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« December 2001 | Main | February 2002 »

January 31, 2002

Wellington

Posting from the Wellington, NZ tourism office, where they've a network of candy-colored iMacs. We're now the proud owners of a red, 1989 4-door Pontiac LeMans, a picture of which I can't find _anywhere_ on the web, even on Google, nor can I upload one of my own until I find a better connection. We bought it from two Israeli backpackers for NZ $1600 (US $711, via the excellent exchange rate), who affectionately named it "Samson." Since they drive on the left side of the road here, and the drivers' side is on the right, they shift with their left hands. Though I've toyed with a manual transmission before, this time it's the real thing. :)

On Sunday we're taking Samson on the ferry to the South Island, where we're planning on spending the next month or two camping, tramping, kayaking and whatever else we can find.

One last thing- I have a ton of pictures to upload from Malaysia and Auckland, but will need a better connection before I can get them online. Stay tuned!

Posted at 11:41

pictures back online

The pictures are back online.

Posted at 11:15

January 27, 2002

Auckland

We've spent the day wandering around Auckland on foot, and climbed to the cone of Mt. Eden, one of the city's 48 volcanoes. Auckland is a beautiful, calm and peaceful city. Even in the middle of downtown, where our hostel is, it doesn't feel intimidating or overwhelming like some of the other big cities we've recently visited (NYC, Kuala Lumpur).

We found a Belgian pub that has Leffe Bruin on tap, one of my favorite beers. Probably gonna eat some local seafood along with it.

Posted at 12:29

January 26, 2002

malaysia tidbits

Wrapping up the hour at this Internet Cafe, I thought I'd post a few tidbits from the Malaysia experience.

Freshly squeezed juices (orange, starfruit, watermelon, lime, mango, guava, more) are available everywhere (restaruants, bars, bus stations, street vendors, etc.), and cost about $0.25. Quite a bit cheaper than the beer, as well.

And what is it about "developing world" bus drivers- hauling ass down narrow-laned highways, passing people on the right or left in the midst of hairpin turns, barreling through traffic jams and somehow not even dinking anybody else. I remember this from both Turkey and Mexico; what's the cultural connection? I can't figure it out...

Another thing- they drive on the right (as in, opposite of left) side of the road in Malaysia, NZ as well. We'll be in a taxi turning at an intersection and I'll catch myself looking entirely in the wrong direction. Good thing I'm not driving down here... yet!

Posted at 13:08

gps on plane

Forgot to mention this tidbit, from the Amsterdam/KL flight. I was tinkering with the GPS, wondering if it would work in the plane or not (and thus, if our listed altitude and land speed were correct), when one of the attendants asked, "Sir, are you with the Airline?" Riiight... Should have had some fun with her. Next time. And no, the GPS unfortunately did not work inside the plane. Too much metal to get a clear signal from the satellites. It would have been cool to see us hurtling across Europe at 600 mph, though.

Posted at 12:59

obl

Wandering through one of the night markets in Kuala Lumpur a few evenings ago, I saw a guy with an OBL shirt on. Would that I was wearing a Dubya shirt, so we could have had our picture taken, maybe even toasting beers together! Alas!

Posted at 12:50

picture site down

Re: the pictures. I know they're offline at the moment, and my crack tech support team (Dad) is on it as we speak. I'll update the site when I know more...

Posted at 12:46

arrived Auckland

We're safe and sound in Auckland, New Zealand (map), and from here on out the travel is entirely itinerary-less. When checking in for the flight back in Kuala Lumpur, Beth managed to flirt us into some empty business class seats on the 747... What fun! Fully-reclining seats, a fold-out flatscreen complete with Super Nintendo and movies, a constant flow of food and drinks, and smiling service from the cute Malaysian flight attendants (which did feel kinda weird, being waited on so). As soon as I plopped down in the seat I started playing with all the position settings. The attendant goes, "First time in business class?" Heh!

Posted at 12:36

January 24, 2002

malaysia gps

Dad asks about the GPS Maps & Malaysia. Only the main roads are present, and major/minor city locations. No street maps in the cities though, nor are there rest areas or gas stations. Garmin's worldmap software is terribly out of date- I'd say 75% of the roads on which we've driven over the past few days aren't in the software! The locals tell us that the Malaysian (and most of southeast Asian, for that matter) transportation infrastructures are changing quite rapidly, so I guess it's understandable...

Posted at 19:24

January 23, 2002

melaka

Posting from Melaka, Malaysia (map), where we've headed for a few days prior to the departure for Auckland. Finally, a city with some old stuff in it! It's been passed around by a few European powers in the last 500 years (Portugal then Holland then Britain), and was a huge contender in southeast Asian trade until the British tried to move its population to Penang (up north) in the late 1800s. Now it's a peaceful little town, ideal for backpackers and travelers (dirt cheap and oozing with history).

Posted at 16:01

January 21, 2002

cherating

Currently in Cherating, Malaysia and loving it. We're staying at a place right on the beach of the South China Sea, and the water is warm enough to turn me into a beach-goer! Hmm, I may even have a hint of a tan...

It's quite cheap here as well- $3/night for accomodations and about $10/day for all our meals.

Posted at 11:58

January 18, 2002

kl

Posting from Jeremy's girlfriend's place in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. The flight was no big deal, just a bunch of drifting in and out of a semi-sleepy state.

