Suón Tiên- A Vietnamese Amusement Park

“Do you want to go to Harry Potter world and go go-karting?”

What an offer. And to think I almost didn’t go. I am so glad I did!!! There is an amusement park about 15-20 minutes from where I live. It’s not one you hear very much about and I only knew about it because I had a friend who went go-karting there. What sounded like a weird invitation ended up being such a fun day!

(As you scroll through these pictures just picture Disney music playing. No joke!)

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Head tilt- “That;’s interesting”

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When exploring a weird amusement park, one must take fun photos!

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Unfinished walk ways
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Harry Potter world

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It ended up being a really dark Harry Potter haunted house.
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With all the construction we thought this was a fairly new amusement park. Nope, it’s 23 years old.
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Giant Chicken. And yes, that man is riding a motorbike in the park
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An actual temple. I’m having serious flashbacks of the opening scenes of Aladdin!

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I was born in the year of the rat

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We decided that this was a wishing tree
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I’m ready to go go-karting on a not-so-safe, no seat belts, helmet required, really fun track!
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Seatbelts…. who needs seatbelts? (Honestly, I’m so used to not wearing a seatbelt at this point that I didn’t even realize there weren’t any until afterwards when a friend pointed it out.:/)
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What’s 12D?
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Hammocks to rent if you need a rest
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Can you see us?

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You could have your feet cleaned by little fish
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This guy was welding as the roller coaster was running. 
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No words…
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Sure. let’s pour some concrete in the middle of the day on a main walk way. Why not?
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We did not realize how amazing this snow castle would be
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I wasn’t sure what to expect when they handed me this to wear. And the boots were wet inside, so that was gross.
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And then we walked into this. An indoor tubing run! What?!?  Cue excitement!

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Things I did not get a picture of;
Alligator park (which left the gate open at one point)
Water park
Four-wheel/dirt bike area
A garden
8,000 VDN (.35 cent) ice cream – we had two
Rides and games that weren’t running. We think they turned them on if you wanted to ride.
Dolphin show- figured this wasn’t going to be ethical so we didn’t go
Giant fruit sculptures

We paid to get into the park and then paid for the things we did. It was all very cheap.

Seriously, one of the most fun days I’ve had in a long time!

BLOGGING IS NOT SOMETHING I’M NECESSARILY GOOD AT AND AUTOCORRECT AND I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP, SO PLEASE IGNORE ANY TYPOS, MISSPELLED WORDS, OR ALL TOGETHER WRONG WORDS. 😉

 

Where in the world in Kuala Lumpur?

Where in the world is Kuala Lumpur? I  was asked this question a lot after I started posting pictures of my trip to KL. It’s a fair question. Where is Kuala Lumpur…..

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My friend Libby and I spent four days in KL over New Years. The city is a nice mix of the Western world and Asia and almost everyone spoke English. There is a huge muslim population to the point where they have “female only” train cars. There were less motor bikes then in HCMC so it was quieter.

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First stop- Petronas Towers

We found a nice park to sit in to watch the fireworks. We thought they would be going off over the towers but much to our surprise they came from right next to where we were sitting. It was a really cool experience!

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So many people!

Day 2- Theme of the day… getting lost

When planning this trip, we were excited that KL had a metro system. Little did we know how confusing that system would turn out to be. From what we understood the different lines are owned by different companies. Some use a token and some use a card. They all go out of the main hub (which is in a mall) but after that you have to get off one, walk, and find the next one (if your switching lines/companies). Confused? Yah….. we were. And because of that, our first try ended here. In a village on the outside of town. Opps!

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Token for the train

But we made it back into the city and kinda found were we wanted to go. Sometimes half the fun is in getting lost!

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The walk way outside Bukit Bintang Market
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Bukit Bintang Market (Central Market) You could spend hours walking around in here
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Bukit Bintang Market
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Bukit Bintang Market
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Old French Buildings
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A temple
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The Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur
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The Sri Mahamariamman Temple
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The Sri Mahamariamman Temple
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Petaling street/Chinese market

 

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Petaling street/Chinese market

There was the main walk way (pictured above) and then stores on either side of it. Lots of purses and luggage being sold.

