Photo of the Week: A House of Colors in Penang

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A Colorful Building

In the back streets of Georgetown lies this house.  Old, worn down, half falling apart, but with a sense of style.  We just stumbled up on it and I couldn’t help taking a snap of it.  It really stands out in a town of relatively standard, more subdued colors, and adds a bit of pizazz.  Thumbs up, yellow house!

Stellar Dim Sum at Tai Tong in Penang

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Dim Sum at Tai Tong

Suck it, Hong Kong!  You may have invented modern Dim Sum, but Malaysia has you beat!  In the back streets of Georgetown on the island of Penang in Malaysia, lies a small, unnassuming restaurant named Tai Tong, which has been pumping out fantastic dim sum for the locals for many years.  It’s not classy or gourmet, but it’s dim sum as it should be:  hot, fast, mouthwateringly delicious, and pushed on you by spirited, old Chinese grandmas.

What to Choose-Walking in, you are ushered to an open table, of which there may be very few.  Ok, ushered is a strong word.  Let’s call it pointed to.  Sitting down, the staff will give you a menu and try to convince you to buy one of the main dishes they have on offer, but you didn’t come here for sweet and sour pork, you came here for dim sum, and dim sum you shall have.  The old women who seem to run the shop (as opposed to the old men who seem to just sit around) wheel around 3 carts full of goodies to choose from.  One cart carries the steamed dishes, full of various dumplings stuffed with pork, shrimp, vegetables and herbs, etc.  The next cart brings the buns, bread, and sticky rice.  The final cart is full of fried treats, including the wonderful sesame balls.  The staff aren’t fluent in English, but they know enough to tell you what’s in each morsel and will gladly help you pick out the good stuff.

Tai Tong is full of good stuff.  We enjoyed everything that we had there.  The one thing we did end up ordering from the menu, the spring rolls, were also fantastic.  Perfectly cripy and done with some egg and tofu on the inside for a wonderful combination of flavor and texture.  In fact, we loved it so much that we went back 3 times as nothing else seemed to measure up.  This is how it should be done.  This is dim sum heaven.

Glutinous Sticky RiceTasty Dim SumFried Sesame Balls

Night Safari – Okinawa restaurant

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この日は夕飯の後に、お出かけ。本日は、Night safari Park(ナイトサファリパーク)へ。泊まっていたホステルで割引チケット(一人25シンガポールドル)を購入し、3人でナイトサファリへ。ホテル近くにある大通りのセブンイレブンの前辺りにシャトルバスが止まるとホステルの人に教えてもらい、それらしきバスを待つ。言われた時間になっても来ず、本当にこの場所であってるのか不安になる3人。次のバスの予定時間を過ぎ、流石に次のバスが来なかったら諦めようと決めた矢先、大型のバスが通過!


* バスは明らかにサファリパーク行きと分かる動物が車体に描かれたもの。バス停がなかったのでインド街のエリアから乗る場合はホテルの人によく確認すべき。

30分程度でサファリパークへ到着。 Read more

Marina Bay Sands–Wonder full

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2010年にオープンしたばかりのシンガポールの新名所であるMarina Bay Sands (マリーナベイ・サンズ)へ。IMG_7343_thumb2 Read more

Malaysian Buses: First Class Travel by Fridgidaire

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Your bus is awful.  Sorry, but it is.  It has 4 seats to a row, with chairs designed to fit only half of your rear, and that’s to say nothing of the fat guy next to you whose rear is spilling over from his seat into yours.  It has worn out, uncomfortable seats that incline a total of 1.27 degrees and don’t even have enough legroom for a double amputee.  Plus, it smells of some mixture of sweat, shame, and 1973.

Well get off of that Greyhound, my friend, and head to Malaysia, where bus travel is an art that has been perfected.  The business class buses, which cost maybe US$10 for about a 4 hours ride, are designed to please.  With the good buses having only 27 seats, this means 3 seats per row, and I’m not talking about deriere destructo seats.  The seats on the bus are wide and plush, recline to about a 45 degree angle, and offer plenty of legroom.  There are even executive buses that have entertainment systems in them, just like in modern aircraft.  It changes bus travel from a last, budget-mandated resort to an enjoyable experience.

Of course, the only problem is that the buses seem to run on freon, as they tend to be kept about as warm as an ice box.  When we asked the driver to cut the A/C, he did happily comply….for about 10 minutes, at which point he must have seen the ice in his glass melting and decided to turn the cooler back on.

Still, as long as you bundle up, buses are a great way to see Malaysia.  Some other companies could definitely learn a thing or two by a visit.  I’m looking at you Greyhound.