Sunday, 1 July 2012


A Very Accommodating Baby Elephant

It had been six months since we went on vacation, and in that time we moved our family to China and started a new life…new home, new job, new school, new country, new language. It was time for a break. After deliberating for a while to decide where to go, which mostly revolved around where it was the rainy season and where it was not, we hit on Malaysia. We just returned from a 1-week trip there.
Elephant Ride!
As you might guess, our vacation style has shifted recently, and this time more of our activity selection was centered on the kids. From Kuala Lumpur we had a guide take us out into the jungle area where we visited an elephant sanctuary. Here the kids got to ride and feed and bathe elephants. They absolutely loved it (except for the splashing). We also visited a fort with some very friendly monkeys that would take food from your hand and Amelia would let out an adorable giggle every time. The kids also had the chance to feed deer and rabbits at another little animal park. We only had to be sure to steer clear of the pythons which Amelia made very clear she did not want to see (Katrin got to detour to go check them out). We also made a stop at Batu Caves to view the temple, had a very tasty seafood dinner followed by a boat ride in the dark to go observe hundreds of fireflies lighting up the trees on the bank like Christmas lights.
Steps up Batu Caves
Also in Kuala Lumpur Katrin went to visit a biotech company that supplied us with a trial drug for our cat, Baba. She has Feline Leukemia, which is not curable, but so far they have had good results suppressing a lot of the symptoms, so we are hopeful this will make her feel better. When we returned home she had taken a turn for the worse, but seems to be perking up again, and I will let you know how she progresses.
This lady knows who to sell to!
Going Boating
A short flight then took us to a quiet resort on Redang Island. Here was pure relaxation with the softest white sandy beach, a plethora of tropical fish to see while snorkeling, warm and calm water, ice cream walks on the beach after dinner, and so on. We also found it unusual to be on holiday at the beach and spend a few hours each afternoon in the hotel room, but since the kids are still napping each day and, like I said, this trip was centered around the kids so we had to take turns hiding in the room during nap time. Of course, the kids spent most of their awake time in the pool and ocean, which is also good as Amelia is getting more confident as a swimmer (using floaties) and Tristan is learning from her.

Water Slide
The area was a bit special since there was good snorkeling right off the beach. It was a good opportunity for one of us to go snorkeling while the other played with the kids by the beach, and then switch. Most of our fellow tourists were from Japan or China or India, and the snorkeling was interesting because most of them can’t swim. So they would float around in their life preservers holding onto each other, occasionally poking their heads into the water. They were also into feeding the fish and I was impressed to see my kids literally surrounded by little reef fish and not freaking out. It was quite fun.

Palau Redang...Is it Paradise?
It was a great trip, and I guess to attest to that fact, the worst moment I can think of was when we had to explain to Amelia that when we said we were going to take a ferryboat, it didn't mean a Fairy Boat. The big watery eyes and quivering lip were heartbreaking. Other than that it was all really wonderful, not only to relax on the beach, but honestly also to take a break from China. It’s a fun adventure here but it’s also not easy sometimes. It was a nice opportunity to leave behind the traffic and noise, the pollution and endless smogginess, the challenges of shopping and getting stuff done. And the trade that in for a quiet peacefulness, a night sky full of stars, and bright blue sunny days. Now it’s back to work for awhile and looking forward to the next trip…for Katrin and the kids that means California and Oregon in two weeks, but for me it will not be until October when we’re thinking of going to Japan and perhaps the Philippines.


  1. Looks like a wonderful trip! We can relate to the travel with kids--will have to get the name of where you stayed on Redang. It's always nice to have snorkeling right off the beach. I was wondering how you two managed to pull that off. Too funny about your fellow snorkelers, as well! Thanks for sharing, and maybe next time you can organize a Fairy boat.

  2. Nice to meet you! We blog at and it's almost always about our cats.

    Love your holiday here - except for the elephant rides. Heard too many bad stories about how these animals are "domesticated".