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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's Not Just the about butterflies?

We are actually now in Kota Bharu after a harrowing long day at the airport...a much longer day there than planned.  Before I tell the day's long story, I want to finish Penang since we had some really great experiences there.  We've been in search of hawker food like we found the last night in KL, so the Aussie couple we met told us about the area near the mall, of course, but outside it.  The four of us shared a taxi there, then went our separate ways since they had last night shopping to do before going home the next day.  Matthew and I tried foods from about 4-5 stalls, and I didn't take many pictures, though did get a couple of the guy who danced to the great old American music and pounded his knife to the music, then swung around while pouring sauce on the plate still in beat.

 The next day we decided to find where the free city shuttle was and use it to find out way around.  Matthew had a different map, but used it to figure out where we wanted to get off to see certain things, like the old colonial town of Georgetown.  Well, after a sweaty walk, we found where the bus stop was and loved sitting in the air-conditioned bus so much, we decided to just stay on it awhile.  Matthew had just started developing a blister (usually that's me) and I still am sneezing and now coughing (usually that's him).  The bus driver stopped at a main terminal and told us we had to get off--by then there were only 3 of us left.  He did tell us another bus would leave in 5 minutes, which turned out to be about 15.  But part of the problem was the stops weren't anywhere near where we thought they'd be, so we just stayed on.  Finally we hopped off and made our way to the famous or well-known old hotel, the E&O--Eastern and Oriental.  It has the same M-O as the Golden Horses--once beautiful, but now a bit run-down.  We decided to stay for lunch since they had an international menu and I was craving salad and vegetables.   I started with a pumpkin and spinach salad, then had spaghetti with vegetables.  Matthew had English pasties...and they weren't very good, nor was his duck salad and my pasta was too salty.  Hate to complain, but we were treating ourselves to a nice meal that was way more expensive than hawker food!
  We wandered around a bit more, but quite frankly, it's so damn hot it's hard to walk for long, so we taxied back to the guest house and put on our bathing suits.  It's very civilized after sweating through your drawers to have tea and cake by the pool.
   Our dinner one night in Penang was interesting and unique.  It's Chinese and called steamboat....they bring a hot plate to your table, then a pot with a divider--broth is poured in each side, one very spicy and one not.  Then they bring scads of food to be added--shrimp, fish balls, pork balls, dumplings, (mostly 2-4 of each), lettuce, quail and chicken eggs, abalone, noodles, fish, chicken,  and on and on.  I wanted to take a picture of the menu and the owner had me hold it and he took the picture:
You can see the list of foods they brought to put into the broth.  The owner started by putting most of them in, but left some for us to do later when we had more room.  And they add broth as needed.

  Since a few people are beginning to think we do nothing but sit and eat, I have a great day to tell about.  Our last day, we hired a taxi to take us to the Hindu temple and Buddist wat, which are across the street from each other.  We had nothing else planned since the heat had now gotten to us too much to consider running or even slowly dragging our way around.  We did schedule massages for each of us beginning at 4 pm at Clove Hall.  They had a Chinese guy who does this either in the room or by the pool.  He charges MR60 per hour...that's $20.
  Our taxi driver drives for Jo and Jim a lot, and he asked us where else we were going, then handed us a map and said, "But don't you want to also see the spice garden, butterfly farm, and batik factory?"  Well, duh...we're sitting in his air conditioned car, so yeah, we want to see those things.  We walk in and around, he waits with the car staying cool, and we get in and are off to the next place.  It was the best day so far!  He was awesome and we loved all the places.  The butterfly farm was incredible...we had a private tour guide who gave us great information about the butterflies and the different species, how they mate, where they're found, and more.
For the first time since arriving, I was happy about all the sweating I'm doing--the butterflies loved it and were lapping it up!
They didn't just land and fly off...they stayed awhile and we refused to move....though we did walk around with them on our hands.
 I am having trouble adding pictures because we're now in this crappy hotel, so will add more later.
  Our guide brought out a gecko that sits on your hand and doesn't move around much, then a tarantuala--nope, didn't touch it--then ended our tour later by allowing us to open plastic containers with newly hatched butterflies ready to take wing.  The whole experience there was magical.
  We saw how batiks are made in the factory, which was fascinating since they have several ways it's done and we were able to see them doing all.  Of course I bought a silk batik scarf there because I need another scarf....
  We hadn't eaten lunch, so found their version of a fast food place on the side of the road.  I just wanted his great looking (and tasting) shredded cooked and seasoned cabbage, but Matthew decided on his fried chicken and rice, and I ended up eating most of the leg because it was that good.  by the time we arrived at the spice farm, we were running out of time, so did a quick tour on our own, then headed back in time for massages...Matthew by the pool where the adorable puppy jumped up on the chaise and playfully bit his hand until finally one of the girls rescued him, and I in our air-conditioned room where there were fewer distractions.
  We really liked Penang and loved staying at Clove Hall.  The owners couldn't be nicer and because everyday I admired how Jo, who's British, dressed, including earrings and necklace, when she admired my knitted beads necklace, I gifted it to her.  I know she'll wear it well.  Their staff of 3 are also extremely helpful and sweet.  And their poodle puppy Georgie is quite the character.  I forgot to mention he stole the massage therapist's socks when he was working on Matthew.
  So next I guess I'll write about today...not such a fun day.  Suffice to say, right now I'm not fond of Air Asia and our hotel---well, it's less than pristine.


  1. Our mistake... should have warned you about Air Asia and any airline starting with "Air" out there. When we lived in Borneo, Air Trust used to fly us out to Singapore. We fearfully called it Air Rust... Come home safely, can't wait to hear more in person!

  2. Sounds like you're seeing a lot of neat things. Sorry about the hassle with the airlines. Love the butterflies - reminds me of the butterflies we saw in Costa Rica. Take care!

  3. morning untie.. still remember me?

    1. Of course I remember you...we met just yesterday in Kota Bharu, right?