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Vagabond Kids: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Map: Pictures of Where We Have Been

Get your own Trippermap!

I have been playing today. I have never been satisfied with Flickrs map...but it is cool in many ways, but I just found this site, that I can tag through Google Earth. By no means is the map complete and I have hundreds of photos to Geotag on Flickr and hundreds more that need to be sorted and loaded, but I thought it might be fun to play with a new map tool. I like the look and the format as well. In fact so much so I am putting it on the sidebar as well. What do you think? Do you have a map that connects with your pictures that works for you?

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Travel Plans: Upcoming Asia Trips with the Kids

Map at Shanghai Expo

The Vagabondmom, and my co-workers, determining our next stop at Expo in Shanghai, 2010

This week I am in Singapore. In fact, I am in Singapore for 10 days, one of the longest stretches at home in about 3 months and the month of October looks like it is going to be a bear and a half for work related travel. This week however, is one for catch up, a bit of home maintenance, some doctors visits and time to dig out the map and start planning our family trips for the next few months.

Dinner in Penang

October offers us a short break for the kids, this 5 day weekend, we plan to leverage on some work I need to do in Penang, so my trip will be planned around the kids holiday. Being on the road without the family stinks, when they can come along it is so much better. While there in Penang we hope to schedule a meet up with @ccburns and his wife Tracy and their super cute kids.

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

November offers a short weekend, the Deepavali Festival and the kids get one day off from School. I need to be in Kuala Lumpur for a scrapbooking weekend, where I will teach a class for a bunch of super cool scrappers in the Bangsar area, I figure I will bring Hubby and Kids along for the weekend as well!

Angkor Wat Sculpture, Siem Reap

December is our big trip to Siem Reap. We will be going with friends from our condo here in Singapore and we plan on taking in the Angkor ruins, doing some volunteer work and spending some time hanging out with a great family. Our trip falls over the New Years holiday, so I am sure some party will be attended as well.

I can't wait to get some more posts up here this week, making up for lost time, but I plan on loading some pictures of China, Japan and Malaysia as well as a post on Kuching Malaysia this week!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mom Travels: A View From The Street

My travels have been busy, so will be writing posts tomorrow on the plane. Here's something for you until next time.

A shot towards the Shanghai World Financal Center during Full Moon Festival

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vagabond Kids' First Published Article: The Next Great Place in Indo

Here it is, Jeff's first article for Expat Living

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo Friday: Resorts World Sentosa Lobby

Resorts World Sentosa Island Singapore

Hanging Lanterns,
Mobile Phone Picture May 2010

The Sentosa of 2010 is very different than the Sentosa island of 2004 when we first arrived in Singapore. The quiet laid back beaches have been replaced by luxuary homes, upscale bars and more notiably the Resort World's hotel, casino and shopping complex and Universal Studios. While I miss the more staid and casual Sentosa beaches, I can honestly say that the art work and the some of the interior design has been a welcome addition.

Photo from the lobby of the Resorts World Hotel, May 2010

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Hotel Review-Westin Kuala Lumpur

(Photo from SPG.Com)

The other day I met some younger travelers while they were here in Singapore and we started discussing travel around the region and one of the topics was hotels. Traveling with a family has meant, in many cases, no more hostels or super cheap budget digs. Now we find ourselves looking at hotels and balancing the cost between high end and practical. While I love me a 5 star hotel, often we can do with a little less flash and save some money, but sometimes when you have points (like I do with SPG) or if you can work side trips while traveling for business, you can have the 5 star hotel for a reduced rate. My main criteria for a hotel is it must be clean, service must be good and it must be family friendly. If the pool is good, that is a bonus.

The Westin KL meets all of those needs. Really the only downside to the Westin KL is that the cost is commensurate with the location and the name brand. I admit, I am a regular at the KL Westin, it is my hotel of choice now when I travel for work and it is one of my "preferred" hotels for corporate rates. What I love about the hotel is the fact that the staff is friendly, recognize me and ask about my kids and when they are coming the next trip. Most of the staff remember my name (well after 40+ nights this year I would hope they recognized me!) and they often assist us with upgrades if room is available.

Westin Kuala Lumpur Room (Photo from SPG.Com)

The pros of this hotel are the location. Just off Bukit Bintang, you can walk to most of the shopping areas and the high end Pavillion Mall (with a good food court) is just across the street. The hotel is within walking distance to Jalan Alor as well as the Kraf Kompleks. The hotel pool is big, but chilly in the afternoon due to shade, so morning swims are the ticket. The Westin Workout Gym is exceptional and the Kids Club is a welcome spot for kids so mom and dad can enjoy a few minutes to themselves.

View of the Kitchenette in the Residence Rooms

The cons for this hotel are as I mentioned before the price, this hotel is five star and you pay for it. The breakfast buffet is huge with stations spreading far and wide, but at 68RM it is not a cheap eat. The kids club tends to be better for young kids (under 5) and as mentioned the pool is chilly in the afternoons. My only other complaint is that there is not a "spa" so I go next door to the Marriott for my massage when it is needed.

