Aug 28, 2013

4 Fraser's Hill ~ A place to chill

I did a bit of domestic traveling. My Raya holidays was spent gallivanting from one tourist attraction to another. Fraser's Hill was one of the places I visited on a day trip out of Kuala Lumpur.

It's just two hours away.. we were told. Took us almost three hours because we made a small stop to stretch our legs. The winding uphill road is no place for a Formula One race. It is also unfriendly to those likely to suffer from motion sickness. I'm so glad I went prepared.

Fraser's Hill

The hill was named after Scottish tin prospector, Louis James Fraser. This was in the early 1920s after his mysterious disappearance. Makes for a nice thriller novel, doesn't it? The Sherlock Holmes kind. Fraser Hill's, to me, is a lovely spot for creative juices to flow. Novel writing, cooking, painting...composing music.

I could move here a couple of months, pretend I was the next Jamie Oliver, whipping up fancy meals in the middle of the street. Reallyyyyy.... I've got to get my head out of the clouds.

I stand near the roundabout where the clock tower is, taking the view in. Small gusts of cool air play with my hair. I am surrounded by British colonial buildings. Did horse-drawn carriages ply this route? Did ladies in pretty puffy dresses and wide ribbon hats have many strolls on this pebble road where I now plant my feet?

Police Station

Post Office


Public Toilet

Outdoor benches

Fraser's Hill is more than just charming old buildings. The Bird Interpretive Center is clear indication that it is a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers. Other things-to-do include jungle trekking, camping, paddle boating at Allan's Water ..and meditation. You won't find meditation in the travel pamphlet but it's so serene here, I believe that I could go into some sort of Zen mode if I stayed a little longer.

Oops.. I almost forgot to mention the bountiful flowers that have been so carefully tended in Fraser's Hill. They are beautiful to look at. The park benches are a brilliant idea. I sat many minutes admiring the environment and fresh air. I'll share more flower photos in my next blog post.

For now, I have these:

Bird Interpretive Center

Beautiful Flowers

A Gardener's Fairy Tale

Note: Fraser's Hill is crowded on weekends and most of the shops are closed on Public Holidays. If you want a peaceful experience, then these are the days to avoid.

Aug 22, 2013

4 Dale, Lake Fields (Sungai Besi)

Dale at Lake Fields. The name itself stretches my imagination. A fairly spacious 3-storey terrace house with a lake nearby gives me illusions that I'll be having lots of evening strolls with the sunset behind me...even though the lake is technically wayYYyy over there and I may not even walk that far.

Dale at Lakefields

I love the double volume concept and overall design. It's beautiful. Hardly original though. I once felt that it was unique but after seeing a number of houses with the same old, same old, I begin to wonder if housing developers are sinking into this mire of commonness. It's not a big deal but I always wish for something with a little more 'creative' in it.

For some reason, I could not feel the excitement. Mayhaps I knew what the price would be like. Maybe a sleepy town isn't my cup of tea. Perhaps it's just too big. With five bedrooms, this is a home meant more for large families. 

Plenty of space to play about

I can see you from up here! Like this so much!

Three storeys up. Huff, puff...... I'm tired already.

One of the rooms

Room with a bath

Now tagged at a no-surprise asking price of around RM1 million plus-minus, I wonder if anyone's thinking "Sungai Besi?". It's a head scratching moment when you find out that it sits in an old mining town that has yet risen to a level that can be said to generate high-income earners.

But of course, this is the shallower side of me speaking. People drive long kilometres to get to their work places. The prices of landed property is steeper in city areas, hard to find and if there is something cheaper, it is either very small, very old or poorly maintained. I guess city folks who can afford it would seriously think about getting a unit here.

When it comes to homes, it will always be a subjective matter. We are so diverse in our preferences that whilst this may not have tickled my fancy, it could very well be someone's dream home for a lot of other reasons.
End Unit

Intermediate Unit

Aug 19, 2013

4 The Penang Tan

Arghhh!!! Sun!!

There lies the tan. A beautiful curve across her foot, designed by the opening on her red-grey sneaker sandals. 

This is the feet of my traveling friend.

You could say that Penang left its mark on us. Oh, don't laugh. We would have applied some suntan lotion if we knew four days could do this much. ..and I add, it wasn't a beach holiday. Tsk, excuses.

Truth is, we don't look at tans in the same light as before, not anymore. We've gone from sun-loving people to UV rays concerned individuals. That's not being entirely honest either. We've just been greatly influenced by those 'whitening' advertisements. We try to stay as fair as possible because "it's supposed to be good for us", not because we think we'll look prettier if we do.  ...yeah, not that.

Blast those marketing ploys...

Aug 18, 2013

2 Penang : More on street art

I took lots of photos, of course...couldn't resist.

Street art is the in-thing here, mostly murals and steel sculptures. There's so much creativity going on that I feel their passion. If there's one thing I do not regret, it is walking along the streets of Lebuh Armenian and nearby...even under the scorching sun. I was wow-ed by some sort of artwork every corner!

I noticed several tourists carrying umbrellas to shield from the heat. I was amazed. Haha me. I had no time and no opportunity to hold one. My hands were glued to my camera the entire walkabout.

Feast your eyes on some of the photos I took. Beautiful, isn't it?

