Friday, December 4, 2009

A little whiff of Penang culture

Day 2 (Mon, 30 Nov 2009)
We started the day with breakfast at the Mediterranean on the open deck. Fresh crisp sea air - great for perking up the appetite!
After a short rest, Andre headed off to the pool. The reason he was so anxious to go was this:
That's right - a mega monster slide. This slide is relatively new, it didn't exist when we were on board two years ago. Anything that involves water and an adrenaline rush is a-ok in Andre's books!
It looks scarier than it actually is. The slope is quite gradual so you don't slide down very quickly, in fact he was trying to streamline himself as much as possible to gain speed but it was still slow (slow enough for me to take a picture!)

He went so many times he lost count. Then it was just soaking and relaxation in the jacuzzi (heated no less!)

In the late morning, the ship docked at Penang. You can sign up for various day trips, go free-and-easy or choose to stay on board. The last time, we stayed on board, so this round, we thought we should expose the kids to some of the Penang sights, since they've never been here. Initially, we'd wanted to visit the Snake Temple but after reading all the unfavourable reviews online, we opted for a cultural tour instead.
The outskirts remind me of Singapore in the 1970s, it had that old-world charm that modern Singaporean kids don't see any more, which is kind of nice. Especially those road side hawker stalls.

Our first stop was the Wat Chaiyamangalaram Thai Temple. This temple houses one of the world's largest reclining Buddhas. Obviously since we're Christians, we're not visiting for religious purposes but to take a look at the architecture and culture. We especially thought it would be good to expose Lesley-Anne since she would be learning about Southeast Asian history next year.

Next, we paid a visit to a local produce shop which sold foodstuff ranging from bat kut teh packs and banana chips to local candy and tao sar piah. We could see the tao sar piah being made right there in the shop.

Next stop, the Kek Lok Si Temple. It's on a hill and to get to it, you have to walk up a winding path strategically lined on both sides with little shops selling knick knacks and cheap garments.
The architecture of the temple is quite impressive and large-scale. The pic on the left shows the Liberation pond where devotees release turtles for longevity.

Here's Andre on the bus with his new toy, Mr Bean's Teddy, bought from one of the shops. Another kid sighted him with it and yelled out, "Hello Mr Bean!" Hehe.

Last stop was Gurney Plaza, one of the poshest shopping malls in Penang. Sure must have shopping lah! It's upmarket with all your big names, very much like Takashimaya or Paragon in Singapore. Not surprising since it's owned and managed by Capitaland.

The mall faces the north channel and we went to take a look. It was low tide so you could see the mudflats with many migratory birds.
Then it was time to head back to the ship.
Aside: Usually this evening, there is a barbecue dinner at the Mediterranean. It's quite pleasant enjoying barbecue prawns, steak and so on at the open deck, watching the sunset. However, you need to get there early to reserve a good table and since we arrived back at the ship after 6.30pm this time, we decided to opt for a quiet dinner at Bella Vista instead.
But here are a couple of pics we took on the last cruise to give you an idea of the barbecue dinner.
And this was the actual dinner we enjoyed at Bella Vista. As usual, it's a three-course set dinner.
Beef stroganoff with fetuccine. Tastes better than it looks.
Roasted duck ala orange
Black forest cheesecake
Andre's assorted cheese platter for dessert


Anonymous said...

Wah!! I would have chosen this kind of holiday anytime. Can travel light and feel nostalgic about the old Singapore. I actually like the slide as much as Andre. LOL

I feel this is a good idea for a getaway when I need Time Out from everything! Good choice!


monlim said...

QX: Star Cruises has some very good deals these days, I suspect due to the increased competition. You must try this at least once!

Alcovelet said...

Hey Mon, glad you guys had a great time! The slide looks AMAZING, and the sort of thing me and my scaredy cat son would like cos it's slow. Yonks ago, BH and I went on the same cruise (without ah boy). Must be the same kitchen crew cos the food was, ah, plastic. We even went to a paid restaurant- Italian, I think it was. Should have saved the money because, guess what, they must have used the same central kitchen too!!

monlim said...

Ad, haha, should have guessed they all share the same kitchen! We didn't try the paid restaurants, scrooges lah.

Anonymous said...

Yes Mon I forgot that I had been on a cruise long before my child was born and it did not seem as fun(so much so that I had forgotten..LOL). I will definitely bring my child to one as she has not been on one and I am sure the slide will delight her too. Thanks.