Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 5: Dec 23, 06, First Day, Saturday, Kuala Kangsar, Penang

We departed at 0642 from BSP and hit the Elite Expressway immediately. I expected to get to Tapah R&R around 0900 but due to the early start we got there at 0820. Our intention was to have breakfast as well as rendezvous point for us there. The place was packed with holiday makers when we got there. We decided to just buy something and had a breakfast picnic at the gazebo near the parking lot. While at the Tapah R&R also marked the beginning of the official used of my new Nikon D80.

The air-condition to the Ranger was still problematic that I had to try something that seemed to be working. I pressed on hard as usual but then as I was climbing the hill after Jelapang Tol I realized that Intan, Tariq and others in the other car would not be able to explore more without me if I press on towards Penang. Since we were a bit early I decided to detour to Kuala Kangsar.
As I was driving into Kuala Kangsar I saw the sign that says Asean House Crafts intuitively I followed the sign and had us at 1030. As the name implies the place was a place that has Asean handicrafts collection. So our shopping spree began as I ended up buying a table lamp and few other things. Baqir slept through all this experience on the comfortable couch inside the display area. Our second stop was our favorite labu sayong and vase factory just after the new bridge towards Sayong. We spent quite a bit of time there exploring and learning on the arts of clay. Few more RM changed hands for few pots and vases.

Inevitably someone asked for Laksa and for a change we decided to try one of the stalls with ikan bakar in front of the Perak river. We made the right choice as one look in front of me were delicacies that easily came out from my list of top ten local recipes. Wit hardly rice I piled up my plate with ulam-ulam, ikan and others to form an acceptable small hill. It was lunch time indeed and I buried myself without any care to my dietary constraint. If my doctor were to chance on me then he would probably yell our, ‘you fool!!!!!!’ and I would just give my best smile J. Well, it was not that bad really I took ikan bakar and a lot of ulam and vege. Kuala Kangsar never cease to amaze me really.

Our third stop in Kuala Kangsar was just a normal small town shop in the middle of a busy street on the way out towards Fajar. The main attraction was the cheap Thai made Toto (bed comforter). Trust me it is cheaper in Kuala Kangsar even if you were to drive up to Bukit Kayu Hitam. Of course I did not just satisfy myself with just one Toto. I threw in one carpet as well and the back of the Ranger began to make me look like I was one of the Thai’s traders themselves. Thinking that we were done with Kuala Kangsar we drove out toward the highway and sped towards Penang.

I was planning to avoid the traffic congestion on the Penang bridge as well as the traffics into Georgetown when I exited at Juru but I blundered a turn and ended up on the same highway that led us to the bridge. Angry at myself aloud I startled everyone in the Ranger. It was almost 1500 already and we slowly cruised into town. We were at the lobby of the Northam Tower just around 1515. After we have checked in Intan asked, ‘ What’s the plan for today?’ I said, ‘we are hitting the pool and then go out at 1800 to do Penang.’

The Northam Tower suite is a modern hotel suite that adopted an open concept. The bathroom and shower were just encase with clear glass, in our case there was nto even glass separating the bed and the Jacuzzi inside the bathroom. To those who are not familiar with this setup, especially if you have to share the room, could be a daunting experience. But what could we do as pricey and open as it is it was the only option that we had. Hey, the view was nice!
To do Penang to me for that evening was Padang Kota to walk around and have Pasemboq and later to Batu Ferringhi to check out the night life and the tourist night markets. It was a Saturday with Dec 25 two days away night crowds that we had to brave through while browsing at Batu Ferringhi. We enjoyed ourselves walking and window shopping until some of our walking equipments could not carry us further. My damages were limited to few DVDs. Hey! eleven is a few to me, ok. We in the end drove out slowly, I could not drive any faster anyway due to the heavy traffics, to make two stops along the way. The first was to meet My Good Friend the ATM machine and second Subaidah 24 Hours Nasi Kandar joint. I thought just for a cup of coffee, but full dinner course for Baqir and others. We made it to the hotel around 2300 and specifically mentioned to everyone to have a nice early sleep for tomorrow. I intended to leave early tomorrow for one day adventure in Penang.

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