Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM LONDON!!!!

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Christmas Present Opening in London

Christmas videos of opening presents - Enjoy!

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"London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down, London..."

"London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down, London..." I'm sure most of you know that tune and will no doubt be humming it for the next few hrs or more now that it's in your heads.... Ha!! Anyways, there are no London bridges falling down here, just our youngest daughter who didn't want to walk closer to the swans and geese over @ Kensington Gardens lake...she is terrified that the LARGE swans and geese will eat her alive (I have just a little to do with that). So as I tried to walk closer to them, she just falls to the ground in resistance and I end up laughing...Anyways, thought I would share some London photos with all of you and some funny videos. Today, it was just Daddy and the girls and we went to lunch together, and spent hrs @ the Princess Diana Children's Park right behind her home, Kensington Palace - the girls had a blast all bundled up and running around..... We then went to the Milestone Hotel for some hot chocolate and biscuits (cookies) - it was a great Christmas Eve day. My wife and her Mom went shopping so I got to spoil the girls with pasta, pizza, playing, chasing birds and large swans that chased back and to top it off, some hot cocoa!!! I LOVE spoiling them as long as I get to partake a little :) :) If my wife is a good girl, I may just take her for some fancy hot chocolate too...I added a short video of the Milestone Hotel that we stayed at for two nights...quite a place. (Listen closely to the dialogue)






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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Casino Royale Christmas Party Singapore

Starlene and I had the opportunity to go to our Asia-Pac HQ Christmas party this year and the theme was 'Casino Royale' - Almost all of the men wore James Bond type tuxedos and the women got all dressed up for a night of fine food and fake gambling - It was very cool to get all dressed up and pretend I was James bond. Starlene, I mean 'Natalia' the Russian Spy, (Her name for the night) and I had a blast and both learned how Baccarat works - very fun game, but we're not ready for Macao or Vegas just yet :) Anyways, thought you would enjoy a few photos from this night; Starlene looked GREAT in her dress that she had flown over from the US and altered in Singapore. The party was at the Pan Pacific Hotel and we were fortunate enough to have a babysitter stay all night with the girls and we stayed overnight at the hotel. :) Notice the bonus photos of me next to my boss, one normal height of me and him and one with me stooping dramatically :)







Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Daughter's Deep Thoughts on Singapore

Enjoy - This is our 5 yr old daughter giving us her take on life in Singapore :) We also threw in some additional photos for good measure from our trip last week to the Singapore Flyer; the largest in the WORLD.

Our youngest daughter, just like her daddy, loves a good chocolate shake - thank God they have such a place in Singapore or we may not have made it this long, especially with the heat and humidity!!!

Our oldest is VERY excited about going in the Singapore Flyer 'capsule' in the background. Like her daddy, she is very adventurous and not much scares her... she made the headband that she's wearing :)

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from us 2008

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What are you thankful for?

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'd love to know what you are thankful for this year. Something we always did at Thanksgiving meals was go around the table and say one thing for which each of us was thankful. I'll miss being able to do that this year (with more than just the four of us), so please humor me and leave a comment with what you are thankful for. I'll tell you what I'm thankful for in a different post.

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Did you realize Thanksgiving is an American holiday that's not celebrated around the world? It is probably obvious to most, given the historical origins of the day, but it took me a while living here before I realized that Thanksgiving was not something with which most people here are familiar.

[Sidenote: I understand Canada celebrates their own version of Thanksgiving sometime in Oct., I think. I wonder if there are any other countries?]

Since Thanksgiving is not an official holiday here, the kids are in school and Gander is at work. No days off. No extra time to sit around gorging ourselves on way too much food then watching football (or sleeping through football, as the case may be) for us this year. [Actually, no American football for us at all. Gander has to settle for online updates and news articles to keep up with the sport. Now there's something I can be thankful for! ;-) ]

Since today (yes, it's Thursday here already) is still a school night and a work night, I decided it was too difficult for me to plan a Thanksgiving meal for tonight. I am going to shoot for at least a mini feast this weekend. Of course I still need to find a turkey. I know I can buy one here, I just haven't found one yet. I also need a good pumpkin pie recipe. Anyone care to share?

