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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Penang

To be honest, this particular trip to Penang made me feel like a complete non-Malaysian - Penangites usually converse in Penang-style Hokkien, and although by lineage I am Hokkien, I don't speak or understand it.


Anyway, this trip was filled with FOOD. Everywhere we went it was about food, and different types of popiah, char kway teow, and asam laksa. The most eye-opening one was the pasembur, though - it's something like a Penang-style rojak (an Indian dish with a mixture of fruits and/or vegetables, with a special sauce).

Day 1

Jasmine's dad picked me up from my place and dropped us off at a coffee shop beside Puchong's Tesco Extra. Where packing was concerned, I overpacked slightly, the bulkiest of items being, needless to say, my make-up, as well as my heels because clubbing was initially on the itinerary.


We were joined by the other girls, and boarded the bus directly behind Tesco Extra. Our bus was a double decker - we were on the lower deck, right at the back. My ride there was punctuated by occasional whines from my stomach to get some water.


We arrived slightly earlier than expected, and were met by Bryan and Jeanna. We drove to a hawker center near Padang Brown for lunch of lok lok, oh jian, asam laksa and coconut water. No pics though, the piccies are with the other cameras, mine only took a few.


Next destination - hotel. Initially we were booked at Tanjung Bungah Hotel, but the there was some error and we had to relocate. Bryan did a last minute reservation at the Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort (next to Flamingo by the Beach) which was just a few blocks away from our initially planned hotel.

The view of the sea from our hotel room. No sunrise/sunset view though, that view is beyond the hill on the left.
The hotel was alright - the rooms were fairly spacious, with a balcony overlooking the sea. Of course, with around 5 people crowding into a room, it gets a bit tight.

Girls at the beach~
We changed out into swimming costumes then went down to the beach for some ... duh, beach action. However, everyone was wary about the sign that read: "Beware of the jellyfish", or something to that effect anyway.


To most people, any more than 2 feet deep in the sea was off limits because of the jellyfish. Personally (yes, Bryan will get a laugh out of this), I would like to feel how a jellyfish sting feels like (not the box jellyfish, of course).


We took lots of pictures on the beach, then everyone proceeded to the swimming pool, right after they separately buried both of Bryan's slippers, in revenge of him kicking sand and throwing sand at us.


After the swim we were back at the hotel room, everyone queuing for the bathroom (six girls and only two bathrooms available). We dressed for dinner, then headed out to Gurney Drive in search of dinner. We landed at Coffee Island Restaurant, which Bryan recommended for good atmosphere.

Lantern deco at Coffee Island really set the mood.
Delicious, creamy vegetable soup.
Japanese curry chicken with udon, served with a selection of veggies and a stuffed, breaded potato.
Yevon's Cheesy Seafood Macaroni.
Live duet during our meal. Her singing was exceptional.
The sign outside the Coffee Island toilet. Everyone got a good laugh out of this.
We ordered a dinner set each, with self-service creamy vegetable soup, snacks, dessert and a choice of coffee or tea. However, the entree took too long to arrive, and we had to cancel one. Jasmine and I ended up sharing a Japanese curry chicken chop with udon, and we couldn't finish it.

Girls at the Paragon.
After dinner we went for a walk, all the way up to Paragon. Moo Cow was there and we had the impromptu decision for frozen yogurt, but we ended up procrastinating and by the time we made the final decision, the place was closed. The synchronized water fountain display with colored lights was pretty, though.

Call me caveman, but I've never noticed the 500ml can of Carlsberg in KL before.
On the way back to the car we stopped by 7-11 for some drinks. Then it was back to the hotel and snoooooze.

Day 2

Breakfast was Pappa Rich at Straits Quay. Going there didn't go down without a fight - Pappa Rich is available also in KL, and some insisted that we went for a Penang style breakfast. Since there was a fish and chips restaurant right beside Pappa Rich, but the prices were too absurd.

Milo Dinosaur.
I hadn't had a Milo Dinosaur in a long time - regular iced Milo (chocolate malt drink), topped generously with Milo powder. Stirring everything together just gives you a wonderful chocolate malt drink with crunchy bits of chocolate powder that's stuck together.

