Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Talking about the past... part 3

The final leg of our 4 country, 12 day vacation as a one night stop in Tokyo to see friends Holly and Skip, with their kids Skylar and Blayden. We took an overnight flight from Malaysia and arrived at their place early on Saturday morning.

A quick shower to freshen up and we were off with Holly and the kids to wander the streets of Tokyo and see the little German Christmas market that was set up in one of the neighborhoods. That night we planned to show the two local expats what we knew of Tokyo, taking them first to the local sushi restaurant that Matt had found when were were here a few years ago for the Red Sox games, and then where we stopped in when passing through on our way to Hawaii. So off we went with our business card for the restaurant, and after some slight confusion we found the place, and of course it's closed. Holly talked to some locals and they told us that they are always closed on the weekends....

But that was okay, after accepting the let down and apologizing we found a tiny little restaurant around the corner where Skip had to work hard on his reading and speaking skills in order to get us food, but the food that we did eat was delicious.

After dinner we headed across town to take them to the jazz bar we went to last time we were here so that we could see Stan Gilbert again. So what happened here? Well as you can probably guess Stan doesn't play on the weekends so we missed him too. Overall our night of trying to upstage the locals with out knowledge was a bust, but we did leave them with two cards for these places so that hopefully Skip and Holly will get a chance to return and enjoy the night that we had tried to show them...

The next day we had to leave in the early afternoon for our flight home so we tagged along with our friends to the local Synagogue where they were having a Sunday buffet since we were there in the middle of Hanukkah, so we were able to enjoy a nice meal and once again learn how to play the dradle game.

From there we were off to the airport and then back on the plane heading for the states, it was a quick trip and we packed a lot into it but it was definitely worth it all just to be able to spend such quality time will all of our friends and family over on that side of the world...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Talking about the past... part 2

From Xiamen we went down to Singapore for two quick nights, where we were supposed to meet up with The Mexican but just a few weeks prior he was transferred back to the States. We have been to Singapore before and seen most of the sights, so we used this unexpected break as a great bit of down time between to sections of our trip, oh and we went to the Singapore zoo.

The latter part of the day rained so we relaxed in our hotel room enjoying a bottle of wine and playing Scrabble. The next morning we were up bright and early to the train station for a 10 hour ride up to Ipoh, Malaysia to see our family.

Station in Singapore - closing early next year
Station in Ipoh

In Ipoh we only had a quick two nights, but we needed to get there to see family again, and as usual they pull out all the stops to make sure that we have an excellent time. One thing that we learnt after arriving is that Ipoh has an airport that has direct flights to/from Singapore and that only take about an hour... But the train ride was nice, and we got to see the countryside and a great downpour as we rolled through Kuala Lumpur.

Alex with the champagne we brought for them
FamilyMore FamilyA very pregnant Siew Yih

The second night we were there they went out and treated us to an amazing feast, probably some of the best food that we've ever eaten. It was great to see everyone and have the time to catch up with them even though it was such a short time, the next day we were back at the train station to head down to Kuala Lumpur to catch an overnight flight to Tokyo.

The good news from the trip is that Alex and Dr. Lim are coming over to the States this spring and hopefully we will get a chance to catch up with them then...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Talking about the past... part 1

Yep, we're still here and occasionally thinking about writing posts to share with all of you... It's amazing how easy it is to get away from this, and then how hard it is to get back into posting.

Alright, so let's take some time to go back and talk about the trip that we made over the Thanksgiving holiday in the States. We took advantage of the two days off and bundled it with a week of holiday for a 12 day trip to Asia. And we do mean Asia, as we managed to visit 4 countries during that short trip....

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving we took a night flight from Chicago to Beijing, landing on Wednesday pretty close to midnight, a quick trip to a hotel for 5 hours of sleep and then we are back at the airport and heading down to Xiamen.

Xiamen was almost the same as we remember it from a year ago, some shops had closed and other had opened, but overall it was still that same small town of 4 million that we love. We spent 4 nights there and had a great chance to catch up with a lot of our expat friends that are still living there and the locals that we had gotten to know. We dined twice at our favorite local restaurant, we call it "The Sisters" for the two sister who run the place, and the second time they were kind enough to treat us to the meal. More of a meal then we would have eaten, as we ordered a small amount and they decided that wasn't enough and also brought us a plate of shrimp and a whole fish - the food was excellent, as always, but it was tough to finish it all.

Shelly at the new coffee shop she runs
The Sisters
Lao Joe at CoyoteOn Gulang YuLao Joe, Jasmine, Ulf, and Tina at Me&You2Howard and his brand new fiancee at The Oriental

It was a quick trip, but a lot of fun, and while we were there talking to friends we agreed that we would come back the first weekend in 2012 and run in the Xiamen International Marathon. We think that the 13 months we have should be enough time for training...