Be back in a bit to write a post on what I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Look what GG did while Gander was away

I thought someone might get a laugh out what GG and I did with our time this past weekend while Gander was in Australia. Elly was playing with us, too, but she didn't really help with the things in the photos.

Exhibit A:
Create a disguise for a vicious dinosaur so that it could successfully trick the unsuspecting Little People into coming close enough so it could eat them.

Pretty convincing, don't you think? No?!? I doubt you can see the tape over the poor dino's top teeth but GG thought that taping the teeth made them look less sharp. Of course, the dress is easy to understand... the dino is trying to look like a friendly, grandmother type (you know - like the big, bad wolf did in Little Red Riding Hood). You may be wondering about the slide. Well, that was an attempt to hide the dino's tail. At first we tried extending the length of the back of the dress (like a train on a wedding dress) using a facial tissue but GG didn't like the way it looked. She opted for the "look-like-a-playground" trick.

Those poor Little People. They never saw it coming!

















Exhibit B:
This one was an entirely independent project completed by GG. She made wings for her horse and then posed it for a photo shoot, with a total of 25 different shots. (Thank goodness for digital cameras!) I'll spare you from all 25 pictures and just share 2.

I have to admit - I think GG did a great job on those wings. She taped them onto the horse's back by herself and everything.

On a totally serious note: I LOVE that GG is so creative and thinks these type of things up on her own. As annoying as it can sometimes be that she always wants to save empty tissue boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, and other odds and ends (so she can make things out of them), she really has an amazing creative gift.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're still alive... just not well

Sorry for disappearing for the last 3 weeks. I'm not sure where all my time goes and what has been keeping me so busy but, trust me, I've been busy. I'd love to say I've been sitting around, eating bon-bons but I haven't.

Since more than 1 month ago, when we got that horrible bout of the flu, I haven't been fully well. I had, yet another cold, recently and am finally feeling functional. I've still got a cough but that's about it. GG is dealing with asthma, coughing, phlegm and more. Elly is feeling fine but I hear her coughing sometimes so I know she's not in perfect health yet. Gander's the only one that seems to feel healthy. He's just worn out from his most recent trip - 3 days in Australia, working early morning to late night.

Anyways... all that just to post a quick note to anyone who wonders what happened to us -- we are all alive, just not all well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Singapore Gooseman's Travels

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Shanghai Traffic - VERY BAD! We had a green light, but green and red lights don't mean much...I guess the color just looks pretty...

Hey everyone!!!! It's the Singapore Gooseman here.... and NO, I am not telling you (7) things about me like my wife did :) I'm grounded for a couple of weeks before I head 'down unda' again for a short business trip. However, I just got back in town from Shanghai and Hong Kong. I was in down town Shanghai VERY quickly - took the speed train from the airport traveling @ 431 KM/Hr - for you Americans, this is about 200 MPH!!! It was AWESOME!! The train does NOT even ride on a track, but floats if you will with powerful magnets - the ride is very smooth and very fast. (VIDEO below)

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Shanghai downtown area was really nice; it's clear that the gov't has invested quite a bit of $$ for this city. However, when you get out of town, it's quite clear that China's people are very poor and the cities are dismal at best. No color on the buildings, lots of dust, horrible pollution, bad roads, and bad traffic. HOWEVER, these people, who have very little, are very friendly and smile when you smile at them - that's pretty cool if you ask me.... I spent time with my team there every day and shared every meal with them; I thought I liked Chinese food, but Chinese food in Shanghai is VERY different that in Southern California!!! Shanghai does not have 'Kung Pao Beef' or 'Orange Chicken' like we're used to... They have Crab Eggs, King Snake, Fish Head & Prawn Heads that are eaten whole, etc, etc....I can tell you that I tried EVERYTHING out of respect for them - but was honest about what I did and did not like... All I can tell you is that I can't wait to eat more KING SNAKE!!! It was awesome - tastes like pork ribs, however, these have LOTS of little ribs that you have to dig the meat out of.... :)

LEFT CLICK ON THE PHOTOS JUST ONCE AND THEY BLOW UP LARGE ON YOUR SCREEN - THE CRAB LOOKS COOL ON THE BIG SCREEN. JUST HIT THE BACK BUTTON WHEN DONE.















