Sights of Penang

Penang has the best of both worlds. Modern Buildings and Malls and the simple lifestyle of the local folks. On my trip there, instead of hitting the malls as we usually do in the past decades, we now head more for the heartlands area. Heartlands meaning, local markets, shop houses, coffee shops, hawker fare and just taking in the smell and sights of Penang like they were in the old days.

Of course the kids complained every now and then because these places are void of air-conditioning and there's bound to be some kind of weird smell or stench, I still enjoyed every moment of it. This is what aging is all about. Grasping on to whatever childhood memories I had here and also to ground me and realize how much times have changed.

Compared with Singapore, you can see much rubbish strewn all around the roads, exhaust fumes and cigarette pollution and rubbish dump alleys but this is an education for my children that I don't want them to miss. I had to explain to them that this is the norm as MANY other countries are bigger and have more population, hence take time to develop and clean up, compared with a small country like Singapore. Many buildings in Penang are not maintained, looks forlorn and diapidated and is in need of a new coat of paint.

As a matter of fact, Penang looks much cleaner now, except for her congested looking roads and messy directions.

I consider these part of life lessons for Rae and Lea and hope that someday, when they do travel or go to other parts of the world, they will learn to appreciate the beauty of the local lifestyle and their friendliness of the people.

We drove to many parts of town and even got down for the kids to relieve themselves. Ah Boy remembered a public toilet at the old esplanade when the girls were screaming urgent and true enough, the toilet is still around and looks very enchantingly retro, to me. I can't help taking shots of it. I even took shots of an old car because in Singapore, we hardly get to see cars that are older than 10 years.

We even took a wrong turn to the Chowrasta Market on one morning only to get caught in the massive human traffic market along the streets... Embarrasing situation as we slowly edge our way out while the locals looked and stared at a car in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Penang and it's many sights

Tua Pek Kong Temple at Pulau Tikus

Times Square (Is this opened?)

Streets around Georgetown (where shopping was best in 70s!)

Tunes Hotel (errr... where'd such a hotel come from??)

Parking lots that had no lots... Our car under the tree.. Safe to Park?

Pulau Tikus Market Still Standing Proud..
Where the goods are most expensive..sigh

Tandas (old fashioned public toilet) near old Esplanade
Ah Boy must have used this many times!! He knew this place!

A familiar sight of a typical sugar cane drink stall
I love this type of pure sugar cane juice!

Our wrong turn to Chowrasta Market...
lucky we finally cleared *embarrassed to look back*

It was exciting driving around Penang. The familiar sights, the familiar buildings and the names of the roads. And most importantly the best place for FOOD!

Read about my Food Hunt
Char Koay Teow
Curry Mee


Back to Singapore

Aaah I'm finally back in Singapore after a week's holiday in Penang and Genting Highlands, Pahang. We started driving from Singapore from about 5 ish. We used the Tuas' custom entry to get to Johore because we were worried that there might be a jam due to after-work-hours as many Malaysians travel to and forth Singapore for work daily.

After clearing the customs and getting our passports stamped, it was about 6pm. In case you were wondering why didn't we start travelling from morning, it was because Ah Boy had to work that very day and because it was a Monday, he needed to clear emails first and complete all the paper work early. He managed to get off work about 4pm and got home, have a shower then helped to put the luggage into the car.

Weather wise driving in the evening was really very nice. It wasn't hot nor humid. However it got a little stressful when it was dark. At about 8 - 10ish, Ah Boy was still fine. I kept conversation going during the trip because I wanted to make sure he was fine and still alert. If really need to, then we can switch places but i've never driven on his Honda before. His car does not have a hand brake but has a pedal brake on the far left instead of a clutch pedal. So from the left are, foot brake, middle-foot brake and right is the accelerator.

Dark unlighted roads @ 12.51am

Anyway, driving later into the night got a little stressful not because traffic was heavy. It was because roads are not lighted except for the luminous signs painted at the sides of the road to guide you along. If there was a car in front it was easier but if there were no cars, you'd be squinting your eyes out to make sure you follow the luminated signs! YIKES!

Altogether, we took about 3 toilet breaks. The girls were watching their favourite movie Enchanted and Mr Bean along the way. About 10pm they were all asleep. I kept a watch for the road for Ah Boy. Just to be safe because it was our first drive at night.

The total trip to Penang from Singapore was shorter than we expected. It was about 8 and half hours.. I guess we made a record time compared with the 10 hours drive back previously during the day. Traffic at night consists of more Trucks and Heavy laden goods' vehicles. There were some buses but not many because many buses do not leave Sg as early as us so it was only after the Selangor/Perak state we saw more buses from KL/Perak heading north.

We are almost almost reaching! It was about 12.59am in the morning!

Reach Toll! @ 1.00am

We finally drove across Penang Bridge @1.04am

All in all, it was a heck of an experience driving at night. Thank God we arrived safely.

To read about my food haunt in Penang, click below:
Char Koay Teow
Curry Mee


Chinese Characters Make me Dizzy

I spent a good part of this morning looking for the Chinese character of my little girl's middle name. The only copy I had of her name is from the birth certificate of hers which I had conveniently stick a typed-out character which was sent to me by the girls' Godma. This name was specially selected for her at birth then and I wanted to print it out on sticker form so that she can have her Chinese character name stuck on some of her belongings that called for Chinese characters.

I looked and looked for the character, by which the Hanyu Pinyin was Li. There were so many types of 'Li' available but none I saw had hers. I remembered it was selected from a special book on names so perhaps that is why it is not as common everywhere else? I found some characters that had the first part of her name and some had the second part of the name. But I had no software like Freehand which I could convert them into outline form to cut and paste from.

The only thing I knew how to use was the Paint program... and I had no Photoshop in my pc... Darn!

I played around in Paint for a bit then decided that it could be done. I had copied the two characters in Word and I increased their font size larger so that when it is reduced, it will be sharp. I made sure the two characters had the same size, then copied them into Paint. In Paint, I erased the parts I did not need and then close them up by selecting the needed characters close to the other one and...

Voila! I have her 'Li' finally!

Ah... so Paint is not as daunting as I thought.. though I wished I had Freehand or Illustrator... really.


Need More Moolah

I've been on a buying spree. I think it's stress. I need more money but I am doing just the opposite, spending more. The month of Jan and Feb sees me poorer by a lot. Kid's education are high in the first months, because of books, uniform and extra stuffs. Not to forget Chinese New Year clothings for them. Gosh, then I've been feeding my passion of cooking, baking and shopping for those ingredients are just costly. And when I'm fueled by this passion, I want to perfect a recipe in a single day instead of over a time frame. I even baked cookies 3x in a single day once recently because I wanted to perfect it to a T.

Oh, and I had to make some decisions about my blogging. Some decisions have to be made and it's not easy. I am sure those who blogs for some pocket money is facing the crossroads too. It's one or another.

Any of you made some decisions yet.