Monday, November 24, 2014

Memories of Malalysia, Deeplavali

While we were in Malayasia, the country was gearing up for Deeplavali. Deepavali, or Diwali, is a five-day Hindu festival that begins on the shortest day of the year during the period between mid-October and mid-November. Deepavali celebrates light overcoming darkness and is also known as the Festival of Lights.


Deepavali is mainly a family celebration, and but we got to see some beautiful kolams.

The kolam is an intricate design on the floor made from coloured rice and colored powder. Kolams are mainly at the entrance to the shopping malls.

We saw a few in KL and one in the foyer of the Gurney Plaza, Georgetown.







In Georgetown.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 7, Memories of Malaysia, Pinang Peranakan Museum

The Pinang Peranakan Museum in Georgetown was another stop on our trishaw tour. The mansion was set up as a museum showcasing Chung Keng Quee (Kapitan) from China who made his fortunes in the city. He commissioned his stately mansion to be built incorporating the strong Peranakan architectural design. It was lavishly furbished with elegant ceramic floor tiles from England, beautiful iron casted art work from Scotland for the balconies and railings and elegant carved-wood panels and screen for the doors and walls from China.

The building was refurnished and turned into a “Baba Nyonya” Museum to showcase the lifestyle and culture of the eclectic Chinese Straits Settlement in Penang called the Peranakan. The gentlemen were known as “Baba” and the ladies as “Nyonya”. The Peranakan is a unique community that have blended Chinese and Malay customs, language, fashion and cuisine, over centuries.
The mansion sits on a land belonging to the headquarters of the Ghee Hin Clan which in fact was his rival.

The inside of the building is filled with artifacts display and thousands of antiques and collectables. I was a bit worried that we were going to break something!

Beautiful stained glass windows. 


 A courtyard between two wings of the building.
 In the dining area. The screen behind is made from teak wood and the table had beautiful glass works.
 Sitting to the side of the dining table with more beautiful furniture. We had to take our shoes off to tour the building, so we look all glam in our socks!

Memories of Malaysia, Day 7, cont. Kapitan Keling Mosque

One of our early stops on the trishaw ride, we stopped at the Kapitan Keling Mosque. This mosque was built in 1801 and is the largest in Georgetown.




The boys weren't overly impressed so it was just a quick stop for a photo.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Style Arc Fay Skirt

The weather beat me before I could take a modelled pic of the Style Arc Fay Skirt. It is now way to hot to wear this being that it is double layered ponte fabric.

I guess I also procrastinated about wearing it to work as Brett said it was not the best shape for me as it highlighted my significant pear shape. I found the way that I should wear it is with a wide belt to emphasise my waist and with a top with flutter sleeves or neckline interest to distract from my bottom half.

Oh well, there is always next winter. Unfortunately the skirt is nothing much to look at without the model. 

It is an easy make although next time I will make the elastic a bit tighter around the waist. This is a size 14 and I graded in slightly at the waist. The ponte fabric was purchased from Lincraft on sale. The skirt would also be nicer in a lighter jersey for the warmer months. The skirt worked out to be $21 in fabric as the ponte is folded over to make the lining and 'bagged out' at the bottom.

This is the skirt pattern the Style Arc designers recommended for pear shapes. You wear it higher on the waist.  This pattern is easy for beginners.




Day 7, Memories of Malayasia Trishaws, bikes and trucks

A trishaw ride was a great way to see Georgetown up close and at a good pace. Some of the streets are narrow and difficult to navigate by car.

 

Apparently the future of the trishaws are numbered due to the low wage compared with working in a factory. I would definitely recommend it was the way to tour around the city sights although I did feel a bit sorry for our peddlers having to pull us around. Brett shouted them drinks about half way through our tour.

 


 



Bicycles were also a common sight on the streets with lots of repair shops.



 



I don't plan on doing this with my shopping any time soon.




This truck was dropping off eggs to our hotel.


Beautiful street architecture. 

 



Memories of Malaysia - Day 7 Exploring George Town street art

George Town is the capital of Penang and our hotel was the ideal base for exploring the city.

First up was breakfast though and that didn't let us down.

The chef made Roti tissue especially for K. Courtesy of wikipedia:

Roti tissue, roti tisu, or tissue prata is a sweet flatbread often sold at Malaysian Mamak stalls. It is also known as "roti helikopter" (helicopter bread). Roti tissue is a thinner version of the traditional roti canai, as thin as a piece of 40–50 cm round-shaped tissue. The finishing touches to the making of roti tissue require skill, and they depend on the creativity of the maker.

This creation was covered in a thin layer of sugar dissolved in water. 

Mr J had pancakes, also made by the chef. I think J's eyes nearly fell out of his head when he loaded up with chocolate sauce AND smarties.


The range of food on offer was amazing. There was everything from traditional Malaysian style to American style breakfast (no bacon though).

We ventured out down the street to find ourselves some tri-shaws to go exploring the city. We found Stanley and his workmate (or did they find us?) out of all the tri-shaw riders lined up. I mainly wanted to see the street artworks but they ended up taking us to a whole range of other tourist attractions in the city. May I just say that fortunately we did not have a holiday arranged around seeing temples as this day was more than adequate for all three boys.


We stopped to see lots of street art. I can't remember where Brett and J went, perhaps to get drinks,  but K and I ventured around with Stanley. It was getting hot and K was getting a bit over street art. I enjoyed seeing them though so we kept going after a refreshing drink or two. This is only a small sample of what George Town has to offer in the way of street art as there are around 30 different artworks int the city.

This one is called "Boy on Chair".

