Singapore Slinging

PTX Studio in Singapore

We didn’t actually drink a Singapore Sling (a drink I envision to be similar to a Long Island Ice Tea), but Joel and I did go to Singapore together on our long trip back to the US. ¬†We’d each been many times on our own, as it’s the closest place to renew your visa when you’re living in Indonesia. ¬†But because we had moved on different dates (him first and me following a few months later) our visa schedules weren’t in sync and we always took these trips alone. ¬†It was fun to explore the city together, show one another our favorite spots and finally visit the place we’d been saving for our couple’s trip- the Buddhist hell museum at¬†Haw Par Villa.

PTX Studio in Singapore

600-Haw-Par-Buddha

PTX Studio in Singapore

PTX Studio in Singapore
My favorite breakfast spot, Free the Robot in Telok Ayer neighborhood

600-Telok-park

PTX Studio in Singapore

PTX Studio in Singapore

PTX Studio in Singapore
Ecstatic to find good wine, cheese and olives

PTX Studio in Singapore

PTX Studio in Singapore
First trip to Gardens by the Bay and it rained

PTX Studio in Singapore

PTX Studio in Singapore

PTX Studio in Singapore
the beautiful Chijmes restaurant complex

The only downside of our trip was the rain at Gardens by the Bay, another spot I’d put off visiting until Joel and I were together. ¬†We weren’t able to walk the paths suspended between the giant tree structures due to the risk of lightening and the rain made it so muggy it was almost unbearable. ¬†I’d love to try that visit again another time preferably with cooler weather, but Singapore doesn’t experience cool weather all that often.

All in all it was a wonderful trip to finally be able to finally take with my husband after so many solo Singapore visits. ¬†Going out for wine and cheese alone isn’t quite as enticing as going with your sweetie. ¬†We’re headed back to Indonesia next week on a business trip where we’ve scheduled zero time for vacation dawdling. ¬†But our goal is to build this business that allows us to travel back to Indonesia often so hopefully we’ll be planning Singaporean vacations for many years to come.

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Capping off Asia in Kuala Lumpur

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PTX Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Our trip to Kuala Lumpur was less than two months ago, but it feels like a world away. ¬†It was Joel and my first visit to Malaysia and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. ¬†We anticipated a mix of high end Singapore with some of the grittiness of Jakarta. ¬†We were pleasantly surprised to find a city that has managed to cultivate a polished, multicultural identity while staying affordable and easy to navigate.

We did a fair amount of cliche touristy activities, but zipping through town on the double decker tour bus was downright delightful.  I highly recommend the National Textile Museum and of course their gift shop full of batiks and traditional woven goods. We braved the heat to stroll through Little India taking in the colorful storefronts and fragrant Indian cafes.  I bought some cheap samosas from the street vendor as an afterthought, but they ended up being one of my favorite treats.  We had a number of other delightful meals at Pavilion Mall including fantastic shrimp dumplings at one of the Chinese eateries and a super spicy laksa soup at Simple Life.  We were so excited to find great vegetarian food that we ended up at Simple Life more than once.

KL exceeded our expectations with it’s food and design, cleanliness and affordability. ¬†I think we were a bit sad that it had taken us so long to get there (it would have been a very easy and affordable weekend getaway from Semarang) and disappointed that we couldn’t explore a bit deeper. ¬†Like Jakarta, it’s a city with so many hidden gems if you just take the time to look. ¬†We hope for more KL visits in our future with lots of time to explore all nooks and crannies in depth, not just from atop a double decker bus.

Crabbin’ the summer away

Moving back to Washington just in time for summer has proven to be a solid decision. ¬†These past few weeks of 75 degree days have been just what I’d been craving during our time in Indonesia. ¬† We’ve taken advantage of the pleasant temperatures with lots of dining al fresco and strolls on the beach. ¬†But our best outdoor activity thus far has been our days we’ve spent crabbing. ¬†My husband Joel grew up coming to the beaches in northwestern Washington so he’s an old hand at this crabbing thing. ¬†But the experience was new to me and I learned a lot after a couple of trips out. ¬†Here’s what I’ve picked up so far.

