Batu Caves. Lord Murugan, in all his golden splendour, stands watch as visitors flock to pay their respects. Or to use that flight of stairs as a free stair stepper…
A myriad of bright colours await those who go to Batu Caves in Gombak, the country’s most well-known Hindu worship site that’s nestled within 400 million year-old limestone caves. In order to pay to your respects to supreme Hindu god Lord Murugan — whose towering, 140-feet tall gold statue greets visitors as they approach the entrance — you’ll have to brave a steep ascent of 272 steps. But it’s well worth the trouble.
In addition to the robust workout you get from climbing the stairs, you’ll be accompanied and entertained by a fair number of macaques who’ve long made their home at Batu Caves. Ambling about nimbly on all fours, the monkeys seem like they’re constantly on a mission.
Tires crunched under the car as we drove slowly onto uneven parts of the worn, tar road. Riding alongside on her motorbike was Aunty, a private caretaker at the cemetery. One hand steered the bike whilst the other held a broom that she pumped upwards in acknowledgement upon seeing us. Aunty stopped when we parked on the side of the road, dismounted with broom still in hand and began chattering happily to my dad and uncle.
I didn’t really believe my mother when she told me that Mid Valley, one of Kuala Lumpur’s largest malls had sectioned off a part of their parking garage for a specific type of customer–female shoppers driving alone to Mid Valley–until I saw it for myself.
Female only parking zones is a well-intended move by the mall’s management, meant to tighten security for lone female shoppers after they became a prime target in a series of snatch thefts that occurred awhile back.
It was exactly a month ago since I set out on this journey back to the homeland. People have asked how I’m adjusting, and as expected, there are pros and cons.
The first two weeks were spent getting over jet lag and the fact that I no longer lived in Maryland. Quite a number of mornings started out with me thinking that I had someplace in Washington D.C. to get to, only to remember that oh, right. I moved halfway around the world. Continue reading
Saturday morning dawned early (March 1) for Schubert, a grey, shorthaired house cat. The alarm buzzed madly at 6 a.m., waking his human friend, who seemed to be in a great hurry to get up. Schubert ambled around her, gazing upwards intently until he was given a pat on the head. She even reached for the catnip flavoured treats this morning and he got three – they are never handed out so early! Then, as he was just done crunching up the last piece, his human friend walked him into a blue carrier bag, zipped it up, slung the bag (with Schubert in it) over her shoulder, and walked out the front door of the house in Rockville, Maryland, where a friend’s Hyundai stood parked waiting for them.
What Schubert didn’t know, was that he was about to fly for a total of 24 hours, on a journey of 17, 599 kilometers (10,936 miles) westward across the contigouos United States, and later, over the Pacific Ocean. A trip that most humans have never even embarked on, and those that have, dread it. Continue reading
Welcome to Part Three of my series on transporting your pet from the USA to Malaysia. Part I was was about travel accessories, and Part II was about essential pet travel documents. In this post, I’ll describe my overall experience travelling with Schubert Cat, including flight check-in, going through security, claiming your pet on arrival and checking him in with the quarantine office (MAQIS.)
The hotel room was quiet, except for the unobtrusive, low-volume Korean voices drifting from the flat-screen television. I peeked out the window and down towards the lit empty streets with resignation — it was 4:00 a.m. on Friday here in Korea after all.
Earlier in the evening on Thursday, I arrived in Incheon Airport, excited that I could take advantage of a 24-hour layover to explore Seoul. I’d made big plans and plotted out what I wanted to see. After unloading my bags at the hotel, I would ask the front desk for directions to the famous Dongdaemun, set out on an evening walk to the city’s vibrant shopping district and stay there till the wee hours of the night to leisurely browse all the goods. The next morning could be spent taking in the city’s popular sights before heading back to the airport. Continue reading
This post is Part II of my Transporting Your Pet from the USA to Malaysia post series. While Part One discussed travel accessories, Part Two will be all about travel documents that you’ll need on both USA and Malaysia ends. In fact, before you make other arrangements, your pet’s documents should be the first step in the process that you should handle, as some may require extra time before you can get the permits and certificates. Due to the slightly complicated procedures on the Malaysian side, I decided to wait till I had all the necessary paperwork before writing about this part of the process. Continue reading
An alley in the Mission District.
Cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Lombard Street — iconic, San Francisco landmarks that are a given on the must-see lists of first-time visitors. A few days of exploring those gorgeous sights are bound to have you hankering for more that the city has to offer, especially to places that fewer tourists know about. Here are my suggestions on how to discover the real San Francisco.
A painless check-in, even with a cat
Virgin is known as the hip and cool alternative airline, but I wasn’t expecting the interior of the plane to look like it did. A male attendant with spiky hair and hipster glasses stood near the main entrance of the plane; his all-black attire reminded me of a bartender. The plane itself, lit with a dim glow from neon purple and blue lights, had a swanky nightclub feel to it. Lounge music playing overhead amplified that atmosphere.