BootsnAll Travel Network

about us & our blog:

Malia & Jess are coming home! Our five month adventure has taken us through Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. You can view our most recent blog posts here on the home page or view posts by city/location, author, posts with videos, etc. by using the categories listed at right. Feel free to check out our itinerary and our latest pictures by following the links as well. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

vignettes of song

April 29th, 2008

people sing alot in bali. and not american idol-type singing. this is not singing for any audience, just for themselves. i often catch people singing just for the joy of singing.

yesterday i had lunch in a little balinese restaurant and across the road from where i was sitting, there stood a policeman, singing. he had his arms outstretched, palms up to the sky, and the biggest smile on his face. the cars passing in the street between us drowned out the sound, but i’m sure it was lovely. he didn’t see me watching him, and when he finished his song, he looked up to the sky, clapped his hands as if to say “what a fine day!” and turned around to walk down the street. i have to agree with him, it was a fine day.
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beautiful bali

April 25th, 2008

offerings on kuta beach, bali

beautiful blue skies and white sand beaches. narrow little streets lined with shops and smiling faces. heavenly spa treatments for less than the price of a hamburger back home. yes, we’ve landed in paradise – also known as bali.

jess and i arrived just around midnight a few days ago (so tired from the plane ride!) and fell into bed as soon as we arrived. we didn’t have much of a chance to check out our surrounds until the following day when we took off on foot to find a hotel closer to the beach. and once we could get a feel for the area, we realized just what a beautiful place bali is!
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attack of the mini-pirhanas!

April 22nd, 2008

while playing tourist on sentosa island just off the coast of singapore, we visited the fish reflexology spa that kirstin and thea recommended… for $35 you get the pleasure of dipping your feet into a tank of hungry little fishes ready to nibble away the dead skin from your feet! it definitely took some getting used to (check out jess’s screams!) but we got the hang of it. by the end, we were disappointed when the fish left our feet in search of “fresh meat” (fresh feet? hehe) when another girl came along.

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culture shock singapore

April 21st, 2008

jess and i are not your typical backpackers. we don’t carry around those big turtle-esque bags on our backs, roaming the street for hostels when we arrive in a city. we appreciate comfy beds and fluffy pillows. and we (usually) don’t smell too bad. but at the same time, especially in a city as flashy as singapore, we do occasionally feel like we’re “roughing it”. and coming from the craziness of thailand, singapore was quite a change…

people here drive withing the lane markers in their own lanes. they obey traffic lights, and there are hardly any mopeds anywhere. you can’t chew gum, litter, jaywalk, or eat on the subway, and all of these are punishable with fines of up to $500! the city is spotless, parks are elaborately maintained and interspersed throughout the city, the public transportation is efficient, and just about everyone speaks english. as a friend of mine told me the other day, singapore is like “asia lite.”
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happy (thai) new year!

April 14th, 2008

every year from april 13th through april 15th in thailand, chaos breaks loose on the streets. you may think everyone’s gone mad, but really it’s a celebration of the thai new year, also known as songkran. we were lucky enough to be in bangkok for this crazy water festival this year.

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it’s a delicacy, right?!?

April 12th, 2008

ok i think i get the prize now for the weirdest eating experience… grasshoppers, tarantulas – piece of cake. how about a little snake blood?!?! do i win??

(check out the end of the blog for the video evidence!)

to celebrate our last night in vietnam, emily, bryan and i decided to go to a village called le mat 7km northeast of hanoi to try out snake cuisine! we’d read about it in a teeny tiny (and not very descriptive) section in lonely planet, and decided that we wanted to see for ourselves. so we had our hotel book us a cab out to the “snake village.”

the weather has been a little strange lately and as we drove out to the village, a misty rain cast an eerie glow over the buildings we passed. when we arrived in the town itself, our cab was flanked on either side by two guys on motorcycles who were yelling at our driver. eventually, we began to follow one of the motorcycles down a series of streets and alleyways, getting more and more nervous the deeper we drove into town. we pulled up to what looked like a house of some sort, and inside we glimpsed jars of cobras and snakes lining the walls. a man came out holding a slithering snake, and the three of us looked at each other uneasily but decided that since we’d come this far we might as well go all the way.

