My good friend Teresa messaged yesterday to say that I’d better do something fabulous enough for my birthday that I could blog about it … and it turns out I really, really did!  This is the very first birthday I’m spending in Malaysia.  Fingers crossed it is the first of many to come.  I turned 46 yesterday and had a BLAST doing it.  My new friend Maria Tunku Sabri (a celeb in Malaysia who pioneered the country’s cooking shows on TV) had invited me to try the Crab Factory with her and a few work mates, the date it turned out was my special day, and it was perfect.  I spent hours laughing and talking about holidays, culinary adventures, and straight up FOOD with the owner T.Y., Maria, and four more of TV3s sweetest TV presenters.
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Penang is famous for its non-stop street food and night markets, so I was excited to discover a wildly wonderful food pavilion next to Cheong Fatt Tze, The Blue Mansion (within the protected UNESCO zone) while I was staying there. Red Garden Food Paradise is a covered food court and open nightly, with live music and even a Thai-styled ladyboy show by the lovely Penang-based Selena.  I ate everything from fried oysters and the BEST spicy clams to crêpes and dim sum.  OH, and they serve wine, which is something I haven’t seen out at a night market yet in Malaysia. The live entertainment was a festive and peppy mix of English, Malay, and Chinese songs that kept everyone happy.  Check it out:

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Glass bottomed cable cars, panoramic views, and a terrifying glass window you can stand on hundreds of feet above ground … well, those are just thrills that await you on the Langkawi SkyBridge and SkyCar, the biggest and best ‘must do and see’ activity on Langkawi.  Opened in February 2005, the main boarding station for the gondola-style cable cars is located at the foothills of the picturesque Machincang mountain, said to be on a part of Southeast Asia that is the most ancient and the first to have emerged from the sea.
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Holy yummy night out!  Don’t even think of visiting Penang without a visit to the Batu Ferringhi night market located just one street off of the beach.  Known locally as the Batu Ferringhi sidewalk bazaar and not so much as the pasar malam (night market), this fun collection of the best local food and shopping stalls extends for block after block, in and out of small fixed shopping centres, permanent food courts, and pop-up sidewalk carts … it’s really an interesting concept and they’ve pulled it off perfectly.

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Since moving away from India, I sadly don’t see many Sikhs anymore. Today I happened upon a fellow traveller in the Kuala Lumpur airport, and just the distant hint of his turban made me smile. I could see the small little escaping hairs at the nape of his neck as I drew closer and knew he hadn’t recently used that slim silver grooming tool that my Sikh mates in Bangalore were always popping out from their pocket to replace the escapees! Somehow, that too made me smile and reminded of fun times with great friends in India. Read More

From the moment I separated from my ex-husband, when our daughter was one year old, I made the choice to lead a joyful life with no regrets. My ex was a bully, had dominated and controlled me, and had made me absolutely unhappy. At the time I was 26 and believed that a miserable married person would struggle to be a good parent … so I decided then and there to live a happy life for ME so that I had the best chance of being a wonderful mom to my daughter. Read More

Come explore one of the most important Hindu shrines outside of India with me, taking in life around the caves and temples in the early morning to start.  Then we’ll climb the 272 steps up to the cave, where you’ll see statues, art, and live music played for those who’ve come to worship in a truly memorable setting. Read More

You never know what life in Malaysia will bring your way, and this was never more apparent to me as when I was spontaneously invited to my very first Malay-Muslim wedding reception in Kuala Lumpur.  It was so lovely, with such beautiful traditions and customs, and so splendid to behold.  The setting looked like the scene from every little girl’s fantasy of what her wedding day would look like, it was magical. Read More

Looking for something hilariously FUN to do while visiting Malaysia? Well, how about a ride in a super neon Hello Kitty tri-shaw blasting out pop music from massive speakers!  My Mom was here recently and that’s what we did and as strange as it is to admit, it was actually a highlight from her holiday, (no joke!). Read More

