Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Penang Heritage Trail

Day 1
(26 March 2009). Come guys! Follow my trail!

I just realised that I've been writing alot on my out-of-country-trips but hardly any of Malaysia itself. Hence, I feel (I owe it to myself & my country) that I should write something (the least) on my home ground PLUS since it is during the MERDEKA MONTH [INDEPENDENT DAY, following FuFu's lead ;-) ]. So here goes... This is THE TRIP I took last year which led me to INJURE my right knee (tore my ligament) for the silliest & weirdest reason [too embarrass to even tell the doctor], will tell you all the stories leading to it (It kinda stop me from traveling for almost a year thus I started this blog to occupy my wanderous mind :D ).

Here's the thing, my cousin Tantry from Pekan Baru, Indonesia stayed with us here in Malaysia for few months (taking English course at British Council). One day, I asked her whether which part of Malaysia has she visited, I said not those drop-by-kind but visit-kind BUT like really tourist V.I.S.I.T ! She said "aahhh..... ngak ada Uni, semua nye kerna keramaian" (basically "errm.... none Uni, all are family function trips" hence I guess as much it's a "touch & go trip". Hemm.... thinking to myself, that's not being a good host Lily! Where's the sense of giving right? After all, they have always be very (EXTREMELY more like it) to anyone who visited them. And for a travelholic like myself - HEY! It'll be an insult not taking her around!

Which lead to this great idea - ROAD TRIP!!!! *I think it was more for my lame excuse to travel... hahahahha*. Since my travel kaki was base in Penang back then, WHY NOT? We can drop by to visit her right and bunk in for a night or two? BRILLIANT IDEA! Off we go to....


Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company landed in Penang and renamed it Prince of Wales Island. "Penang" comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means island of the areca nut palm. Also known as "The Pearl of the Orient" or "Pulau Mutiara". You know what is so interesting, while I was googling to get more info for "hyperlink-ing", I found out that many of the early settlers succumbed to malaria, earning Penang the epithet "the White Man's Grave". Hemm... never knew about this.

Penang was long the only state in Malaysia where ethnic Chinese is the majority, there were also Jewish and Armenian communities in Penang before World War II, but these dissipated as a result of the Japanese occupation. A small but commercially significant community of German merchants also existed in Penang.

On 7 July 2008, George Town, the historic capital of Penang, was formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

Anyway... we decided to start with Penang greatest & highest landmark - PENANG HILL or BUKIT BENDERA.

This is the only hill with a 87 year old funicular train running in Malaysia (by the way, it is now under construction and they are changing it a new Swiss made funicular train); I guess I was kinda lucky to be able to ride this train before they cease operation.

Nothing much on Penang Hill itself (my very own first ever trip), there's a few kiosk that sells souvenirs, food and we did see a police station, mosque and temple as well. Also a few bungalow for rental for holiday goers. I guess the view wil be splendid in the evening or sunset, as you will be able to capture the scenary of - the sea, the Penang bridge and the island/mainland. Maybe next time.


Regret! Regret! Regret! To be fair, when I was doing this trip, I haven't start blogging yet hence I did not take sufficient & detail enough pics of this place (Excuse to go again lar kan!). What I really wanted to share is the path leading up to KEK LOK SI PAGODA TEMPLE (Temple of Supreme Bliss - Southeast Asia largest Buddhist temple).

It was a winding steps with souvenir stalls on the side, and when you reach half way; you will get to see a Liberation Pond with hundreds of turtles/terrapins (kid you not) - following the Buddhist tradition of merit-making, turtles may be released into freedom. You can go into the pagoda but we were way tooo tired and decided not too.

