Kuching: Orang Utans, Sights and Beach

Kuching: Orang Utans, Sights and Beach

Besides celebrating Eid and eating lots of yummy Malay food, we also had a little bit of time left to explore more of Kuching.

Kuching Waterfront

Our hotel for the first 2 nights was located right at the Kuching waterfront and after the first day of eating, we took a walk along along the water. Syuke and Thorben quickly became an attraction for Chinese tourists, who wanted a picture of them 🙂

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

On our second morning we headed out of town to go looking for some monkeys, Orang Utans to be exact. In the past, the Semenggoh Nature Reserve rescued orphaned, injured or captive orang utans and trained them to live in the wild. Now, it’s a habitat where they live semi-wild.

There is a feeding twice a day where the caretakers put out some food, in case the orang utans couldn’t find enough in the forest. Depending on the season, some of them come to pick some up. We saw 2 male and 2 female orang utans and one of them even had a baby 🙂

Orang Utan Mural

After getting back from the real life Orang Utans, we stumbled across the Orang Utan Mural downtown. It’s a corner with some really cool street art.

More Food

Even during and after 2 1/2 days of open houses, we still had room for some more food 🙂 Below are pictures from some yummy cake we had at a cute cafe inside the old courthouse, and of a seafood dinner we went to with Syuke and some of his friends.

Beach time

Our last 2 days in Kuching were spent relaxing. We stayed at a cool little hotel, where each room is basically a cement roll. It was super cozy and also had access to the beach. The sign “Beware of crocodiles” kept us out of the water 😉


Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Last week, it was Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, the fasting month many Muslims observe. Syuke, a friend of ours, invited us to celebrate the holiday with him in his hometown Kuching. We’d been talking about going to Kuching for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity to visit.

Dressing in style

Syuke explained to us that typically you buy something new to wear for the first day of Eid. He mostly wears the traditional clothes during festivities like Eid and weddings. His family chose to wear green for the first day. During our visit, we saw that many families were wearing matching colors.

He lent some clothes to Thorben to wear as well, see the efforts it took to properly put them on below and the final result 🙂 I didn’t have any special outfit, I just tried to dress modestly and cover up to be respectful.

Open Houses

Over the course of 2 1/2 days, Syuke took us to 7 open houses hosted by various family members and friends. At each open house, people come together to enjoy lots of good food and cakes. Our first open house was right after getting off the plane. Everyone was super friendly and welcoming, it was really a pleasure to meet so many nice people and enjoy this special holiday with them.

One of Syuke’s friends is a baker and has been baking non-stop for the past 2 months to make all the beautiful cakes for Eid. They looked too pretty to eat but she insisted, so what could we do? 🙂 Understandably, all cakes were completely sold out, so I couldn’t bring any back.

Here is a little selection of pictures from 6 of the open houses and all the amazing Malay food and cakes.

Our first Eid was so much fun and it was so interesting to try all the food and talk to so many of Syuke’s relatives and friends. We’re very lucky to have such a diverse group of friends and be able to make these experiences with them!

In case anyone was wondering, I have not stepped on the scale since coming back – but whatever it says, it was worth it 😉

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland

One of the endless entertainment possibilities in Shanghai is Disneyland! The newest Disney park is located an hour away from us and we finally went at the end of May.

Disney castle

I never wanted to go on a weekend because I heard the queues are horrible (2+ hours everywhere) but who says no to a free ticket? Our company had their family day here so we each got 2 tickets – which meant a Family Disney Day with our “kids” Marlyn and Freddy 😉

With the help of our Disney-expert Boramy, the Disney app and some German planning, we managed to go on 6 rides:

  • Tron: Fun roller coaster where you sit on a motorcycle! Thorben and I got lucky and sat in the first row which was really cool.
  • Peter Pan: Super well made but we were a bit cranky from the 90 min wait when the app said 45. At least it was the only time we waited over 1 hour.
  • Woody’s round up: We went 2 x because the queue was only 5 min and it’s super fun. Who doesn’t like cowboy music and getting thrown around in a carriage?
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: I think this was everyone’s favorite, the visual effects are so cool! The wait was only 20-30 min so we went twice.
  • Snow White and the 7 dwarfs: The wait was really long but we used a fastpass for it and it was a cute ride combined with a slower rollercoaster.
  • Buzz Lightyear: Lots of shooting at target with a laser gun. I got the least points. Oh well.

