Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flight Home - First Class one last time!

So yesterday Derren and I arrived home safely after another long day of traveling. This will be my final blog for this long and amazing vacation, but I hope to be able to do more blogs of our vacations in the future!

Tuesday morning we woke up early at Derren's Uncle Chee Yeng's house in Kuala Lumpur and he drove us to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport). It was quite interesting to fit the three of us plus all of this luggage in Uncle Chee Yeng's BMW. :) Luckily we were flying first class, so we were each allowed two check in bags up to 32kg (more than 60 pounds each!) This allowed us to bring back LOTS of stuff (especially lots of food and coffee!)

After a quick check-in (no line obviously since we are first class!) we headed over to the Cathay Pacific lounge in KLIA. They only have one first class/business lounge in KLIA and it definitely wasn't anything to write home about compared to the three amazing lounges in the Hong Kong airport (Hong Kong is Cathay Pacific's home base).

Here's a shot from across the airport of the lounge on the second story:

After spending some time in the lounge (where I hastily tried to complete the prior blog), we boarded our 3.5 hour flight from KL to Hong Kong. This was a business class flight since that particular aircraft doesn't have first class seating. We were served breakfast on this flight, and even though I still wasn't feeling particularly well, I was able to eat some of it. Here is the first "course" of breakfast - fresh fruit (this is mango, papaya, kiwi, and pineapple). You can also pick from a variety of pastries/breads (bread, muffin, or croissant) and many juices, coffee/tea, or alcohol if you so desire.

After the first course, you can pick from a variety of cereals or yogurt. And after that, the hot course. Derren had a Malay dish (unfortunately no picture!) with rice and meat, and I had what is seen below. It's an omelette with salsa inside, a small hashbrown, and a grilled tomato, mushrooms, and peas.

We landed safely in Hong Kong, had to go through security again (even though we were just transferring!), and had to basically run to the opposite end of the airport to board our first class flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. Unfortunately our layover was so short that we weren't able to hang out in any of the lounges offerred! We definitely will plan for a longer layover on our next trip (although maybe not a 12 hour layover like on our original journey!)
So we boarded our flight, and were immediately provided with a glass of Krug champagne. We were given our pajamas and overnight amenity bags. And very shortly after, we took off! Here's a video I took of the Hong Kong take-off from my seat at the nose of the 747.
And here's a picture of Hong Kong as we were leaving:

Soon after take-off it was time for our first meal. Here's the wine I tried and the warm nuts while we waited for them to set the table and get the meal ready.

I only have pictures of my food (Derren's is on his camera) unfortunately, so here you go! This is my appetizer - a quinoa vegetable thingy (I have no idea what it should be called). And a piece of bread. Derren had caviar and salmon and bread.

Here we are with our appetizers - you can see the black wad of caviar on his plate.

And then we both had a little of this soup - a leek and potato soup (not as good as the apple soup on our first flight!)

And we had some salad - lettuce with bell peppers and mozarella cheese.

My main dish was spinach and cheese tortellini with a sun dried tomato pesto sauce. Derren ate a piece of cod with white rice and choy sum (asian vegetables).

And for dessert, a warm hazelnut cake and chocolate ice cream with vanilla sauce.

Here we are with dessert. You can see that I'm not looking so hot - as mentioned, I still didn't feel well, and after trying to eat a bunch of this food, I was heading down...

About 5 hours later, Derren had a "snack" of noodle soup, and I had a sprite. I just asked for a sprite and they brought me a basket full of crackers and candy to go with it. Don't worry, I took it all with me. :)

And about 2 hours before landing is when the second meal is typically eaten. Derren ate by himself while watching a movie - he had fruit and dim sum. And soon before landing I decided I should probably eat at least a little bit of something, so I had a little bit of toast:

And one scrambled egg. They make eggs to order in first class - boiled, scrambled, or fried!

And after almost a 12 hour flight (it's about 2 hours shorter than from SFO to Hong Kong because of tail winds), we were descending into San Francisco. The Golden Gate bridge looked really awesome covered in fog:

Another shot of the beautiful Golden Gate, and a great symbol of our return to the USA!

 Derren and I had an amazing vacation, and I am so thankful to him for putting so much hard work and so many hours into all the planning for this once in a lifetime trip. He worked tirelessly to find deals and credit cards, etc to make this trip high class and SOOO cheap. Ridiculously cheap for what we got. Ge should give up pharmacy and be a deal seeker for a living - if only you made money doing that!
Thank you SOOO much Derren!!!!!

And thank you to you all who have followed us on our journey. I'm glad that I was able to maintain this blog to keep everybody posted with what we were up to on our travels through Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. We look forward to hearing from everybody and seeing everyone soon!

Until our next journey,
Ashley & Derren

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last 5 days in Malaysia!

