Diving in Malaysia and Biking in Singapore. Next Up, Eating (Update Part 11)

June was great! I left India and have been wearing shorts every single day just to spite that country. Anyhow!

During the month of June I made great new friends in Malaysia, ate my favorite foreign dish–roti canai–visited my college friend Whitney in Singapore, had my older brother Timothy fly out to meet me as we ate through all the Singaporean hawker stalls, and then went back to Malaysia to visit friends, eat, and get SCUBA certified on the northern islands! Diving has been a dream of mine for a while and something I’d been looking forward to my entire trip, so I was quite thrilled to be in a lovely landscape and have my brother along with me.

Since most of my time the past few weeks has been spent in the water diving with various fish, I thought you might be interested in seeing just a bit of what I’ve been able to see underwater. Yes, I’ve seen all these fish (and many, many more) listed below with my very own eyes—no joke! I didn’t take these photos, but Google did, and I think you’ll be able to marvel at the beauty of these creatures while learning a bit about life in the sea. 


Blue-Spotted Stingray

Body around 28″ in length; up to 4ft. long from head to tail

Yellow-grey coloring with bright blue spots and long, blue tail with white underside

Can be found hiding under rocks or large coral patchesgroups; lives alone or in small

Is unable to rid himself of the negative image brought on by his cousin’s great-great uncle, the late Sting, who was most notorious for killing wildlife legend Steve Irwin. Suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder when at parties and introducing himself



Christmas Tree Worms

1-3 inches in length; usually grows in clusters

Colors range from solid blues and yellows to pink, black, and white striped

Will react to changes in water pressure or irritation by withdrawing into its small lair

Sick of telling people it’s Jewish


{photo removed due to either copyright, species, or gender infringement}

Batfish, Goatfish, Butterflyfish, Lionfish, etc.


6-20 inches in length


Colors vary from intense yellows and blues to whites and blacks. Many striped


Blame Noah and his ark for running out of original names for his children of the ocean



*Note: That is not I in the photo. I did not grow a bald head since I left the states.

Giant Grouper

3-5.5ft. in length 

Colors range from brown-and-grey-striped to black-spotted

Often stays hidden in dark crevices or under coral, but occasionally catches sunlight while resting directly atop rock pinnacles; looks like the giant fish from “Big Fish”

Perhaps ingested too much milk and hormone-injected meat as a child, thus resulting in its current overgrown state; intends to try Jenny Craig, as Weight Watchers is much to clicky for him



Body 5-8 inches in length; head banner 8-14 inches in length

White, black, and yellow striped bodies with a white flag

Still try to cover up the fact that they use L.A. Looks brand hair gel to get their fauxhawks looking great. The other fish know



White/Clear Trevally 

Little data exists on species

So clear-colored and hard to see that few accurate sightings have been made

A recent sighting in Malaysia revealed a fish, confusing lack of color for another attractive sub-species, thought Kathryn Cooper was its new mate; the sighting was confirmed when embarrassment in the form of blushing showed up as pink dots on camera sensors from both fish and human species. Neither has been seen since


Titan Triggerfish

12-24 inches in length

Black body with unique colored stripes, spots, and additional markings; clown lips.

If you get near it, it will bite you. It will attack your feet or hands, or, if you use your fins to get him away, he’ll clamp down and take a bite out of your fin. He’ll chase you around for 20-30 minutes. But don’t get him wrong; just because he is violent at work doesn’t necessarily mean that he supports domestic violence. 





2-14 inches in length

Pink squiggles and stripes on top of green, blue, white, orange, or yellow mottled skin

Wants to be noticed for her personality for once, not her stunningly gorgeous looks, lusciously smooth skin, and ideal tail-to-jaw ratio. The shoe collection is just for fun; she can donate the extra Choos and Blahniks at any time, especially if she meets a guy who’s worth it. And as long as you treat her like a princess, she’ll be loyal to you. When she’s in a good mood, what’s not to love?



Blue-Ringed Angelfish

7-14 inches in length

Depending on species, may have yellow, blue, black, white, and other colored stripes on blue, orange, yellow, or white bodies; tail may be a different color from body

Snout-nosed mouth on some species

Mates for life, so if you see just one, rest assured that those plastic rings from your old 6-pack Pepsi cans you bought in the 90s killed its mate. Way to go, man. Or should I say MURDERER?!


Oh, and here are some photos from time spent around Singapore and Malaysia: Biking Pulau Ubin, Singapore, underwater photography in Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia, and more. Next up? Yup, food photos only. 


Anyhow, Timothy has headed home after 2 weeks of intense eating, and I’ve spent some interesting time in Malaysia and now Thailand, diving more and soon heading up into the mountains for some intense secluded village time in the middle of who knows where, northern Thailand. When will I go, where will I stay, and what will I eat? All I know is that a whole lot of rice is about to make an appearance, so I won’t be a happy girl very shortly. Stay tuned!


With love but no cheese,

 Li’l Coopy

The Best Part of India Was My Trip to Nepal

No, I’m just kidding. Sort of. Not really.

Nepal has left me pretty much speechless. If you know me, you know this is a challenging feat. I’m a tough crowd to please, but this place’s raw beauty, picturesque villages, National Geographic-worthy old folks, and (thankfully) non-fried food was twenty times more incredible than I ever dreamed. I can’t even write a normal, bordering-on-sarcastic post this time! I wanted to visit remote villages, photograph natives, see the Himalayas, and go trekking and all, but it wasn’t in the plans, felt touristy, and wouldn’t be a good choice for my still-bummy knee. But by some stroke of luck, I did all that and more the anti-tourist way. I traveled with an established Indian-French photographer (from Couchsurfing, of course) who was doing a documentary on Tibetan exiles. We explored Nepal together, and I’m still too speechless to write a real post on the country. Beauty? Try a 6-hour motorcycle drive through massive mountains and terraced crops spiraling hundreds of layers down valleys. Cooking lesson? Too touristy. Try hiking into the mountains, picking “jungle fruits,” being taught how to cook by the local math teacher and cook, then cooking them lunch. Trekking? Too expensive. Try going with your Tibetan friend’s nomadic sister up a huge series of mountains–with 4 porters, 16 cows, and a yak–to move to new pasture. I’ve already said too much, and really, I can’t put into words how much Nepal blew my mind. The scenery was so stunning that I was unable to capture it and instead tried to document the lives of these Tibetan refugees and Nepali tribes. Hopefully some of my photos will help give a hint to life here.