Tag Archives: asia

The Friendly Skies

It’s not easy to get from Singapore to Iowa and back again. In fact it took six different airports, six planes (four jumbojets and a pair of smaller jets), and some 65 hours of travel all told. Whew. But Nyan has been traveling around the globe since he was five months old, so no big deal.

Here we are at the very start of the trip, waiting for our taxi to Change Airport and then saying farewell to Mommy (who had to stay behind)

First leg: SIN to NRT on Japan Airlines.

A short layover at Narita, featuring delicious Japanese food:

Then it was a long (almost six hours) layover at Dallas-Fort Worth. We spent about two of those hours in line at immigration. Welcome home!


Then it was food, riding the airtrain from terminal to terminal, and waiting.

Oh, and dancing too:

It was nearly midnight when we arrived in Iowa, but someone was happy to see Grandma and Grandpa. Not to mention happy to be able to move around for a change.

It was a fun two weeks, but all good things must end, and before long we were back at the Cedar Rapids airport, saying goodbye.

We almost didn’t make it: check out the snow falling on the morning of our flight.

Some snowy views from the planes at both Cedar Rapids and O’Hare. We made it out, though.

We had a 13-hour flight to Beijing, China on our way back, but we were lucky enough to be able to use miles to upgrade to business class. Nyan was ecstatic. Daddy wasn’t unhappy either.

Finally, our last layover, Beijing, where we faced many more slow-moving lines, but finally made it to our gate for our last flight home to sunny, humid Singapore.

We’re not yet sure where our young traveler will head next. Stay tuned to these pages to find out!

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Posted by on February 6, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Nyan Returns to Hong Kong

Long-time readers will know that Nyan visited Hong Kong way back in the spring of 2015 (you can reminisce here). Mommy and Daddy have each been back a couple times each for work, but Nyan hadn’t. So when Mommy had to visit HK in late November, she took Nyan and Phwa Phwa along for a long weekend (while Daddy stayed behind in Singapore and worked). It was a successful trip by all accounts. Let’s take a look!

They did a fair amount of walking around and sightseeing, visiting museums, and the like. Check it out:

They also found a shopping mall, near to their hotel, that had a huge Lego Christmas display set up. Plus a bakery with a Stormtrooper cake. Think our boy was happy?

They rode the subway, they rode the ferry across the harbor:

Hong Kong is also known for a tram that goes up and down the steep Victoria Peak, the mountain behind the city. They rode that, too.

They rode it up:

They rode it down:

And in between, they checked out the spectacular views on a beautiful day:

Here’s a quick look at our hero, relaxing in the hotel room:

They also spent an afternoon at the botanic gardens, checking out the birds and the bamboo (among other things)

And finally, we leave you with a few random shots from around Hong Kong. It’s a really vibrant – not as clean as Singapore, but just as safe, and arguably more exciting – and I’m quite sure we’ll be back.

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Posted by on December 29, 2017 in Uncategorized


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A Visit to Telunas Beach Resort

Telunas is a laid-back beach resort on a small Indonesian island. There’s not a lot to do there except swim, eat, hike a bit, and relax. That was just what we were looking for as a way to unwind before Nyan started his new school, and to celebrate Mommy’s birthday. We are quite pleased to report the place exceeded our expectations in every way.  Here is a long report on our trip.

It’s pretty close to Singapore, which meant no air travel – just boats. We started with a half-hour ferry ride to the island of Batam, just across the channel from Singapore. Nice views of the Singapore skyline even from Indonesia:

Then we transferred to a small, low-slung traditional Indonesian fishing boat that the resort sent to pick us up. The ride was about 45 minutes through pretty calm waters, passing by untouched islands and the occasional fishing village, with most buildings on stilts above the water.

The resort is also built on stilts, jutting out over the water. The main building was the eating hall, and each individual cabin was connected by wooden pathways high above the water, eventually leading to a long stretch of beach. It was deliberately rustic and low-key, and it was great.


