Food is always the main attraction of Penang. Living in Perhentian for months now, my first thought when I reached Penang is I need Chinese food. Although the Malay food in the village is delicious, it is always good to have a change. This last-minute trip was planned just a few days before. Thanks to Jason, the Volunteer Coordinator, I could leave my work and have a few days off to travel a bit with Andi, the Construction Leader, who is leaving.
Our plan is to go to Penang for a day trip and head down to Ipoh. My bestie, Phui Yee, said she could take a day off from work and bring us around. We reached Penang at around 5.30am. Phui Yee brought us to her house to put our stuff. I fell asleep for an hour and they woke me up to go for breakfast at 8am. I told her that we wanted to have dim sum! Damn, I never thought I would crave for Chinese food so much. We took so many different kind of dim sum, included pao, siu mai, etc. We were hesitating whether or not to have chi chiong fan but we were already full. There’s only so much a stomach can handle at one meal.
We went over to Butterworth to buy bus tickets to Ipoh. Instead of driving there, we took a ferry over. I was still in primary school when I last went on a ferry at Penang straits. I used to go there very often when I was young as my Dad studied there and we visited him on a monthly basis. People used to travel by ferry to get from Butterworth (mainland) to Penang Island until a bridge was built. When it was first built, we used to drive across and took pictures on the bridge. Good old memories of my childhood life!
After we got our bus tickets, we took a ferry back to Penang. Andi wanted to get a coffee so we hit a mall. The good thing was it was pretty empty, looking at the fact that the mall was quite new and it was a Monday. We had a drink at Starbucks and just walked around the mall. We decided to watch a movie and when we checked the movie list, only one attracted us ~ Ice Age 4!! We bought the ticket for 1.45pm and still had like an hour plus time. We went to play pool. Practice does make perfect, seeing that how much Phui Yee improved since the last time I played with her. Actually I hardly remember if we ever play pool together before because she always claimed that she couldn’t play. I am not a pro but I enjoy playing pool. We had two rounds and went for dessert before the movie.
Andi always talks about the drinks here, in the sense that she couldn’t understand why do we have jellies in the drink that we have to chew, eg. cincau, ABC, bubble milk tea, etc. We stopped by a taiwanese cafe and had a desert with black ball jellies, gui ling gao, glutinous rice balls made of sweet potatoes. It tasted good! It was funny when we talked about the ‘balls’. I remembered saying this to my diving instructor, Marek, and my diving buddies that I always have to look for his white ball, meaning his white golf ball dangling off the right side of Marek’s BCG! It was hilarious and saying just white ball sounded wrong! Marek even joked that no wonder I was always so closed behind him!
When we went into the cinema, it was quite empty. There were probably not more than 10 people in the cinema. I don’t even recall the last time I stepped into a cinema. It was too expensive to go to the cinema in England. Hence, it was more common to just stream it online. No popcorns this time as we were too full for more snacks. The movie was good and we were probably the only few ones who laughed a lot.
We went to Kek Lok Si Temple after that. Right after we got out of the car, I realised my hat was gone! It is my favourite hat and I remembered still having them behind my butt when we left the cinema. Phui Yee said we could go back and find for it. Andi went up the temple herself while we went back to the mall to find for my hat. Thank God, it was lying on the toilet floor, must had came off while I peed. I would so need to start searching for a new hat if I hadn’t found it there.
We drove up to the temple and prayed a bit while waiting for Andi. We left before 5.30pm and went for Penang Laksa, poh piah and dried meat. I wanted to have Cendol too but I was feeling weird and felt that I shouldn’t have any coconut milk, otherwise I might end up puking. Sometimes I have car sickness, especially if I read in the car or use the handphone. The food was delicious!
We rushed back to Phui Yee’s place to grab our stuff and headed off to Butterworth to catch a bus at 8pm. We were worried that we might miss the bus. Luckily we reached the bus station 10 minutes before departure time and the bus driver was late for 5 minutes. Time really flies, a day had gone by. I was really happy to see Phui Yee again. It has always been fun hanging out with her! Although we don’t hang out together much these days, it is good to know our friendship still stays the same and I can always count on her! A friend in need is a friend indeed.
P/S: Despite my good day off, I got a phone call from my staff at the island saying that they lost their cash and belongings in the house, with a high possibility that someone actually broke into our wooden house and stole them! It never occurred to me that anyone from the village would actually steal things from our house but it happened. It reminded me of what my Dad always says, never take things for granted. After what happened, we are going to set up strict rules of not letting kids past the kitchen door and ensuring that all windows and doors are locked at all times when we are not in the house. We might even put up CCTV in the house! So no matter if it is good or bad, everything that happens is a life lesson!