Next stop - WAT CHAIYAMANGALARAM THAI BUDDHIST TEMPLE (The Temple of the Lifting Buddha). Strange huh? Well, Thailand is not that far from Malaysia let alone Penang. For you to reach south most Thailand border takes 6 hours from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia capital), probably 2-3 hours from Penang. Yup! Very near, hence there's alot of Thai community especially in northern region and bordering state. The temple is not as huge BUT it is most colourful one that I visited in Penang. Been here before in the 90's, there's the reclining Buddha and the COLOURFUL dragon - FACINATING.

Oh! If you noticed, the architecture is still very much Thai instead of the Chinese except for the Buddha statue of course (look kinda the same everywhere in the world). This temple was officially given its site by Queen Victoria in 1845, presented by Mr. W.L. Butterworth of the East India Company of Penang on July 22, 1845.

DHAMMIKARAMA BURMESE BUDDHIST TEMPLE across the street. Perfect! NO driving required, hehehehe.... I am abit tired as I the designated driver for the 4.5 hours drive to Penang. This temple was founded on 1st August 1803 (Yeah! Very OLD!), and apparently it was purchased by Nonya Betong from George Layton, granted by Sir George Leith Baronet, LT. Governer of Prince of Wales Island, for 390 Spanish Dollars.

Never been to Burma before but I do noticed that the dragon is slightly different then of Thai's, hemm... its like a dragon lion or lion dragon ?!?

We ended our trip here for the day, tomorrow we start anew - British footprint and Peranakan heritage. What's NEW in Malaysia?

~ The funicular train has been replaced to a modern one ~

Sad.... but PROUD.

Hyperlink credits : WIkipedia, Visit Penang, Penang Heritage City, Malayland, iguago

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lalang Field Broga

My weekend getaway
In a land far far away
On a beautiful Saturday
Where we make our way
To Semenyih where Broga Hill lay
Covered by morning mist and thin sunshine ray

Broga! Oh Broga!
Sweet beautiful Broga

Lalang* field Broga

Everyone wants to experience Broga

They all go goo-goo ga-ga

Over this charming Broga
*lalang = weed

I too wonder why so
For all my friend wants to go

To view magnificent sunrise as beautiful as gold

Regardless with family, friend or even foe

Like never seen sunrise (pulak) before

Bahija was so sweet
Offered us a lovely treat

Telling us where to meet
To ride in her "new" black beauty car... sleak!

Four girls set for an adventure
Embracing the morning chill and mother nature

We thought we were well prepare, yes Sir!

Boy! Are we in for a laughter

6.45am on Saturday morning
Hey Broga! We are comiiiiing

Climbing, climbing and more climbing

Hemm... and here we thought it will be cooling

But instead it was darn hot and tiring...
Girl! Who are we fooling?! ?
We were crawling, cursing, panting and sweating

Oh! Very very THE PENING**
**pening = dizzy

Once we reached, there's no regret
For that's when our first "love" met

The golden sun rise which has lead

It's beaming ray to our eyes to our heart that...
We instantly knew this is the best fact

God's greatest creation - sunrise and of course sunset

I truly felt like Belinda Carlisle
Heaven on Earth - It's definitely no lie
The climb was surely worth one's while
Despite the "near" felt like miles
For it will end with a big huge SMILE

Us, and Broga
Forever and ever
And ever.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tailed by a Drunkard

Day 11 (20 November 2006). Terrified.

Yes, The title says it all.


What happened ? Well, after an uneventful day at Vasa Museet (nothing against the museum though - I like the R&R that day), something dreadful happened the next day (you know lar - Murphy's Law, sigh).
When did this happen ? Left Stockholm to go back to Paris for my journey back home. Everything was fine till I hit Paris. Shucks!
How did it started ? The guy noticed I was traveling alone with large suitcase.


The day started as usual, woke up, pack my luggage, say bye bye to Elaine and walk to the train station (100-200 meter distance). Easy peasy.

Took the train to Central Station, I was early by 1.5 hrs ON PURPOSE so that I can walk in Gamla Stan (Old Town) to take some building pics and a little bit of souvenirs shopping (buying extra in case I might have miss some folks back home). Alone and very safe (I told you Stockholm is great, didn't I !?!).