We also saw the parade pass by and went to the Tarzan show and of course, there was also time to take silly queue selfies and some with the Disney castle … and all of that before 4 🙂

Next to Disneyland, in Disney Town, there is a Cheesecake Factory, where we went for a very late lunch/early dinner. The food was just like I remember it from the US and the cake was so good! After dinner, the plan was to go to Pirates again, ride Tron again at night and then stroll over to the castle gardens and see the light show and fireworks.

Even the best plan can fail … we got stuck on the Tron motorcycles because the ride broke down just as we were supposed to get accelerated. After 20 minutes on the motorcycles we got rescued and got a fastpass of our choice as compensation. So in the end, getting stuck was pretty cool because we managed to run over to Soaring Over the Horizon and go without waiting 2-3 hours 🙂 We were cutting it a bit close for the fireworks but still managed to see 90% of it from the side of the castle. We really got the maximum out if our Disney day.

It was a lot of fun, so I’m glad we finally went! Now I’ve been to 3 different ones, Yay for Disney!

Shanghai Birthday Weekend

Shanghai Birthday Weekend

Birthday season is in full swing and last weekend was the most important one – mine 😉 The festivities, or the food fest to be more precise, went on all weekend and I have so many pictures:

Pastry Class

My first present I got a day early: For Saturday, Thorben had organized a secret activity and I only found out what it was when it started. He tried (and succeeded) to make me think it was a big group exercise based thing, so clearly I was a bit skeptical 😀

Thankfully, we didn’t do a crazy boot camp but a pastry class. Someone we know is a pastry chef and she taught Tim and I how to make St. Honore cake (which included pastry cream and caramel), cream puffs, Choux aux Craquelin, and eclairs. It was a lot of fun and we made industrial quantities! While it wasn’t strictly exercise, my arms still got a workout 🙂

Birthday Dinner & Cake

After all that hard work, we got cleaned up and then headed out to dinner with Tim and Boramy. It was so good and I took too many pictures. Back at home, we joined by two more friends to help us celebrate and make a dent into the cake and pastries. If I may say so myself, everything we made was amazing, so I turned 29 super stuffed and happy 🙂

Birthday Brunch

The eating continued the next day, with brunch and then more cake and pastries at our place. Even after feeding 20+ people, there are still eclairs and cream puffs in our freezer … Not that that’s a problem 🙂

Birthday Party … and more cake

The rest of my birthday was spent at the W Hotel. They had a “Viva Ibiza” Party on their beautiful terrace – you really can’t celebrate with a better view. Also, there was another cake. I love birthdays.

It was such a fun weekend and I’m so lucky to have so may wonderful people in my life. Thank you to everyone who took the time to celebrate with me, and thank you also to my family and friends across the globe who called and send birthday wishes!

A Shanghai Tourist Weekend

A Shanghai Tourist Weekend

Over the long weekend, my sister and her husband came to Shanghai. Now my whole family has been to Shanghai 🙂

The weather was perfect, bright blue skies, 26 degrees and no humidity! That meant we spend a whole day exploring Shanghai on foot, with 27,852 steps to be exact. In the morning, we did a walking tour of the French Concession, including stops at Xintiandi, Fuxing Park and Tianzifang. Despite Thorben’s worries, I didn’t get everyone lost, we arrived at all the planned stops 😉 And because the weather was so lovely, we also went to the Bund and Jing’An Temple in the afternoon.

The rest of their visit was more relaxed with brunches, a trip to the park, dinner and some shopping. Thanks for coming to visit and come back soon! 🙂

Last night, we made dumplings

Last night, we made dumplings

We don’t only go to restaurants or order takeout … sometimes we also work hard for our food. Yesterday, we went to a friend’s house to make dumplings. April had already gotten the dough from the fresh market and prepared the filling before we arrived. I think the filling was made out of chicken, cabbage, spring onions, ginger and some spices.

So to be exact, we didn’t really make dumplings, just stuffed the filling into the wrappers 🙂

My technique still needs some work, but we had fun and they tasted really good – both boiled and pan fried. Great Chinese-Malay-Luxembourgish-Canadian-German cooperation for sure!