 Welded street art 
 "Kids on bicycle"
 "Too narrow". The hand-pulled rickshaw was the most popular form of transportation in early Penang.

The sun was in K's eyes.



Stanley was trying to get K to co-operate with the camera. He was very friendly and also very fit for his age. He had awesome calves from all of the pedalling.




The streets around the artwork were very empty. In most cases we were the only ones taking photos. Apparently in peak season it is hard to get near the artworks for a photo and there is a line-up.

I have more photos of Georgetown and the tri-shaws and will cover them in a separate entry. We did see alot in our tour.

Tips
* Be very specific on how long you want to go for a tri-shaw ride for. We did see lots of the tourist spots and it was really equivalent to a half-day tour but we only had planned to go for an hour. There was more to see that I had anticipated!There are also rows of tri-shaw riders vying for business so I think they take who they get for as long as they can get out of them.

*Take lots of water and try to head out early because it is hot, especially on the streets.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Memories of Malayasia - Day 6 Fly to Penang

It was our time to leave KL so we started the day with a swim at the apartment pool followed by a taxi pick up at 11.45am. Su-Yi travelled in on her lunch break to collect the apartment key and to say goodbye. Such a fantastic Air BnB host! The sun was in the boys' eyes so it was hard to get a good photo. This is in front of her apartment where there was a paved area, fountains and a security guard.

 Su-Yi booked the large taxi for us and it cost 160 rgt to the airport (about $50 Aus). The airport was about 40-60 minutes from our apartment. 

The LCCT (low cost carrier terminal) is not very fancy. Our flight was delayed by about 45 minutes so we filled in time with lunch at McDonalds and just sitting around. The flight itself took about 1 hour 10 minutes and cost $15 AUS each. It looked like there were lots of 'day commuters' and the flight was full.

I had pre-arranged a transfer from the airport to our next hotel, the Eastern and Oriental in Georgetown. We arrived and checked in just in time for drinks and snacks by the pool. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend about club lounges, I managed to find a good deal on AsiaRooms that included club lounge entry. That meant we enjoyed snacks and drinks (softdrink, wine, beer and basic spirits (gin and tonics for me)) for an hour or so in the early evening.

Our boys were the only children there but that didn't matter. We saw some other Australians and they commented on how well behaved the boys were. Our room was in the Victory Annexe which is the new section of the hotel. The building still ekked 'history' though. So timeless and classic. This was one of those 'once in a lifetime' experiences that I will never forget.  

E&O Lobby

Lobby bathroom (just so you can get a feel for the style)

Pool area





Chillaxin'


View from our room

Our room - it was very spacious. Mr J loved the telephone near the toilet. He may have called the front desk.

Tips
*If you can afford, go for a club room with access to the club lounge for evening snacks and drinks! We did not need to buy dinner on the nights we had club lounge access. Perhaps also because we didn't feel like venturing out after a couple of wines by the pool.

*Go the Eastern and Oriental. It is luxury so not cheap but I enjoyed every minute so I consider that to be 100% value for money!

Memories of Malaysia - Day 5 KL Bird Park, OMG, Lot 10

After a lie-in and swim, we headed off on the monorail back to KL Sentral and then a train to the KTM Old Railway Kuala Lumpur Station.

It was a long, hot walk up the hill to the bird park. Once in, we headed to the bird show where we saw parrots doing tricks and hornbills flying through the air. The show was simple but the kids loved it.


 The parrots were very clever and drove the little cars.


 And worked out how to do a puzzle.
 The bird knew exactly where the ball was!
 Walking away from the bird show stadium, we saw lots of monkeys just lying around on top of the aviaries.

 We sat down for a while in front of a little waterfall.
There were lots of different types of birds, some types we hadn't seen before.



 
 Most of the birds were walking around inside the park.

 

 


Some birds we were familiar with.


 


 The heat made us a little crazy.


Mr J took control of the camera and was obsessed by bottoms.
 

 






At the fish pond, we purchased some food for the fish (and drinks for ourselves!). Mr J was a real celebrity with a visiting group of businessmen from Sri-Lanka. 



 I told J he should start charging a photo fee!


It was all good until J fell into the fish pond. He just leaned over a bit too far while he was feeding the fish! He was OK, it gave him a fright but we had no dry clothes for him. Fortunately his clothes dried out quickly in the humidity! (There is no photo as he was too distressed at the time.)



Despite K's hesitations, we had our photo taken with the birds. The attendants placed the birds one by one on us and instructed them to stay still for the photo. They were so well trained.  I'm glad we had the photo taken, it was such fun,despite the fact that I look like I am melting! Mr K is keeping a close eye on the bird.



Learning our lesson from getting there, we took a cab back to the city centre which was a set fee (18 rgt).

It was then time for some shopping in the Pavilion shopping centre. I found the prices to be about the same as Australia, except for the Body Shop which was on sale for about 1/3 of our prices.

We had a nitrogen ice cream as a treat then walked around a bit and went down to the Lot 10 basement food court.

This was a recommendation from our Air BnB host and it was a great place to experience hawker food for those who are hesitant.  The boys tried duck for the first time. There were loads of choices.

 

We had a very colourful dessert and then it was time to go back to the apartment after another busy day. 






Tips 
*It was a long walk up the hill in the heat to the bird park, I would strongly suggest forking out for a cab fare! With the combination of monorail, train and walking from our apartment it would have been so much quicker just to get a cab.

*Take lots of water, although you can buy in the park.

*Make sure you arrive in time to see the bird show. 

*Fork out the 35 rgt for the bird photo. Give the assistants your camera and they will also take pictures for you. 

*The Lot 10 hawker foodcourt is great way to try hawker food - highly recommended.