Monday, September 24, 2018

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - PART VI

Monday, September 24, 2018

On Sunday morning, our friends Ivan and Jun picked us up for a two day adventure to the Cameron Highlands (which are about 3 hours away from Penang in the mountains - it reminded me of those in greater Boston visiting New Hampshire or Maine for a weekend).  

On the way there, we stopped in Ipoh and visited the Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple and Zen Gardens.  Nature in all her beauty.  Very peaceful.

We stayed at the Nova Highlands Resort and Residence.  We stayed in a two bedroom 'suite' which was more like a spacious apartment.  Clean and perfect for the four of us for an overnight.

In no specific order, we visited 
  • Strawberry farm
  • Cactus farm (also loads of succulents - Yes, Jeffrey will be planting purple succulents in our front 'flower bed' next year)
  • Tea plantation
  • 3D Interactive Museum (Holiday’s Park (Amusement Park)The first 3D Interactive Museum in Cameron Highlands, featuring a fleet of wall paintings where you can explore the different dimensions)
  • Outdoor market (SURPRISE: Jeffrey didn't buy anything - - family, don't faint...)
  • And, yes, loads of food, food and more food.
A highlight (food wise) today was a stop at The Lord's Cafe where we enjoyed the most wonderful scones with strawberry jam, cream and butter (along with other wonderful dishes related to strawberries)

Photos are to follow - we just returned to our home base at the Kimberley Hotel and I wanted to get this information 'downloaded' from my brain before I forgot it all. 

We're so fortunate to have Ivan and Jun as our special Malaysian friends who put up with our quirks and bring us laughs, love and education about everything Asian.  

[Side Note: Ivan's dear 88 years young Aunt passed away yesterday and he was fortunate to have just visited her a day or so before.  She had lived a good life and loved to travel (having just returned from a trip to Hong Kong, etc).]  It seems to support our premise that life is for living.  No should haves - - Do what is within your reach instead of putting them off until 'tomorrow'.

Here are some new foods that have entered our lives:
  • Mutabah - one filled with chicken and vegetables; another filled with mutton
  • Teh Tarik - aka Pulled Tea - which is black tea with sweet condensed milk which is 'pulled' (poured between two metal cups to add froth and cool the hot tea).  Being a bit of a 'tea-aholic' this is one of my favorites when in Malaysia.
  • Dragons Beard/Dragon's Whiskers vegetable - very delicious
  • Emperor's Green Vegetable - too good for words
  • Tapioca Greens (Cassava Leaves) - toxic raw - superb cooked
  • Seaweed - tasted more like a delicious spinach - it's all in the way it's prepared.
Please post your comments if you've read this far.  Would love to hear your thoughts on how I'm doing!

Life Is Good!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - PART V

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Went on a solo adventure while Jeff rested

I visited an area of George Town called Little India. (only @ a half mile from our hotel). Yesterday Jeff purchased a pair of dress pants. It would cost more to have them shortened at home than what he paid for them, so I was referred here to find one of the many fine tailors. I found a tailor and was told I only needed to wait 1/2 hour so I sat in one of the many food areas enjoying a cold A&W Root Beer and people watching.

As promised, the pants were ready even sooner and the Tailor only charged $1.25 - what a bargain.

On the way to my next stop, I met a very charming woman from France (who lives part time in Bali) and we had a wonderful conversation on the street about how amazing the Malaysian people are:  friendly, helpful, and much more.  We should all be more like them every day. 

I then see a man carrying a bag of peacock feathers.  We start talking - he's from Singapore, HOWEVER, he used to live in Boston (near Symphony Hall).  The world is so much smaller than anyone can imagine.

Then I went for a mega- mani and pedi - 2 hours of pampering.  So wonderful.

Went back to the hotel, told Jeff the story of my pampering and back we went so he could get the whole treatment.  

After a short 'rest', went down the street for a street food dinner:  soup with glass noodles, chicken and a few vegetables.  Hit the spot.  (Oh, did I tell you - we cheated again today and had McDonald's for lunch...)

Tomorrow we're heading out for a two day adventure with Jun and Ivan.  Will take as many photos as possible and share all with you when we return!  Please note:  since I'm married to a 'snack loving man', there is a whole bag of goodies packed for our upcoming adventure.  Heaven forbid we sit in the car for more than a few minutes without something to munch on.

Life Is Good!

Friday, September 21, 2018

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - PART IV

Friday, September 21, 2018

After 45 years in the 'normal' work force - overlapping with 25 years of having our own business; it's very interesting learning how people grow and move their businesses forward. Our friend, Ivan, belongs to a business group called BNI Success.  They represent different types of businesses.  They meet every week to exchange leads and share ideas to grow business.  

Yesterday, we had the honor of attending the weekly meeting.  We were treated as honored guests; everyone introduced themselves to us individually; we exchanged business cards.  As part of the meeting, each visitor is allowed to introduce themselves and their business.  I spoke for The Chair Man and The Tea Lady describing what we do.  The attendees treated me as if I was a 'rock start' and after the meeting I received requests to be connected on Facebook (where a couple of the members wrote very flattering posts about our attendance).  I may never do business with any of them, but a border has been crossed and a bond has been made.  In a couple of weeks, they're having a full day outing which we've been invited to attend.  It will be like spending a day with old friends - looking forward to it greatly.

