Thursday, August 26, 2010

Update

There really hasnt been a lot going on that Ive needed to write about. Its been consistently rainy, hot, and humid. Its not unbearable and reminds me a lot of Missouri weather.

School is still going very well and Im looking forward to my schedule changing next week (more breaks!!). I recently purchased some new clothes and I guess they made me look too Korean. Ive been told by several people that my English is exceptional and asked me if Ive ever lived in America. They really thought I was Korean...! Always good for a laugh...

Well, tomorrow (Aug 27th) is the day I go in for my surgery. Its a little nerve racking having your first surgical procedure done in a foreign land. Its much cheaper though, so hopefully it turns out well and the scarring in minimal. I should only been down and out for a week though. Im trying to reward myself with the Iphone4 but have to sign a 2 year  contract. Thats not an issue, but trying to prove that Ill be in the country that long is tough. Oh well, could be a sign that I dont need it!

Wish me luck...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Perhentian Islands...

We arrived in the Perhentian Islands around 6pm Monday night. We got settled into the Kesuma Guest House in the middle of Long Beach. it only cost us 80 RM a night (about $25). It overlooked the beach and was a great location. Only problem, no electricity from 7am-7pm! It was a pretty remote area and I loved it!

Tuesday morning, we went snorkeling and were able to swim with black finned reef sharks, hawksbill and leatherback turtles, and many other exotic fish! It was a great time and was my first real time snorkelling. I got a nice sunburn that lasted the rest of the week. One time during the trip, the guide pointed to a spot and told us to swim there, where he will pick us up. Well, I swam there and no one else was around and no boat either! As it turned out, I swam about a mile too far!

That night, I played a game of volleyball with the locals. It was a great finish to an awesome day. Each day after, I just took in the serene environment and let all stress and worries float away! I then played volleyball at 5pm with others on the island until it got too dark to play. We then went into the water to cool off (although the water was warm) and get the sand off. Then, it was time for dinner and some drinks at the local watering hole. I met some great people on the island from Spain, Holland, and France. We had great conversations, photo sessions, sharing travel stories, and  just learning from the experiences that life has brought each of us. I had an unbelievable time and loved making new friends.

After leaving the islands on Friday night, we went back to Kuala Besut to catch a 9 hour bus to Kuala Lumpur. While walking around this rustic old Muslim town, I happened across a pick-up game of soccer. They noticed me watching and invited me to play. I declined and we stood around chatting about the sport for a short while. Pretty soon, I was putting on an impromptu soccer camp and helping the kids improve basic fundamentals of the game. They were very good for their ages (ranged from about 8-14) but you could tell they had never had any real coaching as they were naive to the nuances and strategies of the game. They were just adept at dribbling and trying to beat people one on one instead of working as a team.  I loved how willing to learn they were, and how receptive they were to a little coaching. It is a refreshing reminder as to why Ive enjoyed the coaching profession this long!

I had a great vacation and cant wait until my next travel to a different country... Will it be Japan? China? Cambodia?? Only time will tell...

Back from Malaysia

From July 24th-Aug 1st, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Malaysia. Tess and I boarded the plane at the Seoul airport in Incheon Saturday afternoon. We arrived in Shanghai, China 3 hours later and was supposed to have a 1 hour layover. That turned into 3 hours with no explanations! The airport in Shanghai was insane to begin with. First, it was empty... Second, they had the most unusual immigration/customs check and was mostly pointless... Third, instead of allowing us to transfer to our next flight, they accidentally ushered us outside of the airport! We went back inside after a short while and waltzed right to the gate. We didnt have to check back through security, even though we had left the airport (so safe!).

We finally landed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia around midnight. We immediately got a taxi and tried to get to our hotel (Concorde). The driver took us to the wrong Concorde hotel and was not happy, even though we had given him an exact address! As it turns out, the hotel was literally right next to the Hard Rock Cafe, and just a 5 minute walk from the Petronas Twin Towers (formerly the tallest buildings in the world, not just the tallest twin towers). Upon arriving at the hotel, we decided to eat in the hotel lounge and within 5 minute, a large fight broke out in front of the hotel. As it turned out, it was biker night at the Hard Rock and tempers tend to rise with that much bike and testosterone. Little did we know we'd get dinner and entertainment!

The next morning, I went to Hard Rock to buy a friend from home a Hard Rock shirt (she collects them from all over the world) and sent my parents a post card. We then tried to go to the Petronas Towers but they wer out of tickets. Instead, we went to the KL Menara Towers (421 meters high) and rode the KL "Hop On, Hop Off" double decker bus and mapped out what we wanted to see. The next morning, we were to fly to the Perhentian Islands in the East...