A combination of not having internet, and me getting quite sick this weekend has prevented me from updating the blog in the last several days, but as we are sitting in the Kuala Lumpur Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge awaiting to board our flight, I figured this was a better time than any to update one last time about our adventures in Malaysia. I will try to update again tomorrow with photos from our journey home and our last first class flight for a while!
So on Thursday we spent most of the day running errands with Derren's Aunt Wendy. However, before we ran those errands, Derren wanted to get to the Indian chicken and rice place to get some of their famous spicy fried chicken and curry and rice before the line gets too long. This is the original restaurant that has branched out, and the branch is where we had gone earlier in the week with Derren's cousin Dominic. There was already a line at 11am, and apparently it just gets longer and longer as the lunch period goes on. Here's Derren's spicy chicken, curry, cucumbers, rice, and spicy curry paste. (I didn't eat anything at this place because I was waiting for chee chong fun!)

And here is what I was waiting for! The place we ate on Wednesday for chee chong fun turned out to be so good that we ate it on Thursday and Friday too! Mine is the large container with some curry drizzled on top, and then Derren had a small bowl even though he had eaten chicken and rice because it's just that good!

With my chee chong fun I also ate this container full of vegetables. It's a local recipe that I can't even remember, but basically has garlic and a bunch of spices and blanched vegetables (and pineapples in this particular one) and ground roasted peanuts on top. It's like a sweet and spicy vegetables. So yummy!

And of course on Thursday, along with almost every other day, we went back to our favorite coffee shop. We even went behind the scenes to catch a picture with the famous coffee maker!!

And I wanted to take a picture of this, which we drank pretty often at the house - this is fresh soymilk (like literally you buy it off the street and have to drink it within 2 days because it has no preservatives) with a sugar syrup (not sweet without the sugar) and grass jelly. It's very refreshing and yummy!

And another snack we often ate at the house - chopped up dragon fruit. It looks really pretty but actually doesn't have much taste at all.

Thursday night was our last night at the local night market. This time we actually ate dinner there. I took a bunch more pictures, but let's just say that we ate a BUNCH of food! I had fried carrot cake (I've described in past blogs) that I waited more than 20 minutes for (this stall was VERY popular) and Derren had Laksa soup again, among other things. We also had fresh smoothies - and they made one wrong so I ended up drinking TWO mango and orange smoothies. They were so fresh and delicious (I literally watched them juice the fruit) but I didn't feel so hot after drinking both of them...bleh!!

And here's a picture of us after Derren ordered some fried meat on a stick. You can see that it's not the most attractive's SO hot and humid and this is what we look like. :)

And one of the many desserts that I ate several times in Malaysia - these are coconut rolls (sorry the picture is really dark!). They are little pancakes with pandan flavoring, and then filled with fresh shredded coconut. These are a favorite in the house!

Here's me hanging out on the couch eating these delicious little treats on Thursday night!

For breakfast on Friday morning we had buns that we had bought the night before at the night - I had a raisin bun. It just tasted like a sweet roll (you know, those Hawaiian ones?) with raisins in it.

And Derren's had Lotus bean - just a sweet flavoring basically.

And that day we had chee chong fun for lunch, and I got to go into the local market with Derren's aunt so that she could buy ingredients to make our dinner. She stopped by the kaya rice lady and bought me my favorite dessert! Here's the little old lady rolling up my kaya rice!

And here's the curry noodle soup that Derren's aunt made for us. This is my bowl - I drank every last drop, it was so yummy!

And here's Derren with his aunt who did all of this wonderful cooking for us. This is Derren's favorite meal that she always makes so I took a picture of them together! (Notice his GIANT bowl of soup!)

On Saturday we took a day trip to Penang (about 2 hours north of Ipoh) to visit Derren's Uncle Alfred. He took us out to lunch at a famous Penang seafood restaurant. Here was the first course - octopus. I literally don't know what to say about this....

But Derren reluctantly tried two whole pieces - he's never one to turn down trying food!

And here's what I ate since everything else was meat and seafood. This is bean curd and vegetables, and I also ate another plate of green vegetables and some rice. I ended up being REALLY sick on Sunday, and think that this plate may have been the culprit since it's the ONLY thing I ate that no one else did....Hmmmm...

Here's another dish - steamed fish stuffed with something. Sorry I can't be more specific, I have no idea what it is. Haha!

And a plate of scallops...

Green vegetables with little shrimps:

A deep fried pork knuckle - VERY crispy!

And fried prawns:

Even after such a large lunch, Derren wanted to get one more helping of "old man noodles" - the old guy that makes the wonton noodle soup. So Derren's mom, aunt, and sister went with us for one more bowl of old man noodles!

On the way home we stopped for one round of dessert (I had a couple more at home too!). We had Ah-Pong, which we had eaten once before. It's really really thin pancakes - they are awesome when they're fresh and crispy!

So, as mentioned I was really sick on Sunday. Food poisoning, stomach flu or something...So I only have one picture on Sunday, and Derren took it. I didn't eat anything that day (unfortunately!!!), but Derren's aunt made Nasi Lemak (a Malay dish) and here's his picture of it:

Monday morning we left for Kuala Lumpur where we spent the day with Derren's cousin Dominic. For lunch we ate banana leaf rice curry:

Derren's mango yogurt drink:

The famous restaurant:

We went shopping here for a while:

Got a famous KL bubble tea:

The view from Derren's uncle's flat in Kuala Lumpur - you can see the twin towers behind us:

And a picture later at night:

For dinner we had a FEAST at a Japanese restaurant:

Sorry, I'm out of to board our flight! Will update again soon!

Ashley & Derren