On A Different Note:
There is a small convenience store next to our hotel.  We've gotten friendly (surprise, surprise) with the two young ladies that work there and even if we don't stop in, whenever they see us, they wave and smile.   Yesterday, we stopped in to say hello and one of the ladies offered us a food we'd never seen before,  She had purchased some for herself, but wanted to share some with us because we're now friends.  To be honest, the food had little to no taste, but the idea that she thought of and bought this item for us was mind-blowing.  (Yes, a little friendliness goes a long way...)

And - by the way:
There's lots of eating street food inbetween our adventures.  I'm so spoiled - there is delicious food around every corner for very little money.  The trick is not trying to eat it all at once.

Life Is Good!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - PART III

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Yesterday was a Malaysian holiday so we were fortunate to spend most of the day with both Jun and Ivan.  We went on a most spectacular funicular ride at Penang Hill.  The funicular is like a cable car but it rides on a track up the steep grade.  It looked more like a train with compartments that held @ 10 passengers each.  We love going in Funiculars and Cable Cars, so this was a highlight. 

Once on top we got to have a panoramic view of Penang as well as got to see the Owl and Camera Museum.  

Of course, after 'sightseeing', it's time for food.  We tried someone new (for us) called Lok-Lok.   Similar to hot pot but much better. 

You sit down at a table with dozens of different items on skewers with a pot of boiling water in the middle of the table. You take what you wish (1 or 2 or more skewers at a time), put them in the water to cook, remove when ready, dip in amazing sauces and enjoy eating. Keep repeating until you can’t move any more. They keep replacing the chosen items as you ‘graze’ and bring out more choices. At the end they count the skewers (which have different colors on them) and tell you what you owe. 

Then on to a Buddhist temple with a huge statue 

and smaller cute concrete statues (Disney, animals) as well as all the animals of the Chinese zodiac.  Jeff is the Year of the Rat; I'm the Year of the Snake; Jun and Ivan are  Year of the Rabbit


Finally, back to the hotel for a little rest and then, just down the block, street food for dinner.  Noodle soup with chicken; Jeff added a few chicken wings.  Totally delicious and not too much after the Lok-Lok feast.

Today we've been 'on our own' and visited the Chocolate Museum and the Glass Museum.  No photos from the Chocolate Museum, but the Glass Museum was amazing.

Went to a local mall (also across a major street from our hotel) and shopped around.  Cheated on eating only local food by stopping at Subway for a sandwich.  

Tonight it's more Dim Sum from across the street - - loving the local food!

Life Is Good!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - PART II

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Friday night we went across the street from our hotel for dinner at a little Dim Sum (and more) restaurant.

Jeff enjoyed two orders of chicken feet (one of his favorites). Also har kau (shrimp in glass noodle wrap), more prawns, spring roll, and pork dim sum (topped off with a pot of delicious tea). The most amazing part? All this (and a conversation with a lovely family at the next table) for less than $12. Glad we only had a very short distance to ‘roll’ home. We will be returning!

Saturday morning, our friend, Ivan, and his wife, Jun picked us up at our hotel for a weekend away.  Please note - We stop and eat approximately every 3 hours and one meal is better than the next.  Ivan brings us to places that only the locals go to and we have noodles, seafood, the most yummy chicken, more dim sum and delicious teas.

We shopped - malls and other shops - ate some more - stayed at their home over night and then started all over again.

Sunday - We visited an amazing Catholic church - it was originally built in the 1800's and then a second building was constructed more recently.  We're told that Pilgrims come to this church from all over the world.

We 'tried' to visit a park that has large cartoon characters all over it, but it was raining so hard, we couldn't even get out of the car.  

We're back at the hotel - watching 7 Days At Entebbe on DVD and relaxing. 

Life Is Good

Friday, September 14, 2018

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - PART I

Friday, September 14, 2018

We left home late Monday night for the airport.  After 19 hours in the air, 5 hour layover in Hong Kong - we arrived in the lovely state of Penang, Malaysia.  Since Jeff is assisted by a wheelchair in airports, we zip through all the lines, got our luggage and looked for our 'driver' from the hotel.  All kinds of people holding signs - not one of them say Grossman.  The wheelchair assistant is kind enough to ask if I have the drivers' number (which, of course I have - always in Executive Assistant mode) and he proceeds to call him and finds out he's waiting in a car outside the terminal.  Finally, success.

We're staying at the Kimberley Hotel which is very centrally located in the Capital City of George Town.  Our room may be a little small, it doesn't have any real drawers to put clothes (other than small night stands), but I was inventive enough to unpack what we need.  The staff are more than professional and friendly - I think the 'security' man (very young) is in love with us because he's originally from Nepal and Jeff had on a Mount Everest/Nepal tee shirt yesterday and the man thought we were so wonderful to have visited his home country.  We live in such a small world, right?

Our main reason for this adventure is to visit (as much a possible) with our friends Ivan and Jun who are from and live in Penang.  Jun is only available to spend time with us on weekends, but Ivan has been making sure we've been enjoying the best of local food and getting us organized to travel around the city to see all there is to see.  We so appreciate all their efforts to get us on the right track.  We feel comfortable enough walking to most destinations and food stalls/restaurants are everywhere.  The people here are so kind and accepting - they make us feel so at home!

Today we did stop at one Buddhist Temple - Jun is Catholic - Ivan is Buddhist - and it's always so much more enriching when someone can tell you about their own traditions in person.

Life is Good!