P: Fresh off the boat

P1160450HI Everyone-

first a quick apology for our 4 day silence on the blog.  We’ve been having some technology issues (translated to read Josh is now working full time and I have to run all the camera/computer/software stuff on my own).  So far I’ve deleted 2 of Emma’s blog posts and stored today’s roll of pictures on the camera’s internal memory (rather than the little card) so we can’t get the photos out.    VERY ridiculous but at least Josh knows he’s needed around here…

We left our idyllic island getaway and traveled for less than 4 hours but felt like a world away.  As our speed boat pulled into sight of the mainland, drifts of garbage clogged the waters and the driver had to reduce his speed to avoid damaging the boat.



Gone were the beach bungalows, the coral sand beaches and the swaying trees.  The coastline was crowed with these little dwellings, perched on the very edge– just like the poor migrant community that lives here.  Max asked why would people live like that?  Josh answered that they are landless people, and have to build their homes over the sea.



And then from the poorest people in Malaysia we were surrounded by the poshest.  Here’s a pic of the KL Twin Towers.  For a while this was the tallest building in the world… but know Dubai has that distinction.  Every taxi man we meet wants to know why I haven’t taken the kids up to the observation deck yet.  I have NO interest in zooming up an elevator and peering down at the city from hundreds of stories up.  Call me crazy!


And so you may ask— “What kind of adventures will they get up to in the city?”

funny you should ask!  We’ve been quite busy:

Ordering sushi at a restaurant that uses computers as waiters ( there is a screen for ordering and a conveyer belt to bring the dishes out to the customers.)  None of that yucky interpersonal connection to get in the way of a good sushi meal.


Pampering ourselves with Spa Treatments!  This is a Fish Spa.  Yes we paid good money to plunge our feet in a tank filled with little fish.  Then the fish nibble all the dead skin from our toes!  YUMMMY.  How did it feel?  Quite horrible at the start.  The little fish swarmed my feet and it was a little like electric current running through my legs.

P1030470I was creeped out and jerked my feet out, but Emma said that as long as we didn’t watch them eating our dead skin it wasn’t so bad.  In the end, we stayed for the full half hour treatment and were delighted with our smoother feet.  Here you can see Emma’s toes getting nibbled!



We loved the night market– esp Max who was on the hunt for an Orange digital watch.  Lots of choices and fun to bargain!  Also gotta love California Fresh anything by now…


Today we studied Islam and we toured the National Mosque and the Islamic Art Museum.  Women visitors need to be dressed modestly and have a head covering.  Emma and I were prepared and the Entrance Official asked if we were Muslims because we didn’t look like the bus load of Germans in their tank tops and shortshorts that arrived just before us.  Emma was pleased by this comment because she LOVES to follow the rules.  We were very impressed with the clean mathematical grace of the Mosque.  It was an oasis of calm in the busy downtown hub, and Max loved the shapes – here are pictures he took:


It’s not quite as FUN as exploring Borneo… but then nothing is trying to eat us (well, except the fish).  We have a few more days in KL, kids are working hard on their Orangutan project, we’ll post more soon.

PS.  We all love reading the comments – it’s lovely to be in touch and to feel like you’re part of our unfolding story – so Thank You!!



5 thoughts on “P: Fresh off the boat

  1. this email is cracking me up! what contrast ! The foot soak, the computer sushi photo is priceless….I think Josh is going to open one up here state side…and how muslim you look…seriously ! what babushkas! Just yesterday bella asked for a watch for her birthday..she wanted a digital ..no hands! Did Max find one? Happy Happy love

    • Hi…. the fish cleaning your feet sounds cool but at the same time it is creepy… I hope you are having lots of fun… we miss you! love BELLA JP and JANE.. love you guys!

  2. Dear Emma,
    I’m glad you dressed appropriately to visit the mosque.
    I always try to be respectful of the cultural norms when I travel, and I think it leads to a much deeper appreciation and understanding. But I’m not sure I would let fish nibble on my toes even if it is culturally appropriate! (I did eat flying termites in Kenya though…)

  3. Hi guys.
    Max, the pictures in the mosque are quite amazing. They remind me of many buildings in Spain of Moorish influence. Perhaps you will get there too when you visit Europe next.

    Emma, I think it great you could let the fish nibble your toes. I would definitely not want to look at them, but would really have appreciated the smooth and supple feet afterwards.

    I am so glad you and your Mama were prepared with appropriate clothing for visiting the Mosque. I find it interesting what parts need to be covered. I never could figure out how hair was significant.

    Pat, your descriptions of the amazing contrast between the island and the big city take me there. The contrast between immense wealth and poverty in some parts of the world is easier to see from the outside in as you come abruptly upon it. The people who live there all the time probably take the situation for granted like we do here.

    Did Max find an orange watch?

    Love you all,

  4. Wow! I would NOT (definitely NOT) have been up to the fish nibbling exercise! You guys are really gutsy! And I love how you both looked (Emma and Pat) at the Mosque. (A new look, for you, maybe???)

    Max i never told you how touched I was by teh picutres of you gently shepherding hte infant turtles . Beautiful.

    Well today was the release of my new study to LOTS of press!! (Mostly non-US)(Google phthalates + boys)
    Fun and it makes for a pretty high stress day!
    Love you,

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