent Christmas. It was awesome. We got to sleep in a tree house, which was very comfortable. There was a beach, there was a pool, there were rainforest trails, and there was a very good restaurant with a special Christmas dinner. We got to see monkeys from our balcony, so one of my goals has been met! One thing about the rainforest is that it rains a lot, and quite often. So we did not spend much time at the beach nor in the forest, but instead decided to go visit the Sarawak cultural village not far from the resort. It was interesting to see how the different tribes of the region used to live. We left Kuching with the intention to come back for a few more days before we go back to Kuala Lumpur, there is a lot more to see around there!
We then headed to Brunei, where the immigration rules (the written ones, at least) scared the hell out of me! But going through customs was not that bad. We had a reservation in a resort in another Malaysian town, which is an hour away from Brunei by ferry. We had thought that we might go back to visit, but we didn't see anything at the airport or on our way to the ferry that inspired us much, so we got a stamp in our passport for 2 hours spent waiting for a ferry. Instead, we have spent the past 2 days doing nothing but enjoy the resort's pool, the room's AC and the wonderful pineapple juice and virgin pina coladas of this resort. We also visited a bird park, and tried to swim in the sea, but the bird park was hot, humid and a little depressing, and the sea was not much fun. We are leaving tomorrow morning, we will take another ferry to Kota Kinebalu.
Our tree house

Permai resort beach

Inside the house (through the screen, we don't want the mosquitoes in!)

Pineapple friend rice and pineapple juice...I'm addicted! 

The beautiful pool!

Temple in Kuching

Laksa Sawarnak, and what I think is star fruit juice. I've never felt so far away from our 3R restaurants! It was soooo good! 

Permai resort beach

We got a visitor!

At the cultural village

Traditional way to make cookies

Cultural village

Palm Beach Resort, Labuan

More news to come!

Monday, December 23, 2013

2 days in Kuala Lumpur

So, what to say about KL? The 2 words that come to my mind are:  hot and overwhelming!
I think that the stress and tiredness of the past few months and of the trip + jetlag + the intense heat and humidity of the city caught up on us, minus the adrenaline of the exotism we felt in China, so we probably did not take advantage of the city as much as we could have.
Moreover, this city is truly overwhelming, it's like landing in 3 countries at once, between Indian, Malaysian and Chinese people. And the contrasts...We've been in the most elegant shopping malls I've ever seen, and in awesome markets that were quite messy (guess what I prefered...). The sounds of the calls for the prayer are followed by the churches' bells, and we can hear Christmas carolls everywhere. I'm happy we'll be back for a few days at the end of our trip, so we'll be able to better explore it.

Biggest shopping mall I ever saw, with a lot of people!

Christmas is really a commercial event here...

Food is awesome

KL aquaria

KL park

Mix of cultures

Wet market

Breakfast options at Imbi market

What we finally had

My breakfast being prepared

Pedestrian-friendly sidewalks in the air

We're now in Kuching, Borneo. More pictures to come!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I haven't been good at all at writing this semester, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was just too busy. But now, all the funding requests are done and submitted, and I'm off for a month. I'm actually writting this from Kuala Lumpur, where my man and I arrived in the middle of the night, after spending 3 days in Shanghai.
This has been a looong trip. We left Monday morning around 9am to take a bus to Montreal, followed by another bus to the airport, then a first plane to Toronto, a second one to Vancouver, and a third one (over 13 hour-long) to Shanghai. Once there, we realised our luggages had not followed, so we just took the high-speed (300km\h) train to town, where we bought a 3-day metro pass, and went to our hotel. We didn't stay in long, because we wanted to get over jetlag quickly. So the first day was spent disovering the Bund and the old town. Here are a few pictures.

Quite the choice of food! 

Tea house

Tea with eggs...


Shanghai metro

Our luggages showed up at the hotel as we were about to go to bed, how lucky are we? 
The second day we visited the zoo, and the people's square and around. The zoo was a lot of fun, although I spent the day freezing. 

Wearing the new blouse I finished the day before we left! 

And we still had a little time, so on day 3, we went to the free national museum, and walked around a bit more before we headed back to the airport for our flight to KL. 

About to taste the stinky tofu I got from a street vendor. It tastes better than it smells! 
So, my impression of Shanghai after less than 72 hours spent there? It's cleaner, better organised than I expected of a country with so many people. It's very easy to get around, EVERYTHING is in English. And the food is to die for! On the other hand, people kind of don't talk unless they're trying to get you into the famous tea-scam, they push or almost hit you non-stop in the metro and on the street. Nobody seems to be following any circulation rule, and the weirdest thing is that nobody ever says a word about it, as if it's just normal that you almost get hit by a bike/car/bus/scooter, etc. at every single corner. Also, Shanghai is really, really rich, and I just kept thinking about what happens in order regions of the country, and did not feel comfortable about this opulence. Lastly, Facebook and Bloger did not work while we were there. It was a good reminder that despite all the Starbucks, Gap and other North American ways of living, it's still China. So, I'm happy I saw it, but I would not go back. Next post: Kuala Lumpur!!!