Here’s the resort:

And our room, a nice-sized place with a queen bed, bunk beds and a little balcony overlooking the sea and the island.

Fun on the Beach

The beach was long and clean, very wide at low tide and pretty narrow at high tide. The whole place was thick with little crabs who would dig holes in the sand and leave little balls of sand everywhere. Great for drawing your name in, actually. We obviously spent the bulk of our time on the beach – swimming, lazing, walking, playing with the other kids at the resort.

Rope Course

The blonde, curly-haired girl you see in some of those beach pictures was Anastasia, a.k.a. Squish. She and Nyan became fast friends, starting with some bonding at the resort’s rope course.

As you can see, it was a clearing on a hill, deep in the jungle, where they had installed a few rope bridges for kids (and adults!) to test their mettle. Nyan was a little nervous but he did a great job!

More Fun in the Water

The resort had some non-motorized water sports equipment to borrow, so one afternoon, Daddy and another parent staying at the resort brought one out into the (pretty shallow) water and threw a bunch of kids on it. A blast was had by all.

The resort also had a couple of platforms for the brave-hearted to jump from and into the water. One was maybe 10 feet, the other more like 30. Both were too high for Nyan, but not for Daddy!


The resort also offered rudimentary fishing — they’d loan you a plastic spindle with a lot of fishing line on it; you’d put some raw chicken on a hook at the end of the line and lower it down from the platforms. We didn’t catch anything but it was a nice relaxing time.


Speaking of relaxing, that’s ultimately what we did a lot of at Telunas. Reading, lounging, drawing, exploring, being silly. Good times.

The Night

Every night they had a big bonfire down on the beach. Kids loved it – especially when the marshmallows came out!

One evening we did a special pizza dinner down on the beach, where we all assembled our own pizzas and then had them bake them in a wood-fired oven. And, since it was Mommy’s birthday week, we asked if they could do something special. They sure could!

We were also there during a full moon. Amazing.


And you know ho the full moon brings out the crazy and/or goofy? Yeah. This:

Time to Go

Sadly, of course, all good things must end. So after a few nights, we had to board the fishing boat that took us back to the ferry that took us home. But we’re already making plans to return to Telunas.

It’s fair to say the trip was an unalloyed success. In case there was any doubt, Nyan started his new school a couple days later. One of the first things the children did was to draw “what I did on my summer vacation” pictures. Here’s what Nyan came up with:


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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Holiday in Cambodia

We’ve said before that one of the great things about living in Singapore is that it’s easy to jet away to all sorts of spectacular places. In late April, we did just that with a weekend trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to the famous Angkor Wat and other thousand-year-old temples deep in the jungle.

Most famous is Angkor Wat itsslef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and, in fact, the largest religious monument in the world. It’s 162 hectares — thanks, Wikipedia! — and comprises a moat and numerous stone buildings, plus lots of open space.

This video gives a hint at the size:

And that’s just one small section of the place, just outside the main temple.

Here are a bunch of photos from in and around Angkor Wat. Click on any photo to enlarge it – and trust us, it’s worth it! A very photogenic place.

Just up the road is Angkor Thom, an ancient walled city with numerous old temples and monuments inside. It was the capital of the Khmer empire and established around 900 years ago.

This was our second stop on the day, and to be honest, we were a little worried that Nyan’s attention would quickly lag. There wasn’t a lot to actually *do* at these places besides walk around and ooh and ahh and be amazed at the sculptures and architecture. But Nyan was a trooper and was really into it! Here we are exploring around Angkor Thom, including a few shots of the moat outside the wall and the wall itself.

As awesome as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom were, Ta Prohm was definitely Daddy’s favorite temple. Unlike the other two, officials have made a conscious choice not to do much if any restoration work here, so there are tumbled-down stones everywhere and, most stunningly, huge jungle trees and vines crawling all over everything. So beautiful.

The trip wasn’t all temple trekking though. We also spent some time in our hotel’s very nice swimming pool.

