Please click thumbnails for place descriptions & photographs.
Depart Baton Rouge for Atlanta via Delta Airlines. Catch flight from Atlanta for tokyo via JAL. the flight is thirteen hours with a thirteen hour time change, crossing the international dateline. View glaciers from above Alaska. Overnight at hotel in Narita, Japan, about sixty miles south of Tokyo, near the large airport.  Dinner at McDonalds in Narita... meet some schoolchildren who want to practice English.  They gesture at how tall we are. 

Big buffet breakfast at the hotel before taking the bus back to Narita for the six and a half hour flight to Kuala Lumpur ("KL") Malaysia via JAL.  Grab some quick and hot Curry at the airport in KL and then fly to the island of Penang on Malaysia Airways. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Penang on the beach. 

Visit with LSU Alum from Belt Collins, visiting projects along the beach... old resorts and extravagant pools.  Huge trees only fifteen years old due to the climate. Fiddle Leaf Fig. One pool picks up on the natural rock formations on the beach and pulls them across into the pool layout.  Some of the pools have a sloped entry "beach" of tile... probably couldn't do that in the US.  Afternoon tour of the old part of the city of Georgetown with its colonial architecture and tall towers in the background.  Bicycle taxis.  Dinner at a large outdoor market... so many choices of food, from egg rolls to corn, bbq chicken, and fruits.  Some very hot, some not.  Overnight at the Holiday Inn. 

Flight to the island of Langkawi for tours of super extravagant resorts built falling down the mountainside rain forest to the white sand beaches. The "Datai" is of Teak and stone construction.  The facilities includes private villas and chauffeured golf carts.  Lunch at the resort restaurant.  Also visit the "Andaman" that features a watercourse through he dining court. Drive through rice fields and mangrove swamps to catch flight back to KL and then on to Singapore.  Overnight at the YMCA Singapore. 

Tour downtown Singapore, including the historic Raffles Hotel.  Very nice streetscapes and public water features, some of which are quite large, and all running.  The Shade trees are much like our liveoaks, but very well maintained and pruned.  Visit the Hyatt Regency with its rooftop pool and naturalistic waterfall off the side of the parking garage. Visit the Shangri-La hotel.  Curved balconies and hanging gardens.  Take the modern subway system to the riverfront financial and "nightlife" districts.  Very good urban design by EDAW.  Pedestrian mall along the river with clubs and restaurants flowing into the space.  Lots of money and Western influence very evident.  Seems as though everyone is 25 and rich. 
Taxi out to the suburbs of Singapore to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, a rainforest preserve right in the city. The suburbs are surely not as affluent as the other parts of the city we have visited so far. The rainforest is home to several caves and lots of wildlife, including a number of monkeys we encounter along the steep trails... bring some hikers. Rocky climbs. Then its off to the Botanic Garden and the National Orchid Garden. Visit "Little Asia" cultural district near the YMCA.  Spend the afternoon on your own.  I sat around in the "neutral ground" sketching the magnificent street shade trees and enjoying the break.  Late night into Bangkok to avoid the traffic there. 

Touring around the historic temples in Bangkok. The Emerald Buddha, the great Golden Reclining Buddha, etc. Water taxi boat ride (very crowded and fast).  Thailand is the oldest state in Asia that has never been conquered, so it has retained its culture and is not as influenced by other regimes.  Western influences are evident, however, including MTV, the Hard Rock Cafe, and others. 

Continue to Week II