On that last Friday of term we were off to the airport in the evening to begin our 3 week journey back to the UK. Getting a taxi is really easy once arriving in KL, just go to one of the booths and you pay them and they organise your driver. ATM at the airport for money, although if you are travelling there from the UK you will probably have the money already!
We are staying in a really central location, tucked away off the main street at Oasia Suites, which made this trip really accessible. https://www.booking.com/s/11_6/e9aeea61
Starting with a scrummy brunch at Feeka, recommended by trip advisor (and did NOT disappoint!) we headed to the KLCC to see the Patronus Towers.
Feeka was a simplistic, quirky, chic place which served tremendous food all day and the coffee is apparently delicious… but with no dairy free milk options, we could not be the judge of this!!
A 15 minute walk, including through the Busit Walkway (air conditioned raised walkway connecting quite a few streets, malls and tourist areas), we arrived at the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre). This has a lovely park which the Patronus Twin towers looked out upon.
To get to the towers from here, you have to go through the mall. Everyone is really friendly and will point you in the rightt direction one inside. This mall has a good array of shops and even a Topshop!! It has been a while since i have seen one of them!! But also has a lot of designer brands and is lovely to have a quick nosey around.
Following a recommendation (thank you Kate!) we headed over to Traders hotel which is accessed in this park. And went up to the Sky bar (which also has a pool you can use) and enjoyed the view across the park to the Patronus towers. This view would be amazing at night as well. Cocktails were reasonable prices and entrance was free. You could sit on the window seats and enjoy watching the world go by below you.
We spent a few hours by the pool, a bit disappointed by the lack of loungers to have a snooze on, they were hard chairs!! But it was sunny and the view was lovely and who is to complain, we are in KL after all!!
Day 2 - Towers and aquarium
If you are going to go up the Patronus towers, be sure to book in advance, go the day before or super early to book into your time slot. We wanted to go Saturday but turned up at 1pm and until closing at 8pm it was booked up already!! So, after our favourite breakfast place we went to the Patronus towers. This included walking across the Sky Tunnel, hundreds of meters above the ground! Then onto the observation decks. It was great to see the city from this perspective and it was not expensive either.
I would highly recommend KL as a stop over city explore, people were super friendly and helpful and the city was QUIET, which was a nice contrast to GZ! And also it was easy to navigate on foot. Great start to our summer!
A busy busy week - I swear it never actually gets quieter at the end of term when you always think it will do! But we made it to Secondary awards day. A celebration of the 2018 graduation year and saying goodbyes to them and staff as well. The youth music group did some amazing performances which i will try and add on here. Then come 12pm and a few tears later we were at Social and Co enjoying all the free wine and food to celebrate the end of a long but fun year!
Reflecting after a big life changing year, this really was 100% the right decision. The experience Matt and I have got of primary teaching, more qualifications (including climbing instructing, swimming and lifeguarding) and even doing different sports from the UK to a much higher level, has been worth it all. Then there are the amazing travelling and exploration adventures that we have been able to go on whenever the opportunity arose. And not to mention the wonderful, kind, inspirational people that we have met just from a year here. I feel blessed to have had such a lovely start to international teaching.
Here’s to the summer adventures and another great year at BSG :-) cannot wait to see a lot of you very soon!
I cannot actually believe it, we are going into our final week of this school year and also the final week of living in our lovely flat! I was hoping that I could go a year since starting university not having to pack up my things and move, but clearly not yet!
As many of you are aware, our lovely flat (yes it is very smaaaall dad with 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms!!) is being sold by the landlord. Given that we will be packing everything up and we didn’t love any other options at this compound, we have opted to move into the city centre!
We were looking after this adorable little pup for our friends as well so that kept us entertained and busy whilst packing up the flat!!
I still don’t think I have quite convinced Matt that life would be great with a dog…a girl can keep trying!! But it was a fun experience none the less and meant that our friends did not have to pay for her to be in kennels for the couple of days.
We started moving things into the city to friends apartments which are in the same block, everyone has been so so kind and helpful! We are moving into a smaller 2 bed, 1 bathroom flat on the 46th floor!!! Madness!! To celebrate our moving success, we watched Panama vs England at Hooleys Irish bar with ex Panama residents the Brophys and Ellen, Kat, Steve and Tim!
In the penultimate week of term PE teachers and TA's embarked on a 4 day course to gain/renew our lifeguarding certificate and get a swimming coaching qualification. Although intense being students again...great fun had by all along the way and only the last few hours on the Friday did we have to abandon ship with the thunder and lightning which was threatening all week!
This was a very colourful and well executed Primary production which I was helping serve drinks at… and got to watch this amazing show! The costumes, sets and student talent both on and off the stage were fantastic. A lovely way to round up the year.
This informative poster at the check in desk in Shanghai sums up our battles in China!! And it did make me chuckle...
Day 3 - Century Park, Hotel
I enjoyed an early morning run and explore around Century park, which was beautiful! And then we chilled at the pool before catching a flight home.
We loved Shanghai and all it had to offer, (granted it was sunny and clear sky so no pollution and bitter cold experienced), but as a city to explore it really was excellent and I would go again. Lovely weekend away in a top city with top company :-)
Day 2 - French Concession, Tianzifang, Old Town, Peking Duck
We explored the French Concession area, which was my favourite part of Shanghai. The streets are lined with trees and there are lots of boutique shops and cafes and a really contrasting place to yesterday.
Breakfast was a delight and after this we went to a Propaganda museum/gallery, which is in the bottom of a block of residential flats… we were a bit apprehensive on the approach! Nonetheless, it was a real insight into communism and how China has evolved as a country politically and all told with factual statements on the wall as well as the propaganda posters/notebook entries/school books etc. Really interesting.