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This, at some point, is going to be the taller building in Asia. It unfortunately blocked off a street we needed to get to.
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This picture looks photo shopped!

Day 2- Seeing the sights

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The National Mosque of Malaysia
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The National Mosque of Malaysia
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The National Mosque of Malaysia

The butterfly park was one of my favorite things in KL. It was a beautiful green oasis with so many butterflies!

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The Sultan Abdul Samad Building- Such a cool looking building
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Outside the City Art Museum
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The Sultan Abdul Samad Building
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I loved the flowers on the light posts
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Masjid Jamek- Oldest standing mosque in KL
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Along the walls of one of the subways was cats pictures.

The next three pictures are from the night market that we walked to from our hotel.FE71CA53-6D9E-4ABA-A738-0199324864C7C43F3ADE-E201-4557-9621-B693114669B119E984BF-B324-4613-A7D0-3FA46A1C8BB5

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I want this in my apartment

Day 3- Batu Caves and fancy dinners

The Batu Caves are an easy 30 minute train ride from the KL’s main train station. They are a series of cave temples and the main cave was free to enter. If you want to read more about them click here 

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There were so many monkeys!
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Ready to climb all the steps
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Lord Murugan Statue is the second tallest Hindu statue in the world
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Monkeys  monkeys everywhere
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Inside the cave. Off to the left they were building a restaurant

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How many monkeys do you see in this pictures? (Hint: there are more than 5)
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How I felt about all the mean little monkeys
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Hanuman the green monkey god
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Hanuman’s cave cost to get into and was a bit different then the Batu Cave
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KL Tower at night
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The view from KL Tower of the Petronas Towers

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What a fun dinning experience
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Dessert. Yum!

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Last Day – The Aquarium and one last trip to a mall

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Streets of KL

The aquarium had the longest shark encounter I have ever seen. It was so cool!

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Jelly fish are my favorite
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The park behind the Petronas Towers

I need to take a moment to address the mall situation. There were malls everywhere. When we walked out of the airport we walked into a mall, when we switched metro trains we had to walk through a mall, there was a mall for just electronics, an air-conditioned walk way through town that connected two malls, malls, malls, and more malls! I have never seen so many malls in such a small area. It was insane!

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Air conditioned walk way.
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It was nice to see English books

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Dining at the mall…. so many choices
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Getting my fix of two of my favorite western treats!
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The main train station is in a mall.

This trip was a really nice way to end my winter holidays!

 

BLOGGING IS NOT SOMETHING I’M NECESSARILY GOOD AT AND AUTOCORRECT AND I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP, SO PLEASE IGNORE ANY TYPOS, MISSPELLED WORDS, OR ALL TOGETHER WRONG WORDS. 😉

AQI

AQI…. Air Quality Index. This is an acronym I have become very familiar with. Living in SE Asia means you live with air pollution. It’s just a fact of life. I thought I knew what air pollution was, I mean, I lived by LA, that’s air pollution, right? Boy was I wrong.  Most mornings when I look out my window there is a heavy haze over the city. It looks like fog. I love fog. I wish this haze was fog.

AQI is color coded.
(This table is from Air Now).

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My school uses three colors and this is how I like to think of them Green = woo hoo! Go outside, take a deep breath, and enjoy the day. Yellow = not so good, but you can be outside. Red= Students aren’t allowed out for recess and you should avoid exercising outside. Since I have lived here we haven’t gone over red. If you want to see what a maroon city looks like check out what New Delhi is currently going through.

We graph the air pollution in my class instead of the weather because the weather doesn’t have much variance to it. Last month we had 1 red day. Last week we had 3.

October graph vs. November graph

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AQI sign when you walk into school.

So I finally did it. I bought an air pollution mask. (Well, to be completely honest I accidentally bought 10.  Ha ha! I bought them online and thought I was buying one nice one but in reality I got 10 disposable ones. At least they are the best disposable ones you can buy! 🙂 ) The pollution makes me dizzy and gives me head aches. Some mornings you can taste it. I’m not exaggerating either. It’s gross.

Below are a few pictures of what the air pollution looks like.

