Dec 26, 2005 (Monday), Alor Setar, Bukit Kayu Hitam, Penang
We had breakfast at the hotel and really took our time at it. The food were not too bad and my only complaint, I really do not understand this, why on earth did they serve the ‘ hangit’ kacang goring? In plain English hangit kancang goring means an over dry fried, blackened, peanuts. I mean the taste of carbon was so obvious. The only consolation I guess the Mat Sallehs having breakfast there might have thought that it was a local delicacy.
We checked out at 11am and headed for the new Alor Star Mall. You should know by now visiting malls is one of the most important items in our holiday itenery. The Mall was a disappointment but since we have few hours to kill we just walked around. At least my son nailed one t-shirt there. Our plan was to have lunch at the restaurant on top of Alor Star Tower. So at around half past noon we left for the tower and when we got there all we got was a bad news. The restaurant was booked for a birthday party and no place for us. Honestly deep down I was cursing, cursing for not being able to take my family up there for lunch and cursing the management of the place for allowing somebody to book the whole place. Luckily for us there was a quite decent place to eat nearby.
Generally we did not have anything really concrete to do after lunch so we began to check the tourist brochures. There several things and the closest that attracted us was just the Handicraft Centre at Kepala Batas. Two days ago that place was still at least 1 foot deep in water but on that day I was not sure but looking at the nice sunny weather that we had so far I was optimistic so we drove there. The Pusat Karaftangan was a great disappointment to us we left just after less than five minutes there. On the way out I enquired from the pak guard whether the road was clear through Jitra and he gave a good news that it was. There and then I decided to go to Bukit Air Hitam and hit the rubber hard. On the way to the highway I received a a bad news SMS from Buyong, Mede Ribut’s wife just passed away in the morning. I asked him for Mede’s HP and SMSed to him our condolences. Without missing a bit we crossed the checkpoint at approximately 3pm. We were there for about 2 hours shopping and we bought the usual stuff like jeans for Baqir and Kakak, shirts for Kak Cik, office shirts for me and chocolates. We went to the bazaar at the back of the Duty Free Shopping Complex and Baqir got his Billabong. Shopping wise it was a bit disappointment. We were back on the highway soon enough speeding south with no real intention of going anywhere. So at top speed I planned the rest of the holidays. My options were to head back to Kulim or detour to Penang for further R&R. At the very last minutes I turned towards Penang and I was greeted by a long traffic jam at the Penang bridge tol plaza and we were stuck there for about 4 minutes before we managed to squeeze through. It was an accident and the clean up had just finished. After that the traffic was normal all the way into Penang. When we were in Penang I had a decision to make about lodging and followed my instinct. We knew most hotel would be full and we would like to stay within downtown area. So we drove to Gurney Drive first and of course the places there were fully booked. We wanted to try Shangri La but there was no place for me to stop to enquire. After a couple of times driving around I decided to try Northam Towers and they had plenty of rooms and instead of tking two rooms as usual we took the junior suites as it would fit all of us. As soon as we had freshened up we went out for dinner. Dinner meant fulfilling my craving for a good nasi kandar and the only place that could do justice to that was Line Clear Nasi Kandar. I already mastered the route from my previous trip so within few minutes we were already seated. To make my day there was only one big fish head curry left for us. We shamelessly devoured, at least I was, the nasi kandar as if I have not eaten for days. After that I thought if I did not do anything interesting for the rest of the holidays I was satisfied. Everyone was tired and we decided not to do anything else but to head back to the hotel.
Once back at the hotel my wife straight away went to sleep and so did most of my children. I stayed awake for a while to watch the EPL and dozed off in the middle of the game. So the TV was the one watching me in the end until morning.