Penang, Malaysia • Spring Break 2014

One of the big perks to being an international educator is that interesting places, formerly out of reach, are just a hop away. In our case, we were whisked from Sichuan province by Air Asia for a quick spring break trip to Penang Island, Malaysia.


According to, Penang Island has a long history intermingled with the west, and is an island full of stories of colonization, pirates, spices, opium, and invasions by all sorts.

Today, the island is mainly invaded by tourists, and good on the people of Penang for taking advantage of that by having a fantastic place to visit, with friendly people, tasty food, and beauty unsurpassed. I was also inspired by our trip there to begin work on a book series that I’ve been contemplating for quite a while, dealing with lost treasure, such as the story of the lost treasure of the Flor De La Mar.  More on that to come.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of our very relaxing time at the Golden Sands Resort, in Penang, Malaysia.


Tomb Sweeping Day on Mt. Qingcheng

Nothing says Tomb Sweeping Day like climbing a mountain.  And it makes it better that this was the mountain that inspired the makers of Kung Fu Panda 2!

Thimblerig's Ark Cover ArtMeanwhile, if you are looking for a good middle grade fantasy novel, try my new novel, Thimblerig’s Ark.  You know about Noah, but wait until you read the animal’s story!  The novel was inspired by C.S. Lewis, the book of Genesis, and an Irish pub song that tells why the unicorns didn’t make it on Noah’s Ark.

Fleming’s Chengdu Spring Festival 2014

Our family has had several days off for the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), not as many as if we were working for a Chinese company, but a welcomed week and a half in dreary January.  As usual, we stayed in Chengdu during the holiday, mainly to enjoy the city of 14 million when the population dwindles to 8 million, the other 6 million having returned to their hometowns to celebrate the holiday.  Yesterday, some new Chinese friends took us on a sightseeing excursion to a small village about an hour out of the city, where we saw an old village, and then up to Chengdu’s famous Great Fake Wall of China – for those without the energy or scratch to make the trip up north.  Here are some pictures from our excursion…