PTX Studio crabbin' in WA

1. Get yourself a crabbin’ license! ¬†Everyone should have a neighborhood store as good as Huntington’s Grocery. ¬†That’s where we headed to fork over $22.20 for our crab license. ¬†With our license in hand we can legally take home five appropriately sized crabs per day.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

2. Pick a gorgeous day.  We went out on a couple of different occasions and by far the most agreeable excursion was the one without rain.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

3. Pack the right tools.¬† Obviously you’ll need a boat, bait and crab pots, but there was another tool that was new to this crabbin’ newbie. ¬†For a crab to be a keeper it has to be a male at least 6.25 inches wide and this crab gauge is perfectly sized for making the measuring process quick and painless. ¬†It also has a diagram (blurry but usable) showing how to determine the sex of the crab (it has to do with the width of the abdomen flap).

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

4. Lock up your doggies!  This little lady is not typically an enthusiastic swimmer, but will make an exception when she sees her mama trying to speed off in a boat.  It was adorable and I applaud her bravery.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

5. Bait your traps and toss ’em in. ¬†We used turkey legs as our bait, but chicken, fish, clams and squid are all decent alternatives. ¬†Once your traps are out it’s time to head in and enjoy a beer while you wait. ¬†On our first run we left the traps out for about four hours, the second time we left them overnight.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

6. Remember where you put your crab pots!  This one is important.   We had one pot marked with a red flag that was easy to spot, however the we spent quite a while trying to locate our second pot whose flag had been ripped off.  Once it was located and our spoils were assessed, the search was deemed worthwhile.

 

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

7.¬†Pull those pots, baby!¬† Crab season coincides with seaweed season so the traps and line can get really bogged down with sea tangle. ¬†Our best luck was had with our pots that sat out only a couple of hours. ¬†When we returned to our pots the second time, after they’d been out unattended all night, we discovered we’d been crab burgled! ¬†Apparently there have been sightings around the bay of folks emptying pots that don’t belong to them. ¬†We think this is what happened to our overnight pots as the pot was empty but so was the bait trap. ¬†To this I say, Not cool, crab thieves, very not cool!

 

PTX-Studio-goes-crabbin-8

8. Watch your fingers! ¬†When you’re not getting burgled, you’re hopefully returning to pots filled with full grown males. ¬†When removing them from your trap you always want to handle the back end of the crabs, away from the pinchers. ¬†Some crabs are more ornery than others so watch out for the grabby buggers.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

9. Measure your males.  Team work is the best plan here- one person holding the crab, one person doing the measuring.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

10.  Bring home the bacon (or in this case the crustacean).   Keep your crabs cool and moist on the way home.  We stored ours in a bucket with water, however I later read that the crabs can die this way due to lack of oxygen.  We returned to shore quickly after our catch so these guys survived our short trip successfully.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

11. Brag a little.  Getting an attractive photo of yourself with your bounty is very important for your social media bragging status.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

12. Cook ’em outside.¬† Unless of course you enjoy the lingering scent of dead crab wafting through your home for days. ¬†We boiled ours in a large propane fueled stockpot in the driveway. ¬†The cleaning and killing which needs to be done before cooking I left up to the boys. ¬†Looking back on it I probably should have observed that process (as I’m interested in the whole farm/sea to table aspect), but later I found¬†this brochure¬†which contains lots of helpful tips including how best to clean and kill your crabs.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

13. Grab a friend and get crackin’! ¬†With three pairs of able hands, we were able to get through our five crabs in about 40 minutes. ¬†Another good time to crack open a beer to make your work more pleasant.