KING SNAKE!!!!


Crab eggs - eating from under-belly of crab near the stomach....

I insisted that we eat 'American Food' one of the nights I was there - so we ate @ Lawry's Prime Rib!!! They just opened one in Shanghai and it was AWESOME!!! My colleague, Leslie (he's a guy), ate EVERYTHING and loved it!!! If you haven't been there, you should check it out!!! After a few days I was off to Hong Kong...what a city!!! This is the most beautiful city by FAR that I have ever been in. Yes, I know there are lots of cities in Europe that have beautiful architectural design, but this is a modern city with lots of high rise buildings and at night, it's a site for sore eyes. Not only does the city glimmer and shine, it has WONDERFUL cuisine and fine hotels right on the water - they have one of my favorite places - MORTON'S!!! :) Anyways, there are LOTS of people walking around town at night and it's a lot of fun... I must have had at least 30 guys walk up to me asking if I wanted to buy a watch or if I wanted a custom tailored suit - everyone in this town is a salesman!! :) OK, I'll stop now - enjoy the pics and video's of China and Hong Kong. (Missing EVERYONE TERRIBLY - BUT, be diligently ready at anytime for the big, heavy smack on your back from an old friend when you least expect it AND for the shaking front door when I pretend to break it down...)

P.S. Keep an eye out for our family Christmas video on our blog.... we'll be singing a X-mas carol or two :)

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Floating billboard in Shanghai...


Hong Kong @ Night


This is an actual HUGE sitting area for people to just relax and enjoy the beautiful view of downtown HK.


Jackie Chan Star on HK walkway next to ocean boardwalk...


Bruce Lee's Star!


Bruce Lee Statue and HK skyline in background..

Friday, October 31, 2008

I've been tagged :-) Who's next?

My friend Monica over at Souter Life in the OC tagged me. For those of you unfamiliar with the weird games that bloggers play, here are the rules of this particular game of tag that has been making its rounds in the blogosphere. Like my last post, where I accepted my first blog award (thank you to all of my fans; um.... I mean my 1 fan), this is the first time I've been tagged.

So now I have to tell you 7 random and/or weird facts about myself. (Before you read my list, you might want to click on over to Monica's list and enjoy a few laughs. She's got some doozies.)

(Just for fun, I'm using Mandarin numbers for my list since I've been learning some of these from GG who has Mandarin at school 4 days a week.)

I used to drive a red Jeep Wrangler with the soft-top down much of the time. I still miss my Jeep. It was the best!!! (Thanks Dad and Mom!!! - And, no, I don't think I was spoiled, just well taken care of.)

I dyed my hair black when I was a freshman in high school and part of it turned green. :-0 Now that's what you call embarrassing.

I went through a phase when I spelled my name "Starlyne." Yes, I thought it was cool. I realize now how incredibly goofy/dorky/dumb/immature it was. What's even worse is, in my attempt to be original (btw, how much more original can you get then my name as it is?), I was really being a copycat. My cousin Kim had started spelling her name Kym.

I worked at Weinerschitzel from the time I was 16 - 18. I actually enjoyed the job, for the most part, and I was pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. My favorite, believe it or not, was when I got to work the opening shift during the summers. I'd have to be to work at 6 AM but it was worth it. Those were the only shifts when I got to work in the back as a cook instead of at the front counter, bagging, drinks, or drivethru. GG enjoyed hearing me tell her about when I used to have to dress up in the weiner dog costume.