A few first impressions of KL: it's an Asian melting pot of Chinese, Indian, Thai, Malay, Indonesian (and more) people. As a history buff, I was interested in learning about Malaysia's ancient past, but I was a wee bit disappointed. See, I was spoiled by Europe and all its millenia-old towns and ruins. KL, on the other hand, is quite young, about 150 years, so to appreciate it one must shift perspective. That's what travel is all about.

KL boasts the World's Tallest Buildings, the Petronas Towers. Check that one off the list... I'm having a heck of a time with the perspective shift, having always sought out authentic remnants of past civilizations in my travels and studies. Here I see skyscrapers, McDonald's, Starbucks (sheesh!), Nike, etc., and NOTHING OLD! But I continue to work on changing what I'm looking for, and appreciating what I'm seeing for what it is. The people here are very charming, and the street vendors aren't nearly as pushy as those of Turkey and Mexico.

Tomorrow we're headed to the east coast, to spend a few days at the beach/islands. I've heard there may be some scuba diving, as well as an eco-tourism program where you stay with indigenous families living in the jungle. Rest assured that the iBook won't be coming with me!

Posted at 03:26

January 17, 2002

image links fixed

My apologies for the non-functioning image links in my post about the vending machine. That's what happens when one updates a web site in a pinch!

Posted at 19:57

January 16, 2002

12 hour flight...

12 hour flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, departing quite soon...

Posted at 11:00

world's largest vending machine

And you can't forget to check out the pictures of the World's Largest Vending Machine (at least that we've come across), located in the Dusseldorf train station. It's stocked with, among other random consumer goods, cat food, pickles and hairspray. Worth a laugh, at least!

Posted at 10:49

daisy

Jansport Olympic TallThought I'd mention my other travel companion, "Daisy," affectionately named after Sam's pregnant cow. Daisy is presently weighing in around 50-55lbs. Uggh.

Posted at 10:34

attingo

So we're walking through Amsterdam Schiphol early Wednesday morning (after a 3am-6am Dusseldorf-Frankfurt train ride and a 1-hour Frankfurt-Amsterdam flight), and I see a sign for wireless broadband Internet upstairs. Immediately all thoughts of weariness, hunger, thirst, needing to go to the bathroom, etc. disappear. We have over 3 hours until our noon flight to Kuala Lumpur, and if I can spend it online, I will! Who knows when I'll come across another fast, wireless connection?

I found the Attingo Internet lounge upstairs and tried the sneak-approach first- wake up the iBook, turn on my Airport Card and see if it works (free), as in Starbucks. No go- we're behind a firewall. Oh well, $9 for the day is no biggy, especially for a 2mbps connection! So now I'm taking care of business- downloading all my email, updating this site, uploading pictures, etc.

Ahh! 1 hour until boarding!

Posted at 10:20

January 15, 2002

dusseldorf

We're at Uncle Nate's in Dusseldorf right now, leaving in about 4 hours for the loooong flight to Malaysia:

FLIGHT Klm - KL 1762 Wed 16 JAN 2002
Departs: 07:10 AM Frankfurt Intl (FRA)
Arrives: 08:20 AM Schiphol Arpt (AMS)
Amsterdam
Operator: Klm Royal Dutch Airl
F70 Journey Time 1:10
Snack

FLIGHT Klm - KL 4103 Wed 16 JAN 2002
Departs: 12:00 N Schiphol Arpt (AMS)
Amsterdam
Arrives: 07:35 AM Kuala Lumpur International Arpt
(KUL)
17 JAN 2002
Operator: Malaysia Airline System
Service: 777 Journey Time 12:35

Posted at 23:46

January 12, 2002

london with judd

I left Brighton this afternoon and I'm hanging with Judd in London for the night. He's working for UBSW for the next 10 months, as an investment banker. We're probably headed to a pub soon, so I'll make this quick. :)

Tomorrow we're flying down to Dusseldorf, thanks to some cheap tickets from Buzz.

Posted at 20:19

January 11, 2002

brighton

We're on a bus right now, heading from Heathrow to Brighton, to stay with one of Beth's friends for the night. To get into the spirit I'm listening to Tommy at the moment; hopefully I'll encounter the Pinball Wizard at some Brighton amusement hall later on.

Posted at 09:26

January 10, 2002

starbucks nyc

I'm sitting here in NYC with Sullivan and Beth at a Starbucks, anonymously using somebody's wireless network. Schweet... :)

The past few days have been great- hung out with Morman in northern Jersey and got caught up on where our lives have gone since school, wandered around NYC yesterday, picked up a DVD for the plane ride tonight, saw a movie, went to a kickass bar, the list goes on!

We're going to Ground Zero in a bit, and headed to the airport afterward. Our flight to London leaves at 7:30pm; hoping to catch up with Judd Saturday night. Then it's on to Dusseldorf to stay with Uncle Nate and his family.

Posted at 12:22

January 7, 2002

on road with Grandpa

So it begins... I'm on the road with Grandpa right now, driving from Marietta, OH to West Chester, PA, where I'll stay with Aunt Shelly & co. for the night. Tomorrow I'm taking a train over to northern New Jersey to crash with Brian Morman, one of my roommates from college last year.

It was quite an emotional, teary-eyed good-bye earlier this morning, which caught me by surprise. I've spent the past month taking care of the practical aspects of this trip, while completely ignoring the emotional side. Then wham! Bye Grandpa, Steve, Mom, Jack, Natalie and Dad! See you in a few years! :/

It fascinates me, all I take for granted, in this case the presence of my close family, with whom I lived this past fall after graduating from college. But one of my primary reasons for traveling is to discover things like these, and deepen my appreciation for them.

Posted at 09:32