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made-to-order madness

April 7th, 2008

nguyen phuoc cloth shop, hoi an

hoi an is a beautiful, historic little town known as THE place to come to get clothes tailor-made. sinceĀ i had planned to stick around for a few days (it gets sooo tiring moving from town to town ever other day!), i decided to look into getting a few things made. it’s quite addicting once you get started, and really hard to avoid! even men get in on the action, as you can get a suit made for between $40-80 depending on the material! the town itself is very small, and is home to over 800 historic buildings, so the best way to get around to see the sights is on foot or bicycle. as you’re walking through the streets, it seems that 2 out of every 3 shops you pass is a tailor – all with fabulous coats, dresses, and suits displayed out front to entice you to stop in.
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the fabulous madame cuc!

April 5th, 2008


madame cuc!, originally uploaded by maliayosh.

if you’re on a budget (and even if you’re not!) you MUST visit one of madame cuc’s hotels in the pham ngu lao area of ho chi min city (saigon) if you gt the chance. she is wonderful! this was definitely my favorite of all the places i’ve stayed in the past three months, and we’ve been allllll over the place, so i think i can be considered somewhat of an expert by now.
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a heavy heart

April 3rd, 2008

some of you read the blog i wrote about cambodia and the khmer rouge and wanted to know more… its really sad that they don’t teach us much about it in school. i feel so ignorant, but i never really knew anything about it until coming here… over 2 million – some estimates say 3 million – of cambodia’s 7 million people were killed during the late 70’s when the khmer rouge party took over. they killed men, women, and children indiscriminately, but made specific targets of the educated – anyone who spoke foreign languages, anyone who wore glasses even, were automatically enemies of the new government. they were trying to create a marxist society of farmers and peasants (i still dont quite understand what they were hoping for)….

they made child soldiers out of many cambodian children and just basically forced the whole country to go through so many things that no one should ever have to go through… before the khmer rouge takeover, cambodians were facing a bloody civil war between the khmer rouge and the government, and even AFTER the khmer rouge was overthrown, they still were not brought to justice for the horrible crimes they committed. in fact, the US government and the UN included them in the new government that was installed after they were kicked out! so many cambodians lived in fear that it would happen again, for over twenty years! only in the past ten years or so has the khmer rouge been officially shut down. its absolutely nuts.

i know its sort of depressing, and it may seem irrelevant when our own country has so many problems of its own, but i just feel like its something that we should know about. especially since the US bombed so much of this region during those years and pretty much just covered the whole thing up. if nothing else, i feel like the story just needs to be told.
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the best way to spend a birthday…

April 2nd, 2008

pho in vietnam! yum!, originally uploaded by maliayosh.

… is in two countries in one day! =)

this year i woke up in cambodia and fell asleep in vietnam on my birthday, and i couldn’t be happier. we left phnom penh on a VIP bus (an actual VIP bus, with a bathroom and cold a/c and everything!) that took us all the way to ho chi min city (saigon).

we arrived in saigon in the early afternoon and checked into a great little guesthouse in the pham ngu lao area. we even had the luxuries of air conditioning (a wonderful treat in this heat!), hot water, and a tv! not to mention free breakfasts, free coffee, tea and fruit all day, and even free dinners too! madame cuc, the owner, scolded us last night when we said we were going out for dinner, and invited us to a lunch that she’s cooking today.. she told us to make sure we come hungry! she also apologized to me for not being prepared for my birthday – they usually give you a cake! i absolutely couldn’t believe the hospitality – i’m paying $7.50 a night! what a great introduction to vietnam.
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