At the Straits Quay.
Took some group pictures at the beautiful foyer (?) at the Straits Quay, then we were on the way to Kek Lok Si. Usually people go to Kek Lok Si (meaning "temple of extreme happiness") to walk the bazaar that lines the sides of the stairs leading up to the temple. What we did was just drive all the way up to the giant Kuan Yin statue, then drive back down.

Being photobombed Take #1.
Being photobombed Take #2. Don't you just hate photo bombers?
Why we went to Kek Lok Si? Well, I dunno. Maybe we were there just to see scenery of dark, undefined hills and some high-rise buildings. This was the only thing that bugged me - going to Kek Lok Si with a plan to walk up the steps and gawk at the merchandise on sale, then end up spending 15 minutes under the sun taking pictures with statues.


Right after that we had "the best Penang asam laksa". I didn't find it that wonderful. A lot of times most foods taste the same to me, even though the versions in different areas differ from one another.

I played around with Yevon's SimSimi while she was in the shower, and I love the answers that it gave me~
We were then supposed to go to Penang Hill (a.k.a Bukit Bendera), but somehow we ended up at Gurney Plaza. Had some matcha ice cream, then some of us went back to the hotel for some napping, but Yevon and I ended up just chatting until it was time to go out for dinner.

Wall deco at Sugar Dynasty.
Another part of Sugar Dynasty's wall deco, put up by customers.
Sugar Dynasty's egg custard. I expected it to be warm, but it was cold, but completely delicious - just the right amount of sweetness. RM3
Jasmine's mango sago dessert. Too much shaved ice for my liking.
Peanut "mochi" at Sugar Dynasty.
Oh yeah, before Gurney we headed to Sugar Dynasty for desserts, another recommendation from Bryan. The selection of desserts there were quite cast - tang yuan, hasma, bird's nest, black sesame paste, etc. I opted for a simple egg custard, but the peanut "mochi" was good as well.

Grilled fish and chicken combo. RM11 (tax-free)
Bryan took us out to John Foo's Western Food, something like another roadside Western food place in Subang Jaya. According to (again) Bryan, John Foo also started out on the street, then slowly worked his way into a large restaurant. I ordered the chicken and fish combo. I regretted the fish. It was so intensely overcooked it might as well be the fish that my grandma fries.


The chicken and the sauce was alright, though. I especially liked the peas, for some reason.

Super drama ultramarine "winged out" smokey eyes". It was just a result of overblending, but it turned out pretty~ My brows could have been a tad darker, though.
Going back to the hotel meant dressing up for clubbing. But since Jeanna said that the club would be more empty, a pub would be a better location. Destination? Hard Rock Cafe. I did a super dramatic dark blue smokey make-up look (Sam constantly calling me Nicki Minaj in the background), and helped the other girls who needed help with their make-up.

My outfit, and the statue of the King of Pop in front of the Hard Rock Cafe, Penang.
However, we didn't expect the age limit thingy to exist - after a certain time, only adults above 21 years can enter the cafe. We tried changing locations, after having some supper at McDonald's at Gurney Drive. We went to Straits Quay again, where there was The Library and another German bar/lounge beside it.


Because of our timing, The Library had just had their last call, and the German bar/lounge was closing already. We hung around in the sea breeze for a while then headed back, after the guys picked up some light alcohol.

Day 3

It was our last day on the island. Got up, packed everything, checked out, then headed to breakfast. Most of the time I have no idea where we go - it's here, there, the Penangites talk among themselves then just suddenly get to a decision and we're already on our way.

Statue of Sir Francis Light, who arrived in Penang # number of years ago and turned it into an open port.
Breakfast was a medly of pasembur, char kway teow, popiah, and rose syrup-tasting soy milk. Then to Fort Cornwallis we headed. To be honest there was nothing there but a historic cannon and some walls and lots of grass and mosquitoes. Photographers might find this a nice place, though.

I've never seen cargo ships before in my life except in movies.
Nothing to do here, then off we went to queue for the ferry to mainland. It was long, but it was interesting how no one felt anything in the car, but the entire ferry was obviously moving. I'm childish.