We went around a touristy area called Tianzifang, which to me was a bit like the lanes in Brighton. That was fun exploring all the different shops.
Then we headed over to the Old Town, which was a little disappointing as the park was closed and there was not much to it, but was cool to see the old buildings amongst the skyscrapers peeping out in the distance
With the disappointment of the restaurant being closed yesterday for duck… we were on the hunt again. And were highly successful - YIPPEE. But something which we got as part of our duck banquet were pringles with kiwi and crispy duck skin… oh and a bit of jam on the bottom. Very bizarre, but... when in China.
With the boys getting World Cup withdrawals and more importantly, Lauren and I from Love Island. We enjoyed a chilled evening at the hotel, boys watching football and girls loving robe life and Love Island!!
Dragon boat festival, only means one thing, a long weekend!! To try and explore a bit more of China the Broad/Slaters and Brophy’s were off to Shanghai. To be fair, the flights were the same price as going somewhere like Thailand - why we would head off out of China a lot of the time…
Day 1 - The Bund, Pudong, Peoples Park
We were staying in Pudong side at The Renaissance Hotel which was near the big park, Century Park. On Saturday we metro-ed it to the Peoples Park to make our way towards the infamous skyline. The water lilies were beautiful and made a lovely view in the park.
More interesting however was Chinese Tinder going on… there were umbrellas lining the paths with posters all in Chinese with date of birth, age, height, phone numbers and some with photos. At first I thought it was missing people being searched for… oh so wrong. The parents of single Chinese sons/daughters were sat there setting up their loved ones with dates!! Like a marriage market or Chinder…
We walked through a big shopping area and high street trying some local treats - including liquid nitrogen which was the strangest thing but you did blow out a lot of smoke like a dragon- so that is in keeping with the festival yeh?!
And our lonely planet book map did us well (thanks Denica & Adie!) as we finished at the end of the road being greeted with The Bund and the Shanghai skyline.
The Bund is really lovely with the modern city on one side and the older, historic buildings (which are beautiful and quite colonial) on the other. A long stretch worth a wander but maybe when there are less crowds and tourists. We ended up going to the opposite end and got a much better view and found a Japenese roof terrace to enjoy a drink and some sunshine and the view of course.
We took the Tunnel which goes across to the Pudong side to get a better look at the tower and it was the strangest thing I have ever done as a tourist. It is a little bubble capsule which goes along a track with random lights and models and music… a quick and different way to get to the other side. Not sure the chicken would have been that impressed.
Once there we explored this area and found ourselves at the bar on the 88th floor in the Grand Hyatt hotel, enjoying the view and some strawberry daiquiris.
I think this is the best way to enjoy a skyline. It is 150RMB to go to the bar but this is is used to spend on your drinks, so it is a win win. We watched the sunset and the skyscrapers sparkle as day turned to night.
Instead of getting the actual river tour, we got a river taxi (2RMB!) back across the river to get some Peking Duck…
A Friday evening 2 hour flight we were in Phuket and ready for a weekend full of fun?! Our first hotel, Cassia, was lovely and really modern looking out onto the Laguna and in really close proximity to the race pack pick up and our hotel for the second night!
Went along to the race pack collection and expo - bought myself a little visor!! Michelle was doing her 37th Marathon (i think that is right!) and Ellen was doing her first ever!!! And I was doing my second half marathon in 5 weeks! We also entered the 5km run on the Saturday evening to shuffle round together :-) But just before... we moved across to our second hotel, which was dreamy...
Dusit Thani was right on the beach front and was a lovely hotel. Even better was that it was only 500m down the road from our first hotel (flight time change so had to get a hotel Friday night too but second one was full to add on the extra!) and also that they were putting on breakfast between 3am and 11am especially for the marathon and half marathon runners - excellent. This set up was already better than Borneo!!
Our entrance into the marathons meant we had a free ticket into the pasta party!! Which was a huge buffet of meat, fruit, veg, noodles and PASTA! There was even a chef there to make you your own pasta with the additions you wanted. It was really great, music playing and good atmosphere. Also the puddings were a DREAM!! Cheekily we filled up a lunchbox with even more pasta for our post 5km meal later that evening hehe!
It was so lovely to run around together considering we all have different paces and was good to see a bit of the route for tomorrow's run eeeeeeeeek!!
Sunday 9th June
Ellen and Michelle started at 4.30 and mine was at 5.30am...so I had lots of time after we all woke up to go and have a good breakfast and get to the start line. I had learnt from my first one to take a bag to the drop off area so that you can get those trainers off at the end and swap for flip flops!! I really felt so much better running in this half, the weather was 4 degrees cooler (still 30 degrees!) than Borneo so I think that definitely helped, although the humidity was still 80%+. Also the better breakfast and having my energy gel in the right place in the race haha!! But importantly, you learn from each run you do and your body feels different each time.
I knew that I had gone off too quick in my first one so I went slower at the start of this one...on reflection of this race, given the sprint finish and my increase in pace in the last 3km I actually went off too slow to start. But hey! It was so so much nicer doing a run which I was enjoying!! I was so so pleased with my time of 2:01:27 for my second half!! And to get so close to under 2hours (something I never thought was possible) I am over the moon!! Now I have my next goal... sub 2! Guangzhou half I am going to try again to enter so hopefully in December :-)
Perhaps I should maybe try running in a place which is below 30 degrees, even below 20! And with no humidity!!
After waiting for Ellen and Michelle to cross the finish line we were able to shower and enjoy some food at the hotel, on the beach. Ahhhh such a nice feeling to have completed such a challenge! So proud of Ellen for her first marathon in this heat and Michelle who had not had loads of time to train, still getting around and not giving up! Top weekend with lovely ladies xxx