I went through a stage where I actually wanted to be a hairdresser. If you know anything about me, you can understand why that would not be a good career choice. At that time, I was trying to figure out how I could get out of going to college and beauty school seemed like the perfect choice. No offense to any hairdressers, cosmetologists, etc. but, for me, it would have been a very unsuccessful choice, I'm sure.

OK... that's enough embarrassing memories from my teen years. I'm having trouble coming up with the last two things without drawing from that awkward time in life but I KNOW I can come up with something. Here goes...

My birthday is an official national holiday in Singapore. I never realized that people in other places actually celebrate May Day.

The verse from the Bible that I claim as "mine" (kind of related to my name) is Matthew 5:16 - - ...Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Now that I've told you more about myself than you probably wanted to know, I am going to tag everyone that I know who blogs (unless you've already been tagged). Sorry to my friends for "giving you awards" and then tagging you all in the same day. You don't have to participate if you don't want. Sorry I don't have a larger base of "blog friends" to pick from.

Home is Where You Start From
Crazy Mommy, punk music is for kids!
...thoughts and ramblings from the edge of the world...
The Balance Quest

My first blog award!

After all my time off (from being sick) it's time for me to catch up on blogging. I have a whole page of hand-written notes about things I need (er... want) to blog about so, stay tuned. It may be busy here for a while. Also that fact that Gander gets back from China tonight means that you will probably be getting an onslaught of posts from him, too.

[Please know that I'm trying to catch up on e-mails, too, so if you are waiting to hear back from me, please keep being patient. I promise I will e-mail you back soon. :-)]

Now time to get down to business....

I was honored with a blog "award" from my friend T. at Send Chocolate because, apparently, I am "charming." {Stop that snickering!} According to the instructions, I am supposed to include the following blurb on my blog and then pass on the award to 8 other bloggers. I don't think I even know 8 other bloggers to pass it on to so I am going to pass it on to everyone I know that blogs BUT I am doing so with the disclaimer - I won't be upset with you if you don't keep the chain going. So... this is a "no pressure" type of award, as far as I'm concerned.

The Charming Award
The Rules: Leave the following message on your post when you pass the award on to their chosen eight blogger buddies. “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”


So now, I pass on the Charming Award to all of my charming friends in the blog world (in no particular order). Go say Hi to my friends if you want and see how charming they are for yourselves. :-D
Souter Life in the OC
...thoughts and ramblings from the edge of the world...
The Balance Quest
Hey, I have to tell you something
Home is Where You Start From
Crazy Mommy, punk music is for kids!

I hope I didn't forget anyone.

Do you need a good laugh or 2 or 20?

I imagine that some of you have probably seen FailBlog before but I just found it. I'm telling you, I could waste a good day or two. at least, just looking at all of these funny photos and videos. (If you click on the words "FailBlog" either here or at the beginning of this post, it will take you to the website. FYI- I linked you to the G-rated version because I'm just that kind of girl. Sorry - you're on your own to figure out how to get to the non-G-rated stuff if you want to.)

Just as a taste of what you'll find, here are a couple of the videos I found on FailBlog that I thought were especially funny.




Enjoy!! It's like watching America's Funniest Home Videos but it's not just America, it's not all home video, and you don't have to put up with the annoying commentary from the host.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New and Improved "After" Photo

A little while back I posted before and after photos of myself showing my eyebrow makeover. The after photo wasn't very good so I've been wanting to post another one that better shows the change in my look. So, with no further ado...


Yes. I know it's a shocker. I'm actually wearing makeup. I've taken to wearing (very little) makeup a couple times a week now. It's amazing what a newly shaped pair of eyebrows does for a person.

When I first told you that I got my brows done, I said there was more but I'd save it for a later time. Now's that time.
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I got a perm and tint!!
What do you mean my hair still looks the same? Of course it does! I didn't mean that hair. I meant my eyelashes.

Did you know that you can actually have your eyelashes permed (with a curl, of course) and tinted, just like your regular hair on your head. For someone who hasn't spent much time or effort on physical appearance and who has little interest in it, this was a pretty weird thought. Like a miniature perm and hair-coloring on teensy, weensy little hairs.