Westin Suite
(My suite from my last cool is that!)

All in all, I do like the Westin, it is one of my favorite hotels in Kuala Lumpur. If you can score an upgrade try to get into the residences where the rooms feature a kitchenette, separate bedroom and an office. Otherwise standard rooms are what you expect, clean and roomy with the Westin Heavenly Bed as a bonus.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Photo Friday: The Vagabondboy

A trip to Phuket Thailand, Spring 2002

In the first nine years of my life, I think I traveled to exactly 2 foreign countries. Canada and Mexico. I think I did not go beyond those 2 countries, and my own home country of the USA for an additional 10 years. At the age of 19 I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to Germany with stops in France and Austria. Not a huge step into the un-known, but quite enough for me.

Taipei Taiwan
Taipei Taiwan 2002

Now, contrast that with my Son’s first 9 years. He was born in Taiwan. Traveled to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, the continental US and Guam, as well as Singapore and Japan all before he was 2 years old. A few more years he has made trips to Thailand an annual event, with side trips to Malaysia, Indonesia and the island of Borneo as well as semi-annual trips back to the US and a trip to Mexico. Not bad for a kid who does go to school from August to June and whose parents work full time.

In honor of my third culture son, who is celebrating his 9th birthday with an Indiana Jones Adventure birthday party this weekend, here are some highlights of some of the explorer's trips around the world.

ZhuJiaZhao China circa 2002
Shanghai China, Summer 2002

Macau Leal Senate

Macau Fall 2002

Tokyo Japan
Japan Fall 2002

Declan in Guam
Guam 2003


Penang 2004

Singapore Zoo Singapore Zoo

Declan in Phuket 2006
Phuket 2006

Mulege Baja Mexico 2007

Declan Dancing with the Headhunter Sarawak

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia 2008

Disneyland Disneyland 2010

Sharing these as part of Photo Friday on Delicious Baby visit her page for more great Photo Friday posts

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Eating in Singapore with Kids: Hawker Centres

Chilly Crab

Asia is an amazing place if you are a foodie. Singapore, in particular, has a great reputation as being a city filled with great local and exotic cuisine. Singapore has a huge food blog scene (Some blogs are great -like one of my favorites I Eat I Shoot I Post while others have recently raised a ruckus for failing to disclose the fact they don’t pay for meals.

Anyway, I was reading today in the Singapore Expat Living magazine (where VagabondDad just had an article published by the way (Skip to page 244 on the flipbook here) and I noticed that in 4 reviews of places to travel, few if any ventured beyond the hotel to eat. What a waste! Why travel to places if you are not going to try to eat local dishes, and no I am not maligning the hotel restaurants, they probably do a mean Laksa, but at three times the cost. BUT, what about the kids? You know those little ones that are traveling along with you. Not an adventurous bunch? Mac and Cheese the extent of the culinary range? Well, fear not, Singapore’s got that covered too - you can hit the Chili’s if you need to, but our first stop is the hawker center for some Local Food. Here are a few favorites dishes that grown ups and kids will enjoy and they won’t break the bank.

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice

Seriously, my daughter would eat this dish (and Ramen noodles) for a week straight if I let her. Chicken Rice is a simple meal with either Roasted or Steamed Chicken, a bowl of chicken broth and rice cooked in chicken stock for extra flavor. Served with soy sauce, chopped garlic and chili sauce (for the brave) all on the side.

roti prata ah, roti prata
Source Here

Roti Prata

Grilled flour based “pancakes” served in Indian food stalls. Dipped in curry, if you want, a simple and delicious snack.

Satay with Sauce


Grilled chicken, beef or lamb (not pork) grilled over a fire on sticks. Who doesn’t like BBQ meat on a stick! Served with cucumber slices and rice formed into cubes. Also, served with a Peanut dipping sauce.

Ice Kacang
Photo Source

Ice Kacang or Cendol

Basically two versions of the same dish. Cendol is shaved ice with a brown sugar topping and coconut milk and Ice Kacang has additional toppings, a red syrup and can include corn and beans (yes really) and it is delicious. But they are both great for a desert in the warm tropical business!

Satay Vendor
Cooking up some Satay

Note: I am in the process of reorganizing my pictures so I was able to grab images from Flickr to round out this post. All images that are not my own have been credited.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Photo Friday- Shinkjuku Tokyo

Morning in Tokyo

The view from my window

Tokyo Government Offices

The Tokyo City Government Offices

Construction worker in Shinjuku

The early morning shift (Construction)

Tokyo 6:30 am

Empty streets at 6:30am

Udon Noodle Breakfast

Breakfast of Udon Noodles

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

Amazing Structures-Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

Tokyo Evening

Sunset from the hotel

Kirin Biru

Beer on the 51st Floor

Check out more Photo Friday folks over here on Delicious Baby

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