Monday, December 19, 2005

Penang in a day

Woke up at 5:15am. Arrived KLIA at 6:10am. Flight was at 7:05am. A gloomy Penang at 8:00am. "What did you do in Penang for only a day?" I hear you ask. Now, we did a lot of driving really slowly (because duh, it's not like we are Penangites) and walking.

First stop, the Kek Lok Si Temple in Ayer Hitam. The marketplace leading up to the temple is in a deplorable state. Terrible, just terribly shameful. It was dirty, old and run-down. By the time we got up to the temple itself, it was much better. There were a lot of new additions to the temple, like the new statue of the Goddess of Mercy. Dad was taken in by the amount of real granite they used to build the whole structure. They used real wood with real carvings. Imagine the amount of money they needed for all that. Renovations seem to be going kind of slow, though.

Then we tried to look for the Khoo Kongsi. When we finally found it (after a lot of walking), I was particularly happy to see them upgrading the place. Perhaps it is because I am older now, I seem to appreciate the building more than before. They now have a museum explaining how the Khoo clan worked, such as how each generation will have a name to follow (e.g.; Khoo Aik Cheong, Khoo Aik Bee etc.). And the detailed craftsmanship of the building, just amazing.

After that, we drove around looking for another interesting building - the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. This building is remarkable and I take my hat off to the architect in charge of the restoration. Dad thinks that it is someone he knows. The history behind the building is so rich, you can't help but think that we are so lucky to have had the British colonize us. They even have a website! Google Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and I'm sure you'd be able to find something.

I spent 2 hours in the car sleeping! =P Haha.. I was really tired. We managed to indulge in some good food - ais kacang, laksa, fried kuay teow, lontong, rojak, lor mee. Unfortunately, the famous asam laksa stall near Kek Lok Si was not open.

Of course, we did not leave Penang empty-handed. We bought plenty of nutmeg and tau sar pneah. =) Oh, and the wait for the delayed flight later in the night was a killer. Why is it that Air Asia still has so many customers? We were only delayed for an hour. Uncle Shiang was delayed for 9!

Note: Shaun has already crossed the border. He doesn't know where he is but he knows that they will be spending the night in a beach resort.

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