Ernest Zacharevic - Reaching Up

101 Lost Kittens Project - I Can Help Catch Rats
Children At Play
A message on Penang's cycling initiative
Tang Mun Kian - Steel Rod Sculpture - Cannon Hole

I'm easily amused. They painted around it! Guess they'll finish the job later. Dark purple? Too dark a shade, me thinks. This will make this piece very hard to spot in future.

Tang Mun Kian - Steel Rod Sculpture - Too Narrow

Aug 14, 2013

2 When in Penang - Walk, Feel, Eat

Jen and I decided to spend our nights in hotels near areas where we wanted to visit most. It was a brilliant move. We didn't have to depend on public transport and the hassle that came with. 

Going on foot opened our eyes and hearts to many things that could have easily slipped by us had we been going around by car. There is history in just about every corner of Penang! To drive is to miss these hidden treasures.

Sightseeing, to me, isn't just about rushing to cover a place for the sake of ticking it off the must-do list. It's about taking the time to experience new things, it's about bringing "Dora the explorer" alive in us....and most importantly, it's about blazing our own trail and enjoying the moment. The last thing I want to do is follow the footsteps of another traveler in entirety.  

"You must go here, arh. Stop by that building. Eat this, ok. Make sure you try that. "

I don't know about you but these sentences smack of dictatorship to me. Haha. It is as though people didn't want us to discover something new.

Our first night was spent in Lebuh Queen (Queen's Street). As we strolled along the side of the road, old buildings, beautiful murals and creative art pieces coloured our walkabout.  Each one depicting a little about local life. We took our time to appreciate what we saw. Unashamedly, we never stopped clicking our cameras!

And if there's one thing I've learned, it is that it pays to explore small lanes with quaint entrances. In one, we were led out to the Cheah Clan Association's ancestral temple and discovered a mural of cats by Artists For Stray Animals (ASA).

Doorway to Cheah Clan's Temple. Spotted this mural in front of the temple grounds.

The weather in Penang is always h-o-t and humid. We were sweat drenched. Our cheeks pink from the afternoon sun. Then, we saw it - a blessing! The 70's Ice ball stall was a welcome sight. Didn't hesitate to order one for ourselves. Crunch, crunch, crunch...euphoria. Ice balls are what I would call the 'ice-cream' of olden era - a taste of the past, that's what we had.

Here, somewhere along Armenian Street was when I realised that Penangites are an artistic lot and I'm not just talking about the murals.

Mango flavoured ice ball and a work-in-progress mural!

Above the ice ball seller was a lamp shade made out of cassettes.

Cassete Lamp Shade

Next door, a pair of old jeans was used creatively to plant a small tree. Further down the road, we saw shoes being recycled into flower pots..if that's what it can be called.

Creative Planting

We stopped for a drink at a soy bean drink shop that had recycled tyres into neat coffee tables. At the end of the wall is another mural or should I say an illusion, a picture of a passageway painted to make it look like this was located along a row of shops...not that it wasn't in the first place.

Chilled soya, a relief for this sun barbequed soul. Wait a minute, is that ....?

I plonked myself onto a chair to rest. that another street art thing. Through the bars I saw....the famed interactive art piece "Little Children On A Bicycle" by Ernest Zacharevic -  that awesome moment of realisation.

Little Children On A Bicycle by Ernest Zacharevic

And this was just a "small" part of our adventure in Penang...

Jen says, "..aahh, my poor feet". Not just tired, there was an obvious suntan. Hehe. We rested, overloaded with a sense of achievement. You should have seen our contented smiles.

Aug 2, 2013

4 Guess where we're headed ..

Jen and I off on an adventure
They call it the Pearl of the Orient. I call it "paradise". Officially, it is known as Pulau Pinang or Penang.

Jen and I are backpacking it this time around but not without the little luxuries. You could say we're the Luxury Backpacking Duo. Oh, don't snigger.

It begins with paying for premium tickets on a comfortable double decker coach - Aeroline.

For me, taking the coach is so much easier than flying. Be there twenty minutes before, climb on board and you're on your way. All for RM60! No hassle, no waiting.

Below is a picture of our amazing coach. Looks romantic, doesn't it? Normal ticket holders sit in the upper deck. That's where Jen and I go.

There's a business lounge below reserved for priority members. It looks like a very comfortable place to hang out. It is also equipped with a washroom for emergencies.

The Aeroline Coach - It's like taking a plane, only more convenient

The steward made an announcement to buckle our seat belts. The journey would take four and a half hours. I snuggled into my seat and adjusted the foot rest.  I get a cushion to rest my back. that's what I call comfort

We were each handed a pair of headphones. I was soon engrossed in a movie - Escape from Planet Earth, to be exact. An animation about aliens being trapped on Earth and forced into building a super weapon that can pulverize planets. I think I watched three animated cartoons. Why cartoons? When traveling, I prefer light, comedic shows. Pretty much reflects how I feel on holidays.

In between, the steward served us food and drinks. We kept occupied with chatter and short naps.

Movie and refreshments
The coach stopped at a rest area just after the halfway point. We got down to stretch our legs for a bit before continuing on our journey.

20-minute stop for the restroom and to loosen our muscles
It was late afternoon when we reached Queensbay Mall, a huge modern shopping complex. That's where we alighted from the coach. How convenient!

Ee picked us up and took us to a lovely hostel where we bunked for the night in cosy settings. I'll blog about it in my next post. Promise!


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