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Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Gauzy View

  Before we leave Kuala Lumpur behind, I do want to write a bit more about the Palace of the Golden Horses.  The people who work there could not be nicer and more accommodating.   The hotel is a bit run-down and no longer in its hay-day, which is pretty obvious.  But they do have some nice amenities, such as the control panel next to the bed that operates all the lights and the air-con.  Conversely, sometimes the lights would unexpectedly go off by themselves--not like a power outage, since just the bedside ones would poof out and the hall and desk lamp would stay on.  The leak that came from the toilet the first 24-48 hours miraculously stopped for the rest of the week.  A daily newspaper was delivered to our door and new toothbrushes, shaver, soaps and shampoo, sewing kits, and two bottles of water were replenished daily.  I now have a suitcase full of throw-away toothbrushes if I need them.  When in foreign countries, if the water isn't filtered and boiled, you cannot use it for brushing your teeth or even rinsing your brush.  So they provide new ones so you can just dump it after using.  It's truly a waste of resources, but a pet peeve of mine is having to drizzle bottled water over the brush and never having it cleaned off.
  The hotel is working on refurbishing rooms on the upper floors and ours was already done, but it shows signs of wear and tear already and maybe shoddy work in the first place.  It's really a shame because it's got great potential. 

Even the toiletries followed the theme

Taufik picked us up right on schedule Friday morning and took us to Putrajaya to show us the new ministry buildings and the cool bridge and mosque.  He's very obviously not impressed by any of this because he quoted two times exactly how much one street light cost, and it was expensive.  All this was at the whim of the prime minister who created a new city for himself and his ministry, apparently and because he wanted to take a boat to work, he created a huge waterway or lake which then caused KL to have a water shortage.     

Awesome bridge we crossed over on our way to the airport.  Either this one of another we saw in the distance was used as a model for the new section of our Bay Bridge.
We landed in Penang and took a teksi to the Clove Hall where we're staying for 4 nights.  If you want to check it out, go to and look at the cinnamon suite.  It's quite nice, though the one surprise is the bathroom (which is lovely and huge with a large shower) doesn't have windows, so they close up the shutters at night and close the door to our room so no critters are invited in, then spray the room with bug repellent and we sleep inside a canopy with mosquito netting.  I have a few bites, but I think I brought them with me from KL.
The people who own the inn and the ones who work here are again, extremely friendly and helpful.  Ayren suggested an authentic Nyona meal for our first night, which meant walking down the street a few blocks.  The owner expected us, and we were the only ones eating inside that night.  He had a set menu, plus added beef rendang for us to try too.  We ordered red bean fruit drink to go with the meal.  Oh, and the walk was hot, but the restaurant had air-con.  You might not think about it sitting back home, but it is so freakin' hot here, even at night, that it's getting a bit unbearable.

those are red beans on top, not cherries

This is a vegetable dish that is put into a lettuce leaf and wrapped.  The dark dish on the right is chicken, which was in a sweet sauce.  The meal has a mixture of sweet, sour, and spicy.

Chicken rendang on the right, which was spicy.

Fish dish which had a more sour sauce--loved this sauce!

Our first full day in Penang, we took a taxi to the botanical gardens with the idea of wandering there, going to Penang hill, then finding more to do from there.  We walked around the botanical gardens enjoying the monkeys who live there and eat everyone's leftovers out of the garbage.  We're not supposed to feed them, but it's pretty funny to watch them stalk people picnicking.

We ran into a group of young university students from a photography class and spent 20-30 minutes talking to them about what they found.  First was this centipede which refused to open for us.  They had some good shots they showed us of what they'd gotten when they first found it. 

As we were chatting, one of the boys noticed this "flower" turned out to  be some cool bug that looks just like one of the local flowers.

Don't be fooled....this was just a photo shoot.  We were disappointed they weren't a real couple.

But then I got this great juxtaposition of the bride and groom dressed traditionally with the  Muslim woman in full burka walking by.  I missed the perfect shot by about a second.

View from Penang hill...took a funicular up to the top, then walked around.  We had lunch there in a food court, then queued up for the ride down.  And it really hauls ass coming down!

I'll take more shots of Clove Hall, but this is what I saw when we returned from Penang  Hill.  I have been sneezing over and over for 2 days, so with a cold and in and out of heat and sweaty weather, I returned to the inn and headed for bed.  I slept in the afternoon for a couple of hours....and anyone who knows me knows I never sleep during the day.

View from the bed during the night it's a gauzy view.  

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