I'd heard of permanent makeup - aka tattooing your face to look like you always have makeup on. There's no way I'm letting someone stick me over and over again with a tiny tattoo needle so close to my eyes in the name of beauty so, NO, I won't be doing that. But, hey now, just getting a little perm and tint... that didn't sound so bad.

It wasn't soooo bad. I won't say it was painless. I would probably do it again. Overall, though, I have to say, waking up every morning looking like I already have mascara on and my eyelashes perfectly curled is pretty cool. Even when I was so sick I looked almost dead, at least my eyelashes looked pretty. I can tell myself that now. At the time, I didn't care in the least.

So there it is. The full story of my eye makeover and a better "after" photo.

Don't worry. I haven't become obsessed with external beauty. But if you ever hear me considering that permanent makeup business, be sure to slap some sense into me. (And if you are someone who actually has permanent makeup, please don't try to convince me that it's not so bad. I'm a big baby when it comes to pain so needles on my eyes is NOT a good idea.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

22 prescriptions and $471 later...


















It's been a little over a week since an unwelcome visitor invaded our home.

Elly caught the flu at school and brought it home where every single one of us joined her in her misery. And misery it truly was. At one point I seriously considered going to the emergency room. I don't know if this is the worst flu I've ever had, but, if it was not, it was pretty close. Even Gander missed four days of work. And that says something because Gander rarely gets sick and when he does, it usually doesn't make him miss work. The girls missed school all week. We stayed in bed for almost the entire week. It was not fun, to say the least.

I seem to be the only one left who is still struggling but hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.

I understand this is a normal part of adjusting to life somewhere new, with new germs and strains of disease that our bodies aren't used to. I hope this is the end of our "germ-related welcome."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Before and After of me

While Gander was away on his last trip, I decided it was time to beautify myself just a bit. See if you can guess what I did from the pictures below. (You have to ignore my hair -that's not what changed. I mean, I know it looks different but, trust me, I realize the AFTER pic does not show a more beautiful me if you focus on the hair, or, sadly, on the smile or the chin. I guess that's what happens when I take a picture of myself when I should be sleeping. It was close to midnight. I definitely like the before pic better, overall, but there is one small thing in the after pic that's better, I think.)

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I'll give you a hint. It's not what GG guessed when I asked her the next day if she noticed anything different about me. (Word of advice: Never ask a 7 year old if you look different.) She looked me over and seriously replied, "Fatter?" Ummmm..... no. (Well, maybe. Those all too frequent trips to McDonald's to get an American food fix may be having an effect.) But that wasn't what I was going for. At least Elly has a kind heart and after hearing GG's remark and my embarrassed laughter, she guessed "Skinnier?" Anyways, neither of those are the correct answer. Have you figured it out yet?

I'll give you another minute.

Times up! YES! It's my eyebrows. I'd been wanting to have my eyebrows shaped for a long time. They were way past due. Gander noticed the difference right away but I don't think he likes them much. He asked why I had them made so thin. I like them but maybe he's right. Oh well. It doesn't really matter too much. I feel like they liven up my eyes and I'm not self conscious anymore about my brows being too bushy.

There's more to the story. I went back a couple days later and had more done but I'll save that for another post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

RESULTS- "The Price is Right" box of Cheerios

The WINNER is.........................
LisaD.

LisaD guessed $7 US dollars. The item in question was a 14 oz. box of Cheerios. That's a normal size box... not too small, not too big. Here is the actual price: (Singapore)$10.75 = (US)$7.35. It doesn't seem quite as bad when I convert it to US dollars but when you see almost $11 for a box of cereal, it is kind of hard to swallow.