As dorky as it may be, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for using my first Bahasa word in a blog post title!  For anyone who doesn’t speak the language (like me), sedap means DELICIOUS … and that’s exactly what you’ll experience at TAPAK.  Launched just over 3 months ago by 4 reunited school mates to meet the growing demand in popularity of food trucks in Kuala Lumpur, TAPAK is KL’s first non-night market ‘urban street food’ experience open 7 nights a week, right downtown in the heart of the city.  In fact, it’s so close to Petronas Towers that you will leave TAPAK with a happy, full belly and awesome selfies taken gobbling up food with the towers in the background! Read More

Woohooooo! My 1st (non-airport) experience with the Malaysian government was fantastic … every single employee was kind, gracious and helpful (NOT something expats experience in some countries, trust me!!! I’ve been yelled at in China and India for not being in the right queue so this was a lovely experience!). Read More

Come explore Plaza Dataran Merdeka, Dataran Underground, and the energetic KL Hari Raya Eid Mubarak Festival 2016 with me! Coordinated by the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau to showcase the beauty and diversity of Malaysian culture and their cuisine, they extended an invitation not only to special guests but to every tourist in town to come enjoy themselves, and it was a day I won’t soon forget … with so much food I’m not even sure I captured it all! Read More

I’m currently spending a month in Bali curating travel content. This makes the 2nd time in less than 9 months that I’m here, with the previous visit lasting 60 days. It’s hectic, it’s fun, it’s a wonderful break from my own ‘real life’, and it reminds me often about what is really important as I see life through the eyes of the gracious people of Indonesia. Read More

This week I received an email from an aspiring writer looking for an opportunity to contribute to a blog.  He shared in his email that writing was his dream but that he has been met time and again with obstacles to his dream by publishers and blog owners refusing to give him a shot at doing what he loves.  And certainly we can all sympathise on some level with those types of frustrations. Read More

After living in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of months now, I finally spent an absolutely fun evening eating, drinking, and shopping at Pasar Malam Taman Connaught 康乐夜市, Malaysia’s largest Night Market in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.  The Street Food was an EXCITING mix of Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian with countless stalls cooking and selling things like giant squid, stinky tofu, black dumplings, steaming ice cream, Hello Kitty cakes …. and so much more.

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Today I ran across a post by an award-winning travel writer sharing tips on how to get lost on purpose that triggered a slew of memories. It was almost like one of those end-of-life flashbacks in films, with distinct scenes from some of my favourite trips from the past 15’ish years instantly playing in my mind. Some were snapshots of amazing monuments when they first came into view, while others were unforgettable and special experiences or moments in time. Read More

I’m a California native, 5th generation descendent of Irish, German, and British immigrants to the United States of America. My family didn’t go to the U.S. because they had a foreign worker’s post in the embassy – or a job at all! They were fleeing from a poor economic climate (mostly from Ireland), looking to improve their life in a country that promised a brighter future. My ancestors were immigrants, plain and simple. Luckily they weren’t fleeing to escape shellfire and tyranny like so many millions of people in 2016. However, just like 99.9% of all immigrants around the world today, they were good people just trying to provide a more secure life for their family. Read More

The guys from N.W.A. (from the movie Straight Outta Compton) were born within a few years of me, and in the town that bordered mine in Los Angeles County. I was born in Lynwood, which shares a border with Compton, and until I was 10 years old we lived next door in South Gate. If someone says they were born “in the ‘hood” or they are from the ‘hood’ (slang for neighbourhood), well … where I’m originally from in L.A. is one of those places. Read More

Looking for a truly ‘local’ experience in Kuala Lumpur? Then definitely check out Raj’s Banana Leaf for breakfast on the weekend. It is multi-cultural fabulousness at its best with ladies in sarees, folks in workout gear with crazy blingy gold sunglasses, urban hipsters with man buns and beards, westerners, and so much more.  The food and chai are very yummy to boot! And everything you see in the video came to a total of 20 Ringgits (the equivalent of $4.90 USD)!!! Amazing. Read More

After spending 7 weeks back in California in a very ‘white’ residential suburb, one of the things I’m loving most about being back in a city – especially one like Kuala Lumpur, and my new village of Mont Kiara – is being able to walk out the door and have a very multi-cultural life buzzing all around me. There’s something about that initial burst of morning fabulousness that really starts the day off perfectly. And for me that all begins at my friendly, local coffee shop and bakery on the ground floor of my building that is perfect for people watching. Read More