Next, took the Flygbussarna airport coaches to the Skavsta Airport, I think it's the domestic cum Low Cost Carrier Airport (1.5 hours odd drive) to catch the flight back to Paris. Reach airport, check-in and was told my luggage is overweight and whether I wish to split some to hand-carry (how sweet I thought). I contemplate and somehow (strangely) I said I'll pay the overweight charges of RM500 (EU€100), my thoughts were at that point of time is that I wanted my hand to be free (since am also carrying my small backpack) for whatever reason. Thus I checked in all my luggage and waited for boarding time. All went smoothly.

Reached Orly Airport in Paris, took a 2 hours bus to the city (this was close to 11pm AT NIGHT - a bit worried), it stoped us far from the train station; have to walk a distance (with big luggage mind you) with NO escalator nor lift. Manage to get a train to the airport (flight was next day at 12pm, I buffered any flight delays hence I thought I should arrive 1 day prior). Still manageable so far (but a bit scared as people are getting lesser at that hour).
You tend to see train passenger coming in and out at every stop, some look friendly but some hemm.... I kept hoping to see few with suitcases thus knowing I won't be alone on the train ride to the airport; as I too did not know how to get around upon reaching the airport station (praying hard it is open, as I figure I will reach there by MIDNIGHT). Saw a few passenger with suitcase (PHEEEEEEEW!!!!!), however mine was the largest which miiiiiight be a liiiiiittle bit of a problem assuming no escalator nor lift (hemmmm....!).


That's when I saw "HIM"; this old drunkard man (well, he looked drunkard as he kept singing loudly and talking to strangers). It was kinda of fine at first as we were seating very very very far a part (ie next coach), but then I caught a glimpse of him looking at me and my luggage, SHIT! I knew I will be in deeper shit!

Quietly and quickly I did a swap of my important documents and split all my cash AND credit cards in other pockets & places (just in case.... lone traveler must be prepared all the time!). When he wasn't looking, I too swap the seat to somewhere closer to "people" (Only god knows how I felt at that time!
). Kept looking at the time, darn! It's approaching midnight, and the people getting lesser and lesser and even lesser (well, airport was the last stop and who in the right mind would want to go there in the MIDNIGHT right!!??!). And obviously the old drunkard man DID NOT get down at any stop! OH NO!!! I begin counting all the stops to the airport (and kept noticing him glancing over) and planning my escape route (abit drama here lar).


Finally we reach Charles de Gaulle Airport, I rush to the door making sure I am ahead of other "human" and so that there's a gap between me and "HIM", True enough he followed, but then I can't move fast as they shut down the escalator (MIDNIGHT!), I lug my super large suitcase (THANK GOODNESS I did not split my bags, else I have to manage TWO). As I reach the upper floor, I saw security guard (YES!!!!!), I walked to them and inform there's a drunkard man which I suspected following me, GUESS WHAT!??!?! They say it's ok, normal. WHAT????? Are you crazy?!?!? Does this people even understand what I was saying at the first place!!! GEEE...... Am in bigger shit then before, because there's practically no one around. I asked the direction for the airport (obviously I have to take a shuttle bus to the airport lar... just my luck [I mean, I did mention in the earlier entry that the airport is super HUGE]).


I hurriedly look for the exit and saw IBIS Hotel entrance few feet away.... (YEEEESSSS!!! God still love me!), I WALKED right in... linger at the lobby (VERY SMALL lobby!), procrastinating check in or "lepak" there (hemm.....), I saw "HIM" liger outside the hotel pretending to smoke. WHAT !??!?! ARGH..... check-in! Anyway, my flight is not until at 12pm next day and I am already at the airport, I can at least (finally) get sufficient beauty sleep before I say bye-bye to Paris.
But not before ensuring my luggage is BLOCKING my room door!

What a trip. What an ordeal. What an adventure. What laaar Lily!

