Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 5: Dec 24, 06, 2nd Day, Sunday, Penang

I tried but we could not leave the hotel early enough. After having breakfast along the way we reached the foot of the Bukit Bendera around 1000 and only managed to get the 1200 tickets going up. This meant a two-hour wait and dented my whole plan of Penang adventure. Not my lost though as my family and I have probably nothing else to miss in Penang. Certainly a lost to others.

We did not just sit idly waiting at the foot. We made ourselves useful by exploring the stalls for t-shirts. In general the t-shirts at the foot are slightly expensive compared to those you can get at the top of the Bukit Bendera. Ironic isn’t it? Normally it is the other way round. While browsing for t-shirts at one of the stalls I saw one hat that I like and asked the gentleman stall owner the price and I was told RM 18, it was tagged at RM 38. I could not believe it and decided for something that slashed by half could actually only cost around RM8-10. I bargained hard to get a better price and the owner would not willing to go down further and I left it like that. Towards the end of our waiting period I happened to be walking passed his stall and asked her daughter, I presumed, and was told the price was RM38. I smiled and left the place. I guess the price would go down and up according to who is asking and at what time of the day one ask.
We were up at the top of Bukit Bendera around 1230 and since it was pleasantly cool we walked under the sun enjoying the sceneries and place. The last time we were up there, there wasn’t much to explore and enjoy and now they have built an eating place, stalls that sell, most of them, t-shirts, street vendors, mosque, temple as well as places to stay. Since it was school holidays they have organized activities and while we were they the second snake king of Malaysia was performing. I was up there just to enjoy myself and take photographs. In fact when my family was busied at the t-shirt stalls I took Mar to one of the eateries to busy myself with laksa and ABC. The taste was not what I expected. It was good which normally not the case for places like that.

Since we did not have enough daylight time to explore Penang Island anymore I let everyone stayed longer and decided to take the 1415 car down.

Once back at the foot of the Bukit Bendera the first agenda was to find a place to eat and I have Nasi Kandar in mind. With that there were only two possibilities for me. In the end after much deliberation and to cut the story short at around 1500 I was devouring nasi kandar at The Lineclear. I didn’t hear any comments from the others but I take it they were fine with the delicacies. But, what do I know I was busy digging in.

As I intended I took them walking along Penang Road towards Chowrasta Market where we stopped to window shop and buy some asam-asam. As we started walking we stopped at one normal looking shop that sell various shirts, t-shirts and other stuff. I saw the hat that I asked before at Bukit Bendera and straight away I asked the price. RM18 I was told and I started to bargain as I knew it was the right starting price. Actually Baqir did the rest for me he simply said we will take if she could give us RM15 for it. Somewhat reluctantly the sales girl relented and I have another hat for my collections. I am sure she still made a profit. The heat was a little bit unbearable, even for locals, which prompted us to abandon our desire to walk straight to Komtar. We backtracked to our cars and drove out towards no where. Seriously, I did not know where I was heading until we had to circumnavigate Komtar again when I saw the Madrasah that I meant to stop to say our prayers. Expecting miracle there was not even one parking space for us and just before we were about to go around Komtar again I saw the parking sign at Parangin Mall and jammed the accelerator up the circular pathway to the 7th floor.

For malls as big as Komtar and Parangin the management could only afford a measly square peg on the ground floor parking area for a surau. It was really pathetic. Not only it was small the condition was so uncomfortable for worshipers. I just could not understand why!!!!!!!

As usual we ended up buying few things there and we left the Mall just after Maghrib. Since we can Jama our prayers I decided to take everyone to sample the Telok Tempoyak’s ikan bakar. Confidently I took the Bayan Lepas highway and proceeded towards the Airport as I knew I need to pass the area to get there. To cut the story short I made a wrong turn and we ended up going around up to Batu Maung luckily most of the holiday makers in the Ranger were fast asleep. Longer route would suit them fine :). Anyway, still trying to smart it out I just followed my instinct and to my surprise we ended up going back towards downtown via the coastal road where the hitech industry area was. As I was driving I recognized the area as the place where we used to stop to have dinner recently. I decided to just stop there for dinner. At least they could have a view of Jerejak Island at night :).

We drove back to the hotel realizing that it was Christmas eve. As expected the town centre was jam packed with people partying and waiting. Luckily we were from KL and traffic jam’s veteran. No sweat for us. However, the number of people out on the street with a good reason to party the night away was amazing. Be it Hari Raya, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Merdeka Day they are all the same to these people.

We were back safely in our rooms around 2330.

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