My plan was to keep up with my travel blog while in the Galapagos Islands.  I even made blog post TEMPLATES before I left, thinking I'd just fill them in with the fun I was having, and I'd get a beautiful blog post.  Unfortunately, things have not worked out so nicely.  A few days into my trip now, I've managed to keep up with writing and notes, but it's just too hard to process photos on a Chromebook.  With no slideshow viewer and a few hundred photos, not to mention slower internet than I'm used to, I simply can't find the best photos easily.  And I don't want my blog having sub-par photos now do I?  

           Well today my travel blog is one month old, and I thought I would write some reflections about it.  I know, I know, one month is super short so this might seem pretentious, but I think the beginning of anything is often the most crucial period.  It's a time when constant re-evaluating, re-thinking, and re-planning occurs, because you're a newbie and the learning curve is steep.  Anyways, here goes, question and answer style.  
Merlion Park Singapore
Merlion Park, Singapore. The beginning of the trip that started it all.

          When I visited Singapore I stayed at the Fullerton Hotel, a 5-star luxury haven centrally located on Marina Bay.  I "felt" safe within the large crowds, ritzy architecture, and clean city, and indeed no adverse events occurred to me.  After three days in Singapore, I took a two day trip to Malacca, a small Malaysian town rich in history and culture.  Upon arriving in Malacca, my first reaction was that the place "looked" unsafe.  Looking back, this was probably due to Malacca's sharp contrast with Singapore, a global city boasting skyscrapers, beautiful buildings, and upscale shops.  On the other hand, Malacca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its historical icons and preservation of traditional Malaysian culture.  
           My visit to Malacca went without incident and I had a wonderful time.  When I got home, I did some research on the safety of Malacca.  Unfortunately I couldn't mind many statistics or hard data, but a quick Google search, the consensus seems to be that Malacca is relatively safe.  Below is a sampling, the first two hits after searching for "how safe is malacca."  They echo what many other sources said.  

Background: The weekend of 4th of July rolled around, and the idea of Lake Tahoe didn't appeal to me.  Not that its a bad place to visit, with water clarity so high the bottom is visible, but its where everyone in the Bay Area goes for a weekend getaway.  Solution: Shasta Lake, the lake formed by Shasta Dam restraining the Sacramento River, about a four hour drive north of San Francisco.  Under each photo, I write my personal reflections...  
Shasta Lake Dock
1.) The Dock: A sign of human activity, floating on the lake's surface, but not penetrating its mysterious depths. Those floating orange balls look like tiny points in space. Really, our knowledge of the earth only scratches the surface...

           Early last year, I moved to the Bay Area and found a job at a biotech startup.  I was in my twenties, working on cutting edge technology in Silicon Valley, and San Francisco was before me  Okay, I didn't actually live in San Francisco, but a train ride is no pretext for not getting out.  It was the perfect setup for amazing experiences and I certainly had a good time - but I was often "busy with work."  Looking back, I realize that I felt most inspired to see San Francisco when I was with tourists.  I had friends from Australia visit me on two occasions, and hanging with them made me see the place differently.  Also, it was the impending necessity of moving away from San Francisco that inspired me to fully explore it.  

           An incoming PhD candidate to Northwestern’s Materials Science and Engineering program, ecstatic at the prospect of fiddling with polymers and biomaterials, I may fit the profile of a stereotypical “nerd.”  I’m also a 20-something girly-girl though, so when planning a trip to Singapore, I thought I’d go on shopping sprees and return with novel fashion items.  Instead, I did next to no shopping but found plenty of attractions, i.e. unique architectural achievements, that delighted the nerd in me.  
Helix Bridge in early morning. Please excuse the Singapore haze.

           When I vacationed in Singapore and Malaysia, I chose to visit a disproportionately high number of religious sites.  By disproportionate I don’t mean that tourists shouldn’t or never go to the places I went to, but they weren’t necessarily the area’s main attractions.  In Singapore, I spent the better part of one day exploring a Buddhist temple and two Hindi temples, when I could have been shopping on the famed Orchard Street.  In Malacca, my hotel provided a tourist map and the words “mosque,” “temple,” and “church” kept piquing my interest.  I understand I have a quirky propensity for religious sites, but believe they can be a great way to get to know a region – no matter what your personal beliefs.  
Sri Mariamman Temple
Close-up of gopuram