Hyperlink & Pic Credits : Nature Travels, Flygbussarna, Ibis, Webster Dictionary,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wakey Wakey! Vasa - Viking

Day 10
(19 September 2006). Sun - beaming, birds - chirping, Stockholm - glowing, Lily - smiling ...

Why? Backgrounder.... we left early morning since Elaine & Boon Han are going to their Sunday church service thus the night before they've suggested places that I can go on my own. Oh boy! They were superbly worried the night before on whether I can handle Stockholm alone for the day. Boon Han kept briefing me on how to take the train, very much concerned that I might confuse and gotten myself lost in the city - sweet of him huh! (You one lucky girl Elaine!). To dismiss their “highly concern brain” on my “capability” (with a tiny sense of perasan here of course), I open up Paris Metro map (which I still have it with me then - phew!) and put next to Stockholm Tunnelbana map. After looking at "it", they basically .... Err .... calmed-down, but not without "hai yaaa" & plenty "giggling" sound effect. Hahhahaha... I guess they slept peacefully after that. Hahhahaaa.....Back to WHY do I sounded so happy? Simple. The Stockholm morning mood pic tells no lie....

... BACK TO REALITY! But, don't you just fall in love with Stockholm?

I've chosen 2 tourist sites to visit; the first is a MUST for it happens to be my favourite - SHIP!!!! Not just any ship, an original-one-piece-still-standing-strong VIKING SHIP! Unfortunately it doesn't sail lar... tak apa, janji dapat pegi tengok - LIVE!

Seriously, I think as a kid I read way too much Asterix (And Tin Tin of course), hence once I know am going to Sweden = E.X.I.T.E.D. It's Viking-away for me man!

What makes it so special?

From Wikipedia : Vasa was a Swedish warship that was built from 1626 to 1628. The ship foundered and sank after sailing less than a nautical mile (ca 2 km) into her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628. She was located again in the late 1950s, in a busy shipping lane just outside the Stockholm harbor. She was salvaged with a largely intact hull on 24 April 1961. She was housed in a temporary museum called Wasavarvet ("The Wasa Shipyard") until 1987, and was then moved to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.

Vasa was built top-heavy and had insufficient ballast. Despite an obvious lack of stability in port, she was allowed to set sail and foundered a few minutes later when she first encountered a wind stronger than a breeze. Vasa sank in full view of a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, of mostly ordinary Stockholmers who had come to see the great ship set sail.

Kinda funny right, sunk on its maiden voyage barely 2km from harbour. I thought that was classic (joke), I spent hours and hours here as they also show how - during that time - with minimal sophisticated technology help - they are able to locate/lift/bring the ship to surface.

Once completed, I took a tram to meet up with Elaine for lunch and a visit to the Old Town centre. I thought Stockholm is so cool since almost everywhere can be done on foot which is much to my luck (or maybe only these places are of a walking distance, I might be a sucker here. Hehheee…).

We walked by the river near Stockholm National Museum. By the way, did you notice that most of the buildings in Stockholm are bit more squarish then those in Paris, Barcelona, Rome? Do you think it is because of the location & weather impacted their design & character? Hemm… interesting right.

We took a walk near the Royal Palace, and I as usual would ask the silliest question; whether the royal families take a walk here and whether I stand a chance to “bump” into them? NO! Of course not lar…. But one thing for sure, they are much loved by their fellow country man. Who wouldn’t!!!

It was getting dark and we decided to head home, Elaine was such a good sport for taking me around despite her bad morning sickness. I feel so bad, I can only offer what I do best - being the live wire. To a point she laugh and laugh and laugh so hard that got me worried whether she gonna deliver right there and then (Definitely not in 1st trimester lar… But mana lar tahu kan…! Risau gak).

So love my host! Bestest couple!

PS : Elaine, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Muaks!!

Credit Hyperlinks : Wikipedia, Vasa Museet

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