Congratulations, Lisa!! I'll make sure to send you a postcard. :-D

And, in case anyone was wondering, yes, I did buy the box of Cheerios. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I'm not sure which), I am starting to get more used to the prices here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kuala Lumpur





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KL is the best city I've ever visited! It has beautiful architecture, nice restauarants line the streets, night life abounds with the sound of live music everywhere and then there's China town, which is a large swap meet. To top it off, the people are really friendly... if you're wondering about the fish head above, YES, we ate all of the FISH BODY, did not touch the head - other than my fingers to open it's mouth for this pic :) All of the food was awesome - here is what I ate: Tiger Gruper, Tiger Prawns, soup called Lala which had clams in it, and Indonesian Sea Snails!!! The sea snails were the BEST!! Seriously, I would not have ordered them, but glad my colleague did!!! This restaurant was amazing - you get to pick out your food LIVE while it's in fish tanks... YUMMY! By the way, our youngest daughter just got a new fish and I told her that I was going to eat it when it dies - she agreed that I could eat it ONLY when it dies, and we also agreed that I can call her fish 'YUMMY', and she calls it 'Princess Fish'.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bangkok Video

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Bangkok


Hey there everyone - I just got back from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Quite a trip!! From Elephants, subways, fresh fish eating, and large, tall buildings - all was amazing!!! Here are some pics and videos. Enjoy! Can you spell Coke in Thai? (above) Language was the largest barrier - very difficult to communicate with people in Bangkok - I am learning sign language quickly!!! :)



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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A night at the zoo













A couple weekends ago we went to the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo. We had hoped to be able to post some really cool pictures of our adventure but, the funny thing is, animals in the dark don't really photograph well. Go figure. :-/ So instead of seeing photos of some really amazing animals, you'll have to settle on my description. Or you could always make a trip to Singapore and go to the Night Safari with us.

Since it's been a couple weeks, I can't really remember everything but here is what I can remember. First, we went to a show. It was probably the best show I've ever been to at an animal type place. There were real live bats flying overhead every once in a while, not just as part of the scheduled demonstration of animals. They had the cutest little otters that fulfilled the "environmental awareness" portion of the show by sorting recyclable materials into the correct containers. There was a mountain lion, hyenas, and a sloth bear that walked above our heads on a tightrope-type thing. There were several other animals, too. The person who narrated the whole show was very entertaining and they did a great job making the show memorable. There is one very "exciting" part of the show but I am not going to tell about it because I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone that may some day actually get to see the show him/herself.

After the show, we took the tram ride around the park through portions of 8 different "areas" of the world (Himilayan Foothills, Equatorial Africa, South American Pampas, Burmese Hillside, etc.). What is truly amazing is this zoo does not use any cages or cage-like enclosures. At one point, all that was separating our tram from a hippopotamus was about 30 feet and and some end-to-end logs forming an outer border of his area. I was actually a little nervous about the fact that he could have come right up to the tram if he really wanted to. I suppose they know enough about the animals' typical and individual behavior to keep it safe but it was really pretty strange. During the ride, we also passed by a pair of elephants that were truly no more than 4-5 feet from the edge of the tram. Two of the handlers had taken them out for a walk and we drove right by. All I can say is they are amazing animals up close and I was surprised by how much expression you could observe on their elephant faces. To my relief, the more dangerous animals were kept at a safe distance by greater obstacles than the hippo would have had to overcome. Yet none of the animals we saw on the tram ride were behind glass or wired caging. (Is that what it's called?)

After the tram ride, we walked through the "Fishing Cat" trail and a portion of the "Leopard Trail." Elly was so sleepy she had to be carried most of the time. The highlights from the walking trails were the fishing cats, the Indian gharials, and the Malayan flying foxes. The fishing cats were actually on the banks of streams and in the water fishing. The gharials are fish-eating crocodiles, which we actually were able to see capture and eat their prey. It was pretty freaky watching them as they would surface out of the water where they could not be seen beforehand and submerge in the water to disappear. And in case you were wondering (I was) if the flying foxes were really flying foxes... no - they are actually the largest bat in the world. And they are pretty darn big.

So now that I've written a novel, here are some pictures of the girls. Remember we couldn't get any good shots of the zoo animals but we at least got some cute shots of the girls when we stopped for an ice cream break at the Z-bar. (clever, huh?)