Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Penang and Ipoh 2014

Why is it that I am feeling this only now?

My recent trip to Penang via Ipoh made me realize a few things:

1) In the local supermarkets in Penang, aunties rule the aisle. And when not serving you, they are busy chatting with each other. These are slightly older than middle aged aunties, making use of their time earning some small income while still meeting their need to talk. Perhaps the ease of travel to work enables them to continue working.

2) In most restaurants, the people who work there are local chinese people. Seldom did  notice an foreigner serving my food or wiping my table. Of course I am  refering to restaurants and not the big scale food courts. So much so, I felt 'safer' allowing my kids to put their elbows on the table (which was dry after being wiped with a wet and then a dry cloth). And the fact that a local served me my rice and dishes somehow made a slight difference.

3) Surprisingly drivers in Penang are very tolerant. They don't squeeze you out of a junction so that they make the turn faster than you. Neither do they honk when the car in front keeps looking at the side instead of looking to the front and driving better.

4) Drivers in Ipoh on the other hand seem to love to honk. They honk when you are trying to reverse out of your parking bay. They honk when they are coming and you seem to want to make that quick turn.

5) I wanted to get some 'leong sum' for the kids. Went into a chinese medicinal shop and asked for it. And the guy could tell me that he does have it, but the quality isn't that great. So, he would rather not sell it to me. Please can you go here and her to buy instead. Initially I was shocked but after a while cynical me emerged and I was like 'Huh....are you really that honest?'

At any rate, this trip to Penang was not the best. The boy was recovering from a sore throat so we had to be very careful with his food and water intake. Had to strike the right balance between allowing them pool fun and not falling ill any further.

It wasn't the best foodie trip in that regard. I made sure the kids had proper dinners and lots of fluids while we were walking around Armenia Street and Chowrasta market. That was the only touristy thing we did. Apart from the crazy Waze supported trip to Sunshine Ayer Item to buy the Old tree white coffee. And then to our uncle Cheah's Nutmeg shop.

2 days of pool fun. It was funny coz there was a Malay boy on the 2nd day of pool fun. And the boy kept coming to me and asking me how to say such and such a word in Malay. Like as if the other boy didn't know English. Or as if suddenly Malay to him is more real a language. Was fine until I had to tell him what was shark in Malay....of course NOW I know it is Ikan Yu. But at that time I was like what-the-heck!

The girl was fun to watch coz she kept looking at her brother jumping into the pool and creating such a joyful splash. So she went up, squatted next to the pool and looked in, again and again contemplating if she could make the jump. She even went down one step and jumped in and decided it was doable at 2 steps, now let me try 3 steps, equivalent to the edge of the pool. In the end, she didn't manage to overcome her fear and waded over to me to ask for help. 5-8 jumps later, holding my hand, she attempted the jump on her own and succeeded. I love her look of utter satisfaction. In fact this time round, the girl learnt to put her head under water like her kor kor and even when she was submerged, she was not afraid. A great improvement for her from not even daring to put her head under water.

In Ipoh, of course I had to have my white coffee fix, tau fu fah fix and kacang putih fix. 3 hours later, we were back on the road to KL. A 1 foot iron rod speared hubby's bumper on the NKVE on the way back. We thank God that it didn't hit the radiator or the windscreen. But it was such a fright.

A good enough break. The kids are asking when is the next pool fun holiday? We are all nursing a flu, cough and the first for the girl - conjunctivitis. But all's well that ends well. And the weekend is approaching.

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