To Bukit Mertajam we went, to Jeanna's house, where her parents treated us to really great hospitality. For a woman who has given birth to four children, Jeanna's mum has a body to kill - slim legs and no tummy. No way am I gonna look like that after giving birth.

Available from Bukit Mertajam, but I've forgotten which part.
While Jasmine and Hon Lin went all the way back to KOMTAR to deliver something and get the bus tickets back to KL, we dawdled around and snacked. I found this particular taro cookie exceptionally delicious.


We dressed for seafood dinner at Tambun, which Jeanna's dad treated us to. Before the commencement of the best seafood dinner that I can remember, we had to survive an hour-long traffic jam caused by a broken-down TRAILER.


Oh, yeah, and another trailer almost crushed us. We just made a turn, and the trailer was beside us. There wasn't enough space, but the trailer kept trying to move. Thankfully, the vehicles in front moved after some honking and a crisis was averted. Bryan, I salute your driving skills.

The so-called "helicopter". I found it bland, with too much sand in it, so I don't understand what the fuss is going on about this.
The only other octopus I've eaten was the fresh type from Japan, with shoyu and wasabi. This, and the "helicopter", was served with a spicy sauce with crushed peanuts.
The prawns. I didn't eat this, but the way they served it was interesting.
Another kind of shellfish, probably stir fried in some spicy sauce. To eat this you basically suck the flesh out of the shell.
Ginger and onion clams, a.k.a "lala". Best "lala" I've ever had.
Black pepper crab, stir fried with chilies. This was exceptionally decadent - fresh, juicy, fleshy, and flavorful.
Sweet and sour crab. In comparison to the black pepper crab, the other one wins hands down. But the flavor of this crab was interesting.
The first dish we had at How Kee's was what I remember as "helicopter", a kind of shellfish with a pointed end. On and on came a wondrous and mouth-watering table of seafood - steamed fish, two types of crab, fresh octopus, four types of shellfish and a fried beehoon, paired with some very refreshing water chestnut juice.

Some ceiling deco at Bed Coffee and Lounge at Auto City.
Ate a lot, then headed to Auto City. Tutti Fruitti? Or Starbucks? We ended up at Bed Coffee and Lounge, right next to Rooms. The place was sleek and elegant, with some edgy style to it. My first time at a place like this and I was liking it already.

Click to enlarge.
My first drink at a bar/pub/lounge/club - Long Island Iced Tea. RM40.60 (inclusive of tax)
The menu was interesting. There was one section entitled "Shooter", and they had cocktails named "Blow Job", "Slippery Nipple" and "Orgasm Peak". I opted for a Long Island Iced Tea, and it was good. After a snack of duck egg char kway teow, we arrived back at 1am, and by the time everyone was in bed, it was already 2am.


I had occasional wakes in the night, but a few times I was kept awake by Bryan's snoring.

Day 4

I usually don't like nasi lemak, especially the coconut rice, but amazingly this breakfast had me having the fullest breakfast I've eaten in a really long time.
I woke up at 11am, which kinda shocked me. I washed and dressed, then went downstairs to a delicious home-cooked nasi lemak breakfast, courtesy of Jeanna's kakak. The meal was paired with a delicious asam fish soup and a drink of blended dragonfruit and lemon.


After packing up everything, we started our drive back to KL. I was going in Hon Lin's car, and halfway through the ride he panicked because the fuel light had come on, while both of us girls were cool as cucumbers.


The entire drive, including pit stops, took around 5 hours.


=


Overall, it was a really good trip. I've come to see my good friends' boyfriends as my own new friends, rather than "someone whom she brought and unintentionally made me jealous", though I still do, secretly.


This trip also showed me the meaning of having friends - they're not just people whom you surround yourself with, they are people who will be with you through thick and thin, support your decisions, try to cheer you up, and scold you when you're doing something stupid.


It also teaches me that I have to start learning Hokkien - everyone just rants off so fast in Hokkien, I can't catch most of what they're saying. At least I still know Chinese and Cantonese, which are bases for Hakka and Hokkien respectively.


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Ps. Sorry if some of the photos from my previous posts just goes missing. I'm experiencing some difficulties with Picasa Web Album (my quota has reached it's max), so I'm deleting some photos, and might accidentally delete some that are meant to be in blog posts.

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