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Yesterday’s AQI-Just to put it into perspective.

View out my apartment window. Red Day vs. a Green Day

 

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Walking to work on a red day

I’ve been told the air pollution is from several different things; factories burning at night, construction, motorbikes, and wind blowing it in from other places. Where ever it comes from its gross. But, ever city has its downside. Right now, air pollution just happens to be Saigon’s.

I feel like Bane from Batman, but at least I’m prepared for more red days!

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉
(***because I’ve mentioned the school where I’ll be teaching I should probably mention that everything on this blog will be my thoughts, not those of my employer***)

Do you have a rainy season?

Today was parent -teacher conferences. A day dreaded by most. I had several teacher say “good-luck” to me this morning and while, I like most teachers, don’t necessary “enjoy” these days, today was a wonderful walk in the park. Let me explain way:

Last year, while teaching special ed, I held 50 IEP meetings. There were some weeks where I had one a day. I also sat in on SST (Student Success Team) meetings and when I became the SST chair held 50 SST meetings in 3 months. If you’re keeping track, that’s 100 parent meetings I personally facilitated. That doesn’t count the meetings I was part of and didn’t facilitate. IEP meetings and SST meetings run anywhere from 30 minutes -2 hours (and on the rare occasion have to be split between two days because they go so long). They are hard meeting talking about kids who are struggling or discussing psycho-educational testings, they aren’t fun, and they involve a tone of paperwork. But man, can I rock a parent meetings now. Nothing really scares me anymore because I’ve honestly seen parents express every emotion. From yelling and screaming to tears of joy. Today my conferences were 20 minutes long, most of my students showed up and participated in the meetings (not something they had to do but I encouraged it), and I was able to tell parents how great their kids are doing. I didn’t have to have any “hard” conversations. Nobody cried or yelled. I didn’t have to worry about paperwork or signatures. I was able to just have normal conversations. It was glorious! I even got a thank-you email from a parent after my day was over! How awesome is that!

Annnnyyyway, I completely digressed from what I was going to write about. During a break in the conference my teaching assistant and I had an interesting conversation. The sky had started to get dark and I was commenting that it was probably going to start raining. It rains pretty much every day now.

Linh: Do you have a rainy season?
Me: Yes, no, ahhhh, I mean … it usually rains more during different times of the year.
Linh: Really no rainy season?
Me: Well in Texas it would rain a lot in the summer, in California more so in the winter, but it just rains when it rains. Plus, I’ve lived in places where there have been in droughts recently.
Linh: Hmmmm, interesting. It just rains.
Me: Yah, it will just rain whenever it wants to.

Linh is from Vietnam and I got the impression that she finds it weird/odd that I’m not used to a rainy season. Another cultural difference that I hadn’t really thought about.

I’m beginning to love the rain here (aside from my constant headaches caused by the pressure changing) and I mean really love it. I ride my bike most places so I don’t have to walk in the rain which is adding to why I love it. The rain here does not mess around. There is thunder, lightening, and it pours in a way I’ve never experienced. I wish I had good photos or videos but they never seem to turn out or really don’t do justice to how much it rains.

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This is what it looked like when I left school today. It had been raining for maybe an hour. That’s nothing in the terms of flooding.

But people keep going. They stop take out a umbrella or poncho and get on with whatever they were doing, even if whatever they were doing was riding a motorbike.

Women riding scooter in the rain. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This is a picture I took from the internet because I’m horrible at trying to take pictures in the rain.

And so that’s what I do too. I have two very nice rain jackets I brought with me when I moved. I wear them when I walk, but most days I end up wearing this (see picture below) because I ride my bike to school and it keeps me drier and covers my backpack.

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I know, you’re super jealous right now, aren’t you? 😉

I love the rain because it cools everything down, it makes me feel a bit cleaner, and it’s fun to ride ones bike it. Who doesn’t enjoy riding  a bike through puddles and watching lightening crack across the sky?

*If I ever get a good video of the thunder and lightening I’ll post it because it’s awesome!*

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉
(***because I’ve mentioned the school where I’ll be teaching I should probably mention that everything on this blog will be my thoughts, not those of my employer***)