And maybe the highlight of the trip, for Nyan at least, was the tuk-tuk rides we took around town.

Finally, random shots from the trip. Including one of Nyan, before the flight, wearing a toy crown he had made at school. He slapped it on and took to calling himself the “King of Cambodia.” Alright then.

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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Return to Myanmar

In early March, Nyan and Mommy joined Phwa Phwa and Uncle Nyi-Nyi for a short visit to Yangon, Myanmar. It was definitely a trip they will never forget, since both Mommy and Nyan caught some sort of stomach bug and spent a fair amount of time convalescing in their hotel room!

Still, they managed to see some temples — including the famous Shwedagon Pagoda — and hang out with various aunties and cousins, including Nyan’s favorite Kiki.

Some of the temples:

Nyan was really into the bells:


And the incense too:

And just hanging out with his young cousin Htun Htun:

And finally some random shots from around Yangon:

So you can see, they managed to have a good time in spite of the sickness. Next time we will all stay healthy and see more of the country!

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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Fun in Phuket – Part Two

In our last post, we looked at our time at the beach and the resort during our trip to Phuket, Thailand in late December 2016. Here, we take a look at some specific things we got up to.

We stayed in the town of Karon, which was a short drive away from the tourist hub of Patong, which is jam-packed and overcrowded, and is also home to a red-light district. We popped over to Patong one evening for some dinner and sightseeing.

First, Nyan and Daddy found an Irish pub – complete with American craft beers on tap – and had some dinner while Mommy had a massage. The pub was quite empty but had a stage area that was set up for a singer later in the evening. Nyan took advantage of it being empty and hopped on the stage.

He also tried his hand at some free dancing on the dance floor.

We also took a family stroll up Bangla Road, the heart of the red light district. It was still early, so not too rowdy. Nyan got some attention from some of the ladies of the night, but it was all innocent. We think.


We got to drive in an open-air tuk-tuk on the way back to the resort.

One of our favorite activities on Phuket was an afternoon spent at Dino Golf. It’s a miniature golf course with a dinosaur theme. Lots of fiberglass dinos poking their heads out of the jungle foliage, plus holes that went through volcanos or over fallen logs. Pretty fun!

One thing we learned: none of us are very good at mini golf. Oh well.

Another day we went to visit the Big Buddha, which is – you guessed it – a Buddha statue, high on a ridge overlooking the entire island, that is quite big. Impressive.

The views are pretty amazing as well.

Underneath the statue are a lot of shrines you can pray to. Here’s Nyan, trying his hand at it.

It’s still under construction, and to raise money, they let you write your name on a tile that will one day be installed on the site, in exchange for a donation.

Those are the highlights from our trip to Phuket. It’s a fine enough place, though to be honest, not one we’re likely to rush back to. A bit crowded, and nothing really special enough to make it worth a return visit, we felt. Still, a good time, and a nice way to cap off 2016.

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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Fun in Phuket – Part One


During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we flew a couple hours north to Phuket, the resort island off the mainland of Thailand. It was crowded, packed with tourists from Russia and elsewhere, but we stayed out of the heart of the tourist zone so managed to enjoy ourselves. Here’s a look at what we got up to.

We spent a great deal of time on the beach – specifically Karon Beach, right across the road from our hotel. It was lovely and pretty clean, with great sunset views and sand that was perfect for building things in.

Here are some random shots from around the island, including Nyan riding in the back of a tuk-tuk  and getting some love from one of the Burmese girls working at a seafront restaurant that we frequented

The resort we stayed at had several swimming pools – one with a water slide – plus a kid’s club area, rock paths that a curious five year old liked to examine using his new night-vision goggles, and more. Let’s take a look.

Here’s the young man, bouncing around inside the kid’s club

Finally, some shots from the traveling. Hanging out with Pikachu at the airport, waiting in line for passport control, and passed out on the bed after flights and car rides to the hotel.

Next up: More pictures and videos from around Phuket .

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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


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