Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pearl Of The Orient

For the first time, I get to travel with my sister-in-law, my brother and her parents from Hong Kong. I think my brother was jumping for joy for this trip after spending most of his time abroad. Actually, they were here back in August last year to attend my eldest brother wedding. Well, Penang of course is the favourite choice of destination for Hong Kong people and also the obvious choice which my parents would like to showcase to them. There are more Chinese food to savour and the most important is it's a World Heritage site.

After driving for roughly 5 hours, we reached there in time to have our lunch at my famous Teo Chew porridge stall. This stall is located at Gaik Ten coffee shop along Magazine road, just opposite Trader’s Hotel. I got to know this stall through The Star newspaper's Thumbnail section where they showed an uncle eating porridge while squatting cum shitting sitting on a bench.

This time, I was staying at this so-called long long time ago when the name of the hotel is considered famous. After checking in and tried out the bed, I can actually bounce back if I were to jump to my bed. Nevertheless, my parents will killed me I were to book Tune Hotel for them. But come to think about it, Tune Hotel is even better. At least their bed is not trampoline feel.

Since my sister-in-law's parents are devout Buddhist, bringing them to the Kek Lok Si temple to witness our very own Giant Kuan Yin statue is a good idea. Hong Kong have their famous Wong Tai Sin temple and Giant Buddha. Luckily in Penang, this Kek Lok Si temple is not bad either.

We went up to the new pavilion where the Giant Kuan Yin statue is still under construction. I would say 90% completion. Once on top, you could enjoy the picturesque view of whole Penang from there. Not so long ago, I was given a clip from Youtube regarding a documentary talking about Penang from TVB show. That documentary was never shown in Wah Lai Toi though it is part of the channel's show. In that documentary they drew a similar comparison of Penang with Hong Kong judging from economy, lifestyle and history.

Come to think about it, it indeed true. Let's draw a list of similar item you can get in Penang and in Hong Kong

Hong Kong vs Penang

Giant Buddha = Giant Kuan Yin

The Peak = Penang Hill

The Peak Tram = The Penang Hill Tram

Both also have Sun Yat Sen museum and both also have been visited by the person himself.

Though Hong Kong people are not famous of spicy food. But no one can resist the spiciness of a good sardine-rich bowl of assam laksa from this famous stall in Penang. My brother's in-laws finished till the last drop of the gravy.

I visited so many Sleeping Buddha. From the the famous Buddhist religion country of Bangkok to the Islamic state of Kelantan. I was surprised when I noted that there is another one at Penang in Wat Chayamangkalaram.

I kind of like this shot down here. This picture depicts as if the Buddha had received enlightenment. Now this is what I called a picture speaks a thousand Buddhas.

We visited another temple nearby. The Burmese Temple (Dhammikarama). Looking at the temple, one would wonder. Why I need to go to Thailand to visit their temple when I can find aplenty in Malaysia!

That put my sister-in-law into great thought. Hmmm, maybe you are right.

Now, the next destination we planned to visit was Cheong Fat Tze mansion. It became very famous that no photos are allowed inside. And also so "action", that it only open after 11am. As we reached there quite early, we don't bother to wait another 30 minutes for it to open.  Though I must admit the view and the painting job they had there is marvellous. Nippon paint maybe? To me, it is just another someones house which we would rather pay the amount of the entrance fee to a hotel. And yet we can sleep, bathe inside, 2 bottles of free water and trampoline to exercise.

So we decided to head back to our hotel which we paid for something where we could do which the latter can't. After checking out, we head to this famous and headline grabbing char keoy teow stall at Lorong Selamat. So famous that people wrote on newspaper and blog condemning the price and attitude of the owner of this stall.

I once told my wife, that if you don't like someones food or attitude then just don't eat. No need to go to newspaper over such a small matter. After all, it's just a plate of char keoy teow. My wife replied me that human are sometimes very funny. They loved to being scolded. This is what we called "fan chien". The char keoy teow was good but maybe a bit overrated. But one thing I must respect her. How can her hat can bend forward yet didn't cover her face?

In Penang, the naming of the street is very funny. Magazine Road does not mean you get a lot of stall selling magazines. Lorong Susu does not mean there is a lot of people drinking milk and I can't even find one milk related item there. Actually, when it comes to milk, one can try Hokkien speaking Indian guy selling milk at Air Hitam. If he were to open his stall at this Lorong Susu, I'm sure this signboard won't be bitten off like this.

One can really see the transformation the state had experienced once it achieved the status of World Heritage site. Those ancient building which we had aplenty in KL has been injected life back into life. Just look at this old era building which I'm quite sure the building in front of HSBC HQ in KL are of same architectural design. But one is post Jeremy Lin while the other is pre-Jeremy Lin.

You know what? I've been to Penang a couple of time. But never a time, I stood still to observe their building and architectural brilliance for one until they was drafted in the World Heritage site. I guess that's human. When you are just the normal stuff and no other people take notice of you, nobody will even pay attention on you. Just when you were recognised from people outside your own circle and all of the sudden, if you farted people will think it smell like Enchanteur.

And why on earth there is a grayscale Pakistan house doing nearby to this vibrant and colourful city?

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