PTX Studio goes crabbin'

14.¬†Enjoy Crab Louie dinner!¬† The finale of every crab adventure is the best part; that’s when you eat the crab. ¬†We chose to prepare a delicious Crab Louie Salad, AKA the king of all salads. ¬†By some accounts Crab Louie originated in Washington. ¬†The recipe varies as you can include different veggies in your salad. ¬†I included the one below (courtesy of Rachel Ray at foodnetwork.com) because it includes avocado which I believe to be a necessary addition.

Crab Louie Salad

Ingredients

Louie Dressing:
  • 1 pint mayonnaise
  • 1/2 pint tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sweet relish
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Crab Louie Salad:
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 8 to 12 ounces fresh picked Dungeness crabmeat
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced lengthwise thinly
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 pound asparagus spears, cooked.

Directions

To make dressing, mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, olives, and eggs.

Make a bed of iceberg lettuce on a large plate. Top with crab, avocado, tomatoes, and asparagus. Drizzle with Louie dressing.

 

Thanks for reading and happy crabbing to you and yours!

Night in Waterville

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

600-Waterville-hotel

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

600-Waterville-garage2

600-Waterville-garage

600-Waterville-family-foods

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

 

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

600-wa-Corvair

PTX Studio in Waterville, WA

We came across Waterville, WA in our search for cooler sleeping arrangements after the AC went out in the RV.  The flawlessly vintage Waterville Hotel was just too adorable to pass up.  It saved us from a sweaty 100 degree night in the RV and it also provided us with an interesting look into small town life.

On our trip through Eastern Washington we passed through dozens of small towns, some prosperous and others not so much. ¬†Joel majored in Urban Studies so he’s rightly fascinated by what makes one town flourish while others fail. ¬†I’m sure there’s a multitude of historical and geographical evidence that we could uncover to get to the bottom of why Waterville is so desolate. ¬†But we instead chose to simply enjoy the night we had there by strolling through downtown taking in the Mayberry-like wholesomeness. ¬†If you’re ever driving though Eastern Washington searching for a blast from the past, I highly recommend cruising through Waterville.

Eastern Washington RV Adventure

PTX Studio in Eastern Washington

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

Fruit stand baskets |  PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

Dry Falls, WA  |  PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

Tourists at Dry Falls  |  PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

600-Lake-drive

Steamboat Rock  |  PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

Roadside fruit stands  |  PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

PTX Studio RV trip to Eastern WA

After living in Seattle for three years, I felt like I knew a little something about my adopted home state. ¬†This trip through Eastern Washington showed me that I need to get quite a few more treks under my belt before I can truly say that I’ve conquered this region.

Joel’s parents graciously offered to take us on a little welcome-back-to-America trip in their RV. ¬†Growing up in Washington, their family vacationed and camped throughout the state so they knew all the biggest, brightest, most badass places to stop on our excursion. We planned our overnight stops for Winthrop, Sun Lake and Leavenworth, but as the saying goes, it’s about the journey, not the destination. ¬†Along the way we pulled over for a nature walk in Newhalem, an overlook at Diablo Lake, touring the Grand Coulee Dam, another overlook at the expansive (and dry!) Dry Falls and a staggeringly colossal antique store in Cashmere.

A surprising highlight of our outing was when the AC broke in the RV. ¬†In 100 degree heat that wouldn’t sound like a highlight, however it forced us to freestyle a bit which is how we came across the quaint and tiny town of Waterville. ¬†I took probably a zillion shots in this picturesque town, a selection of which I’ll be posting soon.

First week home

PTX Studio in Camano Island, WA

PTX Studio in Camano Island, WA

PTX Studio in Camano Island, WA

600Joel-Hank

PTX Studio in Camano Island, WA

PTX Studio in Camano Island, WA

Our first week home was a relaxing one filled with beach walks and days in the sun. ¬†The weather has been a perfect 75 degrees, exactly what I’d been missing while living in the South Pacific humidity. ¬† We capped our first week with a family July 4th celebration at the beach house. ¬†So far our homecoming has been everything I was hoping for and more.

After the Independence Day fireworks subsided, we went home to pack for our Eastern Washington RV trip that started the next day. ¬†Photos coming soon…